Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘barking dog

Heavy Sky

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Who doesn’t like posts about the weather? It’s like a friend that everyone knows. We interact with the weather every single day. It’s our common denominator, even though it could be completely different for us at any given moment.

We didn’t receive the hail that our children in the Twin Cities reported, but the wild weather was swirling all around us. Poor Delilah was on full alert trying her darnedest to scare away the intimidating thunder with her most energetic ferocious barks. She leaped straight into the air to get after one particular rumble in the sky.

She puts out an incredibly valiant, yet futile effort to combat the ominous sounds and flashes of thunderstorms. The noise and her frantic energy quickly get tiresome to our weary ears and fractured ambiance.

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While out feeding the horses, the clouds put on a spectacular show that became very difficult to read. I wished I had taken one of the skywarn classes offered by the National Weather Service. The rain came in several waves with just a scattering of lightning and thunder. Between each, we saw moments of sunshine and general calm.

On an evening with a looming threat of severe weather, we lucked out as the worst cells slid either north or south of us. As nightfall descended, we walked out to deliver the trash and recycle bins to the road and got a good view of the backside of one of the big cells.

Our sky was beginning to look much less heavy already.

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Written by johnwhays

May 20, 2022 at 6:00 am

Last Last

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Honestly, even if the grass continues to grow, I refuse to mow in November. Yesterday will be the last “last time” that I mow this season. I’ve already mowed for what I hoped was the last time this fall three other times. Admittedly, the first “last time” was hopeful thinking that didn’t pan out. The rest could’ve/should’ve been the end of growing blades but warm sunshine and some rain have kept the grass happy and active.

Yesterday, I almost wasn’t able to finish what I started. Just after I got done cutting the front yard and was working my way around to the back, the mower shut down on me. I wondered if it was making a statement about also wanting to be done for the season. It was certainly the coldest air temperature I’ve been out mowing in –mid 40s(F)– so I wouldn’t blame the tractor for not liking it.

Turned out that it was a fuse that didn’t want to be forced to work on Halloween.

Now it’s November and that means deer hunting season is near. Already, the sound of gunshots is an almost daily experience as neighboring farmers are adjusting their sights and perfecting their technique in preparation for the big day. Delilah is ferocious about wanting to defend us from the sound of a rifle “carrrrack!” She rushes toward the sound until her leash abruptly hits its limit, barking all the way.

Then she barks some more. As in, over and over again, ad nauseam. Poor girl almost barked herself hoarse yesterday.

With the majority of our trees now void of their leaves, the sound of gunshots travels from miles around us, so it’s not just the next-door neighbors we are hearing from.

At least Delilah quieted down enough while on a walk that we were able to sneak up on a flock of turkeys that were hanging out in our field near the road. They initially thought about running away and then took to the air toward an unplanted field to our north, offering a gorgeous display of the emergency version of wild turkey flight.

The turkeys were probably loving that I had cut the grass short down by the road.

In case they are wondering, that’s the last “last time” I’m going to do that this year.

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Written by johnwhays

November 1, 2021 at 6:00 am

Warm Reception

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For the past four days, Delilah has been up at the lake with Cyndie. Yesterday, after work, Cyndie’s mom, Marie, met me at our house and I drove her car up to Wildwood. Based on the affection I received from Delilah upon our arrival, our dog must have really missed me.

I was a little surprised by how much she wanted to be in my space. When I got on the floor with her, she tried to sit on my lap. I may have to take back some of those mean things I’ve said about her now that she is showing me some love.

A little later in the evening, she showed she hasn’t lost her penchant for barking at the world around us. I can never tell if it is something she hears or something she smells that suddenly startles her up from a cozy curl-up on the floor with a flourish of energized barking toward whatever the trigger was.

Maybe her dog-shouting will dissuade the geese from perching and pooping on the floating platform in the water at our beach. Cyndie reports her experiment of a plastic owl perched on the raft already seems to be helping.

Some extra barking can’t hurt.

The geese don’t receive near the warmth of a reception I was awarded when we got here.

Speaking of awards, we polished off the evening with a viewing of the NBC prime-time feature of Olympic competitions. The USA women’s beach volleyball pair won gold just as we were all beginning to run on fumes, very ready to head for bed.

Delilah had already found her way to her “den” in a crate draped with a light blanket cover.

I would say that all of our beds offered us warm receptions when we finally got around to falling on them.

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2021 at 6:00 am

Forest View

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I’m no expert, but I’m willing to venture a guess that a tree that sprouts leaves in the spring, but can’t get them to grow any larger than the tip of a finger, is going through the slow process of dying.

I’ve been watching this tree out our bathroom window for several weeks. It is particularly noticeable because all the rest of the trees around it opened up gorgeous full-sized leaves on their branches.

That standout stalled at the earliest stage of sprouting leaves.

I’m now doubting its likelihood of catching up.

Looking out that window yesterday, it occurred to me how many months of the year that view opens deep into the wooded slope, looking across a carpet of brown fallen leaves covering the ground.

That spot is a favorite for rambunctious squirrels that put on Ninja Warrior obstacle course demonstrations, bringing Delilah to an uncontrollable outburst of window-screen destruction and flurries of loud barking in the front porch.

This time of year, that section of forest becomes an enchanting mystery. I love the darkness that develops under the canopy of shady leafed-out trees. When the sun is really bright, it makes that darkness even more intense.

Last year, in August, I posted about the Inviting Portals that beckon a visit into the benefits of breathing the forest air. I find those darkened openings irresistibly captivating.

I’m convinced that I receive equally beneficial psychological rewards simply from absorbing the glorious views of the walls of trees that tower along the edges of our forest and fields.

It’s never clear what the change from bare trees to leafy ones will bring. Branches along the trail that were overhead all winter will often surprise me with how much they droop under the added weight of leaves come spring.

After a brief, yet energized thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, some of the young trees around the house failed to hold their posture under the added weight of wetted leaves.

So, we’ve got trees with not enough leaves and trees with more leaves than they can support, but they are each an exception. The rest of the forest is as picturesque as ever now, providing views that invite and inspire.

Forest views that feed my soul tremendously.

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Written by johnwhays

May 30, 2018 at 6:00 am

Peaceful Presence

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With a perfectly timed explosion of lightning and thunder, our peaceful World Labyrinth Day came to a spectacular close last night. Prior to that, we had plenty of sun and warmth to walk the circuitous path of our 70-foot diameter, 11 circuit Chartes labyrinth nestled on the edge of our woods beside a horse pasture.

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Even though the “Walk as One at 1” in a global wave of peace was the primary reason for yesterday’s open house at Wintervale, it ended up being the chickens who stole the show.

The kids present wanted to climb inside the fence and feed the growing chicks delectable treats of dried worms and cracked corn right from their hands.

Although the young birds were a bit skittish over all the human energy present on our first visit, Cyndie took the kids back a little later and the chicks were much more interested in exploring the offerings.

Shortly after the last of family and friends had departed for the day, Cyndie and I made the rounds to bring hammocks and chair cushions inside. The sky was growing dark gray on the horizon.

We made the short trek to Clyde’s Corner for cheese burgers to cap off the end of a successful day, while the thunderstorm loomed large. Luckily, we had decided to wrangle the chicks back into the coop before we left.

The drive home was a light-show of streaking lightning bolts, many appearing to be hitting closer to us as the storm moved away. That had Delilah barking up her own storm to bring our exciting day to an appropriate end.

It started peacefully, and ended with quite a bang.

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Just Dandy

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A morning stroll through the dew revealed some artistic specimens of the most prolific flowering plant around. Some folks put in a lot of effort to eradicate dandelions, but I look at the numbers and figure it’s a fight I’d rather not join.

Might as well enjoy the beauty.

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This morning we are a couple of hours north at Cyndie’s family lake place, thanks to George, who is watching over our animals for the weekend. Well, not all the animals. For the first time ever, Delilah joined us on an outing to Hayward.

We folded up her crate and laid her bed on top of it in the back of the Crosstrek. She was a willing traveler and seems thrilled to be up here. The only thing that is troubling her sense of logic is the occasional appearance of these bizarre vessels that float slowly by on the water.

She can see them moving, but with no legs or wheels, I think it spooks her a little bit. Best to growl and bark at them, just in case.

Beyond that, everything is just dandy!

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Written by johnwhays

May 13, 2017 at 8:55 am

Chicken Catching

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We are getting close to opening up the netting and giving our chicks a chance to do some exploring. They are currently confined to a small courtyard at the foot of the ramp out their door, as well as the space beneath the elevated coop.

Cyndie tossed a little food as I was preparing to take some pictures while they were out and about. That resulted in most of the heads being down and the butts up.

I didn’t make it out to see the show when Cyndie moved them back into the coop for the night, but she said it was quite a spectacle. She had read one suggestion about training them to come in for the night by regularly using a unique call and shaking a little container of food for enticement.

I asked her what her call was going to be. She didn’t have anything specific worked out yet. I think it might be, “Here chicks.”

Sounds like they were unimpressed with her offerings.

At first none of them wanted to go in. Then one headed inside on its own accord, but when it realized it was alone in there, it came back out.

After Cyndie got a couple of them inside, one chose to lay down right in front of the door, obstructing the opening.

With the food offering failing to impress them and Cyndie’s call not inspiring action, it was time to resort to the long hooked stick to pull them in by their feet.

All this was accompanied by Delilah’s unwelcome barking, which did not contribute one bit to Cyndie’s calm demeanor.

In fact, from the house, it sounded like there was some cursing going on down there. At least, from what I could sense between the barking.

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Written by johnwhays

May 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Cat Love

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For the last ten minutes, when I could have been typing with two hands, I have instead been thoroughly preoccupied by a certain cat who plopped down on the corner of my laptop, strategically beneath my right hand. In our house, I appear to be the cat magnet.

IMG_iP3066eCHOur little tortoiseshell, Pequenita, always comes to the door to greet me when I get home from work. If Delilah happens to be in the house, ‘Nita waits for a turn, but she makes a point to visit. She has this wonderful/terrible habit of reaching up my leg for a stretch, and flexing her cute little front paws so that her sharp claws pass right through anything but my heaviest Carhartt jeans to make startling contact with my delicate flesh.

I know she means well, but the reaction it involuntarily evokes involves spontaneous reflex flinching, some yelling, occasionally cursing, a bit of anger, a dash of sadness and hurt feelings, and perplexity over her lack of sensitivity to my plight. That all leads to my questioning why we have a cat.

Then I remember, we have a cat so we will have something to clean off the coils under the refrigerator whenever we get around to checking it. I assume, as ironic as it would be, the mice around here are thrilled over the vast resource of nest material that piles up in every out-of-sight nook and cranny in our house.

After the ten-minutes of head scratching and full-body massaging that she gets from me when I crawl in bed and she arrives for her session, there is a small blizzard of cat hair sticking to me, my keyboard, the comforter, her back, and floating in the air currents of the heat vents.

What can I do? She loves me.

I’m her pin cushion and her masseuse.

I must admit, it is kinda nice to have one pet in the house who doesn’t go into barking fits over sights and sounds outside these walls. Maybe I should work on getting the cat to try out the stretchy clawing maneuver on the dog every time there is an eruption from Ms. Barksalot.

The old stimulus / response model thing.

Delilah’s smart. She’d probably figure out she shouldn’t go all panicky barking at squirrels after a few sessions from Pequenita, don’t ya think?

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Written by johnwhays

February 24, 2016 at 7:00 am

Nothing But

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DSCN4393eWe had nothing but weather around here yesterday. Moments of sunshine, plenty of degrees, and a brief passing rain shower in the afternoon. It was shirt-sleeve time in the morning for cleaning the barn. The warm temps also provided an opportunity to give the waterer a thorough cleaning, which was badly needed.

It was so cold the last time I tried to clean the waterer, the cover was frozen on solid. That time, I did a cursory scrubbing to break loose the green growth that develops on underwater surfaces, but I couldn’t drain it because I couldn’t get that cover off. I tried splashing debris out, but that offered limited results.

Yesterday, while I was cleaning stalls in the barn, Delilah was reacting to the sound of gunshots in the distance and a neighbor’s barking dog, with a cacophony of her own barking in reply. I decided to take a shot at capturing video of her disturbing the peace.

It took a few tries, but eventually, I caught her. She tends to stop when she notices I am up to something that involves a camera. Honestly, I think it makes her feel guilty, and she worries what others will think if her reckless barking was revealed to the world.

If you are brave enough to endure the video below, I will warn you to prepare for some dizzying panning, and a varied level of audio. I haven’t quite mastered the art of using a cell phone to record moving pictures, and I must have been covering the microphone off and on while struggling for a grip that would support the device.

Judy, this is for you. Your request for more video of Wintervale contributed to my decision to give it a go. Thanks for the nudge.

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Written by johnwhays

January 31, 2016 at 7:00 am