Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘dog

Forest Fun

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Notice: This post includes content of carnivorous canine detail.

Walking in the woods at the lake is easy now that all the undergrowth has gone dormant for the winter. Allowing Delilah to explore every scent is a spectacle of mania. She can hardly contain herself in a rush to discern and follow the myriad options. Eventually, she did come upon one smell that overrode all others, a recently detached leg of deer.

After she closed her jaws on that prize, nothing else mattered.

We let her gnaw on it for a while and then I took her for a walk to see if she might decide to bury it somewhere for safekeeping. It was a long walk while I explored the wooded slope near the driveway in search of remains from a fort the kids and I constructed out of branches some twenty years ago.

I never found any evidence of our creative efforts now decades past and Delilah never let go of her prize.

When we finally made our way back to head indoors for a drink of water, I negotiated that leg out of her mouth and covered it with leaves beside the driveway for her.

Content with that for the moment, she gladly led the way inside. The next time we took her outside, we figured that would be the first thing she headed for, but we were wrong.

Now with both Cyndie and me setting out for a stroll with her, she seemed very willing to leave those bones for another time. We strode into the deep leaves covering the ground in search of the next great find among the trees. What we came upon this time was a new idea.

We want to create a small labyrinth path around existing trees in an area that is almost level.

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There are a lot of rocks available and a fair bit of old trash to clean up that contributed to our urge to pursue the possibility. It appears the old fishing lodge that existed here originally may have used the woods as their dump for trash at some point.

I stepped out dimensions and aligned an initial orientation with the four directions north-south/east-west and with each accomplishment, our idea gained merit. Late last night, we scanned labyrinth design options for something simple yet interesting and now will try to visualize fitting one of them around the trees.

This will likely be a project that develops over years to become fully established as we intend to keep the woods as natural as possible and have the circular pathways be noticeable, but subtly so.

A forest bathed meditative walking labyrinth seems like a very fun idea. Here’s hoping we can bring it to fruition up at our favorite place.

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Written by johnwhays

October 23, 2021 at 9:13 am

Little Motivation

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This morning I dug out one of my winter hats –the one that is actually a Buff® made of half thick pile fabric/half ultra-stretch polyester microfiber– for the first time in over half a year. There was frost coating much of our fields. Cold temperatures feel so much colder this time of year.

Yesterday, I fell asleep on the ground in the sun while sitting with Delilah in wait for an appliance repair person to appear in the allotted window of time between 9 and noon. The warmth was soothing until Delilah would stand in the way and cover me with her shadow. The chill that instantly resulted was irritating.

The repairman showed up around 12:45, spun the basket of our washing machine by hand, and immediately pronounced the bearings were in need of replacement and that would require a new appointment on another day. Cyndie is wondering if we should bother with the expensive work or simply replace it with a new one for a little additional expense. I don’t have a good answer for the question except for my strong aversion to disposable devices.

I don’t know what it is but I am feeling little motivation to pursue any productive effort the last few days. A strong pull to just stand among the horses, or as I did yesterday, lay around with Delilah has become my most appealing notion.

It is warming up nicely and the sun is shining brightly so I am hoping to muster the energy to drain water from hoses and roll them up on a day when the weather is pleasant instead of waiting like I almost always do until it is ridiculously cold and the hoses stiff.

I’m wondering if getting my body in motion will result in it staying in motion for the bulk of today’s daylight hours.

I have recently updated system software which has rendered my old familiar image editor inoperable. Time to pick a new program and learn how to use it. That project doesn’t require my body to get in motion but it does beg for some motivation. Right now, that motivation comes from having initiated a 10-day free trial with the first potential replacement.

I loath the frustration of not being able to do what I want to in manipulating software, especially when I am unable to discern whether it is because the software simply doesn’t support the feature or just that I don’t know how to operate the program yet.

My primary life motivation leans toward avoiding frustrations as much as possible.

The lure of visions of standing among horses is strong. It would be frustrating to fight against that.

Draining hoses can wait until later this afternoon when it is even warmer. Software exploration can wait until after dark.

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Written by johnwhays

October 16, 2021 at 10:48 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

Normal Morning

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I’m writing a little late this morning as I have been occupied with solo coverage of the ranch this morning, as Cyndie spent the night at her mother’s house in Edina yesterday. Delilah and I startled a couple of deer in our woods on our morning walk, which then grabbed the attention of the horses who were grazing nearby in the back pasture. Their heads were all on full alert when we popped out of the woods.

I took a picture of some fantastic-looking fungi on the edge of one of our trails as we passed.

The horses were a combination of calm yet mischievous as I set out the pans of feed for their morning rations. They had serenely paraded their way into the paddock from the back pasture alongside Delilah and me as we made our way to the barn. The four horses conveniently avoided being positioned on either side of our serving area under the overhang, so I decided to serve them where they stood for a change.

They quickly set about moving around from one pan to another, snitching bites between rotating to be sure no other horse was getting something they didn’t have.

I finally coaxed Mix to the far side and closed a gate to disrupt their dance. That solved things and they all stopped to finish the pan at their feet in front of them while I rolled the wheelbarrow around the paddock to do the morning housekeeping.

By the time I finished tending to the compost pile and returned to get Delilah in the barn, the four horses we already around the corner in the back pasture again, grazing peacefully.

On our way back to the house, I need to detour to the shop to pick up some tools for a kitchen project Cyndie left for me. She bought new slide-out racks for cabinets that are going to require some customization of the dimensions of the openings. There, I discovered a mousetrap had tripped and the victim was being cannibalized by other vermin. Oops.

My bad.

Back in the house, the dog and cat were served their breakfast and then I fed myself.

Somehow, the early morning hours have vanished, but it was all rather normal except for the fact I was alone with the animals.

I look forward to getting the kitchen enhancements installed. Anything to make Cyndie happier in the kitchen is going to directly benefit my luxury of being exceptionally well-fed.

It only takes one morning of fending for my own food to be reminded of how well I have it every other day.

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Written by johnwhays

August 21, 2021 at 10:26 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

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