Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘dog

I’m Told

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I didn’t go home last night. I’m told there were six eggs collected from the nest boxes yesterday. Sounds reasonable.

My schedule is a little askew. I shifted my hours at the day-job yesterday to work around a couple of appointments, which had me on the clock until almost bedtime last night. Instead of driving all the way home for an hour, I spent the night at the in-laws’ place.

After a few hours of sleep, I’m heading right back to the day-job to pick up where I left off. Covering for sick or vacationing staff is starting to feel like normal operating mode lately. I don’t remember what it feels like to focus on one task at a time anymore.

I missed a little excitement on the ranch yesterday evening. I’m told Cyndie and Delilah spotted a red fox on one of our trails. When it saw them, it turned around and headed back into the woods.

We know there are predators out there, but actually seeing them roaming the grounds brings on a little extra anxiety over our lack of a workable plan to keep them at bay.

Cyndie let Delilah hustle up the trail to where they had seen the fox, but in that amount of time, there was no longer anything to see. Still, maybe there is a chance the sight of Delilah alerting to the fox caused it enough stress that it will see our property as threatening.

No, I don’t actually believe that. I’m just practicing wishful thinking.

I’m also told that Delilah is looking all fit and trim after a visit to the groomer yesterday. Hopefully that doesn’t make her look less intimidating to unwelcome predators lingering on our grounds.

As tough as it was witnessing Delilah gobble up that little stunned songbird last week, I’d be just fine watching her put some teeth to a prowling fox to make a point.

Foxes not welcome! Fox sightings lead to fox bitings!

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Written by johnwhays

September 12, 2018 at 6:00 am

Surprising Find

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Fresh lobster is the last thing we ever expected to harvest from our property. Tuesday night’s flash flood of rain must have washed more than just water through our drainage ditches.

Okay, it’s not a lobster. Research suggests it is likely a Red Swamp Crayfish.

Cyndie and Delilah happened upon this large surprise while walking along our pasture fence line. When Delilah challenged the strange creature, it snapped its claws at her. This critter was big enough that it looked a lot more like what we normally see as lobster than it did the small crayfish we are familiar with in local lakes.

Cyndie watched it climb along in the grass, wondering where it could have come from, and where it might be trying to go next. There aren’t really any water bodies nearby that we associate with crayfish habitat.

The ditch it was closest to certainly moves the most water around here after a storm, but for the majority of time throughout the year, it remains a dry bed.

I wonder if it would have found favor in our landscape pond.

Cyndie wasn’t interested in picking it up, so I guess we’ll likely never know.

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Written by johnwhays

September 6, 2018 at 6:00 am

Lake Hangover

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When the day-job is extremely Monday-ish, the struggle to get my mind back into work mode after a weekend at the lake with Cyndie’s family is doubly difficult. The dramatic difference of the sterile, air-conditioned atmosphere compared to the lush, warmth of the beach and woods was shock enough without the added stress of multiple challenging complications on the first day of the week.

I’m sure there is a balance between not caring at all and being overly concerned about keeping all parties happy. That’s an act that I have yet to master, swaying far past the center balance in my predilection to avoid the extreme of not caring.

Arriving home to a dog and cat who are both over the moon to see me again goes a long way toward purging any lingering angst from the work day.

With the respectable amount of heat and humidity lingering over our region, I was disinclined to jump right into a chore when I got home. Pausing to decompress in the recliner predictably led to an involuntary nap after I was done giving the cat all the scratches her stretched out body wanted.

Word from Cyndie and Jackie is that the chickens were given access to the wide open free range yesterday and they quickly made tracks for the composting manure piles to kick around and peck for bugs. That’s what they were hired to do, so I’m pleased as punch, even if it means I need to extend extra energy more often to reshape the resulting mess.

All ten were present for bed check last night, thank goodness.

Shortly after that, I was headed for my own bed, falling asleep to memory images lingering still from the glorious weekend at the lake.

Here’s hoping Tuesday at the day-job will be as soothing as floating in the water under the warm sunshine was over the weekend.

Well, a guy can dream, can’t he?

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Written by johnwhays

August 14, 2018 at 6:00 am

Who’s Friendliest?

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It’s no contest. When the chickens hear us out and about, they come running. Lately, a pattern has developed in which one of our three breeds is demonstrating an unmistakable preference to socialize.

Our black australorps are the first to approach and then will linger and visit socially, far longer than the rest of the flock.

Cyndie brought out some food scraps from dinner last night, which eventually attracted all the buffs and wyandottes to join in the fun.

On Wednesday night, Cyndie came in from a walk with Delilah and was completely out of breath. She described a scene that sounded totally hilarious.

Since we have little trust about Delilah being near the chickens, we practice a lot more avoidance than we do spending time trying to teach her to respect them.

When the chickens heard Cyndie and Delilah walking by, the birds emerged from the woods and started running after them. Cyndie hoped they would notice the dog and maybe back off a little bit, but they kept coming. So, she prompted Delilah to pick up the pace a bit and chose a path straight for the house.

The chickens kept coming. Soon, Cyndie and Delilah were running for the door, being chased by the flock of twelve chickens.

Led, of course, by the friendliest four.

What fun they add to our days!

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Barely Started

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I don’t know why I would expect this year’s weather to be any better for getting our hay-field cut and baled in a timely manner compared to the previous five summers. It’s past the middle of July and we are still waiting on the neighbor who volunteered to tackle the job for us.

All the mowing I did last year to discourage weeds and give the grass a boost looks to be marginalized by the vast number of new weeds reaching maturity out there today.

I had hoped the field would get cut in June while I was on my bike trip, but Cyndie reported rain almost every day I was gone. Then there was the 4th of July holiday week, followed by more days of rain. The window of dry weather this week is very short, but Cyndie spoke with our neighbor and he confirmed our field is still in his plans.

I expect he needs to get his fields cut first. When I got home yesterday, I spotted him cutting a field on the corner.

Finally, last night we heard the tractor in our field. By the time I got out there to witness the scene, he had cut three passes inside the fence and was driving away down the road.

Did something fail on his equipment? Did he just run out of time? We’re hoping to talk with him later this morning to learn his status.

From the looks of the forecast, more rain is expected on Thursday. This doesn’t leave much time for drying, based on my understanding of the process. At least we have a spell of dry Canadian air over us currently. That goes a long way in determining how quickly the cut grass will dry.

Last week’s mid-70° dew point temperatures weren’t doing much toward helping anything to dry out.

Meanwhile, we have already purchased and stored enough hay for the year, so we don’t actually need this as much as we simply want the field cut, and are hoping someone could use the bales.

While walking the three freshly cut rows last night, Delilah was in her glory to investigate the scene. In no time at all, she had sniffed out the body of a decent sized rodent and consumed it faster than either Cyndie or I could react to dissuade her.

That’s really queasy-making, I tell ya.

Here’s hoping our neighbor’s barely getting started cutting last night will change over to completely finished by the end of today.

 

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Written by johnwhays

July 17, 2018 at 6:00 am

Hay’s In

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This year we accomplished our goal in three days. The hay is in. I’m ready for winter.

On the left side of that image, in the front you can see remaining bales from last year. Behind it are the new grass bales just stacked. On the right are the new bales we stacked on Sunday and Monday, from a second source. Those bales have a rougher mixture of stemmed grasses, which our horses showed strong interest for last year.

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Working early in the morning yesterday presented a nice change to throwing bales at the end of the day. Stacking to the top of the shed however, ended up being just as hot and sweaty as doing it in the late afternoon on the two previous days.

We hadn’t opened the chicken door on the coop yet, so Delilah was able to hang out with us while we worked. When the chickens are roaming about, we don’t leave Delilah unsupervised, as she has a history of breaking her leash to reach the irresistible teasers.

If our full attention isn’t directly on her, she has a tendency to violate her restraining order.

We collect all the sweepings that fall from the bales to provide the horses a taste test of the menu they will be served for the next year.

I’m told there were no complaints.

That means a lot to us after the year our horses resolutely refused to eat bales we bought from a third source.

Imagine how it feels to have food we offer rejected after the strenuous effort to transport and stack a season’s worth in the high heat and humidity of summer.

Today, we are breathing a sigh of relief over having the hardest part of this chore behind us for another year.

Now, how long ’til it starts to snow?

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Written by johnwhays

July 11, 2018 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