Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Rain

Mostly Level

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It is soaking wet this morning but the rain held off long enough yesterday to allow about a half-day’s worth of effort on my assembly project.

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I continue to be challenged with thinking I have one portion positioned correctly while neglecting to notice an opposite corner was torqued at an angle at the time. I needed to add a one-inch shim to compensate for one such mistake but ultimately achieved near-perfection on getting the base established.

The best part of working on things up here is the ability to dive into the lake just steps away to cool off after a sweaty effort. We had a nice swim and quick sandwich on the deck before the rain dampened things.

Next up is constructing the roof. I’m unsure what portion I will assemble on the ground before lifting it into place. With luck, I will figure that out before it becomes too heavy for Cyndie and me to lift over our heads and screw into place.

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Shed Kit

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I loaded up the Crosstrek with more lumber and a few tools after work yesterday and headed north with the goal of finally beginning the assembly of the pieces cut at home to build a cute little firewood storage shed at the lake place.

Unfortunately, I will be up against mother nature’s decision to finally water the earth in this region for several days in a row. I am prepared for progress to be slow. I’ll take advantage of whatever breaks in the rain might happen in order to change this pile of boards into the structure I have been picturing in my mind for the last few months.

I look forward to finding out if the ideas I have been imagining will come together without a fuss. I want to stack some firewood!

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Written by johnwhays

August 27, 2021 at 6:00 am

Squall Line

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Cyndie was out walking Delilah on our north loop trail near the road when she captured this dramatic view of yesterday mornings’ approaching thunderstorm.

They didn’t make it back to the house without getting soaked.

We received about 2.25 inches of rain out of the storm that kept Delilah incessantly barking at the continuous big, bad bowling balls rumbling in the heavens.

Our surface soil moisture amount now seems to be enough for most of our lawn grasses and all of the weeds. There is more rain predicted for the end of this week so maybe that will do something for our root-zone soil moisture that is still sorely lacking.

I just hope we don’t get one of those dousings like Tennessee just received that caused the catastrophic flash flooding.

The trees on our property dropped so many branches they reminded me of the amount of hair constantly shedding from my head. The big oak that stretches across the driveway up by the house has started to shed acorns. After our effort last year to collect 100 viable ones for a planting experiment, I now feel guilty every time I hear a cracking sound under my boots.

“That could have been a potential new tree!”

Yesterday, it dropped so many shards of branches onto the pavement below, the acorns weren’t even noticeable among the debris.

Walking Delilah through the woods became a stuttering start/stop exercise for her as I was constantly pausing to bend over and pick up branches to toss them off the pathway. Several were big enough they required a two-handed effort.

That doozy of a squall line ushered in quite a dose of heavy weather. Maybe the next precipitation could come in the form of a slow day-long soaking, thank you very much.

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Written by johnwhays

August 25, 2021 at 6:00 am

It Seems

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It seems to me today that I can’t add anything that you don’t already know. What would be the point of describing how oppressive the hatch of mosquitoes has been since the last long ago rainfall? Despite how fast the grass around here grew after that last dosage of water from the sky, I ended up deciding not to cut it, because the days have been nothing but hot and dry ever since. I didn’t want to stress the grass at a time it was again enduring another stretch of hot, dry weather.

Maybe we’ll get another batch of moisture on Friday, but I can only imagine what that will do for the mosquito population. I’m thinking about mowing this afternoon when I get home from work.

As I turned the last corner onto our street coming home from work yesterday, I was passed by a farm tractor coming from the opposite direction. Then another and another. Ten, then twenty, maybe thirty in a row. Every variety of manufacturers, some with a single passenger beside or behind the driver looking almost board, many with flags attached. A few had cute canvas canopies over the top for shade.

I guess that was something you didn’t know about. I certainly didn’t know anything about it. Some sort of parade out in the wide-open countryside on a Wednesday afternoon when few people might be around to notice. I didn’t see any signs to convey a message. Maybe they were headed somewhere to congregate and make a point. Protest at the steps of the county courthouse over the lack of rain?

My positive momentum is fatigued due to the constant waves of angst flowing from Afghanistan / Taliban / Wildfires / Earthquake / Tropical Storms / Delta Variant / Mask Mandates / Booster Shots / Political Blame / Shouting Matches / Criminal Trials / Sick Pets and every other challenge to peace and harmony that is vibrating so strong these days.

A certain feeling of guilt over the blissful beauty of our immediate surroundings needs to be processed before getting on with the beaming of healthy love out into the universe from the heart.

When I walked up to the paddock gate Tuesday evening to see the fallen snag first hand, Light responded to my presence instantly by purposely crossing the length of the small paddock toward me to make a brief connection. She inhaled my scent, paused, and looked around. I extended a hand to offer a scratch but she had stopped out of my reach. She breathed in again with her nose on my hand, then slowly moved on to join the rest of her herd near the overhang.

You probably didn’t know about that exchange, either.

Seems to me, the old adage about writing what I know tends to work out even when I don’t realize there is anything new about which to write.

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Written by johnwhays

August 19, 2021 at 6:00 am

Fawns Visit

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Yesterday morning, first thing, Cyndie reported seeing a momma deer and two fawns out our bedroom window. I was just commenting the other day that there was no sign of any nibbling of our hostas back there this summer. I didn’t check yet to see if that still holds true.

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After work yesterday, I was busy mowing the opposite side of our property. After just one downpour of rain over the weekend, our grass responded with a burst of growth. There was nothing strategic about my mowing methods this time. I cut everything possible in the time before dinner was served.

I heard a meteorologist’s analysis that the one occasion of heavy rain on Saturday was not sufficient to break the overall drought our region is suffering. He said that would require getting rain in similar amounts at least once a week for multiple weeks. The long-range forecast doesn’t bode well for that happening.

I’m counting our blessings that we have so few areas where the stress of dryness is obvious. Most trees and shrubs are looking close to normal. Grassy areas that get some shade look downright healthy.

Maybe the deer don’t need the hostas if there are enough other choices for grazing. They were probably just visiting to be social.

Delilah failed to detect them, so they weren’t driven away by loud, ferocious barking. She is a little under the weather and threw up the full contents of her stomach yesterday. Cyndie said it appeared a couple of days-worth of food wasn’t getting processed and came back up.

When that happened other times, we immediately discarded the rest of whatever can of food she was being served and start a fresh one. Since it always did the trick the other times, we are returning to that solution for now.

Meanwhile, she is doing some grazing of her own, chomping on grass when she is out on a walk.

Good thing it got tall after the last blast of rain.

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Written by johnwhays

August 11, 2021 at 6:00 am

Horse Time

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We arrived home yesterday afternoon to many examples of evidence that Wintervale had received a significant dousing of rain while we were away. The actual amount is unclear because the rain gauge at the top of the hill had water in it from the sprinkler for the vegetable garden. It was filled to over 4.5 inches.

The other gauge at the bottom of the hill near the labyrinth had tipped off its screws and was leaning over sideways, although it had about an inch of water in it. It’s likely our total was somewhere between those two amounts.

The tall grass in the drainage swales was laid flat by the pressure of rainwater leaving an obvious depiction of the volume that flowed over it.

The paddock was a little messy but the horses didn’t show much concern about how wet it had been. There was evidence that a couple of them had rolled in the dirt recently to coat their hides with a natural protection from biting flies.

They were standing around in their usual space under the overhang when Cyndie and I wandered out into the hayfield while coaxing them to join us. Mia quickly made her way after us but paused at the gate.

Soon after, all three of the others made their way down as well, but none of them chose to join us beyond the paddock fence. Not needing to fret their decision, we easily made our way back to join them for some horse time that seemed as welcome to them as it was to us.

It’s always wonderful to get away to the lake for a weekend, but it’s really, really nice to return home, as well.

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Written by johnwhays

August 9, 2021 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Dramatic Downpour

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Holy cow, did we ever get a dose of dramatic weather last night. The rain came down so fast and hard we had over 3-inches within about 45-minutes, much of it during the time when the weather service had declared a Tornado Warning for our county.

Cyndie’s garden went from being a little too dry to a lot too wet.

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We ate home-grown peas from the garden for lunch yesterday! No pesticides, no chemicals, no shipping required. Just pick, wash, and eat.

Everything in the garden got washed last night. The path from the house down to the chicken coop became a river.

Cyndie went out to close the chicken door when it seemed like there might be a break in the downpour intensity, but the hens weren’t in yet. They were huddled underneath the coop and didn’t want to move. The pause in the rainfall rate was short-lived. By the time she got geared up to make her dash, it was already picking up speed again.

When she eventually returned to the house, there was standing water in her boots and she was soaked through all the way to her underwear.

That was definitely one heck of a downpour.

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Written by johnwhays

June 29, 2020 at 6:00 am

Wet Now

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Over three inches in about 24 hours has definitely done the trick. It’s not dry out there at all anymore. As Cyndie put it, “There are rivers running everywhere that rivers can run on our land.”

The footbridge is doing its job nicely. The river runs under it.

Cyndie’s perennial garden, down slope of the neighboring farm field, has a river running through it.

We have grown accustomed to this routine, so it causes less anxiety than it used to. This amount of rain is pretty reasonable, actually, compared to some of the deluges we have previously faced.

The trees, shrubs, and grasses have in a matter of two days become the dominating color of the landscape and it is all about being green.

For the next day or two, green and very wet.

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Written by johnwhays

May 18, 2020 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Rain Ready

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It feels rather unusual to be saying we are ready for rain to fall after so many spring months through the years where we have battled managing too much rain. It could be because I finally built that footbridge over the drainage ravine that we have a dry spring. All our drainage swales are bone dry.

The exercise of mowing the grass yesterday was an exceptionally dusty one.

Our forecast paints a picture of soaking rain due to arrive later today and lasting through tomorrow. We could get up to two inches according to the weather folks. This morning will be a rush of completing as many outdoor chores as possible before confining ourselves indoors where Cyndie has plans to sew more masks. The face coverings have become a necessary accessory for being out and about in public spaces.

The inverted stump planter has a combination of geranium, lantana bandana, vinca vine, and potato vine installed and ready for watering. She transplanted some catmint from the labyrinth to surround the stump. They can spread out in the new location, where they were expanding problematically into the pathway in the labyrinth.

After felling all those trees under the two big oaks, one of which is in the background of the image above, we have two big stacks of wood to be converted to chips that Cyndie intends to use around all her new plantings. I may try to begin that process before lunch today, but from the looks of the sky already, I may run into a rain delay.

That won’t bother me at all.

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Written by johnwhays

May 16, 2020 at 8:28 am

Good Start

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Blessed with a day between drenching rains, yesterday we made great headway on the deck resurfacing project. Mike arrived about the same time daylight did and Cyndie primed our energies with a grand breakfast feast in preparation for the long day of labor ahead. Setting the first board required immediate customization, which is a part of the project I would have struggled to accomplish without Mike’s wisdom and experience.

After solving that challenge, the work settled into a board-placing routine that wasn’t particularly complicated but tended to eat up bigger chunks of time just doing than it seems it should.

Along the way, there were pauses to re-measure spacing and then tweaking the board gaps. Even simple board selection adds minutes, pondering how to minimize waste while selecting around imperfections in the lumber.

Eventually, we would reach a railing post and be faced with doing some customized cuts to enclose the obstruction. For the post below, Mike engineered two pieces that required multiple cuts which resulted in a pretty slick looking continued flow.

The thinking involved to plot where seams fall gets a little mind-boggling for me, but Mike helped to achieve a repeating pattern that I really like.

By lunch we had covered the bottom level, which was honestly my main goal, knowing in advance that progress most likely would be hampered by something. Nothing I have ever worked on goes so smoothly that I get more done than expected.

Most important for me was proving the process. I thought I would be able to do this in place of hiring professionals, but I was a little wary about the unknowns like detailing around the railing, mastering the seams and spacing, and even where to start, and how to finish the last board.

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We’ve got boards cut to length and positioned, but not all of them screwed down yet. By the end of the day, we probably were just under halfway finished with the resurfacing. There is a lot of lumber yet to replace, but the number of complicated decisions left to be addressed should be less.

If we ever get another dry weather day, maybe I can work more on the project.

Actually, today’s rain has me wondering if we shouldn’t have skipped the deck project and focused on building a boat that could hold us and our pets instead. I’m worried our house might just float away if it keeps up like this, and we live on top of a hill!

Apparently, the atmosphere holds more moisture when the planet warms and is able to dump more precipitation as a result.

I wonder if we have any circumstantial evidence to back that up.

I wish I could remember where we put our PFDs.

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Written by johnwhays

October 5, 2019 at 9:56 am