Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘leaves

Asher Digs

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It is no surprise to learn that Asher digs after the scent of critters in the ground similar to the way our previous dog, Delilah did. Since the digging done by dogs is so destructive to our lawn areas, we spend a lot of energy discouraging digging in the grass. However, when on walks through the woods, I like to give a dog the chance to exercise their natural instinct. Yesterday, Asher plowed after something his nose told him was there.

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His efforts failed to produce any reward, but like Delilah many times before, that didn’t seem to matter. He just returned to the trail and we resumed our walk along the perimeter of our property.

Within a day or two of getting Asher home last week, Cyndie and I noticed he was adjusting to our regular routine more than we were changing our days to accommodate him. It’s another sign for me that he will be a good fit for the kind of pet we would like to have. After a bit of whining yesterday, he settled down for a good chunk of time in our outdoor kennel while we worked nearby. Cyndie was planting in her produce garden and I did my core strength and stretching exercises.

I recently read a recommendation that yoga routines can be enhanced by doing them outdoors and our philosophy of promoting the health benefits of forest bathing seemed to boost the idea doubly for me. This week I have moved my planking and stretching outside beneath the branches of two large trees. I’ve also made a change to the time of day I start, which doesn’t feel like it fits my routine yet but does offer a chance to linger in bed for a bit after waking. Slowly getting out of bed feels like a BIG luxury that suits me, even though working out first thing in the morning has always been my preference.

There are a few details I hadn’t considered when thinking it would be great to be outside. The mosquitos could become a problem and ants have already been a nuisance. The leaves aren’t completely opened yet so the sun was a little hard on my eyes yesterday. The ground not being perfectly flat is probably good in terms of adding difficulty for some balance routines but one particular bump interfered with keeping my back as flat as I wanted while stretching my hamstring muscles.

Speaking of new leaves opening up, I found this little specimen of baby oak leaves on the driveway beneath one of our biggest trees. They hardly got started and now it’s already over for them. That little sprig was about an inch across.

It’s sad to admit these brand-new leaves won’t even be missed. There won’t be a “bald spot” in the tree where they would have been. That tree will have more leaves than can be counted. At least we’ve given them worthy respect and have saved an image of them that will outlast all the rest of the leaves that survive them.

We are so very lucky to have all our trees. Looking up into the leaves when doing a cobra stretch is a great alternative to the ceiling of one of our rooms.

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Written by johnwhays

May 11, 2023 at 6:00 am

Every Step

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I spotted an impressive phenomenon of nature after heading down to the barn yesterday morning.

Each and every small animal footprint through the snow had captured a fallen oak leaf.

The latest air mass of bitterly cold temperatures has left us for the east coast. At noon today, I plan to give the horses a break from wearing blankets again. Other than the off-and-on annoying sounds of snowmobile engines passing by, it is calm and quiet under the hazy sunshine in our valley.

As the air warms it becomes obvious that the thick snowpack becomes its own refrigerant, radiating cold from below. Even though the daily high temperatures are forecast to rise above freezing, it doesn’t guarantee it will feel as warm as thermometers indicate.

However, with all things being relative, any above-zero temperatures offer welcome relief after extreme cold spells like we endured Thursday night/Friday morning. The horses seemed to begrudgingly tolerate the pain, gritting their teeth and standing still in a meditative state that hid any spark of life in their eyes.

This morning, they looked much more alive and were a smidge more active. I think they will be as happy as me to be granted several days of ease, free of the brutal grip of dramatically cold air masses.

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Written by johnwhays

February 4, 2023 at 10:55 am

Just Leaves

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Written by johnwhays

January 14, 2023 at 10:51 am

Worst Combination

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I’ve been dreading this possibility for months. The worst combination of plowable amounts of snow falling before the ground is thoroughly frozen played out yesterday right before our eyes. The unfinished shoulders of our new driveway are too soft to support driving on them, let alone scraping them with a plow blade.

Since we didn’t receive a huge amount of snow by the end of the day yesterday, I’m contemplating just pushing what snow there is to the edge of the asphalt to create small snow banks over the existing shoulder. Before the banks freeze too hard, I might try flattening them enough to create a base layer over which I could drive and plow after future snowfalls.

In the beginning moments of accumulation yesterday morning, I headed outside to clean leaves off the pavement in front of the shop. It’s a job I intended to do a week ago but a certain person’s emergency and follow-up surgery have disrupted a lot of the before-snow plans we had hoped to fulfill.

Nothing like raking leaves that are already getting covered by snow. By the end of the day, the area in the picture became a parking spot for my car. I moved my car out of the garage so I could put Marie’s car under a roof. If the snow lets up today or tomorrow, it will save me from needing to scrape windows if she decides to brave the winter driving back to her place in Minnesota.

With the two of us watching over Cyndie, the metal-jointed woman has been making pretty good progress managing her pain and healing her incisions. With Marie running the kitchen, I have been freed up to take the dog outside and to keep the horses well-fed.

And now, I’m adding the role of chief snow shoveler to my other primary duties.

🎶 It’s beginning to feel a lot like… winter.

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Written by johnwhays

November 15, 2022 at 7:00 am

Pretty Peak

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We are witnessing pretty close to peak colors around here now. It’s hard to tell if the next day will become even more brilliant or if leaves will have abruptly dropped to the ground en masse.

There are a few straggling trees still holding green leaves but the ones that blaze the best colors are maxing out. We are doing our best to soak up the scenery with full in-the-moment appreciation, never knowing when the polychromatic party might end. The critical ingredient for maximum spectacle is direct sunlight, so the degree of cloudy skies in the next few days will play a significant part in prolonging the autumnal glory we have been blessed with this year.

Complicating the situation is the extreme degree of parched soil we have been dealt, so we are also longing for an extended soaking rain. I guess one way to look at it is that either way, we win.

If it gets rainy, we will rejoice over the moisture. If it stays sunny, we continue to enjoy the wonderful fall colors.

(For the purposes of this positive-thinking exercise, I will be ignoring the possibility of the skies clouding over without ever providing a measurable amount of rain.)

As of yesterday afternoon, we were peaking out and loving it!

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Written by johnwhays

October 7, 2022 at 6:00 am

Winter Leaves

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Written by johnwhays

February 13, 2022 at 7:00 am

Compare Contrasts

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I have mixed feelings about the comparison of our woods to our neighbor’s when it comes to the obviousness of difference in controlling the invasive Common Buckthorn. Do you notice the contrast in the images below?

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That line of green leaves on the low trees visible in the images on the right is increasingly dominating the understory beyond our fencelines.

It is pleasing to be able to clearly see the progress I have achieved in my vigilance to remove the buckthorn every year. At the same time, it is unsettling to watch the progress of the invasion playing out on the land surrounding ours.

Meanwhile, remember how happy I was to boast of stocking up on woodchips?

Cyndie has already succeeded in decimating the store of chips, distributing them far and wide for mulch around small trees and plants in the labyrinth and beyond.

We are on the brink of no longer being able to see most of the downed branches available for chipping with the arrival of snow season.

Yesterday, the driveway was still too warm to be covered by the first measurable amount to fall, but the leaves weren’t.

Our landscape turned white overnight last night. Animal tracks are clearly revealed this morning. I didn’t go out yet, but Cyndie said there were no bear footprints on the trails she and Delilah walked. Plenty of deer and an occasional bunny rabbit, though.

I’m going to be comparing our new surroundings today to the contrasting snowless world I walked less than 24 hours ago in my wanderings around the grounds.

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Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2021 at 10:00 am

Not Over

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For all of the leaves that have fallen to the ground already, the autumn show of colors is not over yet. We are enjoying a thrilling pizzazz of fall scenery around our property. The floor of our forest has attained one of my favorite looks.

We now have a carpet of leaves beneath the dwindling canopy of the treetops.

A carpet with a variety of colors splashed across it.

Add a sunset that paints the clouds overhead all purple-y-pink and it started to look like we were wearing rose-colored glasses last night.

What a treat to be able to watch this show evolve right before our eyes and not have to plan a special trip to drive up north or some other place where the fall colors provide such spectacular autumn splendor.

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Written by johnwhays

October 12, 2021 at 6:00 am

Different Greens

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As the tree leaves lose their green color, different greens become much more apparent. Moss growth that has been around all along suddenly stands out much more vividly.

The carpet covering the forest floor that we have been walking upon all summer with little notice now resonates its emerald hue.

It will soon be our chance to spot the lingering green leaves of the invasive common buckthorn that I hunt and remove this time of year in an effort to avoid it overtaking more desirable native growth. The buckthorn leaves stay green longer than most of the other trees and undergrowth, making it relatively easy to find during walks around the property.

That is a different green we’d rather not have around, except for maybe an intentional hedge that is maintained with regular trimming. There are places along our property border where I might be inclined to let the buckthorn grow into a natural wall.

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Written by johnwhays

October 7, 2021 at 6:00 am

Less Color

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Not every plant bursts with color this time of year, but the changes still look cool.

Close to the forest floor, Cyndie snapped this shot of leaves with an eye-catching fade from green to an absence of color.

Walking through the woods yesterday we marveled over the carpet of leaves that are a perfectly distributed parquet of colors in certain sections. Under a few other trees, it’s one dominating color where all the leaves of individual trees dropped in a short span of time.

It’s interesting how they will soon all turn brown and not long after that, the ground will be covered with white.

Less color, indeed.

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Written by johnwhays

October 5, 2021 at 6:00 am