Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘sunshine

Orange Spots

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The smoke from Canadian forest fires played havoc on both breathing and visibility yesterday. It also led to orange spots on the land.

Cyndie provided these wonderful shots of the way the sunlight looked as it speckled its way through leafy branches to reach the ground below:

I’m up at the lake for the annual “Golf Weekend” hosted by Cyndie’s brothers, Steve and Ben. I don’t golf, but I provide bicycling companionship to any of the guys who opt out of the afternoon tee times to do some trail riding in the woods.

We are hoping for less smoke today, even though it can make interesting design patterns when it filters the sunlight.

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Written by johnwhays

July 30, 2021 at 6:00 am

Like That

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Sometimes, between the choice of a soft, comfy bed and a hard floor…

…I’ve been known to choose the floor.

Bathed in warm sunshine, either location may prove to be a good choice for a little daytime snooze.

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Written by johnwhays

March 26, 2021 at 6:00 am

Warmth Visits

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We are enjoying a welcome break from the harsh depths of the gripping cold that commanded all attention for the previous two weeks. Cyndie said snow and ice sliding off the roof throughout the day created startling noises that jostled sensibilities. Delilah would react with equally startling barks of her own in response.

Walking our trails in the winter, one clearly experiences the dramatic influence the snowpack exerts in holding the temperature down. Think: walking the frozen foods aisle in an otherwise comfortable grocery store. There is a noticeable chill. Walking our trails in the winter when the air temperature rises above freezing is like walking on a refrigerated carpet.

The cold radiates up from below, overcoming the natural order of cold air falling low.

The two pictures above were captured by Cyndie on Saturday as we drove to Pepin. The bottom one could almost be interpreted as being over water instead of the snow that was really there.

Or, maybe that just a reflection of my response to the visit of this February thaw.

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Written by johnwhays

February 23, 2021 at 7:00 am

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.

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Written by johnwhays

February 20, 2021 at 10:24 am

Relief Comes

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The temperature climbed above zero (F) yesterday. Given the reference point of the biting cold that we have been subject to for the last couple of weeks, stepping out into the February sunshine felt remarkably comfortable. Warm, even. Though it really wasn’t.

Just a little relief from the hunched clenching posture we and the chickens have been maintaining opens up a surprising amount of renewal in mind and body. Rocky and the hens were taking full advantage of the sunny wall on the end of the barn where we clear the snow for them.

Cyndie said the yellow Buff Orpington visible in the background of the image was digging in to take a little dust bath.

In a crazy coincidence of timing, Cyndie sent me a text about how big the icicle had grown from the corner of the barn roof. I suggested she knock it down proactively to avoid it falling unexpectedly. By the time she arrived to tend to the task, it had already fallen on its own.

Apparently, the frozen stalactite sensed our plan just as we were hatching it and took matters up with good old gravity to save us any extra trouble.

I struggle to reconcile a mixture of glee and guilt over the relative good fortune we are enjoying compared to the weather much of the rest of our country is suffering. The extreme cold we have dealt with is something we have lifetimes of experience and knowledge to cope with, while the cold and snow disrupting life in Texas and beyond is bizarrely out of the ordinary for them.

I feel for the hassles they are dealing with while also being grateful we have been spared a similar level of calamity.

May the southern states appreciate how quickly their climbing temperatures will melt the uncharacteristic amounts of snow that have fallen on them as we endure the typical long, slow transition from winter to spring our latitude abides.

Either way, relief does eventually come.

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Written by johnwhays

February 17, 2021 at 7:00 am

Weather Gift

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What a gift of a day we enjoyed yesterday. Under a late February blue sky, the temperature climbed to a spring-like warmth that allowed coat-less frolicking in the great outdoors. And frolic, we did.

I let Delilah lead a romp through our woods following any animal trails she chose. She was not discerning in the least about the tangled routes she pursued, leaving me to duck and weave my way through a maze of branches which she navigated with ease. It was the depth of snow among the trees after leaving the trails that complicated her progress.

It could be that she got enough of a workout from the deep snow to appreciate the number of times I asked her to pause and wait while I took some pictures. There were fabulous shadows on display that I found particularly captivating, despite my being unable to successfully record most of them.

Most of the time, because of the angle of the brilliant sunshine, positioning myself for a photo of the interesting shadows obscured the scenes with the appearance of my own shadow.

At one point, just as I pressed the button on the camera, Delilah moved her position such that the shadow from her leash appeared right across my shot.

This shadow-print of the rachets on the fence wires came out pretty true to what my eyes saw.

It was an exceptional treat to have such warmth so soon after days of biting below-zero cold. It’s not even March yet and weather like yesterday has given me a strong dose of spring fever.

Hopefully, I won’t regret starting with that thought so early this year.

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Written by johnwhays

February 24, 2020 at 7:00 am

Weekend Recharge

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I chose not to do battle with the elements over the weekend and spent most of my time inside where it was warm and dry. Our region received three very similar days of intermittent mixed precipitation, chilly temperatures, and strong gusts of wind.

Even though much of what fell came down as snow, the most that ever collected was a thin frosting on some leaves. It didn’t last very long.

My biggest accomplishment for the last three days was practicing a massive dose of rest and relaxation. I didn’t do any intentional meditation, but I came close to achieving a vegetative state several times. The fine art of doing nothing, if you choose to perceive something along the lines of charging a battery as nothing.

I recharged my battery.

For much of the time, I had a companion in Delilah, who has an upper respiratory ailment and laid low recuperating her health. After two days of meds from the vet, she perked up noticeably yesterday. Her joyful energy was comical for the amped-up intensity. It was as if she was trying to make up for being so droopy the previous two days.

By the end of the day, the clouds were breaking up and exposing splashes of sunshine, which always does wonders for energizing man and beast.

It has me feeling ready this morning for the week ahead.

Happy Monday!

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Written by johnwhays

October 14, 2019 at 6:00 am

Downright Summery

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Warm, sunny days have been few and far between this spring, which makes yesterday special, relative to the competition. It was almost hot, at times, and there was enough sunshine to get burned, which I did a little bit, after sitting on the deck with our visiting friends, Jeff and Renee. We celebrated Jeff’s birthday with some berries over Cyndie’s homemade pound cake slices, and a lesson in the cribbage board-game, “CrossCrib®.”

Out of respect for those who were on the wrong end of an overwhelming scoring feat of 31-0, I’ll let the losers remain anonymous, but Jeff got a sweet birthday present in the win and I enjoyed the perk of being his partner.

Seeing our guests roll down the driveway on their motorcycles was inspiration for Cyndie to pull her convertible out for a thorough polishing, while I assembled and installed the pump and filter in our landscape pond.

I found Cyndie very agreeable when I suggested we celebrate my waterfall accomplishment with a convertible ride to the nearest Dairy Queen for a treat.

The buds on trees are hinting that leaves aren’t far off now, and we drove past several lawns being mowed for the first time, marking visible milestones in this year’s hesitant transition out of winter. Walking Delilah across the hill of our back yard, I quickly discovered our grass is definitely in need of a trim, too.

After a melty ice cream treat, Cyndie got us home just in time to turn on the 145th Kentucky Derby horse race and see a historic ending. In a first for the Derby, the first horse to cross the line in the muddy slop was not the official winner.

After race stewards reviewed the running, they disqualified Maximum Security for interference, bestowing the victory on 65-1 long shot runner-up, Country House.

The first leg of the Triple Crown is in the books. Can summer be far behind?

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Written by johnwhays

May 5, 2019 at 8:40 am

Solar

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

March 4, 2019 at 7:00 am

Good Friends

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While clearing snow off the deck to allow full access to the grill and make a path to the wood shed, I spied our sunflower over the railing. It obviously looked a little worse for the wear, but seeing it triggered welcome memories of summer.

We needed more wood because our weekend plan involved hanging out with friends around the fire. It was even foretold in a fortune that appeared in a cookie Cyndie and I split.

Why, yes, we will! And we were! George and Anneliese came yesterday to spend the night. Cyndie cooked up a meal of grilled pork chops with pineapple that seemed to echo summertime more than it did the depth of winter we are currently enduring.

Yesterday’s fresh five-inches of sugary powder snow fell with heavy intensity for most of the afternoon. Today dawned a picture postcard perfect snowy landscape.

Last night, we mostly ignored the snow and celebrated joyful memories of the months George and Anneliese lived in our basement. The boys pulled off a come-from-behind victory in CrossCrib and Anneliese won the nightcap card game of Bikini, like she always seems to do.

At a time when Cyndie and I are contemplating significant changes to life here, it was extra special to have a chance to relive some of the precious times we have enjoyed along the way.

Good friends are an essential part of most of our best memories, aren’t they?

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Written by johnwhays

March 2, 2019 at 10:05 am