Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘landscape

Pandemic Loneliness

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It is hard to predict what the situation will be 10-days from today but based on comparison with geographic locations where the coronavirus outbreak is that far ahead of here, it seems that people who don’t feel sick now may have symptoms by then. That really does make it feel strange to carry on with life as usual.

Sure, the odds go down if you only expose yourself to a handful of people every day, but what good does that limitation do if one of those people have the virus and don’t know it? So, the safest bet is to stay home entirely. All by myself.

It feels a little apocalyptic.

I’m going to build a bridge.

While Cyndie is hunkered down with her parents in Florida, I’m alone to pick eggs and walk the dog. Between tending to animals, I’m going to try solo construction and use leftover deck lumber to make a bridge over the eroding drainage swale. It will take some ingenuity to manipulate 16-foot boards into the chop saw all on my own, but I think I can figure something out.

The muddy effort we put in to re-establish the concerted flow of the drainage swale across our land appears to have paid off.

That provided motivation to get on with this bridge project sooner than later. Actually, I have a little extra time before the primary need arrives. During the growing season, I cut the grass along the strip just beyond the pasture fence to maintain a walking path, and the erosion blocked my ability to drive the lawn tractor beyond that point. The bridge is a solution to that barrier.

I won’t need to mow for a few weeks yet. Look at how little in the way of green growth there is to be found in our current landscape.

That will change real soon.

A lot like the looming intensity of a certain virus outbreak underway.

I wonder what our landscape will look like in 10-days.

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Trail Bulge

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For some reason, the heaving path down the middle of our trails fascinates me. Some days the bulge stands out dramatically. Yesterday, I tried to take pictures that would show how high it had risen, but the two-dimensional images just don’t do it justice.

First, I tried shooting from my eye height when standing. Then I crouched down and snapped a shot for comparison.

I’m not sure there is any difference between the two for revealing the surprising upheaval of earth compared to the ground on either side of it.

The hump is frozen solid, but the very top surface of leaves and dirt melt just enough to get slippery. It becomes a challenge of constantly choosing whether to step on the residual ice or the decaying leaves for the better footing, ever wary that either could result in a slip.

Add in the frequent jolts on the leash when Delilah wants to make haste after some critter ahead and it’s a wonder we ever make it back to the house clean and dry.

When the trail offers better all-snow footing, and during the summer when it’s not very wet, I occasionally allow Delilah to race as fast as she wants and run behind her, but that is chaos for planting my feet. It tends to be at a pace that I can’t maintain for very long, after which she willingly settles down to a brisk walk and I spend the rest of the jaunt gasping to recover my breath.

Over the weekend, I noticed that it is the corner fence posts that are all getting pushed up, despite my having released much of the tension from the wires.

It is easy to push the fence posts back down using the loader on the diesel tractor. Almost too easy. The first time I tried it, I was shocked over how little resistance there was to the hydraulic power and weight of the bucket. The complication is that the period of time when the ground is thawed enough to easily accept the posts being pushed down, the tires sink in and put me at risk of getting stuck and/or tearing up the surrounding turf something awful.

It becomes a classic case of timing being everything.

I’m not going to worry about the fence posts for now, but I will be anxiously awaiting the trails getting back to flat again as soon as the frost goes out of the ground.

Bring on the spring mud season!

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Written by johnwhays

March 17, 2020 at 6:00 am

Few Views

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Here are some more views captured during our walk last weekend in the bright sunshine while the snow was melting fast and the water was flowing freely…

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Written by johnwhays

March 11, 2020 at 6:00 am

Not Blue

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The sky looked completely different yesterday, after the outstanding blue we enjoyed Friday. In the classic weather paradox of the north, even though it was cloudier, the temperature was warmer than the day before. The brain-freeze didn’t happen on Delilah’s and my morning walk around the property yesterday.

The elements provided a complement to the grayness in the form of white-flocked tree branches. The water vapor in the warmer air was crystalizing on one side of all the trees creating a temporary delicacy of landscape scenery.

It’s beautiful days like this that make the beautiful blue-sky days that much more spectacular! I’m grateful that I get to enjoy them both.

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Written by johnwhays

March 1, 2020 at 10:23 am

Long Time

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It has been a long time since I did a jigsaw puzzle at home. After visiting Judy’s and Mary’s houses over the holidays and seeing their puzzles in progress, I felt a renewed motivation to get out one of my own again. Luckily, I had a very special new puzzle in my queue.

For the first time ever, I’m building a puzzle of a picture that I took. Elysa had this made for me as a gift after I mentioned that I thought the image would make a great jigsaw puzzle.

I’ve only spent a little time on this so far, but already I can sense the difference of studying pieces of an image that I captured. The location is a northern Minnesota forest on land owned by our friends, Mike and Barb Wilkus. We were hiking through the woods on a beautiful fall day and I stopped to snap a shot of the small lake surrounded by trees.

I’m going to love working on assembling this puzzle.

It will become a battle of wanting to make quick progress even though I also don’t want the project to end soon.

I suspect this will be a puzzle I have no problem assembling over and over again, although I feel it also deserves a turn or two up at the Wilkus cabin. Hopefully, both scenarios can be achieved over time.

That part of my brain that loves jigsaw puzzling is very happy indeed, especially because it’s been a long time since I’ve built one.

Maybe even more so, because I stood in this very spot.

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Written by johnwhays

January 15, 2020 at 7:00 am

Other Tracks

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Now that snow covers the land again we have returned to the winter phase of visibility for wild animal travel around our property. Cyndie contributed today’s image of tracks in the snow:

It’s always interesting to see the travels of a solitary wanderer making its way across our fields or down one of our trails. Apparently, these visitors have smelly feet, based on the intensity of interest Delilah shows to each indentation that we allow her to reach. She will bury her nose in every single footprint.

I wonder if she gathers any new information from each additional whiff.

While searching my old photo files for a different project last night, I was surprised to happen upon a strikingly similar image to the one above.

Two years ago, this same scene caught my eye.

Do you think maybe it was the same animal?

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Written by johnwhays

December 4, 2019 at 7:00 am

Autumn Mowing

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I don’t have any recollection of the lawn ever being so “June-like” this late in October. It felt totally strange yesterday to be cutting such long, thick, green grass with the air chilly and the sun at this uncharacteristic low angle.

In addition to the summery grass blades, the standing puddles of water left over from the recent rains were downright spring-like.

When I got done, the fresh-mowed lawn contrasted strangely against the golden hue of fall that the trees now provide for a backdrop.

It also seemed odd to be mowing the grass a few days after we had just received snow.

On my walk back to the house after I was done with chores for the evening, I stopped to take some pictures of the low sun beaming through the golden trees.

That carpet of leaves is a favorite of mine. I wish we could have layers of leaves that look like that as a ground cover, in place of lawn grassĀ around our land.

Guess that means we would need to get busy transplanting more trees.

Spread the wealth!

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Written by johnwhays

October 18, 2018 at 6:00 am