Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Delilah

Temporary Truce

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It doesn’t happen often, so I hastily grabbed my phone to capture the moment yesterday afternoon when cat and dog weren’t behaving like cantankerous siblings. Who swapped our pets for well-behaved lookalikes?

They are probably commiserating with each other over Cyndie’s disappearance from their lives. It’s certainly not my doing. Maybe they are compensating for my increasingly grumpy countenance.

I’d like the day-job and our customers to offer up a truce but that won’t happen this week. We are a person down due to a vacation and there aren’t enough hours in a day for me to accomplish both my tasks and theirs. I added yesterday back in as an on-site day, but I can’t work late at all this week because I need to get home to tend to our animals each day.

Delilah and Pequenita seem to be picking up on my grouchiness and are making a concerted effort to not let me influence them negatively.

Luckily, there is plenty of beauty to absorb around our house that boosts my spirits. I can never remember what plant is on our trellis, but this swirly growth sprouting from it is fascinating:

We received a little thundery rain last night. I think the drought may have accepted a truce of its own.

I just don’t want more precipitation to trigger massive grass growth. I’m already grumpy enough for the time being.

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Written by johnwhays

September 14, 2021 at 6:00 am

Wild Sky

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The sky was alive with energy last night when I took Delilah out for her evening walk.

It feels like that energy is going every which way.

Delilah’s energy was a little off-kilter when I decided to take her out. Cyndie left yesterday for a trip with her mother to visit Barry and Carlos in Boston and Maine for a week. Cyndie had been gone for under a couple of hours when Delilah started waiting at the door to the garage for her return.

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It’s going to be a long week if she keeps up with this perseveration.

Of course, after about six days, I will be joining her at the door, similarly pining for Cyndie’s eventual return.

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Written by johnwhays

September 9, 2021 at 6:00 am

Fawns Visit

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Yesterday morning, first thing, Cyndie reported seeing a momma deer and two fawns out our bedroom window. I was just commenting the other day that there was no sign of any nibbling of our hostas back there this summer. I didn’t check yet to see if that still holds true.

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After work yesterday, I was busy mowing the opposite side of our property. After just one downpour of rain over the weekend, our grass responded with a burst of growth. There was nothing strategic about my mowing methods this time. I cut everything possible in the time before dinner was served.

I heard a meteorologist’s analysis that the one occasion of heavy rain on Saturday was not sufficient to break the overall drought our region is suffering. He said that would require getting rain in similar amounts at least once a week for multiple weeks. The long-range forecast doesn’t bode well for that happening.

I’m counting our blessings that we have so few areas where the stress of dryness is obvious. Most trees and shrubs are looking close to normal. Grassy areas that get some shade look downright healthy.

Maybe the deer don’t need the hostas if there are enough other choices for grazing. They were probably just visiting to be social.

Delilah failed to detect them, so they weren’t driven away by loud, ferocious barking. She is a little under the weather and threw up the full contents of her stomach yesterday. Cyndie said it appeared a couple of days-worth of food wasn’t getting processed and came back up.

When that happened other times, we immediately discarded the rest of whatever can of food she was being served and start a fresh one. Since it always did the trick the other times, we are returning to that solution for now.

Meanwhile, she is doing some grazing of her own, chomping on grass when she is out on a walk.

Good thing it got tall after the last blast of rain.

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Written by johnwhays

August 11, 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

Happy Animals

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Our kitty, Pequenita, was oh so happy to have me back home again to scratch her neck and belly every which way to and fro. We arrived home mid-afternoon and took Delilah for a walk to survey our property and check on the chicks and horses.

The grasses on either side of our mowed trails have gotten almost as tall as we are. The chicks have gotten almost as tall as each other. There is one exception. One of the Buffalo gals is taller than all the others. We are growing increasingly confident that we received a surprise cockerel in the batch Cyndie purchased from the Buffalo Country Store.

It appears we may have a Buffalo “guy.” In the image above, the obvious contrast in color can be seen for two of the Barred Rock chicks we received. The darker coloring is indicative of hens and the lighter white-with-black feathering more an attribute of roosters. The more advanced growth of his comb and the noticeable size advantage add logical evidence to support our suspicion.

We may keep him to protect his brood of 11 siblings and then let one of the Rockette roosters stay around to watch over whatever hens remain from our hatched group after distributing some to my brother and giving away any extra roosters. We have yet to feel confident identifying how many cockerels are in that hatched batch of thirteen.

I expect that another two or three weeks will make things much more obvious, along the lines of how obvious it has become among the two-week-older batch from Buffalo.

Thankfully, at this point, they are all getting along fine and appear happy and healthy. The Rockettes have enough feathers now and have grown enough in size that we are hoping to experiment with merging the two groups this week. That should be entertaining.

The horses were perfectly calm and appeared entirely satisfied with our return appearance. Last week they received a long-awaited hoof trimming and it has them looking particularly well kept.

Our animals seem almost as happy as Cyndie was when she finally was in the right place at the right time to view the resident snapping turtle that has frequented the lagoon and boat launch area of the lake up in Hayward for probably the last 50 years.

I snapped that photo of the lagoon because the reflection of the tree trunks was providing a wonderful backward K that was particularly eye-catching. Cyndie said that sighting the turtle had been on her bucket list for quite some time, which made it a significant thrill for her that endured well beyond the minutes the old beast lingered in view.

All in all, we’ve got happiness bursting out all over the place.

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Written by johnwhays

June 28, 2021 at 6:00 am

Claiming Time

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I suspect that our house cat, Pequenita, is the pet that gets the least air-time on Relative Something. As the lone feline around here, she seems to frequently be at odds with the general vibe happening at any given moment. Usually, that is because the dog tends to be the one setting the vibe.

Pequenita occasionally tolerates whatever it might be that Delilah is looking to achieve, but most often the cat is just trying to be wherever the dog isn’t.

When we arrived home from the lake on Monday, Pequenita was noticeably more vocal than usual. I think she was expressing displeasure with our having been gone. Something tells me Delilah was having a field day or days, taking advantage of our absence to mess with the cat more than she is allowed when we are around to interrupt.

There is one thing Pequenita does every day to offset the hours when she might not always be getting what she wants. She claims time with me the moment I climb into bed.

She wants to be scratched vigorously behind her ears, on her belly, under her chin, rolling the scruff on the back of her neck, across her forehead, and over her eyes. When I work her armpits, she stretches her front legs way out and flexes her feet. She also purrs warmly the entire time.

It’s a festival of shedding all the while.

Pequenita gets up and walks away, so she can turn around and come right back for more. She rubs against the edge of my laptop. She tries to stand on the keys. After another round of scratches, she walks away again. The more earnestly I want to write on my computer, the more repetitions she makes to walk away and come right back.

If only I could master the art of typing solely with my left hand in order to give Pequenita the scratches she wants with my other hand and still get some writing done.

Unfortunately, the time I wish to claim for writing before I go to sleep happens to be the exact same time Pequenita chooses to claim for me to put my hands all over her body.

Honestly, it’s not all that unfortunate. We are blessed to have her unique character enriching our lives. I’m lucky to have a pet who shows such deep appreciation for my attention.

The time she claims is not just for selfish reasons. She claims it for both of us.

I just need to remind myself that writing comes second to the art of fulfilling the desires of our cat.

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Written by johnwhays

June 3, 2021 at 6:00 am

Coop Cleaning

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The chicken coop received a thorough going-over yesterday as we took the first steps in preparation for moving the twelve chicks Cyndie has taken to identifying as the Buffalo Gals.

As we pulled out the removable portions, it was discovered that a few repairs were in order. A plank sealing a seam in the hardware cloth lining had come loose in the ceiling. A significant gap between the two overlapping segments provided ample room for small birds or rodents to wander inside.

Not any more. With that problem fixed, Cyndie put her attention to cleaning every surface and I hunted down a branch to make a third roost perch.

As we were preparing to put away tools and call it a day, I remembered the window covers that needed to be installed over the two side windows. I recalled seeing the flimsy plastic forms, covered in dust, stashed in the barn among a lot of other dangerous-looking objects.

Working together, Cyndie and I delicately, and successfully, lifted the covers out of the debris and headed out the back door of the barn to wash them. I was so happy these things had survived the hazards of removal and storage intact.

While I was washing the first cover, Delilah, the oblivious canine, walked up and stepped on it, busting it in three places as I shrieked at her, frantically shoving to get her off so I could pick it up.

That one now has some funky-looking tape on it, but it should still do the job of preventing rain from coming in the window.

At least the coop is clean! For the time being.

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Written by johnwhays

May 24, 2021 at 6:00 am

Wandering Around

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There are days when I step outside in the morning to walk Delilah without having any idea what will command my attention for the rest of the day, but something always does. There are just as many times, maybe even more, when I set out to write something without having any idea what point I hope to make. Of course, here’s a good idea. Have a point.

“He’s got a point there!”

That is a mashup of Steve Martin’s character, Neal Page, ranting at Del Griffith the shower curtain ring salesman in “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” combined with a line from Harry Nilsson’s animated movie, “The Point.” Both tremendously worthy works of film entertainment.

I would say that my great affection for those two movies reveals something about the way my mind works.

It’s probably a bit of a stretch to say it works when mostly my mind tends to just wander around. It’s like a sticky sponge that gladly picks up whatever happens to reach my eyes and ears.

Last weekend I melodically vocalized that I was getting silverware and it came out sounding like I was singing “Silver Bells.” By the end of the meal, as I was picking up placemats from the table on the deck, I caught myself humming some other Christmas song. I’ve since forgotten which one but at the time it was startling for being such an odd thing to be contemplating.

It would seem likely that the first song could have triggered the second, but still… What the heck?

Cyndie was out overnight last night, on the road for a consulting gig, leaving Delilah and me on our own to keep each other occupied. Delilah did her share by alerting to a raccoon climbing down a tree off the backyard well before yesterday even started to seem dusky outside. I grabbed my newest toy, a slingshot, and hustled out onto the deck to take potshots at the critter. I hope to make it feel completely unwelcome living so close to our house.

It made a hasty return to its apartment high in the upper limbs.

I am encouraged in my harassment efforts by apparent success on the other side of the house. Two days of flinging stones and steelies toward a young raccoon in a tree out our front door have resulted in zero sightings since. That doesn’t necessarily mean it left entirely, but at least it stopped coming out before dark.

The masked bandit would pop its head out and watch the world for a while before climbing out on the big branch to take a tongue-bath in preparation for its night of adventures. I think it didn’t like suddenly becoming the target of my aiming practice.

That was totally the point. I’m hoping he or she received the message I was sending.

It will be very satisfying if they are now off wandering around the woods looking for a quieter neighborhood with friendlier neighbors.

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Popular Nest

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We have four nest boxes in the coop for the hens to lay their eggs. History has revealed the box closest to the chicken door is the most popular.

I suppose when ya gotta lay, the first box might be a welcome necessity.

Cyndie is suspecting we’ve got a rogue who has chosen a spot other than the coop, based on the daily total of eggs collected falling a little short of expectations. She reports a pattern of suspicious chicken “call-outs” that frequently occur post egg-laying now emanating from a location other than the coop.

A cursory survey yesterday afternoon didn’t provide any evidence supporting her theory, but the fact this situation has occurred twice before feed our belief it is not only possible, but likely.

I told her she should let Delilah search using her incredible scent-detecting nose, but then we both felt a hesitancy over offering any encouragement to our intrepid tracker for predatory behavior toward our chickens or the eggs.

If it turned out to be just one hen choosing a remote location, that wouldn’t be such a big deal. Since the egg counts have seemed to be down by more than one a day this week, we are a little concerned that allowing this behavior to go unchecked might inspire more hens to participate in laying eggs in a nest of their own making.

Maybe it is unlucky we’ve seen such little evidence of predator pressure on this latest brood of birds and it has nurtured a complacency about their level of risk. Sure, they are domestic chickens, but they need to realize they are living in the midst of actual roaming wildlife.

A lone hen sitting on a nest in the woods of the neighbor’s property behind our shop garage (where Cyndie senses the familiar clucking outbursts have been coming from) will be no match for the fox that has been caught on the trail cam crossing onto our land from nearby.

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Written by johnwhays

April 7, 2021 at 6:00 am

Work Ethic

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Our dog, Delilah, is a consummate shepherd with a profound protective instinct for her primary caregiver, Cyndie. She also demonstrates a boundless work ethic. Delilah is a Belgian Tervuren Shepherd we brought home as a 9-month-old pup from a breeder about an hour away from our new home almost eight years ago.

I was thinking it would be nice to have a canine companion to hang out with us on our 20-acre property. Turned out, Delilah isn’t really one to “hang out.”

Yesterday, we were all out on the deck enjoying the warm sunshine. There were squirrels, songbirds, and fresh spring aromas in the breeze. Plenty to entertain our senses. When Cyndie stepped inside to do some meal prep in the kitchen, she left Delilah out with me to allow more time in the great outdoors.

As I worked on shaping my latest wood sculpture, I waited for Delilah to figure out that Cyndie wasn’t coming right back outside. I was hoping she would sense that I wasn’t going anywhere and we could both settle down and enjoy the beautiful, warm, fresh air the day was providing.

Minutes passed. Fifteen more. I sanded and sanded. Adjusted my glasses. Sanded some more. Another fifteen minutes and Delilah had not wavered.

It may have been a combination of the ubiquitous canine food-motivation and Delilah’s passionate devotion to Cyndie that kept her at a constant vigil of staring into the house the entire time, but it was girded with a heroic work ethic intensity that underlies everything she does.

Whether it is alerting us to the presence (permanent presence, mind you) of squirrels in the yard, barking back to the neighboring dogs’ calls, or seeking to warn off the potential threat of distant gunshots or rumbling thunder, Delilah is ALWAYS on duty. She will jump up from a sound sleep to race to the door and bark at something that only her ears picked up.

It occurred to me that we should have taught her a command to give her permission to be “off-duty.” Something along the lines of “at-ease, soldier.”

“We need to tell her to ‘Golden Retriever’ every once in a while,” I said, imagining her gaining the skill of becoming easy-going upon request.

That’d be like telling water not to be so wet.

Come to think of it, it would also be like telling Cyndie not to work such long hours every day.

Hmmm. Maybe there’s a correlation here.

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Written by johnwhays

March 14, 2021 at 10:07 am