Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Memories

Harsh Environment

leave a comment »

It’s not always easy, carving out survival in all the crazy extremes of weather possible in the great outdoors. It may seem odd at first mention, but I think snow actually softens the blow of winter months, both figuratively and literally. We have received very little this year, and what did fall has mostly disappeared. After the rain and re-freeze, followed by a few days of melting, we settled into a pattern of cold that has created a particularly harsh environment outside.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The ground is hard as rock and every other step is slippery from spots of ice.

Dezirea showed up with a bloody cut just under the joint of her cannon and pastern bones. If you look closely, there is a less obvious cut similarly located on her other front leg. I wondered if she maybe broke through some ice in the drainage rut that crosses the back pasture.

There isn’t any snow deep enough to have broken through a crust to get a cut like that.

Cyndie is up at the lake place for the weekend, so I sent her a text with the image. She asked if there was any blood on Hunter’s back hooves.

Hmm.

I hadn’t thought of that. Of course, there wasn’t.

Dezi was moving around just fine and didn’t seem any worse for the wear. There has been no further bleeding from the cut, so I am letting time do the natural healing it always provides, while also watching for any changes to the worse.

Delilah and I walked the pasture to look for any possible hazards or signs of a possible cause. Finding absolutely nothing, I’m beginning to think Cyndie may have identified the more likely culprit.

I sure hope Dezirea is dishing out as much as she is taking in the ongoing roughhousing happening among our three-horse herd.

Makes me miss Legacy that much more. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of his departure from this world. I’m definitely feeling it.

Toward the end of his life, Legacy’s poop took on a strikingly loose consistency. In an unsettlingly timed turn yesterday, while cleaning up after the horses in the paddock, I came upon a pile that was uncomfortably similar to what we used to see from the old herd leader.

Maybe the horses are feeling a little sick, too, over memories of what transpired a year ago on that oh-so-cold January thirteenth night.

A harsh environment, indeed.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 13, 2019 at 11:18 am

Mixed Tracks

leave a comment »

The thing about aging, especially complaining about the less than glamorous aspects associated with it, is that there are always going to be people older than you for whom the whining will appear inconsequential.

“You think that’s bad, just wait until…”

We each have our moments in time. It’s natural to try comparing, but it’s also natural, to discount each other’s comparisons.

I used to be able to write my name in the snow when peeing. Now I just make Pollock style splatter painting designs.

At least I can still pee.

Speaking of tracks in the snow, I captured a cute combination of chicken traffic along with what I’m assuming were prints of a local prowling outdoor cat.

I’m not sure who was there first, but it is unlikely they were actually wandering around together.

If you pay close enough attention, you will see the tracks of the chickens are pointing in opposite directions.

I also think the paw print is a double exposure. It seems like too many toes, but I suspect it is a function of two feet being placed in the same spot.

Watching Delilah on walks, and often wanting to capture pictures of her paw prints, I have come to notice how often her back feet step in the same place as her front feet did. I think the cat was doing the same thing.

I am reminded of a snowy morning during my trek in Nepal when two of my travel mates were pestering the Sherpa guides to find us some tracks from an elusive snow leopard.

Eventually, (we think) they used the old trick of making some rather convincing prints in the snow with their own hands.

Everybody had a good laugh over it, although no admissions were ever offered, and a question over authenticity lingered unresolved. We were happy to imagine the excitement of what such evidence implied, if it had been real.

My mind has returned to my 2009 Himalayan trek because we watched a Netflix DVD last night called, “The Himalayas,” which dramatically told the story of South Korean climber, Um Hong-Gil, leading an expedition in 2005 to attempt recovering the bodies of three friends who died there a year earlier.

I find such expedition movies fun for the brief few minute glimpses they almost always include of the flight to Lukla, the swinging bridges, the rocky trails through rhododendron trees, the shrines, prayer flags, and initial views of Everest that are all the very places I walked.

Even though we weren’t on a mountain climbing expedition, those who were, traveled the same route we did, to get where they were going.

We all made mixed tracks in the snow on the trails.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 9, 2019 at 7:00 am

Waves

with 2 comments

Words on Images

.

.

Cookies Galore

leave a comment »

She’s done it again! Cyndie moves like magic in the kitchen when her weekend of Christmas cookie baking arrives. She made a noble dent in the project all by herself on Saturday to start, then, with the help of friends and family yesterday, achieved a record number of total recipes baked when the flour dust finally settled.

It was a sight to behold, but don’t take my word for it. See for yourselves. (Thank you to Melissa Williams for sharing pictures she took of the extravaganza!)

For the first time ever, Cyndie baked meringue cookies from her gramma’s recipe. They come with a memory of being told, as grandchildren, that they needed to be very calm and quiet while meringue cookies are baking in the oven or the cookies would be wrecked.

After her first try success, Cyndie is inclined to think the strict constraints placed on them back then could very likely have been a ruse by her grandmother, taking advantage of an easy opportunity to command good behavior.

More power to her, I say.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 10, 2018 at 7:00 am

For Sibs

with 4 comments

This one is for my siblings. First of all, if any of you have seen the movie, “The Meddler” and not told me about it, I will be very surprised. Second, I am tempted to urge you to watch the flick, but Cyndie and I both experienced such conflicted reactions to it that I’m inclined to suggest you use the hundred and three minutes of your time for something more constructive.

Our general reaction was along the lines of, “Meh.” We like Susan Sarandon and J.K. Simmons a lot, so their acting was a reward. We chose to add this to our Netflix queue after the trailer for it caught our attention in the previews segment on another movie we had rented. The premise wasn’t particularly gripping for either of us, but we thought it looked like a light and funny flick.

The movie was okay, but we didn’t love it, except for this: a bullseye.

Not just the bullseye, but for us, it’s also what led up to the penultimate scene that had us so gobsmacked over what we were seeing that we couldn’t contain ourselves.

We were basically tolerating how the movie was plodding along for us until J.K. Simmons’ character mentions his chickens. He pulls an egg out of his pocket to show Marnie (Susan Sarandon). They go back to his place and walk in the chicken run where he introduces his hens by name.

Eventually, he offers her a half-carton of eggs to take home. This resonated because Cyndie has cut cartons in half like that to facilitate picking the four to six eggs at a time that show up in our nest boxes throughout the day.

We were tickled by all this, but had no clue what writer Lorene Scafaria had in store next. In this case, the slow development of scenes which had underwhelmed us in the first part of the movie made us sit up in awe over what we were witnessing.

Now alone at home and contemplating this new “friend” Marnie has met, she opens the little carton of eggs and pulls out the blue one. Cyndie and I already know what this is all about, but we had no idea it was going to be conveyed so brilliantly.

Butter in a frying pan. A slice of bread. She picks up a glass and presses it on the bread to cut out a hole. She fries up a perfect version of what our family called a bullseye.

Then she stands at the counter and takes the first bite. Obviously, this is an egg like no other she has ever tasted before in her life. Lorene Scafaria directed a perfect depiction of savoring every bite. Susan Sarandon knocks it out of the park, sopping up every last drop of that egg with the fried bread.

Now that I write this, I think the whole movie is worth that one scene.

You guys should check it out.

p.s.: Guess what we had for breakfast this morning.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 1, 2018 at 10:41 am

Kitchen Aromas

leave a comment »

Honestly, I don’t feel worthy of the aromas that greeted me from Cyndie’s kitchen when I walked in the door after work yesterday. She pulled me all the way into some of my fondest November memories with a robust batch of fresh Chex mix roasting in the oven.

Threw me back to Thanksgiving day parades, afternoon football games, and my dear ol’ mom.

I don’t know which came first. Did my love of cereal lead to an overwhelming attachment to Chex mix, or did my fondness for Chex mix lead to my mind-boggling passion for cereal?

No sooner does the mix come out of the oven and Cyndie puts in a pizza crust to pre-bake.

Not one to avoid a challenge, she was working her magic on an untested recipe for an adventurous fresh cranberry balsamic white pizza.

I can sincerely say that this did not bring back a single memory or aroma from my past. I can take, or leave, an arugula salad on my pizza, but ricotta cheese in place of a good salty tomato sauce left this experiment lacking.

It looked tantalizing, though.

Just needed more sauce and maybe a heaping crown of mozzarella cheese for my tastes. And bacon.

What?

That was Cyndie’s idea. We read somewhere that the most common ingredient in contest-winning recipes happens to be bacon flavor in some shape or form.

We both got a chuckle out of that.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2018 at 7:00 am

Getting Cold

leave a comment »

The weather at the lake this weekend is rather brisk, with filtered sunlight softly glowing through milky clouds. We headed to town for breakfast and a little stroll around yesterday morning. The briskness came across as downright flippin’ cold as we walked the short lengths of sidewalk between warm shops.

I am forever fascinated by how different a temperature of 39° (F) feels the first time it visits in the fall, as compared to the first time it is reached in late winter. Yesterday, the “briskness” was bone chilling. In late winter, temperatures above freezing lead us to lose our hats and open our coats.

We stepped out of the frigid fall air into a shop that sold puzzles. Cyndie encouraged me to revisit a long loved hobby of jigsaw puzzles, so I gave the weird variety of images a serious review. My choice was primarily focused on choosing an actual image, preferably of a landscape that appealed to me.

It was a pretty easy choice, because there was only one that met those parameters. I didn’t really process the note on the cover touting the large piece format, but it turned out to be a perfect choice.

“Easy to See & Handle!”

Why, yes, they are! Ideal for pulling off a one-day build before we need to pack up and head home.

Building a jigsaw puzzle in front of the warm glow from the fireplace while listening to our most memorable music from our dating years just happens to be a very comforting way to deal with that first cold blast of the season after summer ends.

I’m sure I’ll have many more opportunities to be outside re-acclimating my body to winter temperatures in the weeks ahead.

This weekend was focused more on staying warm, which I can report we happily achieved in luxury at this fabulous place on the lake.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 30, 2018 at 10:09 am