Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘flowers

Yeah, Summer

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Here’s the thing about summer: it’s not a thing. It’s not one thing. It’s a constant transition from spring to fall. You don’t get dandelions and corn on the cob all at the same time. There are cool days that feel totally out of season and oppressively hot and humid days that bookend the cool ones.

Maybe that is why it seems difficult to do summer justice at any given moment. Summer is a whole lot of moments.

Flower blossoms radiate for a limited number of days before they begin to fade in color and lose their shape.

Already, the earlier sunset is noticeable. County fairs produce thoughts of the summer-ending Minnesota State Fair. Plans are being considered for shopping back-to-school sales. We may as well start preparing our Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving menu. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

That’s just about how fast it feels.

Don’t blink.

My bike trip is history. The birthday has come and gone. The fourth of July has passed. How long will the rest of the summer last?

We need to pay attention to something summery every single day for the next two months.

Summer will last just as long as it lasts. I plan to notice it in its entirety.

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Written by johnwhays

July 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

Latest Observations

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Okay, I admit it. I am officially getting old. In the good ol’ days, my lovely wife luxuriated in the summer heat while I sweltered. We rarely turned the air conditioner on, preferring to let all but the most humid of summer days fill our living quarters for her comfort.

It’s no longer like that today.

I walked in the door yesterday and immediately sensed she had turned the air conditioner on again, after we had opened up the house on Sunday night. It was cold enough for me that I needed to put on long sleeves.

I am now the one who gets cold while Cyndie is too warm.

It reminds me of the decorative flowers Cyndie planted around the grounds. The petunias appear to be perfectly happy, but the marigolds haven’t changed since they were put in our soil. Maybe the marigolds were old.

Or maybe it’s just been too cold for them.

Last weekend was basically our first real heat of the summer. Progress for many of the growing plants around here is looking rather stunted, now that I think about it.

The old saying, “knee high by the fourth of July” is just not happening this year. Fields that did get planted are all maturing just about as fast as Cyndie’s marigolds.

Our wild raspberry bushes looked like they weren’t going to bear fruit at all until just recently. I haven’t seen it for myself yet, but Cyndie says they are just starting to blossom with hints that there might be a lot of berries. I love her optimism, but I fear the amount and size of berries are more likely to be less than impressive, given the stunted growing conditions.

Maybe I’m not getting old. It’s probably just the type of weather we’ve been having.

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Written by johnwhays

July 2, 2019 at 6:00 am

Animal Interference

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Cyndie planted marigolds around the property last week, including in a clay pot by the barn. It provided a nice splash of color in the otherwise gray-green environment on the backside of the barn. I spotted it right away as I passed by on the lawn tractor. One of the flowers had already been nipped off and was laying on the ground beside the pot.

Animal vandalism. What do they get out of biting off the blossom?

The next day, I passed the pot again on my way to the chicken coop. All the blossoms were on the ground. The only thing left in the sad pot was several stubs poking out of the dirt. Poor Cyndie, I thought. Her efforts dashed so swiftly after she had done the planting.

When she got home, I made sure she had seen the carnage. The next day, while I was at work, I received a text from her with a photo:

The culprits had returned to dig up the root bundles, too.

They really don’t want her to grow flowers in that pot.

Yesterday, I was able to claim an hour to sit on my bike seat and pedal down some country roads in preparation for my upcoming bike tour in the middle of June. I’m proud to say that my 1994 Trek 520 is performing admirably, and most important, quietly.

I love a quiet bike. Squeaky brakes, clicks, chain noise, or any repetitive sounds from rotating pedals or spinning wheels are a bane to my riding experience. Since my bike rolls quietly, any sound that does appear is evidence of a problem that needs to be checked out.

On my return leg last night, a sudden clicking arose. I stopped pedaling immediately and tried to identify the source. It was regular enough that I worried one of my tires had picked up something and a flat could be imminent. It got louder and louder, but also more defined.

It was refining into a rapidly repeating click-clack, click-clack.

I recognized that sound and it was not from my bike. I turned my head to glance over my shoulder and saw behind me, a young lady approaching on a galloping horse.

Just as she was about to come up beside me, a barking dog ran out of a driveway and interfered with our chance to exchange a pleasant greeting. She slowed her horse and I picked up my pace to put distance between me and the dog.

The rest of my ride home toward the smoky orange sunset was blissfully quiet.

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Written by johnwhays

May 31, 2019 at 6:00 am

Florida Chill

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The morning was cold enough that there were wisps of evaporating moisture rising from the heated pool. I enjoyed a swim to start my day, despite temperatures in the 40s (F).

Yesterday was Fred’s actual birthday, so we updated the chalkboard sign in the kitchen.

Fred was off braving the chill to get in a round of golf, so the rest of us went on an expedition to visit Farmer Mike’s U-Pick flower and produce operation.

On the way home from the farm, we stopped for some nourishment at Dolly’s Produce Patch and Eatery. It was a little early for lunch, thus our choices ranged from Blueberry Scone, to a slice of Key Lime Pie, to my cup of freshly homemade Cream of Broccoli Soup.

The soup was divine.

The bulk of the afternoon was filled with reading and a nap in the sun, and then preparing for the grand finale of the day.

Birthday dinner for Fred would be at Real Seafood restaurant in Naples. It carried on the theme of divine food. I honestly intended to take a picture, but was so immersed in the experience, taking a picture never crossed my mind.

We were extremely well fed in every way.

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Written by johnwhays

January 22, 2019 at 7:00 am

Short Note

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No time for blathering on this morning… Finished with breakfast, we are hustling down to rake and remove piles of grass from the labyrinth before rain arrives today.

While we work, you enjoy this image of berries and flowers that Cyndie captured.

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Written by johnwhays

July 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

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Pickin’ Time

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Today is Independence Day in the U.S. I’m not sure whether there is added significance about the holiday this year, but it feels more complicated than usual with the turmoil over the bizarre turn our national government has taken, starting early in the Presidential campaign season, then through the change of administration and beyond, and all the while, compounded by the apparent ongoing meddling of foreign nations.

Did someone say “Russia?” Cough, cough.

Are we still an independent country? “One nation, under multinational corporations, indivisible…”

Regardless, we will be celebrating the day by mowing grass, composting manure, and picking raspberries. We returned from the lake yesterday afternoon, despite the gorgeous conditions beckoning us to stay. There was just too much work to be done at home.

Unfortunately, more than gets done in one day, but what a difference a day can make. I’m confident I will feel just fine by the time I throw in the towel tonight and head in for a shower and some dinner.

We took a little reconnaissance walk around the property last evening and found horses and chickens in good order. Most noteworthy was the amount of progress visible in the raspberry bushes compared to how they looked when we left on Friday.

Without delay, Cyndie got a bowl and started collecting berries. Soon, the chickens arrived to join her. It appears she will have some added competition this year on picking raspberries.

Another new addition to our landscape is bursting open like 4th of July fireworks! The first of the many colors of lilies at the top of our driveway are in full bloom.

It was a nice treat welcoming us home.

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2017 at 6:00 am

Lake Art

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On a partly sunny day, between rain showers that rolled over us at regular intervals, I wandered down to the dock to soak up some sun. I thought maybe I could collect enough rays to lightly toast the inside of my arm to dry out what is now a pretty fierce poison ivy rash.

I don’t think it did anything for the rash, but I pulled out my camera and played around with the speckled pattern of puffy white clouds reflected on the surface of the water.

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For landlubbers, I’ll garnish these with an image from the forest to bring us back to solid ground…

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Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2017 at 8:02 am