Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘seasons

More Weather

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Weather was the center of attention on the ranch again yesterday afternoon. During my hour drive home from work, I heard the announcement that our county was included in a tornado watch until 11:00 p.m. I checked the radar when I got home and found there was nothing to indicate a storm was imminent.

During the short time I was catching up on my daily reading on a handful of web sites, the radar screen rapidly changed from nothing of interest to “better take cover soon!”

That came up really fast. In the image, there is a marker indicating our home, southeast of River Falls. I figured there was plenty of time before the main event would get here, so I stepped outside to see what it looked like in real life.

The change in atmosphere from when I left the workplace to when I walked out the door to look at the sky was remarkable. The dew point temperature had soared to a tropical 70° (F). The air temperature was in the high 70s.

I don’t know how much the sudden return of warmth might have contributed, but yesterday also happened to mark the return of our annual Asian beetle infestation. It is striking how specifically the environment changes in a single day, going from nothing at all, to thousands of bugs swarming all at once.

Somewhere nearby, a soybean crop has been harvested from the field, triggering the mass migration of beetles to some source of water and shelter.

Getting out in the air provided a feeling that there was more than enough fuel for a rip-roaring thunderstorm, but the reality I encountered didn’t look bad at all yet.

It was actually a serene scene of calm horses in front of a backdrop of fall colors in the trees. Low clouds were sweeping by at a pretty good clip, mostly obscuring the higher and darker wall of the approaching storm.

A short while later, while we were eating dinner, the sky opened up to dump an inch of rain in a relatively short-lived outburst. Oddly, there was little in the way of lightning and thunder. Maybe it was moving by too fast. The sky turned a little green, but that was probably more a function of the low angle of the setting sun than it was the measure of threat from the storm.

It didn’t even blow that hard during the peak. That actually came later. Once the storm had passed, the sky cleared, stars shined bright, and strong gusting winds blew in to fill the void.

It was just another day where the weather served up the equivalence of several days of action –or several seasons even– all in a single afternoon.

We measure that in WPMs around here. That is, Weather Per Minute.

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Written by johnwhays

October 4, 2018 at 6:00 am

Getting Cold

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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.

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Written by johnwhays

September 30, 2018 at 10:09 am

Woods Changing

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Fall has arrived and it sure feels like it outside this morning. There is a distinct chill in the air, despite the ongoing global warmup occurring.

Well before the fall landscape color palette changes from green to red/orange/yellow, an inside view reveals the impending change.

There aren’t a lot of leaves on the ground yet, but there is a definite thinning of foliage going on. Delilah and I were traipsing along the soggy trail yesterday when I took the above picture. Times like this bring great appreciation for the “boardwalk” we envisioned in one of the swampy spots of our trails. It is an ongoing installation of blocks I remove from shipping pallets I salvage from the day-job.

Once again, it is getting easier to leave the trail and bushwhack through our woods to explore rarely visited spaces. I think this may subtly contribute to a universal attraction people share for fall, along with the obvious colorization and comfortable dew point temperatures. The woods open up and provide easy accessibility.

Friday night the easy access seemed to invite a noisy visitor to the grove of trees just beyond our house. Delilah spends many precious minutes every day barking in response to the sound of neighboring dogs miles away. Friday, that neighboring bark came from darkness just beyond the reach of our flood light.

Oddly, Delilah felt no need to respond, although she took great interest in our sudden fascination with the mysterious trespasser outside the back door. My guess was the stray visitor had treed a raccoon, or squirrel, or turkey and was “shouting” at it.

Last evening, during our last big walk of the day, I let Delilah’s nose direct us off-trail through the woods along the many odd paths frequently traveled by a variety of resident critters.

I also put fresh batteries in the trail camera to resume monitoring the night life visiting the chicken coop.

It was a very quiet night there last night. No motion until almost 6:00 this morning, when a cat wandered past.

We took down the netting around the coop yesterday, making it easy again to clean the poop board, so maybe traffic will pick up with time. Not that we wish for that. I just see it as inevitable.

Inevitable like the end of summer growing season, which is marked by the first real overnight freeze. I’m in no particular rush for that, other than a desire to be done mowing the grass for another year.

With the woods changing noticeably, and the noted chill greeting us this morning, we sense the big freeze isn’t far off.

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Written by johnwhays

September 23, 2018 at 9:38 am

Little Scary

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Summer is going out with a bang this year. Tomorrow will mark the change to autumn already, preceded last night by a late season outbreak of severe weather that provided a little scare in our parts.

We were aware there was a chance for heavy weather, but after a couple of intense downpours, our concern lessened and we turned on a DVD movie up in the loft. Three quarters of the way into “Trumbo,” my phone went into alarm mode beneath us on the main floor. At almost the same time, Cyndie received a text warning us our area was about to get hit hard.

I shut down the movie and brought up the local television broadcasts to see what they were reporting. The radar image looked ominous enough that we decided to hustle down from the loft and switch the news on in the bedroom. My natural aversion to hiding kept us from going all the way to the basement, despite the advice of the weather broadcasters. I wanted to be able to see what was happening.

Locally, nothing worth noting was happening, even though the radar image made it appear the worst of it was just moving overhead. I put on boots to step outside, hoping get a better sense of what was really happening.

What was happening was, it had started to rain, so I closed the door and kicked off the boots. It finally changed from dead calm –the calm was actually more eery– to moderately windy. I never noticed a significant main gust.

While broadcasters talked about the possibility of tornadoes wrapped in the rain in very close proximity to our location, we only saw evidence of normal thunderstorm bluster with heavy rain in the barely visible evening light, occasionally illuminated for fractions of seconds by flashes of lightning.

It was scary for a little while, based on the radar image and warning messages, but we seem to have dodged any justifiably scary conditions.

Once we get out this morning in the light of day, we’ll have a better sense of whether we took the drama too lightly, or not. You can be assured I will have my camera with me, so I can share what we find, if there is any damage to report.

I’m hoping the brief scare we got last night was the worst that came out of summer’s last thunderstorm blast for 2018.

I’ll let you know.

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Written by johnwhays

September 21, 2018 at 6:00 am

New Data

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Upon further review, judges have amended the egg count total for Tuesday. Yesterday, I reported that Cyndie found six eggs. Last night she updated the count.

Turns out, Jackie had collected 2 eggs herself that day. The total has increased to 8!

So, there.

With all the news frantically shouting about the hurricane bearing down on the US east coast, those of us in the middle of the continent are enjoying very summer-like conditions. My drive home yesterday brought me through fields that are changing from the deep green of summer to hues of yellow and gold.

Navigating my way around the house in the mornings before work has returned to the dark ages, and the hour of closing the chicken coop at night has moved up to around 7:30 p.m., about an hour and a half earlier than just a short while ago.

Last night, a pack of coyotes whooped it up somewhere within hearing distance of our windows. It sounded very similar to the group yelping we heard the first year we moved here, after which we discovered the carcass of the 8-point buck in our woods.

The change of seasons makes life feel more adventurous. It’s adventure that I greatly prefer, compared to an ominous threat of once-in-a-lifetime, climate-change-amplified hurricanes looming large.

Counting my blessings while I have the luxury, and sending love to those facing the challenges of preparations for evacuations, wind damage, and flooding.

Hold on to your hats.

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Written by johnwhays

September 13, 2018 at 6:00 am

Labor Day

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It is a U.S. holiday today. I am going to take the day off. I still might get out and do a much-needed chore at home, but I don’t need to commute to the day-job today! Woot!

Here is a “Words on Images” first posted nine years ago. Speaks to this time of year…

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

September 3, 2018 at 6:00 am

A hint

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Walking up toward the house the other day, something new caught my eye. Can you see it?

Probably not. It’s subtle. How about if I zoom in?

It’s the leaves of the tree beyond the house.

Already?

They are showing the first hint of autumn color on our property.

Yikes.

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Written by johnwhays

August 13, 2018 at 6:00 am