Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘spring

Lucky Eight

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It is such a treat to open the access door to the nest boxes in the afternoon and find fresh eggs. Our lucky eight surviving hens seem as happy as can be with the hints of spring that have flashed for brief moments between blasts of foul weather. Yesterday, they rewarded us for their good fortune by providing the maximum eight eggs.

The chickens are a far cry from having horses, but they are now the primary distraction filling the horse-energy void. The warm, sunny day yesterday had them actively scouring the grounds in a circuitous, wide-ranging meander.

I generally walk Delilah in a direction away from where the hens happen to be hanging out, but it gets harder to do when they are moving around to so many places, in so quick a span of time.

The dog and I made our way to the high spot by the driveway and messed around in some of the last remaining dirty snow.

She likes to rub the sides of her snout in the snow to scratch a nagging itch. The cold temperature is probably soothing, as well.

We are headed for a run of days with temperatures above freezing, so the rain moving in will likely finish off the dwindling patches of snow that have lingered. Hopefully, Delilah won’t switch to rubbing her face in the mud.

Cyndie is flying to Florida for a few days again this week, so it falls on me if Delilah needs extra grooming. My methods tend to involve avoidance of hazardous areas, to ward off the need for putting in any extra clean up effort.

Our walks yesterday were strictly confined to areas where mud was at a minimum, but that worked because there happened to be a few areas that weren’t soaking wet. That ends as soon as the rain arrives.

She may end up confined to the driveway pavement for the next few days.

At the same time, since it’s not supposed to be freezing overnights, I could always pull out the kiddie pool. Yet, I’m just a little hesitant about testing fate like that, because with my luck, that might trigger another spring snow storm.

You know, I think the chickens are actually easier to tend to than our dog.

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Written by johnwhays

April 17, 2019 at 6:00 am

Doors Open

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Despite the strong spring wind roaring around outside yesterday afternoon, we opened both doors to the deck to let a few hours of fresh air into the house. Our weather finally switched from gray skies to blue, and the glory of spring and its infinite possibilities was radiating with vivid pizzazz.

Not to be a Debbie-Downer or anything, but… Cyndie walked down to visit the labyrinth and found this:

The multiple-language peace pole was toppled over. Cyndie’s winged angel statue was face down with a broken nose. In the distance, my “third rock” lay on the ground beside the boulders that previously cradled it.

I’m developing a grudge over the good old month of April. In my opinion, we should just trash the sweet saying, “April showers bring May flowers.”

I suggest something more up-to-date, like, “April is [@bleepin’#] Crazy!!

As pleasing as the afternoon was yesterday, it is mind-boggling to accept the warnings coming from our National Weather Service of insane amounts of snow that will begin tomorrow night and last through Friday. One to two feet possible!?

April blizzards bring pleas of insanity.”

Sometimes i get so frantic, sometimes i’m schizophrenic

Plead Insanity | Wookiefoot; from Domesticated – The Story of Nothing and the Monkey, released September 12, 2000 © all rights reserved

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The squirrels seem to have kicked into overdrive on harvesting leftover corn cobs from the surrounding fields and bringing them onto our property.

I don’t understand their apparent fascination with plucking every last kernel off the cob and then leaving them lay where they fall. Maybe it’s like the human fascination with popping bubble wrap.

This is that weird field-corn that has a texture like hard plastic. It seems like it might rival the McDonald’s french fries for never, ever showing signs of decay, no matter how much time has passed since it fell under a seat in the car.

I’m wondering if the squirrels just keep trying to bite into each kernel, but drop it and move on to the next, hoping beyond hope that the next one might be like the corn their elders tell stories of eating when they were young.

Sound insane? It’s April, I tell ya!

They could be eating acorns, because there’s still plenty of those around from last fall. Although, now that I mention it, I suppose acorns could start to lose their appeal after endless months of nothing but.

April weather is like eating old, wet leather.”

It might be about to blizzard in April again, but we’ll re-open the doors soon enough. May is just a few blinks away, after all.

April isn’t all bad, it eventually ends.”

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Written by johnwhays

April 9, 2019 at 6:00 am

Slow Spring

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I was thinking about taking a little break off my feet to soak up the bright spring sunshine on our swinging bench in the front yard yesterday, but there is still an iceberg parked there, taking its merry time with melting.

Delilah barks
it’s a squirrel
she claws at the window
the squirrel is hopping around
Delilah has a conniption fit
I holler
it doesn’t do any good
after she calms down
I take her outside for a walk
there are no squirrels anywhere
just chickens
but she doesn’t notice them
why? I don’t know
selective noticing?
nonsense?
I vote nonsense
like spring
that is still cold
and has icebergs

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Written by johnwhays

April 1, 2019 at 6:00 am

Cold Lonesome

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It’s not feeling very springlike this morning. It dropped well below freezing last night and today dawned frozen like a rock. Cyndie is gone to visit her parents in Florida, so Delilah and I are in charge of caring for the chickens and Pequenita. Since Delilah is no help with either, I am pretty much on my own there.

The paddocks have become a lonesome place to pass. There are still a few piles of horse “apples” yet to be collected out in the farther reaches, but that will wait for some magical moment when it isn’t frozen solid, or so wet and muddy it’s impossible to navigate.

A neighbor posted a request for used T-post fence posts on our local online site, and we have some to spare, so Delilah and I spent time in the barn yesterday sorting out the ones missing anchor plates from those that have them, as well as culling a few that lack the quality of straightness.

Now they are laid out all over the floor in piles of five, something that we would not do if the horses were still here. It is freeing, but weird.

I also took advantage of having my music playing while I worked. We chose to avoid exposing our horses to the sounds of recorded music, so it was a novelty to be working in the barn with tunes on.

While we were tending to fence posts, I decided to begin dismantling the border that defined our arena space in a corner of the hay-field. Most of the posts are still frozen in the ground, but the webbing could come down.

It was beautifully sunny, but also cold and windy. Much of the work had me pulling my hands out of my gloves and soon my fingers grew so cold I started to lose dexterity.

Also, the plastic insulators weren’t very agreeable to being flexed open, so that didn’t help my cold hands any.

This morning, Delilah and I walked through the back pasture and reached the round pen, with its sloppy sand currently frozen, preserving the footprints of chickens. Only chickens.

It served to prod my lonesomeness for our horses.

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Written by johnwhays

March 31, 2019 at 10:17 am

Rehoming Horses

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In less than a week, they will be gone. Our three horses are returning to the home from which they traveled when they came to us back in the fall of 2013. There is an invisible gloom darkening the energy around here of late. It feels eerily similar to the dreadful grief we endured after Legacy’s death in January of last year.

Happiness still exists, we just aren’t feeling it much these days.

Cyndie spent hours grooming the horses yesterday. I found myself incapable of going near them. It’s as if I’m preparing myself in advance for their absence. This place just won’t be the same without them.

For now, we still have the chickens. With the snow cover receding, and hours of daylight increasing, they are expanding their range again, scouring the grounds for scrumptious things to eat from the earth. It is my hope that they are getting an early start on decimating the tick population around here.

After Cyndie said she picked seven eggs yesterday, I asked if we were getting ahead of our rate of consumption yet. Almost three dozen, she reported!

Spring has definitely sprung.

I walked the grounds yesterday to survey the flow of water draining from the melting snow. We are benefiting greatly from overnight freezes that have slowed the process enough that no single place is being inundated now. It was the heavy rain falling on the deep snow that led to the barn flood last week. We’ve had little precipitation since, and that has helped a lot.

There are a couple of spots where the flow has meandered beyond the modest constraints in place to facilitate orderly transfer, mainly due to the dense snow that still plugs up the ditches and culverts.

Water definitely chooses to flow the path of least resistance.

I can relate to that. It feels like our life here is changing course in search of a new outlet for our energy to flow. Part of me feels like there should be a rehoming of ourselves, except we have no home to which we would return.

In a strange way, it’s as if I am experiencing a similar avoidance of being with myself, like the way I couldn’t bring myself to stand among the horses yesterday.

If this is not the place where I belong, then I already don’t want to be here any more. Unfortunately, there is nowhere I’d rather be right now.

When buds pop, and leaves sprout, I will breathe in our forest air. That will help.

But it won’t be the same without our horses.

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Written by johnwhays

March 23, 2019 at 6:36 am

Launching Spring

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Continuing my celebration of reaching the milestone of Relative Something‘s tenth year, I found two previously posted Words on Images creations in the “Previous Somethings” which correlate nicely with this first full day of spring.

Happy Vernal Equinox (which happened yesterday afternoon at 4:58 p.m. CDT)!

After the weather abuses we suffered throughout the second half of this winter, reaching spring seems particularly worthy of special recognition.

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From May, 2018:

Buds

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From June, 2009:

Leaves

Words on Images - Leaves

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Not Surprising

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I received another weather warning on my phone last night. This time, it wasn’t about another round of plowable snow, but it comes as no surprise that they’ve issued a flood watch for our county. So, it’s out of the frying pan snow machine and into the fire hip waders for us this week.

Oh, joy.

We’ve got so much snow that our 3-board fence looks short enough in some spots that the horses could high-step their way over it. I think the only thing dissuading them from trying is the deepness of the snow on the other side.

We are due to get significant rain tomorrow and Thursday, without anywhere for it to soak in. There are bound to be a number of new rivers and lakes formed in the days ahead.

We’ll probably have the horses in the barn while it is raining, and the chickens will be given the option of venturing out at their own peril, but I’m not confident either of their structures will stay dry.

At least the coop is on stilts. The wood is shrunk from the dry winter air, so there are some gaps in places, I suspect, but it swells up nicely when it gets wet, so that just leaves drips from a few leaky screws in the roof panels.

The barn, on the other hand, is already suffering from areas that were once standing water that subsequently froze and rendered the two big sliding doors inoperable. More water on top of the old ice will not only make that situation worse, it will inevitably start flowing toward the lower ground available inside.

Thank goodness our house is at the top of a hill.

It is not surprising that they chose this spot on which to build.

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Written by johnwhays

March 12, 2019 at 6:00 am