Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Delilah

Mixed Seasons

with 2 comments

Delilah doesn’t care that a winter-sized daylong snowstorm blasted into our otherwise reasonable autumnal October weather on Tuesday.

The ground cover is now an interesting mix of snow and leaves. The natural world seems to have lost patience with this thing we call order. What the heck, bring on the snow. We don’t need to wait for the trees to drop all their leaves first.

Delilah loves it. While I trudged with great effort through the deep, wet snow in the woods, she happily raced to sniff one wildlife footprint after another.

I didn’t take Delilah near the chickens during our stroll after I got home from work, so I didn’t see how the birds were coping with their new surroundings, but when Cyndie returned from closing the coop as darkness fell, she reported full merging of young and old on the roosts.

How synchronous! Mixed seasons and mixed flocks of chickens.

Maybe the old birds will share their winter savvy with the young ones.

“If we act like we are stuck and can’t walk anywhere because of the snow, that lady who thinks she’s our mother will shovel a path to the barn.”

She already did.

I’m guessing the young ones have already learned that detail.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 22, 2020 at 6:00 am

Autumn Arrives

with 4 comments

The autumnal equinox arrives locally at 8:30 a.m. CDT today. Despite enjoying fabulous summerlike temperatures this week, it is truly beginning to feel like fall. For one thing, the ground is dry. I think the ground has dried out only two times in the almost 8-years we have lived here. This has had a big impact on the way our woods look.

The green vegetation is much thinner than usual. The first colorful leaves are just starting to carpet the forest floor. Soon it will be impossible to see the ground and walking will become a crunching rustle of leaves with every step.

With that feature comes the unmistakable aroma of autumn.

Last night, Cyndie had a little scare when arriving at the coop around dusk to close things up after all the chickens were inside. The net fencing where she has the access point to climb inside showed signs of being monkeyed with by some unauthorized character.

Ol’ Rocky the Rooster might need to grow up real fast in order to protect his brood before they all reach adulthood.

Maybe he already did. Cyndie reported all chickens accounted for, safe on the roosts.

The amount of cover in the wooded acres surrounding the coop is quickly disappearing. That gives the free-ranging hens fewer places to hide, but it also gives any potential predators less cover for sneaking up on the girls.

I spotted a stray cat prowling in our small paddock on Sunday in broad daylight while I was walking Delilah. Our silly dog never saw the cat, but the cat saw us and made a hasty exit, stage left, where it ran up our North Loop trail out of sight.

I walked Delilah toward that direction and watched her pick up the scent and go nuts, wanting to follow the trail. I pulled rank and made her come my way, back to the house.

The Light Brahma pullet seems to be reflecting the seriousness of so much drama happening as the change of seasons launches a new batch of adventures. Their nights are getting longer and the air will soon be getting colder.

In the meantime, we are going to enjoy this agreeable autumn to the fullest.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 22, 2020 at 6:00 am

Delilah Helping

with 2 comments

While Cyndie and I were playing around with building more robust stone borders in the labyrinth over the weekend, we enjoyed some special company from Delilah. Even though she couldn’t pick up any of the rocks, she made a very notable point of being as present as possible in a clear gesture of moral support.

Normally, when we secure her leash somewhere while we are focused on a project, she sets off exploring every distance she can reach, seeking out any potential burrs she can collect in her thick coat or digging ferociously after some tunneling rodent in pursuit of entirely selfish entertainment.

On Labor Day Monday, she came over as close to “in my way” as possible, at the farthest reach of the leash that strained against her harness, and laid down to “supervise” my work. It was such uncharacteristic behavior, I paused to take a picture of her.

I didn’t realize at the time that I was also going to capture Cyndie in the background setting down a rock the size of the soccer ball with such little apparent effort that it looked to be as light as a soccer ball, too.

I assure you, none of the rocks that size were light. My back and legs second that assurance. We moved some heavy stones over the weekend.

We worked so hard, I think we tired out Delilah.

A short time later, I noticed she had laid her head down, using a rock for a pillow, and closed her eyes for a little nap, still at the far reach of her leash.

I think she was telling us the labyrinth is a very comfortable place to be.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 9, 2020 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , ,

Bold Color

leave a comment »

Yesterday was a comfortably quiet Sunday. I stole some time to nap in the hammock, but otherwise, my day was consumed by a small number of tasks in the incredible comfort of a gorgeous summer day. I took Delilah with me to trim a rash of willow tree sprouts starting to clutter the main drainage swale running the length of our southern property border.

She is back to her old bouncy self already, long before the shaved wounds have fully closed.

The beef cattle in the adjacent field took an interest in my activity and congregated along the fence. When a couple of them pushed their giant heads between two strands of the barbed wire to munch on the leaves of a tree I had just tossed aside, Delilah asserted herself enough to back them all off.

She appears to have a keen grasp of our property line.

We are back to full walks around the periphery trails, where we came upon one of nature’s brilliant displays of uncharacteristic color.

Looks like this could be where the idea for crunchy Cheetos® originated.

Delilah totally ignored it as she strolled past, but I stopped to give it my full attention. I decided against checking to see what it tasted like, though.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 17, 2020 at 6:00 am

Slowly Convalescing

leave a comment »

She is doing a fair job of allowing time and medication to heal her wounds, but Delilah can’t hide her sorry state of the wounded animal. We suspect the powerful pain killer is rendering her somewhat loopy and the antibiotic is definitely wreaking some disruption on her digestive system.

One of the puncture wounds continues to drain and the area of swelling is noticeable and changing colors daily.

We keep finding her squeezed into rather odd locations around the house and she stays curled up in each place for remarkably long spans of time. Cyndie found her curled up in barely enough space beside the toilet. She tends to push herself behind furniture.

Once we get her up and moving, she will go out for a brief walk and take care of bodily functions, so it is good to know she can still move normally if she puts her mind to it. She just doesn’t want to very much, and I don’t blame her.

Really, the best thing for her is to rest, and for the most part, that is exactly what she is doing.

There is no need for her to rush, so she is taking full advantage of our care. Time will ultimately be her best medicine.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 10, 2020 at 6:00 am

Tables Turned

with 2 comments

First of all, let me say that Delilah is experiencing some discomfort but we expect she will heal and be back to her old self soon. At the same time, the details of her latest incident of ‘dog bites dog’ involve a bit of poetic justice when considering her history of being the attacker in a previous fracas up at the lake.

This time, our heroine was the victim. The versions I have gleaned from Cyndie boil down to an unleashed dog sprinting up and landing a chomp of fangs into Delilah’s hindquarter as Cyndie and Delilah attempted to make haste for the relative safety of the main cabin.

The intriguing aspect of the attack is that the aggressor is essentially an out-of-town cousin of the dog who Delilah bit one year ago. Was this a dose of revenge? Does the dog world work that way?

It’s unlikely, but it fits too many movie scripts for the actions of human gangs that it flows naturally to correlate it with possible canine pack behavior.

Who can know what the conversations of remote barking might have been between all parties involved during the day, or two, running up to the “hit.”

[Barking] “I know who you are.”

“You’re not so tough!”

“This is for Gracie.”

Since Delilah was in her harness and being pulled forward by Cyndie, the conflict was one-sided, which may be a good thing. Delilah yelped at the bite, the neighbor arrived to take command of his dog, and Cyndie and Delilah hustled back to the house.

There was some blood, but through Delilah’s thick coat it was hard to know the extent of injury. With time, her mobility declined and Cyndie decided to race home a day early to have her seen by our local vet.

Yesterday afternoon, the doc shaved that hip and inspected the area to find three deep puncture wounds. No nerve or organ damage suspected. Treatment is two versions of pain killer –pain being what was limiting Delilah’s mobility– an anti-inflammatory, and an antibiotic.

It’s hard to guess whether the long term outcome will change Delilah’s perspective one way or another. Will she be less prone to behaving with aggression after this humbling interaction or become more distrusting of other dogs?

I’m wondering if she will now associate going to the lake with having been bitten.

For the time being, she looks a little meaner with her punk hair styling. It’s offset a little by her loopy pain-free drug-induced stupor, but that should wear off before the hair all grows back.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 8, 2020 at 9:30 am

Bad Day

leave a comment »

This is the saga of Cyndie’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Really. It was the kind of day that no one deserves when they are already under the strain of grief from the recent death of their father and having just spent the prior day unexpectedly moving furniture and mopping basement floors after flooding rains.

It’s doubly frustrating when the trees outside keep toppling over from the abuses of wind and heavy rain.

We lost another oak tree near the backside of the house sometime in the last two days.

To soothe the pangs of angst banging around in Cyndie’s head, she opted for a craft project to occupy her time and talents, one that would create useful masks in benefit to others. Unfortunately, a problem developed with the bobbin and threading mechanism of her sewing machine which consumed hours, wasted yards of thread, and produced results opposite from soothing angst.

Next, she tried baking, also a love of hers which normally produces oodles of good feelings.

Walking the dog took too long for the tray of parmesan cheese toasts that were in the oven and the results were burned just enough that they couldn’t be salvaged. The delicious smell lingered long after the acrid tasting morsels had been discarded, providing an unwelcome reminder of what was lost.

Luckily, the two loaves of bread she followed up with came out perfect and tasted delicious. She offered a warm slice for me to test. Then, she took Delilah for a jaunt and I stepped outside to finish a chore. When I came back into the air-conditioned house, I found she had returned Delilah to the coolness indoors while she stayed outside to pick wild raspberries.

That is when I spotted the still-warm loaf she had just cut test slices from was now moved just to the very edge of the counter and there were delicate bites missing along the full length of one side.

Each attempt to get the better of her angst ended up providing nothing of the sort.

It had all the makings of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad type of day.

I’m thinking she might benefit from exorcising her demons by way of wielding a chainsaw toward a bunch of oak branches and cutting them to bits.

Take that you terrible, horrible, no good, eff of a day of failing sewing machines and baking disasters.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 1, 2020 at 6:00 am

Restorative Return

leave a comment »

We slept in our own bed again last night. It had been almost a week since Delilah had seen Cyndie and the reunion aligned entirely with the hypothesis that dogs perceive absence to be the equivalent of death and if a pack-mate returns, it is a miracle.

Cyndie reported that her gardens looked so thirsty for water that a few plants appeared within inches of demise. The labyrinth is a jungle. That will be our first project this morning. It deserves a double-team effort. I hope to get the rest of the grass mowed before predicted afternoon thunderstorms.

One highlight of yesterday was a call from our log home company announcing their plan to arrive tomorrow to begin preparing to reseal our logs.

Thank goodness.

We have seized the moment to eat breakfast in bed, catch up with our online accounts, and take in some favorite Sunday morning TV before setting out on our labors of the day.

Both the obituary and feature article for Cyndie’s dad made it into the Sunday StarTribune newspaper and she and her brothers continue their efforts to fill in the pages of the memorial website for Fred.

.

fredfriswoldmemorial.com

.

The beginning of life-after-Fred is unfolding with not-unexpected fits and starts, but we are underway as best as we are able. Not doing too bad, if I do say so myself.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

June 28, 2020 at 9:17 am

Mamma Returns

with 8 comments

One explanation I have heard for a dog’s overzealous greetings when their masters return from time away is that the absence was interpreted as a death. I believe that theory was based on an interpretation of wolf pack behavior. When a wolf disappeared from the pack, it was generally due to death. The survivors don’t expect to ever see that missing member again.

If that missing wolf does reappear, it’s a miracle! No wonder they would get excited.

As far as Delilah was concerned last night, the mamma who has doted on her for most of her life returned from the dead.

I was careful not to utter the highly recognizable sound of “mamma” to our dog until I saw Cyndie’s car coming up the driveway. I made that mistake one other time when Cyndie wasn’t going to be home for days and Delilah walked over toward the door to the garage and stared at it for so long I began to feel awful.

There was a blur of spinning and some squeaky sounds and a whole lotta love.

“She’s alive!”

My resourceful wife beat me to the punch and ordered her own favorite Gina Maria’s pizza on her drive home from the airport, and since it wasn’t ready when she arrived, took advantage of that time to go grocery shopping.

Gone for over a month, and she walks in the door with dinner and groceries.

Sheltering at home just got a lot less lonely for me.

Welcome home, Cyndie. Welcome home.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 16, 2020 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , , ,

Clean Driveway

leave a comment »

One of the really great features of a spring snowstorm is when the snow melts on the driveway as fast as it falls. When Delilah and I set out on our first walk after I got home from work yesterday, there was no snow falling. After circling the majority of our acres, I parked her in the barn while I tended to chores at the chicken coop.

While I was down with a couple of egg-laying hens, the sky opened up and poured out a downburst of snow. It quickly became a mini-blizzard with little spinning snow-tornadoes that made my trek back to the barn into a heroic expedition. From the barn, Delilah and I hustled our way up to the protection of the house and turned our focus toward each of our respective dinners.

The next time I looked out the window, the cloudburst had ended. It went from everything to nothing in about ten minutes time.

But it wasn’t done yet.

Before dinner was over, flakes started flying again. This time, it lasted much longer. So long, in fact, I started to wonder if I was going to need to shovel. Delilah started getting antsy to make her obligatory after-dinner outing, but I kept delaying her in hope of waiting long enough for the snow to stop falling.

Not only did my plan succeed, but we were subsequently gifted with an outbreak of sunshine! The icing on the cake of this whole mini-drama was stepping out to the sight of a clean driveway. It was downright photogenic.

Take that, winter snowstorms…

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 14, 2020 at 6:00 am