Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘solar energy

Morning Scene

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Our spell of extremely cold weather is slowly easing back to normal cold, with this morning’s wake-up temperature just a few degrees (F) below zero. That’s enough of a chill that the chickens were showing reasonable hesitancy about getting up and facing the day. Rocky and a few hens didn’t even leave the coop when given the chance after Cyndie opened the chicken door.

There was an uncharacteristic whiff in the air that something burned that shouldn’t overnight, but nothing in our line of sight showed any evidence of disruption. It’s a strange feeling to wake up so completely oblivious to significant activity that may have happened nearby during our contented slumber. It was too prominent a smell and spread over the large expanse of our entire valley to not have been something noteworthy.

The sky was cloudless and the air just thick enough that a thin coating of frost is covering our branches. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

The bite of the pre-dawn chill had many of our chickens looking to get their feet off the cold ground as they huddled in the corner where the sunshine will first arrive when it makes its way above the treeline. We’ve propped up a couple branches for their benefit. I noticed two of the Domestiques chose to balance impressively on one foot on the wobbly perch so they could keep the other foot tucked up inside their feathers for warmth.

I have a feeling the solar energy will warm the day in multiple ways today.

Don’t know if it will be able to do anything about the odd smoky smell, but it is definitely boosting the emotional outlook a good amount.

That’s how it goes after you’ve just endured weeks of epic deep-freeze temperatures.



Written by johnwhays

February 20, 2021 at 10:24 am


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Words on Images



Written by johnwhays

March 4, 2019 at 7:00 am

Evolving Perspective

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I do it every year. At the beginning of the snow season, when I plow and shovel snow, I take great care to maintain order. On the gravel, I lift the blade to avoid pushing rocks far into the grass, in hope of saving my mower blades extra abuse in the summer.

By the house, I pile the snow away from the swinging bench and brush the snow off the seat to create an inviting place to sit and watch the activities of birds and squirrels.

There is a reason for every decision, and order abounds.

By February, the importance of those decisions has shifted significantly, and the new focus is on moving snow at any cost. The rocks are an unfortunate consequence of the newer priority of just getting this snow out-of-the-way. The bench becomes a place to store snow, not a place to sit.

It is my perspective that has changed about what the value of these things are. I care about some details up to a point, and then I no longer care.

I had the ladder out yesterday, scraping the latest covering of blown and fallen snow off the edges of the roof. It’s a laborious effort, balancing on my arches on that narrow rung of the ladder, while holding my arms over my shoulders to maneuver the rake on the end of the three 4-foot aluminum pole sections. Back and forth, reaching up, pulling back.

While taking a pause to rest, I became mesmerized by the steam rising off the roof where the sun was heating up the dark shingles. It was well below freezing, yet that solar energy was melting the snow as fast as ever.

I pulled out my pocket camera in hopes of capturing the wonder of the phenomena that had so captured my fancy that I was happy to remain even longer on that precarious perch, soaking up the scene.

I have no idea how I also captured the corner of my sleeve. How did it even reach up into the frame? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

Notice how the impact of the angle of solar intensity is evident by the melt occurring on the right, versus the roof slope on the left.

Most of the year, I would fret over physical abuse to the shingles, but this time of year my perspective has evolved. I’m willing to drag metal across the granules of shingle in order to remove that insulating layer of snow that will create ice dams that lead to bigger problems.

I am not one to rigidly cling to a single way of seeing most things. Everything is always undergoing change, including my perspective.



Written by johnwhays

February 16, 2019 at 10:47 am

Nice Day

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Saturday was a pretty nice winter day on the ranch. Even the chickens –all three!– came out to enjoy the day. To celebrate, Cyndie raided the kitchen for some grapes to reward the occasion of the Buff Orpington venturing a distance away from the coop.

They even veered off the plowed paths into the fluffy white stuff, traveling interestingly close to tracks of an adventurous mouse. Was that coincidental?

I wonder if that little rodent knew who was lurking about when it scurried across the top of the snowscape.

On Friday, while I was splitting wood with Delilah leashed nearby, I spotted her flinch suddenly. Looking up, I caught sight of a beautiful bald eagle floating at a menacingly low elevation, just above the treetops.

I wasn’t too worried about Delilah, but I did wonder where the chickens were at the moment.

The horses appeared to be mesmerized by the warm December sunshine, spreading out and soaking up the solar energy with a contagious calmness.

In a switch from the situation last week, this time it was Legacy who was out in the hay-field all by himself.

We still think he is behaving uncharacteristically distant at times, but there doesn’t seem to be any unnatural anxiety showing from the herd, and periods of normalcy generally rule.

It was a beautiful day and we feel blessed with the luxury of simply enjoying it to the fullest.



Written by johnwhays

December 17, 2017 at 10:49 am