Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘trees

No Sound

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Was there a sound made when the large limb of one of our oak trees snapped and tipped to the ground sometime yesterday? Cyndie didn’t hear anything.

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Right now, I’m feeling inclined toward leaving it as it is. The upper portion is well above my lumberjacking abilities. Maybe after all the leaves are down it will become easier to assess the tangle of small trees that were victimized by the crash. I’ll gladly delay a decision on what to do until some time in the future.

Especially if it continues to make no sound.

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Written by johnwhays

July 28, 2021 at 6:00 am

Alive

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morning
at the lake
quiet
filtered sunlight
leaves
green
trees
woods
calm
energy
peace
tranquility
love
family
awaken
heartbeat
spark
breakfast
stories
eventually
opportunity
arrives
life
comes
alive

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Written by johnwhays

July 3, 2021 at 7:44 am

Really Dry

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There are places suffering a lot worse drought consequences than we are, but the impact of our moderate drought conditions right now are noticeable all around our property. In the nine years that we have lived here, I have only seen it approach this level of dryness one other time.

It gets a little nerve-wracking owning large animals when grazing land begins to dry up. So far, I’d say we have been pretty lucky. Our hay shed is stacked high with bales and our fields have plenty of growth left from May that the horses have only lightly grazed.

We are still hoping the neighbor farmer who previously rented our fields to grow hay will cut and bale the hayfield soon. The horses barely put a dent in the growth out there and it’s long past ready for cutting. I assume it has increased value to him given conditions, but his delay tending to the task has us wondering. (We just learned his equipment broke down but he’s got it fixed and hopes to make it out later today.)

I feel really lucky that so much of our surroundings are staying as green as they are. Out of the roughly 4 acres of grass I mow, only two spots have dried up to a dead-brown-looking crisp.

We do not water the grass around the house and both front and back are faring really well considering.

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I think a lot of it has to do with the surrounding shade that keeps the ground from baking as severely as open areas.

Now if the trees can just hold out long enough to outlast the dryness, the rest of our land might get by just fine.

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Written by johnwhays

July 1, 2021 at 6:00 am

Divided Passions

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I am torn between two worlds this morning. As thrilled as I am to be able to spend the next four days up at the lake for the Memorial Day weekend, I’m struggling over a great desire to remain home to tend the property, grow our bonds with the horses, and work on transitioning our chicks from the brooder to the coop.

When I got home from work yesterday, we decided to take advantage of the wet weather to transplant another pine tree. This one had sprouted just beyond the deck in a spot where there was little room for future growth. While we were pulling up the roots, Cyndie also extracted a fair-sized maple sapling, so we transplanted that, as well.

They are both visible in the image above, despite also being mostly obscured by a similar colored background. Our spontaneous decision to jump into the unplanned project swallowed up over an hour of time that felt like mere minutes had passed. Completing the transplants fueled a strong urge to get right back outside managing the explosion of growth everywhere on our property.

It will need to wait for another day. We are headed north this morning. Lake place, here we come! It’s been far too long between visits.

I hope the chicks won’t miss us too much.

We looked in on the Rockettes last night before bed and found them looking hale and hearty. Their wing feathers are coming along nicely. They are doing a fair amount of my favorite chick leg-stretch/wing-stretch maneuvers that look so yoga-like. Cyndie added a cover grate to their tub to keep the little test-flyers within the confines of the bin.

We want to move them to the big brooder in the barn as soon as we can move the Buffalo Gals to the coop. I expect that will be a project for when we get home on Monday.

Our current animal-sitter, Anna, a student in her last year at UW River Falls, will be tending to animals while we are gone.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be gung-ho about being away as soon as we hit the road, but I am definitely torn about wanting to be in both places at the same time. Too bad we can’t bring some chicks with us to the lake.

They’re just so cyoooooouute!

Go to the lake, John.

Okay, okay. B’bye!

Oh, and bring back more trillium when you return…

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Written by johnwhays

May 28, 2021 at 6:00 am

New Trillium

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This time of year the ground in our forests comes alive in response to the sunlight available before the leaves open fully to block much of it out. We have tried transplanting Trillium from the lake place in Hayward with hopes of establishing a thicket of self-expanding sprouts in the groves of trees closer to the house.

In the eight years we have dabbled with the project, the results have been a little anemic. Some seasons there have been encouraging numbers of flowers blossoming on the plants we relocated, but other years there haven’t been very many. During the first few years after transplanting, I was satisfied just to see the leaves show up in proof the plants were still alive.

Now I am more interested in finding some natural expansion of plants to offer some promise of achieving our goals. Just yesterday, Cyndie made an exciting find. Can you see it?

The interesting fact about that single flowering plant is that it showed up somewhere that we didn’t plant a batch.

Today we plan to audit the areas where we planted sets of three individual plants in little triangles to see how those are coming along. If they are flowering, it is easy to spot them. If not, the leaves can be easily overlooked among the variety of other ground cover thriving under all the sunshine temporarily available.

In a surprisingly short span of time, the forest floor will be predominantly shaded under the canopy of tree leaves that will be fluttering overhead.

Speaking of shade from trees, Cyndie also recently captured this image of a great shadow pattern of leafless branches from this young maple tree by the barn.

That view will be morphing very soon to a much less defined depiction of the branches.

The springing of spring is well underway. It makes the brief appearance of trillium blossoms all the more precious. Once the heat of summer arrives, the trillium tends to disappear from sight. At that point, hopefully, the colonies of rhizomes will be busy at work expanding under the leaf cover of the forest floor.

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Written by johnwhays

May 14, 2021 at 6:00 am

Late Frosts

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I am not a fan of below-freezing temperatures in May. If all we had to fret over were a handful of landscape flowers near the house that we could cover with a blanket, maybe I would feel more accepting of this little quirk of nature. My problem is that we have acres of trees with fragile new leaf buds that far exceed our ability to cover.

The other morning I steered Delilah to the labyrinth so I could pay a visit to the transplanted maple tree that is in its third or fourth spring since being relocated. The leaves didn’t look overjoyed with the briskness of the morning air, but they appeared to have dodged the freeze point.

I stood beneath to radiate my body temperature and warm the air around the branches. I talked to the leaves and blew warm breath all around them.

Cyndie’s new plantings weren’t all so lucky. She had just planted in the inverted stump the day before. Didn’t last long.

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The hanging plants seem okay, though.

I don’t know how much stress our unusually dry conditions for this time of year might be adding, but I wouldn’t think it helps any.

We seem to swing all too quickly from too wet to too dry conditions. Much as I complain when it gets overly muddy, I would be greatly pleased to get a serious soaking right now.

As long as it doesn’t happen during the hours when the temperature is dipping below freezing in the mornings.

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Written by johnwhays

May 12, 2021 at 6:00 am

Most Rewarding

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Planting trees is one of my favorite accomplishments. Yesterday, we transplanted a young pine tree that had unexpectedly sprouted near our front walkway where it had no room to grow into a full-size tree. There was a spot down by the driveway near the road where I had just removed a dead tree, so we chose that spot for the relocation.

This is another of the two-for-one tasks I am most fond of because we have removed a tree from a spot where it didn’t belong and we gained a new tree in a location that had just lost one.

Instead of both areas nagging at me every time I pass by them, each one now brings me new satisfaction.

Doubly rewarding!

Especially since the raccoon that I tried to chase from the tree out our front door reappeared Saturday evening. Two steps forward, one step back.

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Written by johnwhays

May 10, 2021 at 6:00 am

Watching Change

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How often do we notice that we are witnessing change? Consider the perspective that everything is changing all of the time. We are watching transitions and adaptations happen every single second.

This time of year, the metamorphosis of our dull brown forests from open branches to a thick fabric of green leaves is very easy to notice. The significance of the difference is truly dramatic to experience first-hand. One snapshot is entirely inadequate to represent the vastness of what is happening, but that didn’t stop me from deciding to take a picture of one moment when the early sprouts of green are just becoming visible.

It was a moment when I was witnessing the continued adjustment of our horses to their new home. I stood among them as they luxuriated in the calm comfort of our hayfield. Cyndie captured the view as it appeared to her from the driveway.

Meanwhile, major change is now underway in the pile of composting manure, as revealed by my thermometer.

The modifications underway that will transform this pile of shit into rich soil are happening right before my eyes, even though there isn’t much to see except a little steam, depending on conditions.

I did the first lawn mowing of the season yesterday and kicked off the oscillating changes of long grass/cut grass that will play out for the next many months.

Change is happening all the time and we are witness to it whether we are paying attention or not..

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Written by johnwhays

May 1, 2021 at 9:38 am

Necessary Evil

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One of the tasks I tend to delay more than any others is cutting down trees. There are times it needs to happen and times it probably should happen, but I struggle with knowing when an ailing tree honestly has no future. I usually choose to rely on time to make the status obvious.

Waiting comes at the expense of a perfect landscape view. Cyndie admitted to not enjoying the scene out across the deck that, from her vantage point, was always filled with the brown needles of another dying pine tree. I respect that.

Yesterday, we dispatched the fading relic. A necessary evil.

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Of course, I saved a portion of the trunk to serve as a platform for balanced rock art.

While I was at it, I also trimmed a section that looked like it had potential to become a future heart sculpture.

Do you see the beautiful pine heart hiding inside there that I see?

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Written by johnwhays

March 7, 2021 at 10:40 am

Time Weathered

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What a wind we experienced yesterday! A simple walk around the property was an exhausting struggle. The bare branches of our trees clattered overhead as they bounced against one another, putting me on alert about walking beneath them. Delilah’s ability to smell what’d been going on overnight was visibly altered as a wealth of distant scent information was arriving through the air faster than she could parse and the ground scents were being endlessly scrubbed away.

While deep in the woods near the edge of our property, we witnessed the sound of a large tree cracking and falling. My first impression had me turning to my left to look up the hill toward the direction of our house, but that didn’t sound right. Looking in the opposite direction into our neighbor’s woods locked into the full sound, but I couldn’t see the source.

It was definitely impacting multiple trees and the cracking and crunching made quite an impression. I looked toward Delilah and she was staring intently toward the direction of the sound, after which she looked up at me as if to say, “Whoa!” –as in, ‘that was huge!’

Yeah, that was a “whoa” alright. It was a big one that answered any questions about falling trees making sounds whether anyone was there, or not.

We were out on the second trek of the day and I could see the footprint evidence of Cyndie and Delilah’s first walk at dawn. Cyndie was able to stay on top of the frozen crust. It provided a contrast to the other extreme from her afternoon walk the day before when the soft snow had her boots dropping to the full depth, making a stroll on our trail into a real slog.

At the hour I was traveling over the terrain, my boots were just breaking the surface.

Our snowpack has experienced multiple thaw/freeze cycles in the last week and then yesterday the surface was scoured by the relentless battering of gale-force gusting winds. It barely looks like snow anymore. It resembles the surface of the moon, except for the occasional random foot path trails various wildlife visitors have left in their wake.

This morning’s peaceful calm almost enhances the perception of a lunar location.

It’s a calm before the next storm, we are told. A Winter Weather Advisory is on for tonight and tomorrow morning in our location. That crusty surface will be given a fresh new coat of inches on which we get to tread in the days ahead.

Huzzah to that, we say! Bring it on.

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Written by johnwhays

February 27, 2021 at 10:43 am