Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘snow

Dramatic Improvement

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Yesterday’s snowfall was a dramatic improvement over the first two plowable events we’ve experienced so far this season. Just ten days ago I posted about how yucky it was after receiving rain for a few hours before the storm changed to snow. Trying to plow that mess was a miserable experience.

I’d almost forgotten how good it is to clear dry snow. Last night the Grizzly ATV worked like magic again, plowing away the snow with ease. The snow conditions make a world of difference when it comes to clearing all our driving lanes and selected walking paths.

By the time I was done, instead of coming back into the house tired and frustrated, I was feeling a little giddy with excitement over the perfect conditions. I almost wanted to find something else to clear, but dinner proved to be a more enticing option.

In the middle of yesterday’s falling flakes, Cyndie captured a new shot of the snow slide on the hay shed. I was surprised to see how much of it was still holding together, even though the left side had started coming apart.

Cyndie and Delilah made me jealous after I heard Cyndie’s description of their coming upon an owl while they were walking one of the trails in our woods.

She wasn’t sure about it at first, as the large bird swooped away from them and settled upon a branch overhead. Cyndie guessed it might be a hawk. Then, that telltale rotation of the head gave it away as the owl twisted to look in their direction.

Delilah hadn’t followed the flight with her eyes so was oblivious when the noble hunter chose to perch above them, but Cyndie’s posturing to take the picture was enough to clue her in.

The owl must not be all that wise because Delilah’s rushing toward the tree scared it off, even though the threat was meaningless from down on the ground.

In the low light of dusk, all that showed up in the image was a dark blob up in the branches.

I don’t remember where I read that the presence of owls is an indication of a healthy forest environment, but the idea stuck with me. Many symbolisms about owl sightings align with either good fortune or a bad omen, so we could go either way with that.

I’m choosing to focus on the probability that it is our vibrant, healthy forest that attracted the owl to visit.

With luck, that predator is helping to control our mouse and mole populations.

Having fewer moles ravaging our yard spaces would be a dramatic improvement in the summer season. It always amazes me to find tracks in the snow from mice and moles when the temperatures are cold and the ground frozen solid.

Now I’ll watch for owl-wing feather streaks in the snow, too.

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Written by johnwhays

December 10, 2019 at 7:00 am

Another Slide

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On a little different scale from the big snow on the roof over the shop door, yesterday the snow on the hay shed started the slow slide. It’s a little less dramatic, but I find it fascinating to look at nonetheless.

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It will be replaced in no time. Snow today will muck up my commute and replace what just slid off our rooftops.

Over the weekend, I spent some time clearing snow from around the edges of the driveway and around the hay shed and barn, partly because I neglected to do it sooner, and partly in preparation for today’s snow.

The machines are parked and ready for however many flakes show up.

I just need to make it home from work in order to plow. On the other hand, if I decide to stay at work instead, there’ll be plenty of fresh-baked Christmas cookies to eat for dinner. Cyndie sent me off with a generous platter to share with everyone.

You think there will be any left by the end of the day?

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Written by johnwhays

December 9, 2019 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Gravity Wins

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The results are inevitable. The outcome, predictable. The slow slide to earth is a matter of constant change at an imperceptible pace. One day it’s there, the next it’s not. Eventually, the scattered pile melts and all will be forgotten. That is, until the next big snow.

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It was fun while it lasted.

The Wintervale bear mascot was there to witness the whole thing but never changes its expression. Permanently thrilled. Can you blame him?

Ideally, the bear would be holding a “perfect 10.0” score placard.

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Written by johnwhays

December 7, 2019 at 10:02 am

Other View

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‘Twas the day before the US Thanksgiving, and I’m already home from work. Why? SNOW DAY! Hello, to the first big snow event of this season. All day long yesterday the specter of this looming winter storm hung heavy in the air at the day-job. The dramatic potential was all over the news as the weather service warning covered a multitude of states across the heartland of our country for the day before the national holiday.

Staff started making decisions based on the likelihood of the coming weather disruption, which meant moving some actions up a day and delaying others until next week. Compounding anxiety over the weather was a moderate epidemic of ill health making its way through the workplace.

More than one person decided in advance to stay home today, myself included.

In the hour-long commute home yesterday afternoon, I vacillated between an impression from the heavy gray sky of near-immediacy for the flakes to start falling, compared to another view where the clouds were thin and it seemed almost sunny. The differing views noticeably altered my mindset.

It reminded me of a discussion earlier in the day over the impact our minds have over framing how were are feeling when “under the weather” with illness. Personally, I am inclined to whimper at home with Cyndie when I get sick, lamenting over how critically ill I must certainly be, despite my belief that mentally willing myself to feel better holds more power to improve conditions for me, as well as those around me.

All that needs to happen is a change in how I view things. Imagine if citizens would allow themselves an open mind to view societal issues from an alternate perspective to see how they fit into an ethical and loving framework. What would it be like to be able to engage in a constructively curious dialog with someone who holds an opposing view about important issues?

Conversely, think about how we constrict ourselves when confining our news and information feeds to a narrow array of sources backed by specific corporate interests. No single view holds exclusive rights to absolute correctness.

The weather, our health, the economy, our democracy… all of these look different depending on how we view them.

We would all do better if more people made an honest effort to view these issues from a loving perspective that is not based on fear.

Today, I am going to view all the snow that is falling with an attitude of awe for the transforming beauty it brings to our otherwise barren forest landscapes. I’ll also be viewing the snow from the seat of our Grizzly ATV while pushing it off and away from our driveway.

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter at Wintervale…

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Written by johnwhays

November 27, 2019 at 7:00 am

Afternoon Survey

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After work yesterday, I took Delilah for a walk to survey the grounds for the first time since Wednesday morning’s snowfall. There is a combination of areas where the snow has melted in the sun and spots where most of the accumulation remains.

There is evidence the chickens are moving around in the woods but when I found them they were clustered beneath the coop, most of them perched on only one foot. There were two eggs in a nest box that were probably on the verge of freezing.

The back of the barn looks like we’ve hung fake icicles as decoration, but these are all real.

In the woods, we didn’t find any new evidence of buck activity, but there is still a big scrape on the ground along one of our trails that hint of a decent-sized set of antlers. Last week, Cyndie found a hoof print that was almost half the size of her boot, so maybe both came from the same big fellow.

There is enough snow remaining on the trail to make it easy to spot fresh tracks if we get any more activity. Someone has been parking across the road from us and bowhunting in our neighbor’s woods. It is highly likely that any deer moving across our property will also travel through those woods.

The gun season doesn’t start until the 23rd in Wisconsin this year, so we’ve got a couple of weeks before we start seeing blaze orange-clad hunters traipsing around the neighboring properties.

At that point, I intend to refrain from doing a lot of surveying of the far reaches of our property for a while.

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Written by johnwhays

November 8, 2019 at 7:00 am

Baking Adventure

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Both Cyndie and I have noticed how the lighter color of the new deck boards catches our eye with a false perception of snow covering the deck, especially at night. It happened to me last night, on a trip to the bathroom, except on the way back to bed, the view out the window revealed a white covering over everything.

This morning there is a light frosting on the landscape. Sure is nice to have the deck project completed.

We’ve adjusted by moving our adventures indoors. Cyndie’s favorite bakery in Hastings, Emily’s, prepares an almond danish coffeecake that has inspired Cyndie to try making one herself. My contribution was to build her a fire in the fireplace and standby to test taste.

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I am happy to report her first try of enacting a combination of old recipes uncovered online turned out delicious. Cyndie said one she found was posted by a very old-looking grandma who wrote the recipe had come from her grandmother.

It felt like olde-time baked goods. It tasted like historical goodness. Almost made me want to have coffee with it.

But I don’t like the taste of coffee. That would have been a real adventure for me.

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Written by johnwhays

November 2, 2019 at 9:47 am

October Snow

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I’d like to act all surprised over all the snowflakes flying this early in October, but we’ve had so many days of warnings this was coming that it’s something of a feigned surprise.

How can there be global warming? There is snow falling in October!

For those of you who think this way, go talk with the people suffering more wildfire calamity in California today or any of the record-breaking typhoon/cyclone/hurricane intensities over every ocean on the planet with each successive formation.

I’m sure these incidents and all the melting glaciers and polar ice are just a coincidence.

I grabbed a screenshot of the Weatherbug radar image with our location southeast of the Twin Cities showing the spread of falling snow from Buffalo to Beldenville.

The wintery weather has me thinking I should have already blown out the water line to the labyrinth and drained all of our garden hoses. Cyndie reported the water for the chickens was frozen this morning. At least she had already installed the plexiglass window panes over the metal hardware cloth in each of the openings earlier this week.

It’s probably a good thing the Twins got booted from the baseball playoffs so they don’t have to play games in this kind of weather.

We’ve got a fire in the fireplace and I am gazing out at the deck collecting flakes with trees full of leaves as a backdrop. It makes me think of a certain Halloween blizzard (1991) for the drastic cross-mixing of fall and winter.

Of course, I also have a vivid memory of the Halloween night it was so uncharacteristically warm I went for a long bike ride to enjoy the late taste of summer.

Luckily, today our location won’t get much in the way of an accumulation from this system, but it definitely serves as an attention-getter for what lies ahead.

Much as I love winter weather, I’m in no hurry to get there this year.

It would be so nice to have time to actually finish the deck resurfacing project before snow shows up for good.

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Written by johnwhays

October 12, 2019 at 10:10 am