Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘fall

Double Coverage

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This morning, on our return from the morning chores of feeding and cleaning up after horses and chickens, I asked Delilah to pause a moment to allow me a chance to capture the image of the sloppy snow starting to coat our house and yard.

It occurred to me that the leaves covering our grass were getting covered by snow. Double coverage!

A couple of days ago, the temperature was cold, but it was dry. I photographed some leaves that were decorating the frosty glass table on our deck.

Is it possible that I have waited too long to sweep up the leaves from the lawn? It seems as though snow and cold are nipping at our heels.

Last night the time changed from Daylight Saving Time back to Standard. We moved our clocks back one hour. For the record, animals do not recognize this artificial frame of reference. Delilah did not know that she was waking up earlier than our clocks indicated she should.

It’s only one hour, but it tends to have an impact that feels more significant that sixty simple minutes.

Speaking of double coverage, I end up trying to meld my adjustment to the new time designations with the animals’ oblivion over the change.

Today’s wet snow provided a distraction from what time breakfast was being served for our animals. The falling flakes also make a point that winter weather is nigh.



Written by johnwhays

November 4, 2018 at 10:58 am

Good Times

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When Cyndie and I got home from our respective days last Thursday, we were greeted by the sight of our hay-field being cut. When we got home yesterday from our weekend with Mike and Barb at their lake place, our hay-field was being raked into windrows.

Between those two events, we enjoyed great adventures in the northland woods.

On our drive up toward Grand Rapids, we paused for a picnic lunch and walk along the St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park. I had forgotten about the flooding 10″ rain that caused incredible damage in that region in 2012.

It was impressive to see how great the damage recovery looks now, this many years later.

Walking the rebuilt iconic swinging bridge over the river brought back memories of the exhilarating bridges Gary Larson and I walked in Nepal, minus the prayer flags and yak trains.

The trail along the St. Louis River offers great adventure of rough terrain navigation over roots and rocks, with gargantuan slanted rock formations providing fabulous views.

Jay Cooke State Park is a real treasure for the state of Minnesota.

In the evening on Friday, we sat out under the stars and enjoyed a roaring campfire for as long as tired eyes tolerated. Without having noticed that clouds had rolled in while we were out there, we called it a night just as rain moved in.

By morning, there was some snow on the ground, too. Cloud-burst blizzards breezed past around sunrise, interspersed with moments of bright blue sky. It was rather mountain-like conditions, also remarkably similar to weather Gary and I experienced in the Himalayas.

On Saturday, we did a lot of hiking in the woods. The tamarack trees were in glorious golden form. The rest of the fall colored leaves were past prime.

That scene is one I would gladly see made into a jigsaw puzzle.

The weekend was everything we hoped for, and more.

The animals at home were well cared for by Maddie and Lauren, two students at UW-River Falls who we’ve added to our pool of trained sitters.

Good times, indeed.



Written by johnwhays

October 22, 2018 at 6:00 am

Poetically Anticipating

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Cyndie and I are going up north with Barb and Mike for the weekend, leaving this morning to drive up to their lake place near Grand Rapids, MN.

For reference, that is over half-way to Canada from our home. Does that make it sound cold? Well, honestly, it’s not expected to be that much colder than down in the Twin Cities area on Saturday, but one recent prediction put the high at 34°(F) in Grand Rapids.

After temps in the 60s yesterday around the region, a high so close to the freezing point tomorrow will feel plenty brisk, I’m sure. The effect will be augmented by some wind, too, just in case we might otherwise miss the fact it was colder outside.

I haven’t let cold weather interfere with my anticipation for our adventure. Based on previous experiences, this is how I’m envisioning our coming time together this weekend…


it starts
with anticipation
of the days ahead
embraced greetings
in the moments before
friends traveling together
the hours on the road
as precious as the destination
smells and sounds
of a northern forest
in the waning days
before winter saunters in
colorful leaves
blue sky
reflected on the lake
laughter dancing on the breeze
all hands on deck meals
card games
and a crackling fire
turn up the tunes
then clean up and pack
it’s time to go home
and the hours
on the road
are as precious
as the destination




Written by johnwhays

October 19, 2018 at 6:00 am

Autumn Mowing

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I don’t have any recollection of the lawn ever being so “June-like” this late in October. It felt totally strange yesterday to be cutting such long, thick, green grass with the air chilly and the sun at this uncharacteristic low angle.

In addition to the summery grass blades, the standing puddles of water left over from the recent rains were downright spring-like.

When I got done, the fresh-mowed lawn contrasted strangely against the golden hue of fall that the trees now provide for a backdrop.

It also seemed odd to be mowing the grass a few days after we had just received snow.

On my walk back to the house after I was done with chores for the evening, I stopped to take some pictures of the low sun beaming through the golden trees.

That carpet of leaves is a favorite of mine. I wish we could have layers of leaves that look like that as a ground cover, in place of lawn grass around our land.

Guess that means we would need to get busy transplanting more trees.

Spread the wealth!



Written by johnwhays

October 18, 2018 at 6:00 am

Yep, Snow

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Well, we got that out of the way. The first snowfall of the season arrived and decorated our place with a light frosting of white yesterday.

Made for a great Sunday afternoon of lounging in front of the fireplace and watching football games on television up in the loft.

There will be plenty of other days to be out in the elements when flakes are flying in the months ahead. I elected to spend the first one indoors.

Am I showing my age?

Yeah, probably.



Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

Early Success

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Part of me is hesitant to claim success about a recent transplanted tree, well, trees, but we have decided to enjoy it while it lasts. The truth really won’t be revealed until next summer, as to whether the four oaks we hastily decided to dig up and move out in the open field beyond the paddock ultimately survive the transplantation.

In the weeks since we moved them, these four oak trees have barely showed a symptom of shock. Now they are displaying the best of fall color, just as if nothing had happened to disrupt normal routine.

I don’t know if this apparent good health is a valid indicator of the overall success of our bold plan. I am prepared to discover otherwise next spring, but for now, we are tickled to see the normal fall behavior playing out.

If these work out, I will definitely be emboldened to do more of this to expand the range of oak trees on our property in the years ahead. There are so many little volunteer sprouts that show up every spring where they aren’t wanted or can’t be allowed to grow to maturity, we always have many opportunities from which to choose.

It is part of a long game, dreaming someday of tall trees that will provide natural cooling shade under which our horses can benefit.

It all starts with acorns and involves a little effort to nurture young trees in new locations.

Here’s hoping for success.



Written by johnwhays

October 14, 2018 at 9:59 am

Woods Changing

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Fall has arrived and it sure feels like it outside this morning. There is a distinct chill in the air, despite the ongoing global warmup occurring.

Well before the fall landscape color palette changes from green to red/orange/yellow, an inside view reveals the impending change.

There aren’t a lot of leaves on the ground yet, but there is a definite thinning of foliage going on. Delilah and I were traipsing along the soggy trail yesterday when I took the above picture. Times like this bring great appreciation for the “boardwalk” we envisioned in one of the swampy spots of our trails. It is an ongoing installation of blocks I remove from shipping pallets I salvage from the day-job.

Once again, it is getting easier to leave the trail and bushwhack through our woods to explore rarely visited spaces. I think this may subtly contribute to a universal attraction people share for fall, along with the obvious colorization and comfortable dew point temperatures. The woods open up and provide easy accessibility.

Friday night the easy access seemed to invite a noisy visitor to the grove of trees just beyond our house. Delilah spends many precious minutes every day barking in response to the sound of neighboring dogs miles away. Friday, that neighboring bark came from darkness just beyond the reach of our flood light.

Oddly, Delilah felt no need to respond, although she took great interest in our sudden fascination with the mysterious trespasser outside the back door. My guess was the stray visitor had treed a raccoon, or squirrel, or turkey and was “shouting” at it.

Last evening, during our last big walk of the day, I let Delilah’s nose direct us off-trail through the woods along the many odd paths frequently traveled by a variety of resident critters.

I also put fresh batteries in the trail camera to resume monitoring the night life visiting the chicken coop.

It was a very quiet night there last night. No motion until almost 6:00 this morning, when a cat wandered past.

We took down the netting around the coop yesterday, making it easy again to clean the poop board, so maybe traffic will pick up with time. Not that we wish for that. I just see it as inevitable.

Inevitable like the end of summer growing season, which is marked by the first real overnight freeze. I’m in no particular rush for that, other than a desire to be done mowing the grass for another year.

With the woods changing noticeably, and the noted chill greeting us this morning, we sense the big freeze isn’t far off.



Written by johnwhays

September 23, 2018 at 9:38 am