Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘lake place

Unexpected Shower

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Since the threat of rain had passed yesterday afternoon, Cyndie and her mom invited all the Wildwood members up to our place for a little cocktail hour gettogether on the deck. Before company showed up, Cyndie and I enjoyed a swim in the lake that felt a bit like it might be our last soak of the summer.

Soon after, chips, dips, veggies, and heated appetizers were set out along with plates, napkins, chairs, and seat cushions for the ultimate social gathering. Everyone arrived and conversation flowed delightfully for over half the anticipated duration of the visit.

Then, the sky darkened considerably and a sprinkle of drops fell from the cloud. Plenty of comments were made about the unanticipated probability of precipitation. This wasn’t what we expected for the evening.

Maybe it would pass without significance.

Nope. Suddenly the shower nozzle opened up and watered everything in an instant. Everyone grabbed something in each hand and scampered back and forth to the protection of the porch until all the food and gear were brought inside.

Like any good social gathering, conversations picked up right where they left off. Of course, then the sunshine reappeared and, though wet, the great outdoors was simply gorgeous once again.

Mid-sentence of someone’s interesting story, there was an interruption with the alert: “Rainbow!”

Yes. Yes, there was a rainbow out there now. The widest and most brilliantly vivid rainbow I had ever witnessed.

Most everyone dashed out for a view beyond the trees and phone cameras came out en masse. Cyndie provided this shot for my use.

I stayed on the deck to watch with confidence there were enough cameras capturing the spectacle that I would be able to borrow a shot from someone. Thank you, Cyndie.

After most folks decided the rainbow excitement created a convenient opportunity to head back to all of their respective evening meal plans, we started putting things away. I went down the deck stairs to return a table and chairs to storage and discovered the rainbow was still visible.

Now it was reflecting off the water, too. I took some pictures of my own. A different version of a “double rainbow.”

So, our little party got washed out early, but at least the woodshed shingles project was completed well in advance of the surprise rain shower and no firewood was dampened by the minor deluge.

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Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2021 at 9:11 am

Barely Damp

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To call the precipitation we received “rain” would be disrespectful to raindrops. Misty would be a better description. Just enough to make portions of exposed surfaces damp. It’s not that I’m complaining about it, but the only reason we rushed to get the shingles on the new woodshed was due to the expected rain.

What we did receive all day long was gale force wind out of the south. There were white-capped waves rolling across the lake throughout the afternoon. It would blow and blow and then suddenly it would gust even harder for a spell.

This morning the contrast couldn’t be greater, revealed in the glassy surface of the water and the absolute stillness of the tree leaves.

Both days share the trait of being particularly gray which combined with the dampness is creating a chill that seems to shout, summer is over! All that excessive heat and prolonged drought are becoming a memory from a previous time.

Labor Day weekend at the lake is traditionally the time we bring the floating rafts in and begin the steps of preparation for less in-the-water activities. We had a fire in the fireplace yesterday to ward off the chill and counterbalance the grayness. I found time to read my adventure book and experience visions of whitewater canoeing, camping, and fishing in the remote north of Canada.

All while being warm and dry in the comfort of an indoor couch.

Elysa and her dogs, Diesel, and Edison have joined us for the weekend, so we left Delilah at home to be cared for by our animal sitter. There’s only so much room for dog energy up here.

Now I’m ready for the addition of a little sunshine. Otherwise, the way it’s going I’m feeling my energy dampened enough to do little but lay around and read for hours on end.

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Written by johnwhays

September 4, 2021 at 9:40 am

Almost Done

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We got close to finishing the woodshed project before calling it a day yesterday afternoon. All that remains is installing shingles on the roof. I plan to do that when we return next weekend.

Cyndie was an essential contributor to the progress achieved. We verbally sparred over the math to figure spacing as I wrestled with factoring in the number of spaces is one more than the number of boards.

She kept solving math calculations in her head before I could enter the numbers into the calculator on my phone. At one point, as I was cutting a spacer block to a dimension I calculated, she texted me the same spacer dimension she figured out while taking Delilah for a walk.

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With tools put away, I was able to grab the remains of the previous unprotected stack of firewood and move it into the new shed.

I look forward to seeing it filled with a couple of years worth of split firewood. We’ll need the first batch soon as cooling weather is about to bring on the days when comforting fires in the fireplace become de rigueur.

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Mostly Level

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It is soaking wet this morning but the rain held off long enough yesterday to allow about a half-day’s worth of effort on my assembly project.

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I continue to be challenged with thinking I have one portion positioned correctly while neglecting to notice an opposite corner was torqued at an angle at the time. I needed to add a one-inch shim to compensate for one such mistake but ultimately achieved near-perfection on getting the base established.

The best part of working on things up here is the ability to dive into the lake just steps away to cool off after a sweaty effort. We had a nice swim and quick sandwich on the deck before the rain dampened things.

Next up is constructing the roof. I’m unsure what portion I will assemble on the ground before lifting it into place. With luck, I will figure that out before it becomes too heavy for Cyndie and me to lift over our heads and screw into place.

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Position Precision

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Perfection is my nemesis and often complicates attempts to make quick progress on starting a project. Soon after I first started thinking about improving the way firewood is stored up at the lake, I was in a quandary about making the first cut of lumber to enact my plan. Obviously, I got past that.

Now I’ve got all the pieces staged and it’s time to start assembly. With four blocks for footings, I just need to set them in position. Simple as that.

I wish.

Is it square? Square to what? Level is easy, referencing a floating bubble, but square is a bit more difficult to ascertain. I start to doubt my visual perception after placing a board against what I thought was an acceptably positioned block to then find it is far out of line with my ultimate intention.

Getting the first block established finally provided a reference I could work from to place the other three. I am choosing to leave the ground sloped and support the right side of the shed on posts, but the exact mechanism is yet to be defined. I changed my mind twice already and the second time was after I thought I had the blocks in place.

I need to reposition them one more time.

When I get the two blocks on the right side ultimately located and leveled, construction should be able to commence at a reasonable pace, with just one hitch. It occurred to me this morning that I neglected to bring up any spare lumber.

While unsuccessfully trying to avoid waking my brain up too early this morning, I conjured up an improvement on the technique I had in mind to support the right side on posts. All I need is another plank or two of treated lumber and I’m set. D’oh!

I will use one of the cut pieces intended for the floor and bring up a replacement board for that one next weekend when we come up for Labor Day.

Before I get to any of that, I need to perfectly position those two blocks on the right end of the frame.

Here’s hoping I will allow myself to settle for good enough.

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Written by johnwhays

August 28, 2021 at 8:33 am

Shed Kit

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I loaded up the Crosstrek with more lumber and a few tools after work yesterday and headed north with the goal of finally beginning the assembly of the pieces cut at home to build a cute little firewood storage shed at the lake place.

Unfortunately, I will be up against mother nature’s decision to finally water the earth in this region for several days in a row. I am prepared for progress to be slow. I’ll take advantage of whatever breaks in the rain might happen in order to change this pile of boards into the structure I have been picturing in my mind for the last few months.

I look forward to finding out if the ideas I have been imagining will come together without a fuss. I want to stack some firewood!

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Written by johnwhays

August 27, 2021 at 6:00 am

Rain Coming

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Looks like the morning will be a wet one for us. Weather radar indicates a decent-sized band of precipitation closing in on our location in Hayward, WI.

The blue marker that looks like it is pointing at Red Wing indicates our home, approximately between River Falls and Red Wing.

I’m ready to hunker down and be an indoor couch potato for a few hours. Cyndie wants to play the local version of Monopoly board game she found in town this week: Hayward-opoly. The properties are local businesses like our favorite Coop’s Pizza and West’s Dairy.

I’d rather find sports on the television. Aren’t there some Olympic games finishing up this weekend?

Before we know it, there will be a break in the clouds and everyone will hit the beach.

I will be plenty ready for that.

Did you notice there was a bird in that image above? I hadn’t noticed it when I was rushing to capture the sun rays as they changed by the second. After looking at it a few times on my computer screen, I wondered if it was actually an insect that was close to the phone instead of a magnificent high-soaring bird of prey up near the cloud.

Perception is everything.

Happy first Saturday in August everyone!

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Written by johnwhays

August 7, 2021 at 8:57 am

Warm Reception

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For the past four days, Delilah has been up at the lake with Cyndie. Yesterday, after work, Cyndie’s mom, Marie, met me at our house and I drove her car up to Wildwood. Based on the affection I received from Delilah upon our arrival, our dog must have really missed me.

I was a little surprised by how much she wanted to be in my space. When I got on the floor with her, she tried to sit on my lap. I may have to take back some of those mean things I’ve said about her now that she is showing me some love.

A little later in the evening, she showed she hasn’t lost her penchant for barking at the world around us. I can never tell if it is something she hears or something she smells that suddenly startles her up from a cozy curl-up on the floor with a flourish of energized barking toward whatever the trigger was.

Maybe her dog-shouting will dissuade the geese from perching and pooping on the floating platform in the water at our beach. Cyndie reports her experiment of a plastic owl perched on the raft already seems to be helping.

Some extra barking can’t hurt.

The geese don’t receive near the warmth of a reception I was awarded when we got here.

Speaking of awards, we polished off the evening with a viewing of the NBC prime-time feature of Olympic competitions. The USA women’s beach volleyball pair won gold just as we were all beginning to run on fumes, very ready to head for bed.

Delilah had already found her way to her “den” in a crate draped with a light blanket cover.

I would say that all of our beds offered us warm receptions when we finally got around to falling on them.

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2021 at 6:00 am

Trail Riding

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It has been a very long time since I have ridden my beloved hard-tail mountain bike. So long, in fact, I forgot how much more work it can be compared to my road bike. I bonked yesterday in a 16-plus mile ride with my life-long friend, Paul Keiski, whose biking condition is much stronger than mine.

Luckily, I was still close enough in contact with him to enjoy the spectacle of his slow-motion crash as he let out a little laugh over the predicament of tipping in the direction of the down-slope into the scrappy growth, wheels up, and on his back for a second.

The Makwa singletrack is a hairpin winding hardscrabble trail of big roots and jutting rocks that frequently will bring momentum to an abrupt halt where I would find myself in an unwelcome pedal stand and needing to muster the gumption to somehow kick the bike forward over the obstacle on the incline before me.

Yeah, I got tired. If I was on my road bike, I would coast for a while and catch my breath, but there is little time for relaxed coasting on this kind of trail. Arms constantly flexed, absorbing the concussions with obstacles and desperately working to hold the bike on the trail.

We chose to circle back to our starting point by way of a gravel fire lane road that had been re-graded not too long ago and was softer than preferable. I was already exhausted, but being well aware of the mostly uphill grade we needed to accomplish to get back to the pavement added a psychological burden that caused me to walk up more hills than I care to admit.

I was in the company of a generous friend in Paul, who was very patient and smart enough to have some energy supplements along for the ride which relieved my fatigue for a bit.

The last leg back to our lake place was on the pavement which felt great for the comparative ease but I was acutely aware of the fact this bike lacked the better geometry and larger wheels of my other bike.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my trail bike. It is wonderfully responsive to my moves in the woods and probably saves me from calamity despite my lack of experience on more occasions than not. I only inadvertently wandered off-trail several times when I failed to control my momentum and negotiate a turn, twice successfully carrying on anyway and riding back onto the trail without interruption.

That quick response of the bike made my soft gravel road riding a little squirrelly which only added misery to my fatigue, but overall, I am grateful for the way this old refurbished Trek performs for me.

It deserves to be ridden more often and my skills and conditioning improved enough to do it justice, but I am afraid being on the upper side of 62-years-old has me more inclined to just settle for hopping on the road bike and coasting down paved roads.

Many thanks to Paul for inspiring me to join him in the adventure and adding one more precious trail riding memory to our shared life experiences.

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Nice Distraction

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My hope of forgetting about the distressing loss of 22 chickens in one quick event didn’t really work but yesterday’s attempt sure was a nice try. I have to laugh (though it was more like a whimper) now when I look at the images I posted just a few days before the attack, showing all those birds and me sitting among them. That didn’t last long.

Our nice distraction yesterday of friends flying in for a day and the wonderful summeriness of dining on the deck and playing in and on the lake was quintessential lake life. We paddled kayaks and stand-up boards around the island and into the nearby bay, pausing to visit with folks on a neighboring property.

We soaked in the luxurious water and absorbed oodles of solar energy while chatting away the hours. It goes without saying that the food Cyndie and her mom served up was plentiful and divine.

One particularly noteworthy moment of the small-world phenomena came as Mike and Barb were headed down the steps toward Marie’s car for the short drive to the Hayward airport. We had invited a neighboring Wildwood member, Julie, to join us for dinner since she was here alone this weekend. Having visited all day and through the meal on first-name introductions, it wasn’t until we were leaving and Cyndie and Julie were inside cleaning up after the meal that Cyndie mentioned Mike’s Architecture firm does restaurants.

Julie asked what his last name was and then rushed out to re-introduce herself using her last name to reveal Mike and Julie had been working together, albeit, remotely, on one of her restaurants.

Surprise, surprise. And an electric moment for all.

Marie and I watched Barb and Mike’s plane lift off into the hazy air as they departed on their return flight to their lake place in Grand Rapids, MN.

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Mike reported the visibility as “Hayseeee.”

Their visit and the grand day at this lake place were a really nice distraction. Unfortunately, the reality I want to be distracted from remains a cold, hard fact… Still.

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Written by johnwhays

July 17, 2021 at 7:50 am