Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘nature

Absolutely Disgusting

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Now, I did not choose today’s title just because it is election day in the U.S. I witnessed something yesterday that was nauseating, but it had nothing to do with politics.

To spare you the horrific image, I did not take any pictures of what Delilah and I came upon during our afternoon walk. In fact, here is a difficult to discern shot of our cute cat playing queen of the pillows for you to view as a mental image cleanser after –should you choose to continue reading this post– you read my description of this unsettling experience.

Content Warning!

If you have a weak stomach for graphic details, avert your eyes now.

Delilah’s nose sensed it first, but luckily, the disgusting find was off the trail and I spotted it in time to shorten her lead to keep her from reaching it.

It looked like a basketball-sized animal had been turned inside out. I think it was a rib cage that was most prominent.

We kept walking.

When I got her a fair distance past the carcass, I secured Delilah’s leash to a gate in the pasture fence and retraced my steps for a closer viewing. I wanted to know what it was. I was also curious whether I could see a clue as to what animal was responsible for the kill.

I knew right away the dead animal wasn’t a chicken because my initial glance had caught sight of a hairy hide. Plus, there were no feathers around. It was also bigger than our chickens.

I spotted a foot and a tail that told me it was a raccoon. It was laying in plain sight in the middle of the main drainage ditch –currently saturated and flowing due to a continuing wet period of days lately– that forms our southern property line.

Having the gross spectacle so prominently exposed next to our pasture, within sight of the chicken coop and horses, made me a little uncomfortable, but I wasn’t much interested in dealing with it while walking the dog on our way to feed and clean up after the horses.

I settled for tossing it from the middle of the open ditch to some brushy growth on the far side, toward the neighbor’s property. When I picked it up by the tail, the surprisingly intact entrails dangled out from the gut. In the world of nature’s predator/prey relationships, I would say this was only a half-completed job.

It was also one of the most disgusting things I recall ever picking up.

Later in the evening, long after darkness had settled in (which now happens around 5:00 p.m.), I felt conflicted over having left the gruesome carcass where it would continue to attract attention.

Maybe I should have bagged it and thrown it away. At the same time, I would rather have local predators feeding off raccoons than my chickens. But, it was uncomfortably close to where our chickens roam.

Interesting side note: On Sunday, I spotted a beautiful bald eagle perched in a tree along that same drainage ditch. I fretted over the possibility it was eyeing our chickens. Maybe it was looking for raccoon carcasses, instead.

Now I want to go look at some cute cat pictures for a while.

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Written by johnwhays

November 6, 2018 at 6:00 am

Quiet Evening

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After dinner last night, I stepped out to spend some time on one of the zero-gravity chairs Cyndie left on the deck. She pulled them out on Sunday to watch the Perseid meteor shower in the wee hours of Monday morning. I opted to sleep and missed that show.

Last night, the air outside was absolutely still. The sky was muted by a white-washed backdrop that held just a few discernible cloud shapes floating in front of it.

The temperature and humidity had eased to a perfectly comfortable warmth for the end of a hot August day. As I lay back in total relaxation, I tried to absorb the moment to the depth of my bones, for use as a reference in six months, when everything outdoors will be completely opposite.

It was so quiet, I could hear the acorns getting dropped to the ground when a bird hopped in the branches of a tall oak tree. The culprit was also adding to the soundscape with an occasional simple one-note, even-pitched tone. That was in stark contrast to the songbird who arrived in a tree behind me to show off a dramatic and richly complex repeating series of staccato chirps, tweets, and climbing trills.

I spotted a dragonfly high above me, near the top of the trees, and followed its aeronautical acrobatics of instant right-angle and logic defying immediate one-hundred-eighty degree turns in what I assumed must have been a feeding frenzy. It kept at it for a surprisingly long time.

The bliss of the moment served as a good remedy for my lake hangover. There might not be a gorgeous lake rippling in our back yard, but we do have plenty of nature in which to submerse ourselves, as an alternative.

Later, back in the house, I caught a glimpse of the doe and two fawns who hang out here regularly enough that we consider them family. They were loitering near the truck before disappearing down the trail toward the chicken coop.

I suggested to Cyndie that she should be extra quiet when she headed down to close the chicken door for the night, and maybe she would be able to mingle with the deer.

Delilah didn’t really know what I was watching out the back window, but she instantly spotted the flash of brown bodies and white tails when they darted out of the trees and crossed the yard to where the trail enters the woods on the other side.

Cyndie didn’t get to do any mingling.

She did find all ten chickens safely roosting in the coop for another day. I took the deer sighting as a sign there wasn’t any immediate threat in the area, implying our animals all enjoyed a quiet evening, too.

Egg production continues to pick up. Yesterday was the first time there were three eggs in a single day. I take that as another sign they are happy and healthy.

It all has me wanting to achieve an unprecedented level of full appreciation for the blessings we are currently enjoying, especially the simple ones like yesterday’s calm and quiet night.

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Written by johnwhays

August 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

Breezes

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lake
breezes
wafting
leaves
roiling
serenading
voicing
rejoicing
flora
floating
singing
nature’s
amelioration

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Written by johnwhays

June 30, 2018 at 8:34 am

Alluring

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2018 at 6:00 am

Buds

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Words on Images

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Hearty Impression

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What might the message be from this tree with an old wound that it is growing around in the shape of a heart?

I don’t know, but I’d like to think it is something heartwarming.

When we were cleaning out the landscaping around the back side of the house over the weekend, I discovered that a tie holding a maple sapling to a support stake was too tight and had begun constricting the tree’s growth. What a sorry sight to stumble upon; an occasion where my efforts to help a tree had ended up hurting it.

Trees seem to grow slowly, in general, but at the same time, there is a dramatic amount of activity happening in relatively short time spans. I think the trunk of that sapling has doubled in size since it was tied. I would have liked to see a time-lapse of that progress.

Just a week ago we were digging out from beneath a huge snow storm, and yesterday, on my drive home from work, I could already see the tops of tree clusters developing a green tinge from sprouting new buds. It warms my heart to know the leaves will soon be making an appearance.

Ever wonder how many leaves grow on the branches of mature trees? There are a lot of variables, but an oft-repeated average seen in the results of a Google search is around 200,000. That number makes my heart flutter like the quaking leaves of our poplar trees.

At the extension class we took last month to learn tricks of identifying trees, (did I already write about this?) we found out the thing that makes some leaves oscillate in the wind is the square shape of the leaf stem. It isn’t round, it has four flat sides.

Fun facts for people who love trees. Hopefully, that includes everyone. How could anyone with a heart, not love a tree?

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Written by johnwhays

April 24, 2018 at 6:00 am

Natural Wonders

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When I first saw this image that Cyndie captured, I struggled to imagine what could have made these intriguing tracks in the snow.

The alternating diagonal slices in the snow had me thinking of a large bird of prey dragging its talons as it “ran” across the surface while taking off.

Seemed like there should also be evidence of flapping wings, too. There wasn’t.

Closer review led to a much less dramatic, but still rather surprising cause.

The snow that had stuck to the wires of our fence was blowing off in long chunks and creating the lines on the surface below.

Cool!

I wouldn’t have been able to create that artwork if I tried.

Thank you, Mother Nature.

Oh, but nature wasn’t done creating. In an evening walk, Cyndie took one more picture of the fence wires.

Once again, the shadow of the wires was having a visible influence on the melting of the snow beneath the bright April sunshine.

Many thanks to Cyndie for her keen eye and crafty image captures!

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Written by johnwhays

April 5, 2018 at 6:00 am