Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘trail

A Narration

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One of our trails that DOESN’T need mowing.

While Cyndie was in the cities providing training for others this week, I was occupied with my usual duties at the day-job. Yesterday’s commute home was smoother than usual for me, probably related to the fact I’d left an hour early to get home and mow the lawn.

We are headed out-of-town again this weekend, only this time we will be visiting George and Anneliese in Princeton on the occasion of their matrimony. Have guitar, will travel.

That means I need to get the weekend projects done in advance.

The lawn was an interesting combination of shriveled brown remnants of grass and a thick green carpet of maturing crabgrass. More often that desirable, it was also a wicked source of dusty dirt sent airborne in an exploding cloud by the three spinning mower blades.

The weed growth sprouting from cracks in the old asphalt of the driveway had started to get annoyingly tall, so I even made a few passes down the middle of the pavement with the deck set as low as it would go.

At the same time, I had an insight that the miniature berms we built up around the uphill portions of the paddock fence line, do not need to be completely ignored by the tractor. With the deck lifted to the highest setting, I steered one wheel up on the high point of the ridge and rode along the length of it.

Whaalaa. It no longer looks entirely neglected. We usually use the power trimmer to cut those ridges, but over a long enough interval that the grass gets outrageously tall and looks absolutely neglected. Why didn’t I think of this before?

When all of our grass had been cut, I parked the tractor outside to be cleaned. A little compressed air did wonders on the layer of dusty dirt that was clinging to every surface. I blew it all airborne, one last time, where most of it had a final chance to end up clinging to my clothes and skin.

When I came in the house, Pequenita was so happy to see me, I thought she might give me a tongue bath.

It took a shower to scrub off the grimy silt that had coated my pores.

Cyndie arrived home with another glowing report of amazing experiences from her day. She was so amped up, especially for someone as fatigued as she was, her narration was delivered at top speed. It was cute.

Today, only two sessions to go for her, then we hit the road.

We are really looking forward to seeing George and Anneliese again, and we are excited to see their newly built home.

Walker Farms, here we come!

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Written by johnwhays

August 24, 2018 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Pallet Reuse

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You may recall that I built our chicken coop using wood predominantly gathered from pallets I salvaged at my workplace. Even though our coop is complete, the pallets keep coming. At the day-job, equipment arrives mounted to brand new pallets that the manufacturer doesn’t want returned.

I hate to imagine the wood pallets getting discarded after just one short shipping journey, so I continue to look for ways we can use them on the ranch.

One immediate need is in improving the footing on our trails where the surface is frequently such a muddy mess that you could lose a shoe if not careful.

The pallets I bring home from work have four blocks nailed on top which make it difficult to stack things on them, like bales of hay. Since that is a primary use for the pallets, my first project in reuse involves removing the blocks.

The pallets almost always arrive in sets of three, and my knack for procrastination plays out in a tendency to wait to remove the top blocks until some later time. Yesterday, being warm and sunny, turned out to be one of those later times.

Turns out our collection of pallets had grown to 15. That just so happens to mean 60 blocks, all power-nailed to the planks on the pallets. My right arm got a decent workout swinging the 3-pound hammer against the pry bar.

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Today we hope to extend the “paved” portion of muddy trail with the newly harvested blocks.

After that, the plan is to put up the temporary protective fenced courtyard around the chicken coop in preparation for the chicks first ventures out on real earth.

I wonder if a certain fox will be spying on us while we work…

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Written by johnwhays

April 29, 2018 at 10:09 am

Deer Crossing

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Our latest positioning of the trail cam has proved successful in capturing some deer traffic on —or across— one of our pathways. Snapped ’em coming and going. Based on the hoof prints we have seen, it was obvious there are some youngsters hanging around. While this spot appears to be a crossing point, the little one had altered course toward the camera in the wee hours of the morning.

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Written by johnwhays

May 26, 2016 at 6:00 am

Visiting Stray

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We came upon a stranger on the perimeter trail through our woods yesterday morning. Cyndie and I were walking Delilah when I spotted a dog facing us on the trail ahead. We paused and started a dialogue with the mutt, but I got the feeling he wasn’t hearing us. He simply stood his ground, no matter what we did, so I decided we shouldn’t approach.

We turned around and headed back in the direction from which we had come, which pretty much involved dragging Delilah sideways, because she did not want to take her eyes off the stranger.

By removing the pressure of our presence, the stray was able to let its guard down enough to turn its back on us and head off in the direction from which he had come. With that, we reversed ourselves again and followed to observe where he would go.

DSCN4107eAt our southern border, the visiting dog crossed under the old barbed wire fence and kept going on our neighbors property. We finished out our walk and then got the wood chipper hooked up on the tractor to grind downed branches into wood chips for the labyrinth.

While we were working, the stray dog showed up again, this time exploring around our house. I headed after him, trying to sweet talk him into letting us check out his tag, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

I went back to work, but Cyndie continued to try making a connection, eventually succeeding in getting a leash attached. The dog’s tag included an ID number and contact info for a local veterinarian. They checked their records and provided the name and a phone number for the owner. Cyndie left messages and then put the dog into Delilah’s kennel.

Eventually we learned the dog’s name was, “Blue” and he was very old, and hard of hearing. He had been missing from home since Wednesday night’s “Flash-Boom” event of a thunderstorm. He ran off to catch that booming invader, and ended up in our neighborhood a day-and-a-half later, over 2 miles from home.

By the way, it wasn’t until yesterday that I checked our rain gauge and found 3 inches to add to the 1.5 that Cyndie had dumped out Wednesday night.

Maybe Blue just floated here on the runoff.

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Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2015 at 7:00 am

New Incentive

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DSCN4060eThis time of year, when trees and bushes drop their leaves and we can suddenly see things in the woods that were previously obscured by greenery during summer, the number of standing dead trees becomes much more evident.

Last week, just to make the point more dramatically clear, one of them gave in and toppled over before I could get around to cutting it down for firewood.

It is giving me new incentive to get out and prune the forest of these potential threats to the health and well-being of those who may be traversing the path at such an unfortunate time.

Cyndie says she didn’t hear it fall, but noticed the startled horses running away and Delilah’s barking in reaction. I’m particularly happy that she hadn’t been walking the trail at that particular moment…

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Written by johnwhays

October 18, 2015 at 9:36 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Time

with 3 comments

Time

Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

October 8, 2015 at 6:00 am

Enticing Trail

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DSCN3997eDuring the transition of seasons we are rewarded with a mix of lingering green complimented by the new colors of changing leaves.

Golden sunlight bathes the distant slope on the far side of the shadowed tunnel through a short section of woods between the back pasture and our house.

It beckons the curious soul to investigate.

Now multiply that by 10, because all of our trails are equally enticing right now.

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Written by johnwhays

October 4, 2015 at 9:51 am

Posted in Chronicle

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