Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘ice crystals

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

Growing Crystals

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It is wet, and the temperature drops below freezing at night, so morning walks offer views of the overnight ice crystal growth. Photo op!

We are enjoying a couple of days with daytime temps climbing above freezing, so our snow cover is dwindling. Walking Delilah along the perimeter trails yesterday, I discovered tire tracks that revealed someone had left the road and driven into the ditch by our property.

Roads in the area are still slippery.

Delilah made a surprise discovery while we were making our way through our woods after I got home from work yesterday. (Interesting coincidence: Ward and I were just exchanging comments related to this subject on my Tuesday post, Feeling Wintery.)

Like she almost always does, she was paying frequent attention toward the center of our woods, obviously picking up the scent of something that interested her. She generally walks a short distance, then stops to look left and sniff at the air, before continuing on for a ways and stopping again.

Sometimes, she picks up a scent on the ground and tries to follow it a few steps off the trail. I tend to pull her back quickly to get her back on task of walking our regular patrol around the property.

All of a sudden yesterday, she bolted to the left as if she was immediately on the tail of some critter, circling around a large tree trunk beside the trail before I could put the brake on her leash. I spotted the pile of fur just as she struck it with a massive bite.

She then let go just about as fast as she had attacked. Uncharacteristically, she didn’t resist one bit when I put tension on her leash to bring her back to the trail.

We walked a short distance and I hooked her to a tree so I could go back alone to see what it was that she had bitten. It was an opossum. I didn’t bother to check for any other detail, choosing to let nature take its course, and us to finish our walk.

If that had been one of our chickens, they wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Even though we keep Delilah on a leash, we also need to pay attention to her at all times.

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Written by johnwhays

November 15, 2018 at 7:00 am

Steaming Cold

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DSCN2866eYesterday morning we awoke to double-digit below-zero temperatures. It was probably the coldest night we have left the horses outside to endure. They did have their blankets on, and despite significant frost on their faces from their breath and some nasty snow/ice buildup on the bottoms of their hooves, they seemed to have handled it fine.

I experienced another first when I decided to see if I could to anything to help Legacy with the excessive buildup under his front hooves. After locating a hoof pick in Cyndie’s tray of tools, I stepped up and invited him to lift his foot for me.

Based on my vague memory of watching our farrier, George Walker, I maneuvered to hold Legacy’s leg between my knees. He seemed to welcome my efforts and was very accommodating of my untrained technique. It is probably best to have another person to handle the horse for this procedure, but he and I were the only ones available. We made due.

The whole chunk wouldn’t pop off like I’d hoped, so I scraped and scratched as best I was able to grind it down to a less severe knob. Legacy stood stationary after I finished that first hoof, so I took that as a sign of approval and walked around to repeat my performance on the other side. Other than his leaning excessively to the point of scaring me he was going to topple over, it went about the same as the first one. He seemed satisfied with the partial progress.

DSCN2860eOn a whim, I tried to see if I could get any good pictures of the ice crystal formations that grew on piles of manure. I thought the juxtaposition of the two might produce and interesting result.

It was steaming hot for a little while.

Surprisingly, the extreme cold doesn’t stop the biological processes at work in the compost pile, so the crystal growth gets a lot more substantial. That small mountain of manure is cooking and the steam rises all night long.

I was hoping to get a good image from the main pile, but it was probably too cold overnight and the ice accumulation grew so thick it got beyond the delicate beauty I was wanting to capture. Of course, that didn’t stop me from trying.

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When all the morning chores were done and Delilah and I had finished our breakfast, I made an extra trip back down to check on the horses. I had spoken with George about the ice buildup and confirmed I was doing the right thing. Emboldened, I wanted to see if I could help any of the other horses.

DSCN2901eThey were all napping in the sun. I sat on the ground with them for about a half an hour, soaking up the cold sunshine and enjoying the serenity with them. They didn’t need any further intervention from me.

By the afternoon, it looked like they had all successfully shed the accumulation that was stuck to them in the morning. A much better solution than my trying to do it for them.

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Written by johnwhays

February 20, 2015 at 7:00 am