Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘sky views

Hiking Afton

leave a comment »

A hike in the woods along the scenic St. Croix River is always good for what ails, especially on an uncharacteristically summery day in the second half of October in the greater Twin Cities. Even better, doing it with precious friends and sharing a picnic lunch adds a magical essence of energizing endorphins.

We met Pam and John at Afton State Park early enough in the day that a second layer with long sleeves helped to tide us over until the heat of a summer day settled in. Pam and I first connected on a group trek in the Himalayas in 2009, the one that served as inspiration for me to start this blog. The mixture of terrain in the park and the marvelous conversations yesterday sparked remembrances for both of us of the weeks we shared over a decade ago in Nepal.

Driving to the Minnesota side of the St. Croix river from our house, I witnessed a phenomenon in the sky that was a first for me. High winds had pushed some clouds 90° from flat to straight up. On an otherwise unremarkable-weather morning, such an anomaly in the sky seemed incredibly remarkable to me.

I can only wonder what that would have been like for a small plane if one were in the vicinity.

My drive home included a different kind of excitement in the sky in the form of smoke. Actually, I smelled it before I saw it and the instant impression I had was alarm over the possibility of a brush fire on this hot and windy day with the extremely dry conditions our drought has caused.

I had just come through River Falls and finally spotting the thickness and depth of the smoke served to heighten my level of concern. Then I came upon a bright orange temporary road sign indicating a “prescribed burn” in progress.

“In these conditions?!!” I thought to myself.

Cyndie and I had traveled in separate cars as she had overnight plans with a friend in the Cities and drove west from Afton after our picnic and I returned home to take care of the horses and Delilah.

A short distance after the sign, my anxiousness dropped significantly at the sight of an incredible number of strategically parked vehicles and some big equipment, indicating this was not some short-sighted amateur operation. Still, it seemed to me like the weather conditions would have given them reason to pick another time for such a risky endeavor. I have no idea what the purpose was for the burn at that location.

Enquiring minds would like to know.

Good thing for me the residual endorphins from the good time hiking and picnicking in Afton State Park with John and Pam survived that brief, smoky disruption to my serenity on the drive home.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 23, 2022 at 9:53 am

Interesting Cloud

leave a comment »

In many ways, the weather around here the last few days has felt rather November-typical and the sky has been a constantly changing mix of cloud types with intermittent moments of blue.

Yesterday, we saw what almost looked like the monster of all contrails.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Feel free to make up your own scary conspiracy story to explain what “they” are up to that created this spectacle.

It appeared close to the time the Omicron variant showed up in the world… Coincidence?

Um, in case you don’t know me that well yet, I’m poking fun at those who might actually believe the line above.

Regardless, doesn’t hurt (except maybe some people’s pride) to put on a mask if you are near a lot of other people.

Never mind to those of you who stormed the college football fields in Ann Arbor or Minneapolis yesterday. Hopefully, your euphoria will protect you from infections.

Big wins are soooo much fun in sports competitions. Way to go, Gophers!

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 28, 2021 at 11:03 am

Sky Colors

leave a comment »

We enter our third day of the current weather trend where rain is expected all day but comes in bands that are separated by reasonably agreeable conditions that don’t last long and end without warning. One minute it is actually a rather nice day and then, nope, it’s raining like crazy for a second but now it’s just a spattering drizzle.

During the week when I am occupied with the day-job, I rely heavily on the always interesting images that Cyndie captures while she is out walking Delilah or tending to the chickens. News is that our Rocky the Roo has become pretty frequent with his challenges to see if Momma is still at the top of the pecking order.

Cyndie has needed to conjure up her “bigger-rooster-than-you” posture and gestures to convince Rocky that he doesn’t want to mess with the humans in charge. I sure hope our lessons will translate to include all other humans who come to visit, as well.

I wonder if Rocky let out a hearty morning crow for this sunrise Cyndie captured.

The rain has quickly transformed the color palette of our landscape toward a much greener hue. In addition to the burgeoning buds on branches, the areas of mowed grass are looking almost summer-like.

The real feature of this last shot, though, isn’t the green grass. It’s the fabulous light from above Cyndie captured highlighting that billowing cloud.

I really, really hope we get a few breaks in the rain this morning like the ones in these pictures because my Ritchie® automatic waterer installer told me last night that he would stop by in the morning and that’s the closest I’ve come yet to getting him to commit to an actual day and approximate block of time since I first requested his assistance two or three weeks ago.

When the source of skills and knowledge desired is also a really like-able guy, it is easier to endure the anguish of waiting for him to eventually get around to it, but it sure tests a patient man’s patience. I will be exceedingly happy when (and admittedly, if) he shows up.

Maybe I’ll have time to take pictures of an interesting sky while I’m down there eagerly waiting in a couple of hours.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 9, 2021 at 6:00 am

Morning Sky

with 2 comments

The sky that morning before the horizon rolled over to expose the sun showed no intention of revealing what kind of day lie ahead. 

It’s as if the view was just one more manifestation of another pandemic mask.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 2, 2021 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , ,

Same Night

leave a comment »

I am so lucky that Cyndie offers me pictures she took and allows me to post them here. She created some wonderful art out of two very different sky views on Wednesday night. I’m jealous. Her percentages for photographic success are much higher than mine lately.

It was a beautiful evening, but she has taken it to the next level with this combination. They look like paintings.

.

.

.

We are so blessed to have access to such incredible views every night.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 31, 2020 at 6:00 am

So Little

leave a comment »

There are days when I want nothing more than to be standing again in the high Himalayas gazing at surrounding peaks and the valleys between.

These days I find plenty of solace in the wide-open spaces of our rural paradise where the variety of skies provides endless fascination.

It serves to remind me that we are so little and the universe so vast.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 2, 2020 at 6:00 am

Garden Salad

with 2 comments

I didn’t expect it this soon after planting, but over the weekend Cyndie served up the first salad with kale and spinach from her garden. It was fabulous tasting, as well as a wonderful reward to be eating something she has grown right here at home.

Our other weekend meal was a last-minute decision to order take-out from our nearby destination restaurant, Shady Grove. We have not been to a restaurant since the pandemic outbreak and have only had pizza and Chinese takeout up until now. When Cyndie stepped in the door to pick up our haute cuisine food, she found she was the only person wearing a mask.

Hope the patrons weren’t all traveling long distances to congregate in close proximity for a couple of hours of conversation and food. We aren’t aware of any reported cases of COVID-19 in the immediate area and most of the people we have seen are responding with understandable casualness over the risks, but who knows what might arrive undetected with travelers from afar.

Interested in protecting those around us in other parts of our lives, we opt for not sitting inside with the rest of the unfamiliar folks and dine at home for now. Neither of us is very concerned about our risk of getting sick, but we each are very interested in not becoming an unwitting carrier who could spread the illness to her family or my coworkers.

When I was down in the woods on Sunday cutting up the latest of the fallen trees, I had a thought that we should probably be focusing on planting new trees to make up for all the ones we lose. Then I realized that we find uncountable numbers of new trees popping up every spring, to a fault. They show up everywhere, particularly noticeable in places we don’t want them. In our landscaping around the house, underneath preferred mature trees, and too close to buildings.

Nature plants more trees than we ever could. We just need to figure out how to manage them.

While writing about the salad and all the new trees sprouting, I thought it would be perfect to include an image of each. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of either. Instead, you get two recent versions of our sky overhead, one taken by Cyndie and one by me. Guess which one is from me.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

We’ve been blessed with a pretty good balance of rainstorms and warm sunny days. It has made for some pretty good progress in growing salad greens and baby trees.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

June 9, 2020 at 6:00 am

Not Blue

leave a comment »

The sky looked completely different yesterday, after the outstanding blue we enjoyed Friday. In the classic weather paradox of the north, even though it was cloudier, the temperature was warmer than the day before. The brain-freeze didn’t happen on Delilah’s and my morning walk around the property yesterday.

The elements provided a complement to the grayness in the form of white-flocked tree branches. The water vapor in the warmer air was crystalizing on one side of all the trees creating a temporary delicacy of landscape scenery.

It’s beautiful days like this that make the beautiful blue-sky days that much more spectacular! I’m grateful that I get to enjoy them both.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 1, 2020 at 10:23 am

Sky Views

with 2 comments

The sky has been treating us to a nice variety of cloud edges recently. Here are three I was able to capture that represent the range of views we get to enjoy while toiling away on our chores.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

According to the weather forecast, our blue skies are about to change to snow clouds. Cold and wet is a condition for which we move horses indoors to the shelter of the barn and their stalls. Thus begins the season of wood shavings added to the compost heaps, which significantly increases the volume of space occupied.

It’s also the season of plowing and shoveling snow, hauling firewood, and eventually, building igloos. Snakes disappear. Mosquitoes disappear. What’s not to love? In a couple of months, it will even be winter.

A very fitting season for Wintervale Ranch.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 26, 2017 at 6:00 am