Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘autumn

Good Times

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When Cyndie and I got home from our respective days last Thursday, we were greeted by the sight of our hay-field being cut. When we got home yesterday from our weekend with Mike and Barb at their lake place, our hay-field was being raked into windrows.

Between those two events, we enjoyed great adventures in the northland woods.

On our drive up toward Grand Rapids, we paused for a picnic lunch and walk along the St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park. I had forgotten about the flooding 10″ rain that caused incredible damage in that region in 2012.

It was impressive to see how great the damage recovery looks now, this many years later.

Walking the rebuilt iconic swinging bridge over the river brought back memories of the exhilarating bridges Gary Larson and I walked in Nepal, minus the prayer flags and yak trains.

The trail along the St. Louis River offers great adventure of rough terrain navigation over roots and rocks, with gargantuan slanted rock formations providing fabulous views.

Jay Cooke State Park is a real treasure for the state of Minnesota.

In the evening on Friday, we sat out under the stars and enjoyed a roaring campfire for as long as tired eyes tolerated. Without having noticed that clouds had rolled in while we were out there, we called it a night just as rain moved in.

By morning, there was some snow on the ground, too. Cloud-burst blizzards breezed past around sunrise, interspersed with moments of bright blue sky. It was rather mountain-like conditions, also remarkably similar to weather Gary and I experienced in the Himalayas.

On Saturday, we did a lot of hiking in the woods. The tamarack trees were in glorious golden form. The rest of the fall colored leaves were past prime.

That scene is one I would gladly see made into a jigsaw puzzle.

The weekend was everything we hoped for, and more.

The animals at home were well cared for by Maddie and Lauren, two students at UW-River Falls who we’ve added to our pool of trained sitters.

Good times, indeed.



Written by johnwhays

October 22, 2018 at 6:00 am

Autumn Mowing

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I don’t have any recollection of the lawn ever being so “June-like” this late in October. It felt totally strange yesterday to be cutting such long, thick, green grass with the air chilly and the sun at this uncharacteristic low angle.

In addition to the summery grass blades, the standing puddles of water left over from the recent rains were downright spring-like.

When I got done, the fresh-mowed lawn contrasted strangely against the golden hue of fall that the trees now provide for a backdrop.

It also seemed odd to be mowing the grass a few days after we had just received snow.

On my walk back to the house after I was done with chores for the evening, I stopped to take some pictures of the low sun beaming through the golden trees.

That carpet of leaves is a favorite of mine. I wish we could have layers of leaves that look like that as a ground cover, in place of lawn grass around our land.

Guess that means we would need to get busy transplanting more trees.

Spread the wealth!



Written by johnwhays

October 18, 2018 at 6:00 am

Yep, Snow

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Well, we got that out of the way. The first snowfall of the season arrived and decorated our place with a light frosting of white yesterday.

Made for a great Sunday afternoon of lounging in front of the fireplace and watching football games on television up in the loft.

There will be plenty of other days to be out in the elements when flakes are flying in the months ahead. I elected to spend the first one indoors.

Am I showing my age?

Yeah, probably.



Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

Way Fun

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It’s a little embarrassing how much I enjoyed the ease of large-sized puzzle pieces which allowed me to polish off this beauty in a day at the lake.

I guess a mental break from my routine was due. My brain soaked up the puzzling like a dry sponge takes on water. Nothing like putting things in order and getting a pretty picture to appreciate as a result. It was a nice antidote for the constant onslaught of changes and challenges life routinely serves up.

The convenience of the large pieces were key to enabling me to get this assembled in a single weekend.

It definitely changed both the visual and tactile features of puzzling that appeal to me, but after finishing as quickly as I did, I rate the tradeoff as an acceptable compromise.

With my project complete by early in the morning yesterday, we had plenty of time to get out for a walk in the middle of the day to take in the beginnings of fall colors around the lake.

The dominance of gray in the sky and gray reflected off the surface of the water, served to mute the true beauty of the few trees showing good fall color.

On our drive home, between periods of sun and one rain shower, we noticed the intensity of color ebbed and flowed inconsistently. Brilliance increased for a while, and suddenly disappeared. Then, as we made our way close to home, the fall colors seemed to pick up again.

One tree on our land caught my attention last Friday, because of the way it stood out as an early adopter.

There are a few more trees that decided to join the fun over the weekend. One maple tree by the hay shed is beginning to show deep red in the top third of its branches.

It’s fair to say, the colorful fun is getting ready to break out all over around our place in the very near future.

Sure hope we get some sun and blue skies to enhance the annual spectacle!



Written by johnwhays

October 1, 2018 at 6:00 am

Woods Changing

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Fall has arrived and it sure feels like it outside this morning. There is a distinct chill in the air, despite the ongoing global warmup occurring.

Well before the fall landscape color palette changes from green to red/orange/yellow, an inside view reveals the impending change.

There aren’t a lot of leaves on the ground yet, but there is a definite thinning of foliage going on. Delilah and I were traipsing along the soggy trail yesterday when I took the above picture. Times like this bring great appreciation for the “boardwalk” we envisioned in one of the swampy spots of our trails. It is an ongoing installation of blocks I remove from shipping pallets I salvage from the day-job.

Once again, it is getting easier to leave the trail and bushwhack through our woods to explore rarely visited spaces. I think this may subtly contribute to a universal attraction people share for fall, along with the obvious colorization and comfortable dew point temperatures. The woods open up and provide easy accessibility.

Friday night the easy access seemed to invite a noisy visitor to the grove of trees just beyond our house. Delilah spends many precious minutes every day barking in response to the sound of neighboring dogs miles away. Friday, that neighboring bark came from darkness just beyond the reach of our flood light.

Oddly, Delilah felt no need to respond, although she took great interest in our sudden fascination with the mysterious trespasser outside the back door. My guess was the stray visitor had treed a raccoon, or squirrel, or turkey and was “shouting” at it.

Last evening, during our last big walk of the day, I let Delilah’s nose direct us off-trail through the woods along the many odd paths frequently traveled by a variety of resident critters.

I also put fresh batteries in the trail camera to resume monitoring the night life visiting the chicken coop.

It was a very quiet night there last night. No motion until almost 6:00 this morning, when a cat wandered past.

We took down the netting around the coop yesterday, making it easy again to clean the poop board, so maybe traffic will pick up with time. Not that we wish for that. I just see it as inevitable.

Inevitable like the end of summer growing season, which is marked by the first real overnight freeze. I’m in no particular rush for that, other than a desire to be done mowing the grass for another year.

With the woods changing noticeably, and the noted chill greeting us this morning, we sense the big freeze isn’t far off.



Written by johnwhays

September 23, 2018 at 9:38 am

Labor Day

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It is a U.S. holiday today. I am going to take the day off. I still might get out and do a much-needed chore at home, but I don’t need to commute to the day-job today! Woot!

Here is a “Words on Images” first posted nine years ago. Speaks to this time of year…


Words on Images




Written by johnwhays

September 3, 2018 at 6:00 am

A hint

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Walking up toward the house the other day, something new caught my eye. Can you see it?

Probably not. It’s subtle. How about if I zoom in?

It’s the leaves of the tree beyond the house.


They are showing the first hint of autumn color on our property.




Written by johnwhays

August 13, 2018 at 6:00 am