Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘making decisions

Can’t Decide

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Help me out. I can’t decide. Which image would you pick for use on a blog post? I like them both..

 

Number 1

Number 2

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I like the shadows on the snow and the faint indentation of the stick from a previous position.

There are other details that I will refrain from pointing out so as to allow your eyes to pick what catches your attention.

Honestly, my preference would be to only show one image and not give viewers the opportunity to notice another version that they might like better.

Feel free to imagine your preference printed in high resolution, matted and framed in a perfectly complimentary minimalist frame and hanging on a wall in your favorite gallery.

Of course, I don’t really need to know which one to use in a blog post, because I already have.

I was just looking for an excuse to use them both because, despite my preference to not, I just couldn’t get myself to decide.

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Written by johnwhays

March 1, 2021 at 7:00 am

Another Stray

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We received a little more than a dusting of snow overnight, but not quite an inch. It’s annoying, actually, in a region where it’s not certain whether the paltry amount will melt or add to possible future accumulations. Does it deserve the effort of plowing? Should I clear the valley on the roof where ice dams often result?

There are more times than I like to admit when I have wished I had cleaned up a previous snow event that I originally chose to ignore.

Cyndie was pondering sweeping the fresh snow cover away near the barn for the benefit of our royal residents, the chickens. Heaven forbid they be forced to deal with the elements like feral chickens.

Based on their initial egg-laying performances, they are behaving more like wild birds than the domesticated coop-homed free-rangers they are. We are witnessing the successful initial use of the nest boxes in the coop at a rate of about 70%. The other times, eggs appear to show up in any and all locations where the brood happens to find themselves.

There was a single frozen egg discovered this morning next to the wall of the barn. Oops.

It’s hard to tell right now exactly which birds are laying among the thirteen. Based on the number of eggs in a day, likely 4 or maybe 5 are starting to produce. We are starting to get a routine of three eggs a day.

It’s a good thing our primary focus is not on gaining eggs, but on having happy, healthy chickens roaming our grounds. Eggs are just a wonderful added benefit that we try not to neglect.

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Written by johnwhays

January 31, 2021 at 11:11 am

Drying Firewood

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For the record, drying firewood shrinks. I have yet to devise a stacking system that stays upright for a full year of shrinking. First, it starts to lean, and then it pushes against an adjacent stack. Eventually, they tend to topple over into a scrambled pile of split logs. I have resigned myself to simply climbing in there to pile firewood back into an orderly stack, regardless the odds it would probably just tip over again later.

I used to strive to push the stacks back into balance before they tipped over, but now I accept they are going to lean. My odds of causing it to tip over the other direction by pushing it upright are high enough I have forced myself to get over being annoyed with how it looks and just leave it be.

Yesterday, we moved half of a stack of the oldest logs onto the wood rack on our deck for premium proximity to the fireplace. It’s interesting to be handling wood that I stacked two years ago. In that amount of time, some impressive rodent nests get built, probably chipmunks. It would be reasonable to assume the critter activity in the stacks contributes to destabilization.

As I am splitting logs to refill the right side of the woodshed, it occurs to me that I could just toss them all into a big pile and forego the tippy stacks.

Why is that such a difficult decision for me?

  • I believe it wastes less space to stack the wood tightly.
  • I can better gauge how much firewood there is when it is stacked.
  • I can easily tell how long each stack has been drying.
  • Stacks appeal to my sense of order.

At the same time, I know from past experience how much we use per winter season, so the volume of a pile filling one half of the woodshed would give us two years. I could stuff a jumbled pile to fill the space to a greater extent than I achieve with individual stacks.

Since I already started a new stack on the right side of the shed yesterday, I’m now thinking about doing a bit of both. I could put down a base layer of individual stacks to cover the space on the right half and then switch to just tossing split pieces on top of those short stacks.

If only I can convince myself to follow through with such a random-looking storage choice.

It would be something of a “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” solution of intentionally tumbled drying firewood.

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Written by johnwhays

November 2, 2020 at 7:00 am

Different Bad

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We thought Sunday morning was bad, what with its dose of a slippery ice-glaze over every surface turning navigation from the house to the barn into a risky balance-testing feat.

Yesterday’s winter storm was very different. School districts around the region started announcing closures before bedtime on Sunday night! Since we were watching the Academy Awards show, it was impossible to miss the added drama of concern about the weather, as it constantly rolled across the bottom of the screen.

The number of school districts grew with each pass of the alphabetically sorted scroll. When the names of the biggest districts in the state showed up, it lent significant credence toward the probability I should plan to avoid trying to travel to work.

I hemmed and hawed over my options, ultimately making the decision before going to sleep. I would stay home.

After sleeping past my normal alarm time for a work day, I woke to discover I could have made the drive in if I’d gotten up like usual. I knew that was a possible result when I decided the night before to stay home, so I wasn’t too frustrated with myself at that point. The real concern was going to be the drive home.

Since I didn’t drive in, the plan was that I wouldn’t need to worry about the drive home.

Except, the real onset of the accumulating snow ended up happening late enough in the day that I could have worked a full shift, after all. I would have been home before things really began to get hazardous.

It was odd having stayed home from work all day when the view out the window looked so harmless. Postings on the local Live Weather Updates site of our public radio network kept warning that the onset was still coming, just delayed a bit from original guesses.

Their warnings ultimately proved totally justified.

Before the precipitation, the wind was gusting to startling degrees. Cyndie reported hearing a tree falling, but wasn’t sure about the location. I was a little nervous about venturing through the woods to look for it while the gusts were still raging.

The snow finally showed up for us around 3:30, and by 4:00, it was already hard to see beyond our property borders. We were suddenly isolated from the world, and being battered by unrelenting swarms of stabbing snowflake blades.

I succeeded in making it to the mailbox and back with Delilah, but she looked like she thought the expedition was a ridiculous idea, gladly retreating indoors when we made it back to the house. Cyndie was tending to the horses and chickens, and I figured she would be in shortly behind us.

Ten minutes later, I looked up from what I was doing and realized the visibility outside had dropped down to almost zero. The snow was coming so thick and wind-blown, I became concerned about how Cyndie was coping. I decided to gear up and go check. This wasn’t just bad weather, this was wicked!

Careful not to blindly pass her, in case she came up a different route than I went down, I squinted for signs of her outline. She was at the chicken coop. The hens had jumped one of the half doors into the barn and didn’t want to return to the coop. Who could blame them? She was hand carrying them back.

I helped to get the last two and we closed up the coop and then the barn doors.

Had I driven to work, I was planning to stay overnight at her parent’s house. Given how crazy, and sometimes even a bit scary it got yesterday afternoon and evening, I’m glad I stayed home.

Regardless how bad it wasn’t earlier in the day, it was worth it so that Cyndie didn’t have to face all this bad weather drama alone.

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Decisions Aplenty

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By the end of the weekend last night I was mentally exhausted. The chicken coop project was an exercise in repeating waves of cascading decisions. It was giving me a headache. Or maybe that was coming from the muscle fatigue in my neck and shoulders from all the power tool use overhead and at odd angles.

Over and over again I found myself trying to determine precise dimensions, proper positions, ultimate functionality, potential environmental stresses, and likely physical pressures the structure will face.

dscn5273eHow high should this be? What support should this have? Will this withstand stormy weather? How will I attach the next board? How will we enclose all the odd openings of our panel roof design?

If all that weren’t complicated enough, by the end of the day yesterday, when I couldn’t get the roof framework equally centered on all the walls, it occurred to me why all my calculations had me constantly confused. Building with scraps of salvaged lumber means working with a lot of warped, bowed, and twisted boards.

It was a great exercise for tempering perfectionistic tendencies.

“Close enough” became a common refrain that grew increasingly easy to accept.

There were so many little steps involved in finalizing the framing of openings in each wall and securely fastening the 4 walls to each other that I ran out of time for the ultimate reward of screwing the panels onto the roof. We got close, but finished just short of that milestone.

Guess what I can’t wait to work on when I get home from work today.

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Written by johnwhays

October 10, 2016 at 6:00 am

How Many?

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dscn5190echIf you know me at all, it may not come as a surprise that I am having trouble deciding how many icicle prisms to hang on our cherished family heirloom lamp over the island in our kitchen. Cyndie surprised me on Thursday with the gift in honor our upcoming 35th anniversary.

When I first got the lamp hung in that spot a couple of years ago, we felt the addition of the dangling crystals might improve the way the light distributes, as well as create a better finished look for the variety of viewing angles available.

At that time, I did some shopping for the prisms, but they weren’t readily available in person and there were so many different shapes and sizes to pick from online that I was overwhelmed by the exercise of choosing.

I went with my usual solution to this dilemma and ended up doing nothing about it.

dscn5180echLike so many times before, Cyndie has come to the rescue. I think she made an excellent decision about what size to get. Regarding how many to buy, let’s just say there will be some spares left over. The question of how many spares is still in limbo.

As I started hanging them, it felt right to go for the max. The picture at the top of this post shows what that looked like. We loved it.

It creates a flare out that is taking me some time to get used to, making the bottom look wider.

I wondered if that might be related to the high number of icicles we used. My intuition told me, less could be more. Adding a little space between each prism was easy to do.

Deciding which I like better is proving to be not so easy. I like them both.

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Written by johnwhays

September 18, 2016 at 8:35 am