Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘dog

High Wire

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I got in a fair amount of ladder time over the weekend. Cyndie recently dreamt up inspiration to try hanging a line in the yard to allow Delilah to run a bit more freely while still leashed. Her simple prototype worked well enough to spur me into action on an idea we’ve been tossing around for years.

We haven’t completely eliminated all the concerns that have kept me hesitant about doing this before, but as long as we stay in the vicinity when we connect her to it, I’ve decided to give it a try.

I discovered an old roll of twisted-pair fence wire in the shop garage that had more than enough length on it to reach the bottom of the hill and back again, so I decided to double the run for twice the strength. I expect that was probably overkill, but other than making installation a little more work, it doesn’t cost anything at this point. That spool of fence wire was left here by the previous owners and in seven years we had yet to find any other uses for it.

After I had selected the two trees and found enough wire to reach between them, I needed to devise a way to protect the trunks as much as possible. To keep the wire from girdling the trees, I placed a short segment of an old fence post on the far side of each to absorb the extreme tension. This will also spread the wire pressure across a greater area of the trunk.

We ran out of daylight on Saturday before I could finish, partly because I spent the better part of the day absorbed by the Gopher football game on television, so the final challenge of getting the wire taut and secured to the fence pully (which I stole from one of the anchors on the woodshed) became yesterday’s project.

I mulled over how I would possibly rig a way to clamp the wire so I could pull it tight with a come-along, which would then allow me to anchor it around the fence tensioning pully. It occurred to me that all this was a lot like putting new strings on my guitar.

Starting the day yesterday in the shop, I was thinking about bolting two boards together around the wire as a clamp when I spotted a better idea. I don’t know why I never threw away the broken metal tines of an old rake, but it turned out to work perfectly for this task.

I pushed the rake tines through the twists of the fence wire and hooked the come-along to it for pulling.

With that, I was able to get the rig secured and crank the wire tight to my desired result. It is high enough overhead to be out of the way and reaches from the top of the hill to the bottom.

Delilah was a little tentative on the first test, not sure how much distance this would allow her and a little uncertain about the sights and sounds coming from overhead, but she’ll figure it all out soon enough.

Now we can really put the hill to work as an energy-draining workout for our high-energy breed of dog. Afterwhich, we can all rest easier when we head back inside.

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Written by johnwhays

November 11, 2019 at 7:00 am

Afternoon Survey

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After work yesterday, I took Delilah for a walk to survey the grounds for the first time since Wednesday morning’s snowfall. There is a combination of areas where the snow has melted in the sun and spots where most of the accumulation remains.

There is evidence the chickens are moving around in the woods but when I found them they were clustered beneath the coop, most of them perched on only one foot. There were two eggs in a nest box that were probably on the verge of freezing.

The back of the barn looks like we’ve hung fake icicles as decoration, but these are all real.

In the woods, we didn’t find any new evidence of buck activity, but there is still a big scrape on the ground along one of our trails that hint of a decent-sized set of antlers. Last week, Cyndie found a hoof print that was almost half the size of her boot, so maybe both came from the same big fellow.

There is enough snow remaining on the trail to make it easy to spot fresh tracks if we get any more activity. Someone has been parking across the road from us and bowhunting in our neighbor’s woods. It is highly likely that any deer moving across our property will also travel through those woods.

The gun season doesn’t start until the 23rd in Wisconsin this year, so we’ve got a couple of weeks before we start seeing blaze orange-clad hunters traipsing around the neighboring properties.

At that point, I intend to refrain from doing a lot of surveying of the far reaches of our property for a while.

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Written by johnwhays

November 8, 2019 at 7:00 am

Not Subtle

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Mother nature wasn’t subtle about bringing on winter weather this year. The pleasure of warm fall days was a rare occurrence. Now it seems as though harsh, biting cold temperatures are the norm.

Our neighborhood was on the edge of accumulating snow on Tuesday night, which made the first 10 miles of my commute on Wednesday morning a little tricky. The ol’ Subaru didn’t want to stop at the first three intersections of my drive, sliding on the slippery layer of new-fallen snow. Luckily, at the early hour of my departure, there was little other traffic sharing the road.

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Delilah was thrilled with the new snow coating, dragging her nose to scrape up some of the precious white stuff. That double-layer coat she wears year-round is a lot more comfortable now than it was in the summer. No wonder she is so happy. It’s finally her weather again.

Last night there was a halo of ice crystals around the moon that evoked memories of the sun dogs that form on the coldest of winter days.

Cold like we are getting this year is a lot more intense when it shows up as quick as it has and we haven’t had time to comfortably acclimatize.

It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like winter. Brrr. Wish I could remember where I stashed my favorite cold-weather gloves the last time I used them eight months ago.

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Written by johnwhays

November 7, 2019 at 7:00 am

Say Hi

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Good morning. Say hello to our chickens and Pequenita.

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One of the Golden Laced Wyandottes appears to be molting. Poor thing looks a mess.

Pequenita was doing her best queen bee daytime recline on Cyndie’s pillows. Of course, Cyndie is the one who is more allergic to cats between the two of us. Figures.

Delilah hasn’t been feeling her best and missed out on the photo sessions. She seems to be suffering a skin disturbance that has left her belly raw. The vet reports a large number of dogs have been experiencing similar afflictions. We are hoping the hard freeze will eliminate some possible allergens that could be causing the trouble.

This week, Cyndie paid a visit to a horse rescue place near Hastings to donate some left-over tack and supplies that didn’t sell in her boutique last spring. We are investigating the possibility of making our pastures available to them for summer grazing.

Could be a way for us to have horses around again, but without much of the expense.

It would be nice to be able to say “Hi” to horses again. Would only be a summertime visit, so we won’t know until next year if the possibility will work out or not.

I don’t mind waiting. Winter horse care can be stressful.

I would like to say “Hi” to days with reduced stress. Maybe I’ll be able to do that from our deck soon. Today we are going to take a crack at replacing the steps and railing tops.

I’m looking forward to saying “Goodbye” to the power tools Mike loaned us. That will be the exclamation mark on our completion of the DIY project. Then I will say “Hello” to all the money we saved.

Say goodbye, John.

Goodbye.

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Written by johnwhays

October 25, 2019 at 6:00 am

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Weekend Recharge

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I chose not to do battle with the elements over the weekend and spent most of my time inside where it was warm and dry. Our region received three very similar days of intermittent mixed precipitation, chilly temperatures, and strong gusts of wind.

Even though much of what fell came down as snow, the most that ever collected was a thin frosting on some leaves. It didn’t last very long.

My biggest accomplishment for the last three days was practicing a massive dose of rest and relaxation. I didn’t do any intentional meditation, but I came close to achieving a vegetative state several times. The fine art of doing nothing, if you choose to perceive something along the lines of charging a battery as nothing.

I recharged my battery.

For much of the time, I had a companion in Delilah, who has an upper respiratory ailment and laid low recuperating her health. After two days of meds from the vet, she perked up noticeably yesterday. Her joyful energy was comical for the amped-up intensity. It was as if she was trying to make up for being so droopy the previous two days.

By the end of the day, the clouds were breaking up and exposing splashes of sunshine, which always does wonders for energizing man and beast.

It has me feeling ready this morning for the week ahead.

Happy Monday!

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Written by johnwhays

October 14, 2019 at 6:00 am

Always Falling

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I never realized before owning acres of forest how consistently trees fall over. Something is always falling, whether we are around to hear it or not. Behind the barn sometime overnight an old dead snag gave up its vertical position to gravity.

I am glad it wasn’t any taller or there’d have been a dent in the barn roof.

This morning dawned soaking wet. Delilah had no interest in an extended walk before her breakfast and took every shortcut possible to show me her goal of getting back to the house after she had taken care of all her important business. I would have been happy to accommodate her, except we had some chickens also interested in a morning snack.

At least that gave Delilah a chance to take a pause inside the barn while I was opening the chicken door and throwing out some feed. She busies herself with futile attempts leaping toward the rafters in naive hope she might catch one of the pigeons roosting up high. I figure it’s good exercise for her.

Due to the rain, my deck project is halted just as I was beginning to get some momentum in removing screws and nails. I’ve decided to leave the boards in place after detaching them, giving something to [carefully!] walk on in place of just the joists. By flipping the boards over, it is easy to see which are no longer attached.

Step on at your own risk.

I also slid in one of the new boards to confirm the dimensions are what I was expecting. These are not what are considered deck boards by today’s standards. The person delivering the lumber called me with concern there might have been a mistake on the order, after Cyndie told him it was for our deck.

The deck was built long enough ago that they spaced the joists 24-inches on center and used 2×6 boards for the top surface. Now decks use 1-1/4-inch thick boards and require narrower joist spacing. The cheapest fix for our rotting boards was to replace them with treated boards in the original dimensions.

It’s like falling off a log, if you know what I mean.

And I know a lot about falling “logs.”

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Written by johnwhays

September 29, 2019 at 10:07 am

Two Pets

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Recent images of our dog, Delilah and our cat, Pequenita…

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They don’t often pose so well for portraits, so we are enjoying these two captures. 

Both seemed very happy to have us home again last night. Pequenita appeared to be showing an interest in traveling before we even left for the weekend on Friday.

Anna stayed with them while we were away and also tended to our chickens. It is such a treat to have all our creatures well cared for when we are away. It is a great blessing for which we are supremely grateful.

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Written by johnwhays

September 23, 2019 at 6:00 am