Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘frost

Freeze Prep

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I put these chores off for longer than usual this year, but the time finally came last night to blow out the underground water line down to the labyrinth garden and remove the pond pump and filter. We also brought garden hoses into the shop in preparation for this morning’s freezing temperatures.

When it warms up tomorrow or Saturday, we’ll lay those hoses out on the driveway incline to assure they drain and then we can coil them up for winter storage.

I almost forgot about the waterer in the paddock, but Cyndie thought to mention it. We hadn’t been checking since the horses left and rainwater had collected because we didn’t think to pull the stopper out of the drain. The water had gotten a little green.

Thankfully, Cyndie remembered to dump the rain gauge down by the labyrinth so water won’t freeze in there and crack it. We learned about that the hard way. This happens to be plastic rain gauge number two down there.

It feels good to finally have these little chores addressed.

I’ve been a little neglectful of other things around here during the long days of focus on the deck. With the late first freeze, I’ve been able to get away with it until now. The average first freeze for the Twin Cities is October 11.

While working on the waterer in the paddock, my hands got incredibly cold, giving me a vivid dose of the discomfort which awaits in the coming days. That classic biting sting of freezing fingers.

Time to dig out our gloves and mittens.

Brrrr.

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Written by johnwhays

October 24, 2019 at 6:00 am

Leaves Again

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They’re ba-aack! Walking through the woods is a wonderful change when the leaves return. We’ll be breathing a whole ‘nother level of healthy air on our strolls, with tree leaves breathing again.

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Looking uphill, and down, the greenery is dramatically more noticeable with each passing day.

Hopefully, none of these new leaves succumbed to frost overnight. The incredibly wet weekend transitioned into uncomfortably cold yesterday, bringing on a frost advisory that had Cyndie covering her newly planted flowers.

I don’t want to look.

I’m going to keep my eyes on a future day when summer warmth becomes established with more than the fleeting glimpses we have been treated to thus far this spring.

At least having a forest of green leaves again is a start.

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Written by johnwhays

May 20, 2019 at 6:00 am

Blue Background

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The winter wonderland views of the white flocked trees took on a whole new level of spectacular yesterday morning with clear skies bringing bright sunshine against a vivid blue background.

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Unfortunately, all that sunshine brings with it an end to the beautiful crystals of ice on the branches. By the middle of the day, we had returned to bare branches and the slim bit of snow cover on the ground was starting to retreat.

There is no way to capture in words or pictures the depth of emotional energy inspired by the precious opportunity to walk amid the wonder of these scenes in person. What a gift.

We always feel blessed to live here, but there are days like yesterday that really send our wonderment over the top.

What a contrast between the look of the two days, one heavy with grays that evokes its own special reaction, and the other so brilliant blue.

I’m hard pressed to choose which I like better.

As Cyndie is inclined to profess, they both get to be, “The best!”

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Written by johnwhays

December 15, 2018 at 10:23 am

Frosty Landscape

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Not just frost, but rime ice from a day of freezing fog! When I left work yesterday afternoon, I needed sunglasses due to the bright sunshine.

As I approached the border where Minnesota ends and Wisconsin begins, the color palette changed significantly. I had to lose the shades.

It looked like the fog I had driven through on the way to work in the early morning darkness must have lingered for most of the day. The last twenty minutes of my commute home was a glorious spectacle of varying degrees of frosty views against a dark gray sky.

It was fabulous. It reminded me again of how clueless I was as a kid when I vehemently trash-talked white-flocked fake Christmas trees because they made absolutely no sense to me. Why would anyone paint a tree white!?

Apparently, I hadn’t yet seen the real thing in the wild for myself. I totally get it now.

I tried capturing a few shots at home before the daylight entirely vanished, even though our property wasn’t quite as spectacular as the landscape I saw along the ridges between River Falls and our place.

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There was just a hint of sunset color showing through a thin spot in the cloud cover as the big orange orb was reaching the tree line.

How pastel.

And all of it, beautiful.

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Written by johnwhays

December 11, 2018 at 7:00 am

Taking Precautions

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A few steps forward, and one giant leap back from spring. It is interesting how different 36° (F) can feel depending on whether arriving to it from above or below. When it has been below freezing for months, a day that reaches 36° can feel dramatically warm.

When it has recently been 70° outside, a dip down to 36° feels despicably cold. Same temperature, different perspective.

This morning feels despicable.

Up until now, I have been purposefully avoiding paying attention to the status of the tree we transplanted to the center of the labyrinth last fall. We’ve failed enough times before –three to be exact– that I’m attempting to avoid getting excited too soon.

A couple of days ago, Cyndie texted a picture of the many new leaves that have emerged. Time for my denial to end. With the threat of sub-freezing temperatures predicted, we felt it necessary to cover the sapling for protection from the cold.

It was a challenge, because the sprouts are so delicate that some dropped simply from the abuse of my clumsy attempt to get the sheet up and over the top.

Regardless, I feel better to have tried protecting it, than if we’d done nothing. I’ve watched too many of our other small trees with delicate early growth wither and die in the past two years when warm spring days were followed by hard freezes.

I’m hoping this tree turns out to be as robust as the ten chicks we ordered through the mail have proved to be.

I may be trying to protect myself from disappointment, but I won’t give up without doing everything I can to improve the odds of success. With the cold temperatures, the saturated wetness now, and the likely dry spells to come, we have our work cut out for us for many months ahead.

Here’s hope that our precautions pay off in every way.

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Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2017 at 6:00 am

Frozen Blades

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It isn’t raining or snowing this morning! There are no gale force winds blowing! What a relief that is. Instead, we have a hard freeze and coldness that is reminiscent of a mid-winter day. It isn’t pleasant on an April morning, but I’ll take it. It is, for the most part, dry.

The ground was frozen enough that it was possible to walk on the muddiest sections of our trail and not sink in. There is enough blue sky visible that it looks like sunshine will be able to warm things up nicely as the day commences. We are hoping the blueness prevails long enough for that to happen.

In the mean time, …frozen blades.

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Written by johnwhays

April 9, 2016 at 8:26 am

Last Gasp

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While engaged in several projects of preparation for freezing temperatures yesterday, I spotted a few flower blossoms that appear to be entirely oblivious of the fragile existence to which they cling. It is inspiring to see such optimism from our flowering plants at a time when a killing frost is so close at hand.

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We moved horse-care products and medications that shouldn’t freeze out of the barn and up to the shop, drained and rolled up hoses, and blew out the buried water line to the labyrinth. I taped up a plastic barrier over the window of the shop and rearranged some things in preparation for winter storage.

Starting tonight, and continuing through Friday and Saturday, the overnight temperatures here are going to be at or below the freezing mark. That becomes the official end of our growing season.

Something in me wants to consider hibernation. Imagine if humans hibernated like some animals do. I think I’d enjoy the part where you eat non-stop right before the long rest.

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Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2015 at 6:00 am