Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘trees

Another One

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We have been very lucky recently that the most violent of the stormy weather passing through our region has been missing us. Instead of 4 or 5 inches of rain, we have had 1.75 inches. Despite the wild panic Delilah has demonstrated over rumbles of thunder that occurred, no lightning strikes have hit nearby. Most worrisome for me over the weekend were reports of 70 and 80 mph wind gusts combined with golfball to baseball-sized hailstones crashing down.

That never materialized here. Still, for some strange reason, we continue to experience falling trees. On Saturday, I posted about the tree that fell on Friday, even though I wasn’t aware we had experienced any storm. By the end of that same day, there was another even bigger busted tree hanging across that same trail.

We didn’t hear that one, either.

It’s becoming an obstacle course to navigate that trail through the woods. Cyndie was away all weekend, so I respected our agreement to avoid using the chain saw when I’m alone and left the three downed trees across the path for the time being.

It’s probably only marginally safer to use the wood chipper, but I elected to work with that yesterday morning while I waited for the overnight dew to evaporate from the really long lawn grass. Mowing the lawn became the afternoon project.

The professional crew we hired to bring down that big oak that toppled, cut it up and left everything lay right where it was, which saved us a lot of money. Now I’m having second thoughts about those savings. Wrestling the branches to get them into and down the chute of the chipper is a real chore if the “Y” junctions aren’t trimmed.

It is a “pay me now or pay me later” process. I don’t want to spend time cutting every last branch, so I spend the time instead, trying to force the branches far enough down the chute to where the chipper will grab and break them.

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Most of the cut logs are so big I can’t lift them. They will get rolled downhill to where I can get them in the ATV trailer to be moved up by the woodshed for splitting.

The chickens seem to like scratching through the pile of wood chips. I have no idea what they were finding in there.

I will be very surprised if I don’t end up with a poison ivy reaction after that exercise. Right where I stood to feed the chipper, there was a known patch of poison ivy. I expect it was getting on the branches I was grabbing, it was probably getting atomized by the chipper, I was likely breathing it, and wiping sweat off my face with gloves that handled it.

I washed down thoroughly afterward, but time will tell whether I was being stupidly careless, or that my previous recent exposures with sequentially reduced reactions were an indication that my sensitivity is fading. I should know in a day or two.

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Written by johnwhays

July 22, 2019 at 6:00 am

Didn’t Hear

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If a tree falls…

We didn’t hear a thing, but there is another tree across the trail along our western border. I’m not sure there was even a storm that occurred here since that tree came down, although it was rather windy yesterday.

It was a hot wind for the most part, although the high dew point of 78°(F) caused enough sweating that the air moving across wet skin provided a nice cooling effect. I monitored the storm activity going on to the north all day yesterday, and witnessed some serious damage from hail and downed trees, but the thunderstorms never spread down to us.

I should be more thankful, but part of me feels like we missed out on a big shift of conditions that storms provide. Our temperature and humidity just quietly eased a little overnight. This morning the thunderstorm activity is sliding across just to our south, showing an outside possibility of reaching us before the day is out.

Apparently, Delilah didn’t hear or smell the deer that was laying about 10 feet off the trail this morning. She obviously didn’t see it, despite the rather obvious way the light brown color stood out against the dark earth and green foliage of the surroundings. I decided not to stop for a photo in order to allow this brave animal to remain in place as a reward for it trusting we were not a threat.

I offered a greeting as I passed and we continued on our way. I found it humorous that further along our walk along that perimeter trail, Delilah showed signs she smelled something of interest in the middle of our forest. Her behavior conveyed, “Hey! There are deer in there! Can I go see them?”

Too late now, pooch.

We had a date with the chicken coop to open the hatch and clean the poop board.

I’m pretty sure the hens heard us coming. They started up a chorus of pleas to be freed for a day of free-ranging bug feasting.

I was more than happy to oblige them.

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Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2019 at 7:07 am

Standing Straight

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In the few moments between watching documentaries of the Apollo space flights and dodging thundershowers this week, I snuck down the hill to the fruit trees Cyndie planted beside the labyrinth to stand them back upright. Between the saturated ground, the high winds of thunderstorms, and now the added weight of some apples, the tallest tree was listing to about a 45° angle.

It’s a little difficult to separate the apple tree from the foliage behind it in that image, partly because the trees and vines in the background were attempting to swallow the tipping fruit tree so they would get all the sunlight.

Despite Cyndie’s efforts to sell anything that wasn’t permanently affixed to the barn, we still had some t-posts available for staking the trees. As soon as I attempted to pull the tree back to straight, it became obvious the tree deserved to have three points of support if I was going to do it justice.

I had only brought one stake with me, so I decided to see if I could make that work for the time being. As long as the wind only blows in one direction for the rest of the summer, it will be fine.

We had a near-miss last evening as the dew point temperature peaked at 75°(F) and the sky filled with a variety of water vapor versions as a cluster of thunderstorms slid by just to our south once more. Within minutes of the gust that rolled over us, the dew point dropped to 67°. The sky was spectacularly entertaining.

The 7-day weather forecast is offering hope for several days in a row of sunny skies next week, so just maybe the ground will firm up a bit and hold the roots in the preferred upright orientation. Although, giving it further thought, at 45° it would be a lot easier to reach the apples come picking time.

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Written by johnwhays

July 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

Angry Skies

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When I opened the door to take Delilah for a walk yesterday afternoon, the sound of endlessly recurring thunder from the southern horizon instantly notched up her excitement to 11. She wasn’t sure what to do with the fact it didn’t end. The rumbles just kept rolling over, one on top of the other.

Our assessment of the tipped tree across one of the trails in the woods was akin to the old “We will rebuild” memes with a lawn chair tipped over post-earthquake.

Removal of this hazard will barely require the chainsaw, but that is not a complaint. Not by any means. I am thrilled this is the worst we suffered. The bigger tree leaning from the right side of that image is from our neighbor’s property and it was blown over in a previous storm. I will probably tend to that at the same time I get around to dealing with the little one across the trail.

It is wet enough around here again that the mosquitoes have become a nuisance that will make lumberjacking a less pleasant endeavor. There may be a rudimentary trim that happens in the short term, leaving the ultimate cleanup for more inviting fall-like weather in a couple of months.

The chickens were undisturbed about the angry sky rumbling almost overhead and came out of the tall grass to be sociable when I stopped by to pick eggs.

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The cut fields from last weekend haven’t even been raked into windrows yet. They just haven’t caught a break this summer for getting enough consecutive rain-free days to allow the grass to dry sufficiently for baling. It’s really sad to watch. I would really be suffering emotionally if we were depending on it to feed horses.

I can’t imagine how all the others who need hay are dealing with it this summer.

By luck, our fields were missed by the round of cloudbursts that moved past just to our south yesterday, but chances don’t look promising for later today.

The angry skies seem to echo the vibrations coming from my news radio covering U.S. politics.

Boy, do I miss blue skies, dry days, sunshine, and benevolent leadership.

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Written by johnwhays

July 17, 2019 at 6:00 am

Recovery Day

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After an incredibly full day on Saturday, yesterday was a blink of doing next to nothing and seeing the minutes on the clock disappear just as fast. I don’t understand how that works.

The morning dawned with a gusting wind just ahead of a very dark thunderstorm, which forced Cyndie and me out of bed to race around picking up things that had been left outside at the end of the celebration evening. Once things were in order, Cyndie offered me the choice of going down to open the coop and feeding the chickens or going inside to feed the dog and cat.

I felt like feeding Delilah and ‘Nita required less thought, so chose that option. Seconds later, the rain began to pour down. Cyndie got soaked.

Two storms moved over us yesterday, but neither seemed particularly threatening. However, after the second one, Cyndie discovered that the top of one of our big oak trees had snapped off and was tipped down across the shortcut trail to the barn. I refused to take a picture because there was no way I could capture the actual detail of what happened. It’s too big. There’s no angle to show the actual size. It’s in the middle of so many other trees you can’t discern which leaves are which.

That never stops Cyndie.

Dealing with that new calamity will have to wait. Yesterday I squeezed in a nap and slowly chipped away at rediscovering order and routine from the aftermath of Saturday’s big event.

Let’s relive a couple of fine moments again…

I knew that we would continue straight on that road, but was all too happy to pause while the details were confirmed. At least I didn’t call for a wrong turn at this junction.

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It was a very happy birthday celebration and it was a great honor to be able to share it with my treasured friend, Paul Keiski.

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Written by johnwhays

July 1, 2019 at 6:00 am

Too Tired

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My middle-of-June biking and camping week begins one week from today. I am looking forward to being able to ride first thing in the morning when I am fresh and surrounded by more than a hundred friends sharing the experience with me.

I resumed my forced preparation cycling yesterday after work, alone and exhausted before I even started. The good news is that my butt appears to be toughened up by last weekend’s riding. The bad news is that my 90-minute ride was far short in terms of preparation for the days and many hours I will be on the saddle in a week.

After the day of work and the drain of a long afternoon drive home, I was more interested in a nap than a ride, but I got out there anyway.

This morning, I am too tired to think and write. Here are a couple of images from my adventures up north last weekend to distract you…

I’m going back to bed to catch a few more winks of beauty sleep.

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Written by johnwhays

June 7, 2019 at 6:00 am

My Being

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I stood alone
among the trees on the hill
just outside the house
in the cold
for a moment
to look and listen
the great outdoors never disappoints
there is no fight for recognition
things just are
smoky wafts of breath rise with every exhale
resounding quiet slowly begins to yield tiny sounds
a titmouse
finch or sparrow
pecking the skin
of a nearby tree
a squirrel
moves in fits and starts
along a route
obviously used many times before
a breeze
rolls a crispy brown leaf
across the top crust of old snow
my being here
motionless
on a winter Sunday
has little influence on these woods
yet the land
the trees
animals
and breeze
imbue a universe of energies
that inspire
my being

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Written by johnwhays

December 30, 2018 at 8:15 am