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

Posts Tagged ‘shedding

Shedding Season

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The hours of daylight are changing noticeably, but there are other ways the change of seasons is becoming obvious lately. When we step outside our doors there is an interesting series of sounds coming from our giant oak trees. Are they shooting at us? No, it is just the pinging and slapping of acorns strafing the land.

It’s best to wear a stiff hat if you will be spending any time beneath the oaks this time of year. Oh, and walking on the lawn under the tree outside the front door is like navigating shag carpet with a giant Lego® set spilled across it.

While the trees are shedding acorns, our Belgian Tervuren is shedding her fur.

It seems counter-intuitive to be shedding in the fall, but in order to grow the winter coat, dogs will lose the lighter summer coat. Delilah is one of the breeds that have a double coat, with an undercoat of short, wooly hairs beneath the top coat of long hairs, so the shedding is a bit more obvious.

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So, around here this time of year, it’s not just acorns making a mess on the lawn.

Yeah, I wish it was just the lawn where the mess occurred. Delilah spends more of her time in the house, so you can imagine what our floors are looking like lately.

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Written by johnwhays

September 15, 2019 at 6:45 am

Clutter Rearranging

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With the weather finally making a turn for the better, yesterday Cyndie spoke about possibly cleaning up in the garage to find gardening tools. The May labyrinth Peace Walk is only two weeks away, and she wants to trim back the winter-kill on the plants before the big day.

I spent the morning rearranging the gigantic winter manure pile in the paddock, while she brushed the shedding horses as they munched hay. They are definitely ready to be done with their winter coats.

I hope that means they know the cold temperatures are done for the season.

After lunch, we started poking around in the garage. One thing led to another and pretty soon we found ourselves into a full-fledged spring cleaning effort. The kind that uncovers boxes of things that haven’t been touched since we moved in.

I finally got around to sweeping sawdust off the yard tools stand which had been there since 2014 when we had carpenters build the storage room in our basement. That’s four years of not bothering, for those keeping score.

They did the majority of sawing in the garage, and everything got covered in dust, but that tool stand was right in the line of fire and was buried. With all the rakes, shovels, pruners, loppers, and brushes hanging on the portable stand, the sawdust was deemed harmless and not worth the time.

My Achilles heel of order happens to be flat surfaces. After much of the garage clutter had been pulled out and sorted, Cyndie took advantage of our momentum and went after the workbench in the back corner that is a catch-all to a monumental degree.

Old fluorescent light bulbs, some associated fixtures, screws and brackets left over from purchased assemblies, a broken staple gun, boxes, bags, gloves, old shoes, metal rulers I didn’t know I had, an electronic work light I don’t remember.

It’s great to dig into all of this stuff, but the questions that lead to things landing on that flat surface in the first place still remain. Do we throw away or keep? If we keep, where to put it that will be of any value to us in the future? If we throw, how to dispose of the electronic or hazardous items than can’t go in our weekly trash bin?

Unfortunately, way too much of the stuff that we cleaned out of the garage yesterday made its way down to the shop, where the flat surfaces are now doubly cluttered.

The house garage now looks pretty nice, but it wasn’t really a great clutter busting effort in the end.

It was clutter rearranging.

But it’s a start.

We need to go prune some plants in the labyrinth. The shop clean up will be a project for another day, hopefully sooner than in four years.

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Animal Progress

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Things are progressing nicely with both our horses and our new chickens. This time of year, the horses are in the process of shedding their winter coats. Yesterday, while I was cleaning up the paddock, Dezirea made several attempts to use me as a rubbing post for her forehead. I was a little surprised to see she still had her white blaze because my sleeve looked like it had received a full transfer of white hairs.

Legacy had rebuffed Cyndie on Saturday when she brushed out the rest of the herd, so she tried again at feeding time last night. He tolerated her efforts while munching the fresh hay she had just served. The ground was an eye-catching spectacle of white hair.

Maybe it is because of his light coloring, but it sure seems like he sheds a lot more than the other horses.

Meanwhile, the chicks are visibly maturing by the day. I was a little skeptical when Cyndie came in after a day to report they were much bigger, but sure enough, it was noticeable. Over the weekend they have shown significant progress in wing development. There are even a few first glimpses of tail feathers appearing.

I’m just happy we have succeeded in keeping all 10 alive thus far. Actually, Cyndie deserves all the credit. She has meticulously maintained their health with all the internet tools at her disposal, and a hair drier to fluff those little tail feathers after cleanings.

I’m chomping at the bit to get them out on the manure pile to eat bugs. The flies are already active outside, so watching the chicks scratch and peck in the brooder is wonderfully inspiring.

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Written by johnwhays

March 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

Rinse, Repeat

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February is beginning to feel like a lot of the same thing over and over again for me. It’s all good, so I don’t want to complain, but I’m finding myself increasingly thinking that a little more variety in the weather would be nice. I need to be careful what I wish for, or I could end up facing the kind of epic weather that Boston has been enduring.

To keep things interesting, I have taken to purposefully trying to widen the trails Delilah and I walk everyday, by tromping down the edges on each side so it becomes about 3-times wider than just a single person walking footpath. Most places that is pretty simple to do, but out in the open the trail keeps getting obliterated by drifting snow. It’s like starting over each time when I run into drifts, and it packs down on top of the previous path, so the trail gets higher and higher instead of deeper. If you step too close to the edge, it becomes a dramatic drop through all the unpacked snow to a level much below the packed trail.

Delilah doesn’t like to walk in the drifts, so when we come to them she will move over to a nearby ridge and trot along easily as I bullheadedly try to forge my way straight through the deepest part. I’m sure we make quite a sight.

The later sunsets are becoming very noticeable now and even though it is still very cold, the added light seems to be enticing the animals toward shedding already. Information about Delilah’s breed, Belgian Tervuren Shepherd, suggests she should be brushed weekly, which I don’t come close to achieving. We prefer brushing her outdoors because it creates a blizzard of dog hair, but it isn’t much fun in the extreme cold.

I tried to do just a small bit inside, grabbing hair off the brush at every stroke, but soon the air flowing through our heat vents was carrying stray hairs aloft in spectacular numbers. One of those comical disasters.

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Can you see Legacy’s breath in the cold air?

Unlike this picture, the horses are currently wearing their blankets. I think Legacy’s blanket is really bugging him. I keep spotting him trying to scratch his itches and he hooks the blanket on everything possible, making it look like he is trying to rip it off. He rarely tolerates me putting hands on him, but the other day he leaned hard into my hand as I scratched his neck and chin for him. There was plenty of hair floating loose, so I think the horses are on the verge of changing their coats.

Other than issues of shedding, our routine is on repeat from the day before, and the week before that. Walk the dog, feed the horses, clean up after the horses.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

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Written by johnwhays

February 18, 2015 at 7:00 am