Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘March

Not Surprising

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I received another weather warning on my phone last night. This time, it wasn’t about another round of plowable snow, but it comes as no surprise that they’ve issued a flood watch for our county. So, it’s out of the frying pan snow machine and into the fire hip waders for us this week.

Oh, joy.

We’ve got so much snow that our 3-board fence looks short enough in some spots that the horses could high-step their way over it. I think the only thing dissuading them from trying is the deepness of the snow on the other side.

We are due to get significant rain tomorrow and Thursday, without anywhere for it to soak in. There are bound to be a number of new rivers and lakes formed in the days ahead.

We’ll probably have the horses in the barn while it is raining, and the chickens will be given the option of venturing out at their own peril, but I’m not confident either of their structures will stay dry.

At least the coop is on stilts. The wood is shrunk from the dry winter air, so there are some gaps in places, I suspect, but it swells up nicely when it gets wet, so that just leaves drips from a few leaky screws in the roof panels.

The barn, on the other hand, is already suffering from areas that were once standing water that subsequently froze and rendered the two big sliding doors inoperable. More water on top of the old ice will not only make that situation worse, it will inevitably start flowing toward the lower ground available inside.

Thank goodness our house is at the top of a hill.

It is not surprising that they chose this spot on which to build.

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Written by johnwhays

March 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

Warm Welcomes

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For those who haven’t been paying attention, we’ve reached the last day of February. Geez. It’s like 2018 is half over already. Tomorrow we welcome March to our calendars, historically a month when we can receive whoppers of snow storms in this region. In my youth, that was grand. Now, as a man with property and animal responsibilities, the big late-season storms threaten too much damage potential to be welcomed.

I’ll be pining for calm and boring as winter slowly makes its way into the history books.

After a couple of days back in our own bed again, things are settling back to normal. We are feeling fresh sensations of missing Fred and Marie (as well as Mike and Barb) and our meals and conversation on the lanai beside the pool, with the pond fountain spraying away spectacularly as our backdrop.

I have been enjoying a particularly warm welcome home from our cat, Pequenita. I think she missed me.

Not that Delilah didn’t, but ‘Nita just shows her lust for my attention much more emphatically. She steps right up for some prolonged hands-on contact and melts into a puddle of kneading, purring fur, regardless whatever blog writing I had in mind to accomplish.

On Monday afternoon, we welcomed a new farrier to the ranch, as George wasn’t available and the vet had prescribed some hoof trimming to treat Hunter’s laminitis. Our veterinarian provided a name and Cyndie was able to schedule the visit before we left town last week.

That was another reason I needed to have the driveway opened wide yesterday, after the two trucks had been dug free of the drift. Company was coming!

Hunter was a trooper, and suffered his way through standing on three feet, despite the pain. The new farrier, Marcus, said he tells people to imagine having migraine pain in the hoof. Today, Hunter is standing on a couple of reverse horseshoes, and seems to be okay with it, despite his otherwise having only ever been barefoot.

The reverse shoe supports the heel and relieves pressure at the toe.

We are definitely welcoming any relief Hunter can get. It’s been over a month now that he has been suffering, and pretty much everyone around here is suffering right along with him. It takes a toll.

Here’s hoping March brings calm weather and better health. It’s been a tough winter at Wintervale this year.

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Written by johnwhays

February 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

Fading Fast

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It’s March alright. Snow melts in the rising spring sun as fast as it falls from the late-winter clouds. It kind of resembles my motivation some days.

dscn5879eThree days this week started with a covering of fresh, white snow. The first morning was so fresh, it was still falling out of the sky. The drive to work was a maze of crunched cars that had spun out and crashed into each other and flashing blue emergency lights. Those of us successfully navigating the slippery mess were forced to move from one side of the freeway to the other, alternating back and forth to get around the frequent closed lanes.

Over the last two days, the snow has been mostly melted by the time I got home in the afternoon. It must be time for high school hockey and basketball tournaments. In my lifetime the March tournaments became synonymous with classic winter storms that delivered oodles of snow accumulation.

I have a feeling that association is fading along with the rest of what we used to know as winter around these parts.

Meanwhile, Cayenne is causing us increasing concern with her laminitis induced lameness. She hasn’t improved enough for us to feel the anti-inflammatory doses and overnights in the barn are making a difference. George is here this weekend and we are talking about putting some shoes and pads on her feet.

We don’t know if it will freak her out to have shoes on, but it is worth the attempt since George tells us there is no harm in trying. It will at least feel like we’re not giving up on her. Otherwise, we just fret over her lack of improvement.

img_ip0001echAt the same time, we are also a little more concerned about Delilah, having now done some reading on “hot spots” after learning about the condition from Steve and Liz’s comments. Seems like a reasonably likely diagnosis to us, but the range of possible causes have us a little stumped.

Fleas? Allergies? We hope not.

I think she’s probably frustrated over not getting a full season of cold and snow.

Cyndie captured this portrait with a snow-frosted snout yesterday morning. Delilah does show a good fondness for the white stuff.

It’s a little curious that we just had her groomed last week and are now seeing an issue that can be a result of lack of grooming. There is also a possibility she is allergic to a shampoo the groomer used, but the reaction seems rather delayed for that to have been a trigger.

So, one horse and one dog are a little out of sorts for us. With winter fading fast, it would be nice to have the animals returning to peak health before the next challenges arrive.

I seem to recall a plan of adding chickens around here this spring to aid in controlling the tick and fly populations. More creatures to be concerned about.

I tell ya, this caring for animals life is not for sissies!

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Written by johnwhays

March 3, 2017 at 7:00 am

Snow Goes

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dscn5868eThe month of March arrives with its saying about lambs and lions, but the climate confusion we have going may require we come up with a new definition for the chaos of winter’s departure. Last week’s snow is fading fast around here now.

The little snowman that Sara made on Saturday has become just a fraction of his old self in the back yard.

In a week and a half we’ll be moving clocks again to shift the days an hour forward. Will it inspire me to get anything more accomplished in the evenings after work? I don’t know.

There is plenty to be done, but my motivation has been lacking by the time I get home from the commute. Of course, yesterday it happened to be a gloomy gray day.

dscn5869eIf the sun is out and the air gets warm, I expect there will be an added spring in my step.

With the grounds wet and soft, I can turn my attention to some machine maintenance that is more than due, and there is always wood to be split.

Indoors, we have an appointment tonight for a quote on window replacements, and then I have a dishwasher door that needs the counter-balance spring mechanisms replaced.

I don’t see a day on the calendar marked for lollygagging around anywhere in the near future.

Do I need to make an appointment for that?

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Written by johnwhays

March 1, 2017 at 7:00 am

Freezing Wet

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You know what is worse than freezing cold? Freezing wet. It is one condition for which we would never question whether or not to move the horses indoors. Our horses do a pretty good job of enduring exposure to snow and cold, but when it comes to rain at freezing temperatures, they need shelter.

Regardless the pleasure of early warmth we enjoyed throughout much of the month of March, the trend recently has shifted significantly away from pleasant.

IMG_iP3132eCHIt has us burning fires in the fireplace and cuddling up under blankets, drinking hot drinks.

I suppose there is a lesson for us somewhere in this situation about patience, but I don’t really need to be tempted by early warmth to get the lesson about being patient for the spring growing season to truly arrive. I’m sure I could learn it just as well with winter staying winter the whole time, and lasting well into April.

If I had any sense I’d be using this time to change the oil in the lawn tractor and finish preparing it for the long mowing season that lies ahead. The cold and wet may be lingering, but logic dictates it will eventually end.

When it does, growing things definitely won’t hesitate to respond.

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Written by johnwhays

April 6, 2016 at 6:00 am

Not March

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This is not the weather I recognize as occurring in the month of March in the region where I am from. That’s no surprise, since we are breaking records for both highest overnight low temperature, as well as the daytime high for March 8th.

Our back yard looked almost summery in the afternoon sun.

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No snow in sight. It felt unnatural. Thinking back just a few years, I was trying to carve drainage paths through the mounds of packed snow on the sides of our driveway in March, for water to drain away.

No such problem this year.

Just to keep us from getting too far ahead of ourselves, the landscape pond is available to remind us that spring doesn’t happen instantaneously, even when it seems like that is exactly what it is doing. There is a solid mass of ice filling the pond still.

DSCN4509eSomething tells me it won’t last much longer.

When I was a kid, the saying was, “April showers bring May flowers.” I wonder what the March showers will bring in this new climate reality.

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Written by johnwhays

March 9, 2016 at 7:00 am

Hello March

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Longer days of March are here again. Unfortunately, so is the dreaded hour shift of the clock that is Daylight Saving Time. It’s a stupid name. It doesn’t save a single morsel of time. A week from today we will be changing clocks in our location. Others might do it a different day, or may not do it at all. I would prefer we don’t change our clocks twice a year, but I don’t have much say in the decision.

The month of March also brings hockey and basketball tournaments, which I think are a delight. Historically, our high school basketball tournaments tend to coincide with some significant snowfall events, which adds an element of drama. Spring snow storms can be demoralizing for those who have been lulled into thinking we are done with such weather since warmer temperatures have returned.

This year, Cyndie and I have the added excitement of a getting away at the end of this month to spend a week with our dear friends, the Morales family in Guatemala. Not that we needed it, but Dunia sweetly provided a picture taken at their beach house yesterday, to help us mentally prepare for what is in store. I will provide a picture of our place for added perspective…

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I don’t think anything more needs be said about our motivation.

…But that never stopped me before.

As great as it will be to have new adventures in another place I have never been before, especially one that is free of any forecasts for snow storms, it is not the warm sunshine that I am feeling thrilled about enjoying. The ultimate treasure that I’m looking forward to is being able to see the faces and hear the voices and embrace the auras of Dunia and Marco, and their boys, Marco and Jose again.

I am overjoyed with the prospect of seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter as we once again share in the joys of discovering the wonder in everything that life holds for each of us. In the brief time since Cyndie and Dunia first met, we have grown connected like family. Being together with them is the prize I find myself relishing.

The sights and sounds of the warmer climate where they will be hosting us is secondary.

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Written by johnwhays

March 1, 2015 at 10:27 am