Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘morning chores

Indoor Pursuits

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One day after a big melt, everything froze solid again and the wind chill is biting. Putting on the equivalent of a spacesuit to walk the dog makes sense because when we step outside the cold feels like we are in outer space.

The horses didn’t seem to pay the Arctic cold much attention, except maybe to more fervently devour hay for fuel to generate desired body warmth. We didn’t waste much time after the morning “cheers” (Ian’s and my more descriptive variant of “chores”) of seeing they got properly fed, knocking away ice that formed on their waterer, and doing the requisite housekeeping under and around the barn overhang.

We headed straight back to the house to thaw out.

The rest of the day was given to indoor pursuits, beginning with scouring the local newspaper over a warm breakfast. Cyndie and I then each independently processed the day’s Wordle challenge. After that, I lost myself in a jigsaw puzzle while Cyndie was occupied at the other end of the old family table toiling on a craft project.

We also took turns scouring our closets and dressers for clothes we can live without in a burst of decluttering. Getting rid of shirts that I haven’t worn in years is an exercise I really enjoy. I need to be in the right mood for it to go smoothly and when I am, it becomes easier as I go to dig ever deeper and jettison excess versions of button-downs or short and long sleeve tees with minimal hesitation.

At this point, there are many shirts I was only wearing to the day-job that now deserve to be retired, since I’m no longer employed outside the home.

My uniform for working at home tends to be rather limited and one combination of base and outer layer pullover shirts can last me for days before needing to be tossed to the laundry.

It all gets covered with the spacesuit when we go outside anyway, so if I can avoid working up a sweat, nothing gets too dirty except the treasured outer covering of my lined Carhartt overalls. Those now have so many accumulated layers of having been soiled that they almost stand up on their own. Makes it increasingly easier to climb into them over time.

Anything to make the project of dressing for outer space a little less onerous between the hours of indoor pursuits where we are warm and cozy.



Chilly Sunrise

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When the air temperature is below zero (F) and there is a fog of ice crystals in the air of our valley, the rising rays create sun dogs of reflection 180° apart. Those conditions were met yesterday while I was feeding the horses.

When Delilah and I walked to the end of the driveway to put outgoing mail in the mailbox, our vantage changed so the sun was behind the pine trees on our neighbor’s land. I walked across the road to get the telephone pole out of frame, but I didn’t notice the wires were still in the shot. Oh, well.

Still looks pretty cool.

In fact, it was downright COLD! Poor Delilah was hopping along on three legs every so often to give a paw a break. Eventually, she resorted to simply running and pulling me along behind her to get back to the house, and her breakfast, as quickly as possible.

If ever there was a way to feel like a load, trudging along behind a dog that urgently wants to run faster than you can is pretty high on the list. Being a little numb and wearing the equivalence of a spacesuit with lead-weight boots does wonders to enhance the impression.



Written by johnwhays

December 30, 2021 at 7:00 am

Normal Morning

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I’m writing a little late this morning as I have been occupied with solo coverage of the ranch this morning, as Cyndie spent the night at her mother’s house in Edina yesterday. Delilah and I startled a couple of deer in our woods on our morning walk, which then grabbed the attention of the horses who were grazing nearby in the back pasture. Their heads were all on full alert when we popped out of the woods.

I took a picture of some fantastic-looking fungi on the edge of one of our trails as we passed.

The horses were a combination of calm yet mischievous as I set out the pans of feed for their morning rations. They had serenely paraded their way into the paddock from the back pasture alongside Delilah and me as we made our way to the barn. The four horses conveniently avoided being positioned on either side of our serving area under the overhang, so I decided to serve them where they stood for a change.

They quickly set about moving around from one pan to another, snitching bites between rotating to be sure no other horse was getting something they didn’t have.

I finally coaxed Mix to the far side and closed a gate to disrupt their dance. That solved things and they all stopped to finish the pan at their feet in front of them while I rolled the wheelbarrow around the paddock to do the morning housekeeping.

By the time I finished tending to the compost pile and returned to get Delilah in the barn, the four horses we already around the corner in the back pasture again, grazing peacefully.

On our way back to the house, I need to detour to the shop to pick up some tools for a kitchen project Cyndie left for me. She bought new slide-out racks for cabinets that are going to require some customization of the dimensions of the openings. There, I discovered a mousetrap had tripped and the victim was being cannibalized by other vermin. Oops.

My bad.

Back in the house, the dog and cat were served their breakfast and then I fed myself.

Somehow, the early morning hours have vanished, but it was all rather normal except for the fact I was alone with the animals.

I look forward to getting the kitchen enhancements installed. Anything to make Cyndie happier in the kitchen is going to directly benefit my luxury of being exceptionally well-fed.

It only takes one morning of fending for my own food to be reminded of how well I have it every other day.



Written by johnwhays

August 21, 2021 at 10:26 am

Hunting Hounds

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On a thickly gray Saturday morning, we stepped out of the house behind Delilah and quickly noticed a sharp sound in the distance. Swallowed by the crunch of our boots on the snowy path, the muffle of hats over ears, and the sound of our own voices as we chatted about some minutia, we had to stop in our tracks to identify what we were hearing.

There was a helicopter far in the distance, but that sound just faded. After a moment of no sounds, there was the bark of a dog. Then, several more. The hunting hounds were out early.

We resumed our trek down the trail, but not for long. The echoing bellows were only getting louder, so we reversed direction and headed back toward the house, through the back yard, and on to the barn. Delilah was delighted with the added excitement and romped her way along with us, reversing direction only several times to see if we couldn’t just check on the vocal hounds in the woods.

I wondered if we might suddenly see coyotes sprinting past us in a run for their lives.

With Delilah secured in the barn, Cyndie and I tended to the tasks of setting out food for the chickens and opening the coop. I could see the trucks of hunters slowing moving by on the road while we mingled with the chickens and I cleaned off the poop board. Rocky made a failed attempt to mount one of the Domestiques. We took solace in his acceptance of her objections.

Cyndie continues to offer feed from her bare hand in effort to condition the flock to always accept humans as safe and valuable companions. With respect to the New Hampshire pullet, Cyndie got nipped as the overzealous girl went after a mole on her thumb.

Can’t fault that as malicious, but geez. That hurt.

Returning to the barn, Delilah bursts forth with excitement at this moment because she knows the next phase of this daily routine is to take her up to the house where she will receive her morning meal. We exit the barn door and while I am closing the door behind us I notice Cyndie struggling with everything she’s got to hold the leash.

Delilah is trying to drag Cyndie up to the driveway to where a cute looking hunting beagle is standing all alone.

We decide to let Cyndie take Delilah back into the barn for a bit while I see if I can coax the beagle to get back on the job and find the rest of his pack or the scent of a coyote.

Knowing the hunters were driving nearby, I walked with the happy radio-collared beagle toward the road. A truck pulled up just as we arrived. The hunter said she was one of two that had gone astray.

Meanwhile, Cyndie took the opportunity to pop out of the barn and head up to the house with Delilah on a short leash. They quickly were surprised by the other stray. This time, Delilah was in reach to make contact, and luckily, with wagging tails the dogs met gently, nose to nose.

Cyndie said she offered Delilah the deal of continuing up to the house for her breakfast, and the two dogs trotted together for a bit and then parted without incident as they reached the door.

The hunter I spoke with at the road said our neighbor had alerted them to a sighting of coyotes early this morning, so they were hopefully tracking a fresh scent. By the time we were having our breakfast, nothing but quiet had settled in around us. I’m guessing the trail was lost.

Subsequent calm and quiet was a welcome outcome after the adventurous start to our Saturday.



Written by johnwhays

January 9, 2021 at 11:12 am

Mornin’ Chickens!

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For a few days now I will be the chief chore person while Cyndie convalesces after a minor surgical fix removing problematic bone growth behind her artificial knee. It was beginning to impinge a nerve and tendon and creating unwelcome disturbances in her force.

She regularly comes in after morning chores and shares stories about the adventure, so I decided I would record the opening of the chicken door so she could see what she missed today. As a result, you get to enjoy the splendor, too!



I wasn’t counting them as they poured out, but I had a sense someone was lagging.

The result was perfect.

Take a moment to share in the morning chicken coop routine we get to see every day!



Written by johnwhays

December 5, 2020 at 10:45 am