Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘landscape

Painted Skies

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One of many fond memories I have of home during my adolescence is the variety of magazines that showed up in our mailbox. I’m guessing I have my father to thank for this. Weekly, I paged through Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated for exposure to the latest images and trends. I remember exploring Popular Mechanics, or was it Popular Science? Probably both. There was Reader’s Digest and a few along the lines of Good Housekeeping, likely for Mom’s benefit, to which I paid a little less attention.

For a spell, there was Arizona Highways with its glorious pictures of colorful western sunsets. I suppose that contributed to a perspective that Arizona was the place where that happened. Obviously, that perception has carried through to now because that magazine came to mind when Cyndie offered me photos she took of yesterday’s sunset and this morning’s sunrise.

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Beldenville, Wisconsin. Land of painted skies…

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Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2020 at 10:18 am

Glazed Labyrinth

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Our little mess of weather that couldn’t make up its mind about being rain, ice, or snow ended up being a little of all three earlier this week. It was a little intimidating at the time, but created some nice scenery.

At least I didn’t need to plow or shovel. It was a little crunchy walking the dog over frozen grass and leaves. I am reveling over the fact that for once we weren’t the zone that received the most snow.

Our chickens appear to have enough sense to stay under shelter in times of freezing rain. They hung out under the barn overhang for the most part. Looks like they’ll have at least one more break from full-time winter in the week ahead with daytime temperatures expected to rise above freezing.

So, in case you hadn’t noticed yet this morning, it’s Friday the 13th today. In the year 2020. That seems kind of redundant, doesn’t it?

Tolerating the reality of exponential numbers of spreading virus cases during a global pandemic makes Friday the 13th seem almost quaint.

It could be a good day to walk the crunchy labyrinth and focus our mental energy on positive possibilities. Peace, love, good health, absence of false accusations, full compliance to COVID safety practices by all people, and children able to learn in school full time.

Oooommmmmmmm.

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Written by johnwhays

November 13, 2020 at 7:00 am

Reclaiming Space

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Picking up where we left off over a month ago, this past weekend we resumed cutting away at the tangle of growth along the hedge wall of our north property line.

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It’s rewarding work, despite how frustrating it is to deal with so many twisted branches locked together by vines. I am forever baffled by how much resistance the littlest of branches offer against attempts to pull them apart.

Usually, the key is to push them further together in order to reposition the catch points before pulling them apart, but that is counterintuitive to the goal of separating them. The natural inclination is to try pulling harder in the assumption that arm muscle is significantly more powerful than the spindly twig junctions.

Now our perimeter walks around the property with Delilah can follow right beside the old barbed wire fence on that length of our north loop.

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Written by johnwhays

November 9, 2020 at 7:00 am

Storm Departs

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Cyndie shared some scenes from the aftermath of a thunderstorm that bowled over us earlier in the week. There has been a steady stream of them lately, most being of the non-concerning variety, but not without some minor consequences.

There is another tree that has fallen across one of our trails. Honestly, before living here, I had no idea how often trees topple over in a forest. Sometimes, it’s even weather-related, but not always.

The backside of the storm was pretty obvious and the blue sky behind it served as a wonderful exclamation mark of bidding the blustery beast good riddance.

After the sun drooped below the horizon, it provided one last parting gift of illuminating a whisp of a heart-shape in one of the lower clouds.

I’ve heard of silver linings, but this cloud definitely had a pink one.

We’ve been spared the hail that some areas received the other night, and for once, the total precipitation amounts have bounced between a quarter and a half of an inch, instead of overflowing our rain gauge. A blessing that we do not take for granted one bit.

All the aspects of our paradise glow and flourish in the aftermath of each rumbly event of rocky weather. As I recline on our deck or inside the screen door soaking up the glorious calm, there is no place I would rather be.

It’s social distancing on the grandest of scales.

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Written by johnwhays

August 13, 2020 at 6:00 am

Grass ‘Splosion

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I was looking at this explosion of natural tallgrass yesterday and it took on the appearance of a bursting firework finale to my eyes.

Do you see it?

Closer inspection of these blades reveals the hazardous serrated edges that can damage flesh. It even cuts itself!

Growth of greenery is at maximum acceleration now. The corn plants in the fields of the surrounding area are gaining about five inches a day. It’s shocking to see the difference a day makes in the height of the tightly spaced stalks that fill entire fields.

Meanwhile, the round bales on our land are starting to droop under their own weight. I don’t understand why these get left in the field so long. At this point, they are just crushing spots that could be growing more grass for baling the second cut.

Also, it just feels so wrong to leave hay out in the rain.

I understand the rain or snow water just runs off the outside layer, but I imagine the bottom portion that is in contact with the ground must get pretty rotten over time.

One of these days, I’ll get around to asking the guy who is renting our fields.

Till then, I’ll enjoy the added ambiance the bales add to the landscape. They can serve as a distraction from all the Queen Anne’s Lace weeds that are having their own little explosion of growth in the time since the fields were first cut this year.

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Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2020 at 6:00 am

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