Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘global warming

Warmed Winter

leave a comment »

So, this is what it’s going to be like on a warmer planet then. January at latitude 44°47’04.1″N will offer periods of rain that will convert any snowpack previously existing into a slushy mash that resembles wet cement in many ways. It’s ugly, annoying, problematic, and just plain no fun to deal with.

For all the times I have grumbled about it being too cold or having too much snow fall all at once, I offer my apologies. The wet slop that has become our current reality is what I really mean to be grumbling about. I am NOT looking forward to the possibility of 5-8″ of heavy, wet snow falling on top of the existing mess tonight and tomorrow, which is what the current National Weather Service “weather watch” alert is threatening.

In protest of the lousy “winter” conditions outside yesterday, I decided to spend the afternoon indoors on a frivolous pursuit that celebrates the freedom of retirement by binging a docu-series in the middle of a weekday afternoon.

Cyndie and I finally started watching “Welcome to Wrexham” and have quickly learned more about the country of Wales than I’ve ever known before. Despite this show being a confusing echo to the fictional series, “Ted Lasso,” which we enjoy so much, we are finding it fascinating in a different way because it is a real story.

There are many fans represented thus far in the series who describe how much the football club means to them and to the surrounding community as a whole. Descriptions of being born into a world immersed in the Wrexham football club trigger my memories of the influence on my early life of my parent’s passion for the NFL Minnesota Vikings football team.

The Vikings just lost a game that knocked them out of this season’s playoffs (like so many times before) and local media is already going on about what needs to happen over the off-season to bring success next year. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I, as a fan, had to face the stress of possible relegation out of the NFL if the team finished at the bottom of the standings.

Watching the quality of the documentary “Welcome to Wrexham” has me feeling swiftly connected to the fans, players, and club staff presented on screen. I feel invested in their concerns, making it hard to interrupt the binge-watching for our own lives.

One reason that is quite all right with me is: It had me forgetting about the rotten weather outside for a few hours in the afternoon.

I hope the warming planet is providing Wrexham with pleasant weather for watching football matches at the world’s oldest international football stadium, The Racecourse Ground.



Sloppy Snow

leave a comment »

After reading in yesterday’s paper that the warming of the Earth is bringing rain to the Arctic regions, I feel a little sheepish about my whining over getting rain in December at our latitude. Honestly, I could adjust my thinking to accept the rain if that’s all it was but the reality is that we get rain mixed with sleet which then turns to snow. Usually, heavy, wet snow. 

My work area just beyond the overhang in the paddocks has turned into a muddy mess again. The horses take it in stride but the sloppy footing makes my maneuvering much less pleasant.

Cleaning off the driveway is a whole other battle in these conditions. When a small amount of snow falls, it isn’t worth bothering to plow, however, shoveling the area in front of the house keeps it from becoming messy.









Trying to plow the water-logged slop may have cleaned the pavement nicely, but by the time I was able to consider it, the slushy snow was starting to refreeze. The duration of this precipitation is predicted to last a couple more days so I expect I will need to plow at some point. Too bad it will be a frozen mess underneath any real snow that eventually accumulates.

I tell ya, it’s the in-between conditions of mixed winter precipitation that are the most frustrating to deal with. That is until we receive massive amounts of snow in one dump. Then that is the most frustrating to deal with.

Today, it is the rain mixed with sleet that eventually turns to snow that is crimping my style. It’s getting to be almost as bad as the Arctic around here. Not that I would whine about such a thing as crummy weather.



Written by johnwhays

December 15, 2022 at 7:00 am

Holding On

leave a comment »

Sometimes it feels like sanity in public society is precariously hanging on by mere threads. Scaremongering. Election deniers who are unable to provide evidence to support their wild range of accusations of widespread fraud. Crazy claims continue to survive the passage of time without losing momentum over the lack of reality-based proof. No, they just seem to grow the way wind-blown wildfires do.

I don’t understand it.

Why doesn’t truth snuff out the flames? Why aren’t healthy-minded people able to drown out the extremely offensive antisemitic and racist noise emanating from too many varieties of modern media?

It’s spookier than Halloween, I tell ya.

A full-sized Snickers would go a long way toward distracting me from how thin the tenuous line of healthy thinking is holding society together.

What should we believe? That kids will don wild costumes and roam door to door in neighborhoods to holler for tricks and treats?


There is something else I don’t understand. How does a quarterback heave a football sixty yards downfield so that it reaches a racing receiver who is running at full speed and still able to look up at the last second as the ball drops perfectly within easy reach while all manner of defensive mayhem is unleashed around both guys?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if NFL players dropped to the ground, writhing in pain each time an opponent committed a penalty against them? I’m poking fun at you, FIFA Men’s World Cup contenders.

I have yet to figure out how to reconcile the discontentment over the questionable (ahem…bribes?) award back in 2010 of this year’s World Cup to Qatar. Add to that the controversial treatment of immigrant laborers needed to build the infrastructure of stadiums and other facilities to support the global sporting event and the need to reschedule the tourney to the northern hemisphere winter season due to the average high temperature of the desert nation. It all feels just plain wrong trying to fully enjoy the game competitions under the tarnished situation of awarding Qatar the honor of hosting.

I suppose I could wear a black band on my arm while watching the games.

All these issues are meaningless to our horses. They are holding on to their sanity by simply being horses. I’m not sure they sense the climate is changing but they are vividly aware of how many warm, dry, and sunny days in a row we have been experiencing for months. It has become common lately to find the four of them gathered along the far fence of the hay field taking turns laying down to nap in the mid-morning sunshine.

When I feel like I’m barely holding on to my healthy mindset, my favorite remedy involves an extended quiet visit with the herd of horses.

Even though it feels weird to be outside in short sleeves at the end of October.

Happy Halloween!



Written by johnwhays

October 31, 2022 at 6:00 am

Wind Blown

leave a comment »

If this weren’t a time when the obvious effects of global warming were well known I might think the local weather was some sort of plot by the universe to drive me insane. The dramatic swings between too warm and bitterly cold in a matter of hours every other day is crazy making.

After a biting cold 0°F start to the day, yesterday’s high temperature climbed to 36°F under a hazy sky, but the short-lived meltdown was obscured by the sudden arrival of gale force winds that audibly flexed the integrity of our log home. The gusts whipped in a hasty change of temperature that dropped us to 7 degrees below zero this morning.

Thankfully, the wind has stopped, for now, and the sun is out, bathing the horses in its relative warmth. The forecast for tonight suggests a return of breezy conditions and tomorrow, a high of 43°F.

Freezing and thawing at this rate at this point in winter is harsh.

During the morning feeding yesterday, I heard a strange noise all of a sudden on the roof of the barn. Looking out the door revealed a downburst of what I call “Dippin’ Dots®” snow, which seemed unlikely at the cold temperature.

It looks similar to styrofoam.

The wind was sweeping off any flakes that hadn’t melted into the general mass of our snowpack and leaving much of the “dots” behind.

Coming out of the woods on our walk, Delilah and I stopped to watch the spectacle of dancing “snow-devils” gyrating in the distance across the hayfield where there was no shelter from the hurling wind.

After the evening feeding was complete and the sun was getting low in the sky, we were eager to get back to the house and out of the wind for the day.

Thankfully, Delilah is keen enough to not require a walk when it is time for a bedtime potty break. We stepped out the door, she squats to pee, and we are back inside before there is time to feel abused by the wind.

As the planet warms, the local weather seems to grow increasingly bizarre. It has me wondering what weirdness might be unleashed come spring.

Gale force winds, maybe?

I guess that wouldn’t be all that bizarre. Maybe it will be exceedingly perfect and usual. That would definitely seem strange.



Written by johnwhays

February 19, 2022 at 11:05 am

Short Shift

leave a comment »

I had a very short shift of animal care last night while Cyndie was at her mother’s house for the night. Delilah seemed thrilled that we could walk through our woods again, now that the deer hunting season is over. The temperature was in the 50s(F) which seems really strange for any day in December, but not all that surprising now that the global climate is being cooked.

The warmth seems to have kicked our burrowing rodents into high gear. By the size of some of the fresh dirt piles showing up they must be building extravagant palaces beneath the turf. The soil they bring up looks so pristine. I really should collect it for future use. Not a stone to be found among the mounds of wonderfully sifted dirt.

Our habit is usually to just stomp the piles flat again but there was just too much dirt for that yesterday. I couldn’t pound them down enough so I decided to kick them around, instead. A little like kickin’ horse manure in the pastures.

I found the horses to be incredibly serene when we showed up to serve the feed pans with afternoon rations. It probably rubbed off on Delilah because she barely made a fuss while waiting for me to finish, barking only briefly at nothing in particular.

In less than an hour, all the animals were taken care of and I had the night free to lose myself in the first episode of the 3-part documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, directed by Peter Jackson.

Lose myself, I did.

I am eternally grateful to the fab four for allowing themselves to be filmed at the time and indebted to the camera operators and sound technicians who successfully captured so many hours of unscripted randomness. That we can all watch this unique footage some fifty-plus years later is remarkable to me.

With two more episodes to go, this documentary is the opposite of a short shift, and I will savor every drawn-out moment.



Written by johnwhays

December 2, 2021 at 7:00 am

Color Gradient

leave a comment »

It caught my eye right away as I passed by and after a few steps beyond I realized I needed to stop and go back.

Look at the color gradient happening here.

Nature putting on a show, plain and simple.

These spectacles are dwindling. There is now a lot more brown on the ground than colors on the branches, which makes these little surprises all the more special.

Our days of summery October are numbered I’m afraid. Near-term forecasts suggest high temperatures in the 50s(F) and lows below freezing.

In preparation, yesterday we flushed the water out of the buried line to the labyrinth and rolled up the last of our long garden hoses. Getting that chore done while still being able to wear a T-shirt outdoors in October is a rarity.

It’s so odd to know the warmth is ominous for the planet while it is also making it more comfortable to work outside this October.



Written by johnwhays

October 20, 2021 at 6:00 am

Just Being

leave a comment »

So, I never did get around to draining hoses yesterday, but I did get to hang out with the horses and eventually wrestle with an unfamiliar image editing program.

After the horses finished cleaning their feed pans yesterday in the cold morning air, I noticed the three dark mares position themselves sideways against the sunlight to soak up some warmth. Mix, being a gray, didn’t seem to receive the same reward and thus showed no similar tendency to assume that position.

As the day warmed up, the tables turned. The horses have a good start on their winter coat, which is nice in the morning when it is cold, but when the temperature gets summerlike, those brown coats head for the shade.

Mix didn’t seem to be bothered at all.

Still, when nap time started to come upon them, Mix was quick to join the herd under the tree. They looked so peaceful there, I decided it would be a good time to stand among them.

I recorded a bit of my experience so you could enjoy a taste of what it was like.



No wonder I didn’t get around to draining hoses. I did end up mowing some grass for another last time this season. Today, I am going for a bike ride with friends.

When summer temperatures linger into October at our latitude on the globe, it invites all sorts of summery behaviors.



Written by johnwhays

October 17, 2021 at 8:00 am

Rearranging Fiddles

with 4 comments

I’m sorry to lead off with a fresh version of being a “Debby-Downer” but reports on my radio during the commute home yesterday left me feeling like we are all just playing fiddles and rearranging deck chairs while Rome is burning and the Titanic is sinking.

There were multiple topics that wracked my sensibilities but the kicker was a statement –the umpteenmillionth from climate scientists– that we need to take action RIGHT NOW! to avert global climate calamity, or else.

Yep. We sure do. Meanwhile, all the fossil-fuel-burning cars around me, mine included, just kept driving down the road. Coal-burning power plants kept burning. The lights stayed on. Factories kept churning. Politicians towed their party lines.

Honestly, it sounded like the siren call that should have tripped some magical trigger forcing everyone to stop the runaway train right now. Instantly jump us all back to the early days of the industrial revolution and use present-day knowledge to solve the challenges of replacing old ways with new ones.

Instead, the way we are going, the poorest people are paying the brunt of costs during this gradual intensifying of impactful events going on around the world in the form of heatwaves, drought, fires, and floods.

It just feels so wrong to keep carrying on with normal activity while we are sinking/burning.

At the same time, it also feels wrong to mope about it, so that challenge is available to address in the face of the slow catastrophe unfolding across the world. There are people devising brilliant alternatives for the things that contribute to the climate crisis. We need to grab the threads of these alternatives and inflate the possibilities of change for the better.

Set down our fiddles, leave the deck chairs as they are.

Let’s replace old ways with new ones without waiting for countries and governments to lead us to action.

I’ll be turning down the radio during the stories about global warming for while.





Written by johnwhays

October 6, 2021 at 6:00 am

Maximum Transition

leave a comment »

Wintervale is currently undergoing the full range of extremes in the transition from green tree leaves to none at all.

Very few of our trees seem to reach peak color on every branch at the same time. The majority become a mosaic of the original green that seems to resist the inevitable, the ultimate brilliance of autumn color, and the shriveling past-peak remnants bound to fall to the ground within hours.

The tree in the above image was sporting the most vivid reds two days ago. Yesterday, I noticed some of them just kept getting a deeper and deeper red until becoming almost black. Most of those have now fallen to the pavement below. Yet, there is still a limb or two with completely green leaves.

We experienced a couple of heavy rain showers yesterday, which surely contributed to bringing down batches of leaves en masse.

We are socked in with low cloud cover this morning which effectively dulls every view, but despite the few trees that have dropped many leaves in the last 24 hours, it still looks pretty special. I captured a long view yesterday before all the blue sky and sunshine completely disappeared.

The horses are growing their winter coats and the extended warmth and humidity we are experiencing had them sweating. The swing away from that to this morning’s cooler, wetter, and cloudier conditions provide a welcome change.

The season of bare tree branches is nigh.



Written by johnwhays

October 3, 2021 at 10:16 am

Inside View

with 2 comments

Justifiably so, most pictures of trees in autumn are from beyond the forest where the view can include the variety of brilliant colors glowing from entire trees. Yesterday, Delilah and I paused on a walk through our woods so I could capture the view of early autumn from within the trees.

There are plenty of green leaves still attached to branches but the forest floor is already carpeted by a new batch of recently fallen leaves. The onset of fall is first noticeable by the leaves that fall on our trails, before the ones that start turning colors up in the branches.

I find myself needing to put effort toward consciously noticing this IS autumn. The early phases of this transition beyond summer are just as much a part of my favorite season as the later phases when branches are bare and mornings frosty.

Earlier in the week, Cyndie captured her shadow visible on the trunk of a tree that was glowing orange with a spot of just-risen sunlight appearing through the forested landscape behind her.

It may be the last week of September but the grass on our property is growing like it’s still mid-summer. It is becoming common now that I end up mowing grass and mulching fallen leaves all at the same time.

It bothers me a little bit that I am not shocked that 80-degree temperatures are forecast for the next few days.

Just like the fall season IS here right now, so is global warming and all the effects scientists have long predicted would occur if humans didn’t reduce the creation of greenhouse gasses at the rate that has grown steadily since the beginning of industrialization.

Fall colors and hot temperatures are an odd combination for my mind to associate.



Written by johnwhays

September 25, 2021 at 9:37 am