Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘weather

Glazed Labyrinth

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Our little mess of weather that couldn’t make up its mind about being rain, ice, or snow ended up being a little of all three earlier this week. It was a little intimidating at the time, but created some nice scenery.

At least I didn’t need to plow or shovel. It was a little crunchy walking the dog over frozen grass and leaves. I am reveling over the fact that for once we weren’t the zone that received the most snow.

Our chickens appear to have enough sense to stay under shelter in times of freezing rain. They hung out under the barn overhang for the most part. Looks like they’ll have at least one more break from full-time winter in the week ahead with daytime temperatures expected to rise above freezing.

So, in case you hadn’t noticed yet this morning, it’s Friday the 13th today. In the year 2020. That seems kind of redundant, doesn’t it?

Tolerating the reality of exponential numbers of spreading virus cases during a global pandemic makes Friday the 13th seem almost quaint.

It could be a good day to walk the crunchy labyrinth and focus our mental energy on positive possibilities. Peace, love, good health, absence of false accusations, full compliance to COVID safety practices by all people, and children able to learn in school full time.

Oooommmmmmmm.

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Written by johnwhays

November 13, 2020 at 7:00 am

Perfect Balance

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If we have to endure so much snow in October, at least we benefited yesterday from a temperature that was the perfect balance for gorgeous falling snow without the need to plow or shovel. The ground isn’t frozen yet and the rate of falling flakes was not high enough to overwhelm the residual warmth in the asphalt of our driveway.

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It was snowing from the moment we woke up until very late in the afternoon but I didn’t need to lift a shovel.

I’m soaking up the pleasure of that to the fullest, knowing the feature won’t last.

This morning the temperature was down to 22°(F), well below freezing. The average for October is a high of 58 and low of 40. Of course, this is the year 2020, so, the word “average” doesn’t apply in the least.

These conditions are more in line with our December weather averages than October. We’re only about a month and a half out of whack.

Sing along with me… “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

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Written by johnwhays

October 24, 2020 at 8:25 am

Mixed Seasons

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Delilah doesn’t care that a winter-sized daylong snowstorm blasted into our otherwise reasonable autumnal October weather on Tuesday.

The ground cover is now an interesting mix of snow and leaves. The natural world seems to have lost patience with this thing we call order. What the heck, bring on the snow. We don’t need to wait for the trees to drop all their leaves first.

Delilah loves it. While I trudged with great effort through the deep, wet snow in the woods, she happily raced to sniff one wildlife footprint after another.

I didn’t take Delilah near the chickens during our stroll after I got home from work, so I didn’t see how the birds were coping with their new surroundings, but when Cyndie returned from closing the coop as darkness fell, she reported full merging of young and old on the roosts.

How synchronous! Mixed seasons and mixed flocks of chickens.

Maybe the old birds will share their winter savvy with the young ones.

“If we act like we are stuck and can’t walk anywhere because of the snow, that lady who thinks she’s our mother will shovel a path to the barn.”

She already did.

I’m guessing the young ones have already learned that detail.

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Written by johnwhays

October 22, 2020 at 6:00 am

Heavy Record

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Not that I’m going to write about the weather or anything… I used to like snow. Yesterday we received a record 7+ inches of heavy, wet and sticky, white stuff. It wasn’t all that likeable for the adventures I faced. Honestly, I shouldn’t complain about my commute home from work, as it was only about a half-hour longer than normal. I didn’t witness any spinouts, cars in ditches, or jackknifed semis (of which the State Highway Patrol reported there were 17). Just slow-moving vehicles along my route.

I left work early to give myself time to arrive at my health clinic for an appointment to get my flu shot. The curvy entrance to the place was a mess of unplowed slushy snow and my four tires had no grip as I rounded a bend and slid sideways into the oncoming lane. Luckily, nobody was coming from the other direction.

The snow was so deep on our driveway, I decided I should plow. This was one heck of a first accumulation, coming in October, barely three days after I mowed the grass around the house and swept up leaves.

The chickens are freaking out over this weather and the young ones seem to have no clue how to deal with it. They got all wet and shivery but wouldn’t be coaxed inside the shelter of their coop. Cyndie ended up chasing every last one of them to force them in by her hands.

We forgot the solution from last year of stuffing plastic along the outer edge of the space between the roof panels and the hardware cloth that is the ceiling of the coop. It keeps out blowing snow. Cyndie reported a lot of white coating the inside.

I hope we aren’t going to run out of names for the winter storms this year like the weather service did for the hurricane season. Starting this early in the season does not bode well.

If they didn’t assign them alphabetically, I think they should name yesterday’s storm, “Yuck.”

Spoken like the old fogey I seem to be turning into as the years go by.

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Written by johnwhays

October 21, 2020 at 6:00 am

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Storm Departs

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Cyndie shared some scenes from the aftermath of a thunderstorm that bowled over us earlier in the week. There has been a steady stream of them lately, most being of the non-concerning variety, but not without some minor consequences.

There is another tree that has fallen across one of our trails. Honestly, before living here, I had no idea how often trees topple over in a forest. Sometimes, it’s even weather-related, but not always.

The backside of the storm was pretty obvious and the blue sky behind it served as a wonderful exclamation mark of bidding the blustery beast good riddance.

After the sun drooped below the horizon, it provided one last parting gift of illuminating a whisp of a heart-shape in one of the lower clouds.

I’ve heard of silver linings, but this cloud definitely had a pink one.

We’ve been spared the hail that some areas received the other night, and for once, the total precipitation amounts have bounced between a quarter and a half of an inch, instead of overflowing our rain gauge. A blessing that we do not take for granted one bit.

All the aspects of our paradise glow and flourish in the aftermath of each rumbly event of rocky weather. As I recline on our deck or inside the screen door soaking up the glorious calm, there is no place I would rather be.

It’s social distancing on the grandest of scales.

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Written by johnwhays

August 13, 2020 at 6:00 am

Mixed Mind

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It’s a battle to maintain a positive, hopeful outlook amid a pandemic that our government has failed to effectively manage, which has our economy teetering on the brink of collapse. Meanwhile, Cyndie’s garden extravaganza can be described as nothing but a bountiful success and our new brood of rambunctious chicks inspire visions of a wonderful future.

My mood of the moment has been swinging wildly between hope and despair.

Federal secret police snatching protesters in Portland? The White House disrupting coronavirus reporting to the CDC? What is our government up to and why does there seem to be no way to enact checks and balances that once protected our democracy? Why is it that the current President has been allowed to keep his financial interests secret all this time?

Last night we lucked out once again in the stormy weather lottery. We were spared even a hint of destructive wind in the moments after warnings and radar images indicated a tornado was headed in our direction. We have yet to hear any reports of whether the vicinity around us was impacted negatively.

I can report the lightning bolts flashing dramatically in the clouds overhead were more frequent and numerous than I have ever witnessed before in my life. The constant rumble of distant thunder never once appeared to match the immediate flashes occurring directly above our location which baffled my understanding of the way things work.

I cannot fathom what actual energy was at play to generate such a dazzling display of countless electrical arcing bolts without the usual accompanying impacts of typical thunder. Just one night prior, we suffered two BOOM!s of thunder that scared me into a clench of inadvertent reaction that lasted three times as long as the explosion of thunder itself. The worst of those incidents surely was one that struck somewhere close enough that light and sound were simultaneous.

I can’t say for sure because I was attempting to be asleep at the time.

The warming of our planet assuredly is unleashing greater intensity of local storms, but each time we escape unscathed I feel a moment of hope that our destruction is not imminent. Tornadoes can be devastating, but they can also be relatively precise as to the areas of impact.

That is a little like deciding to raise free-range chickens in an area that includes foxes, coyotes, possums, skunks, feral cats, occasional passing mountain lions, neighboring dogs, and marauding raccoons.

It mixes my mind.

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Written by johnwhays

July 19, 2020 at 9:57 am

Big Impact

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In the end, the storm that started Sunday night with that quick downpour I wrote about in yesterday’s post reverberated throughout the rest of the overnight hours with multiple waves of thunder, lightning, hail, wind, and rain, and dumped so much water it overflowed our 6-inch rain gauges. We collected over seven inches of rain in about 18-hours. A little to our northeast, the official total was over nine inches.

That kind of precipitation in such a short amount of time tends to have a big impact. My commute in the morning yesterday passed flooded farm fields, filled ditches, and creeks flowing so far beyond their banks they looked like lakes. I precariously crawled my Crosstrek through two sections of local roads where water was flowing across the pavement and skirted around several medium-sized branches that had fallen onto one of the lanes.

While I was at work, Cyndie texted to report our power was out and water was puddling on our basement floor. The basement leak was a first in the time since we’ve been here. Time to check our gutters for clear and proper function.

News reports started to materialize depicting the significant impact of flooding in multiple communities near to us. Roads were closed, families evacuated from their homes, cars swept off the road and occupants found standing on their vehicle rooftops in the adjacent ditch. The way the valleys around local creeks flood after downpours brings to mind the historical flood I wrote about from when my ancestors lived nearby.

Surveying our woods after things calmed down yesterday, Cyndie found the boardwalk we created suffered some disruption.

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It’s just enough disturbance to frustrate us, but compared to a lot of other flood damage possibilities, not all that onerous.

I looked out the window and noticed an upturned stump I’d never seen before.

Luckily, that tree tipped away from our house and toward the woods.

Cyndie spent much of the afternoon moving furniture and mopping up in the basement. We still need to check the shingles for hail damage.

We are hoping no additional damage will be revealed and things will dry up before the next round of precipitation moves in.

A little peace and quiet would be a welcome change about now.

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Written by johnwhays

June 30, 2020 at 6:00 am

Dramatic Downpour

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Holy cow, did we ever get a dose of dramatic weather last night. The rain came down so fast and hard we had over 3-inches within about 45-minutes, much of it during the time when the weather service had declared a Tornado Warning for our county.

Cyndie’s garden went from being a little too dry to a lot too wet.

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We ate home-grown peas from the garden for lunch yesterday! No pesticides, no chemicals, no shipping required. Just pick, wash, and eat.

Everything in the garden got washed last night. The path from the house down to the chicken coop became a river.

Cyndie went out to close the chicken door when it seemed like there might be a break in the downpour intensity, but the hens weren’t in yet. They were huddled underneath the coop and didn’t want to move. The pause in the rainfall rate was short-lived. By the time she got geared up to make her dash, it was already picking up speed again.

When she eventually returned to the house, there was standing water in her boots and she was soaked through all the way to her underwear.

That was definitely one heck of a downpour.

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Written by johnwhays

June 29, 2020 at 6:00 am

Unidentified Obfuscation

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It starts to get hard when you reach the point of not being able to hear yourself think. The little boy in me who has never grown up occasionally shows up to ask me why I’m so quick to forget about the bliss of being four or five years old and getting lost in some harmless pursuit. The answer is always the same.

It’s not that I’m quick to forget. I’m just slow to remember. Present-day life tends to do that to a person.

An awful lot of years have passed since I sprawled on the floor making truck sounds with my mouth as I rolled Matchbox cars along the borders of our large Persian rug.

The recent stress of the day-job continues unabated amidst a boom of business that started at the same time as the global pandemic and its havoc on world economies. It is proving to be a brain-scrambler of significant magnitude.

Last night the ranch received an impressive sample of the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobol in the form of wave after wave of soaking rain. I think it might make the landscape pond overflow. [wry smile]

We are hoping that the deluge won’t drown any of the plants in Cyndie’s gardens.

She served up another delicious salad last night with all the greens coming from plants she is growing. This time I remembered to take a picture.

The asparagus isn’t ours. They’re store-bought. I can only hope someday our wisps of skinny stalks will someday reach such mammoth proportions.

Much to our surprise, rainstorms seem to improve our connection for Zoom meetings, and last night I was able to participate in conversations with an international collection of members of my beloved virtual community, Brainstorms. (Ward, it was a treat to see and hear you!). For almost an hour my connection flashed instability only three times, but never once dropped my connection entirely. That was a first.

The normal mode for Zoom gatherings by way of our cell connection out here in the countryside is to freeze up frequently and get dropped/reconnected multiple times until I give up and sign off.

The last time Cyndie was in a Zoom meeting during wild weather, she enjoyed similar success. The signal must like having all those raindrops in the air. Who’d uh guessed?

The little boy in me would have, probably.

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Written by johnwhays

June 10, 2020 at 6:00 am

Weather Delay

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The hatch was closed on the SpaceX Dragon capsule with astronauts buckled in place, but the window of acceptable weather collapsed with about 17 minutes to go on the countdown to launch. I had just mentioned to Cyndie over the phone during my commute home from work that I would miss seeing the spectacle but suggested she turn it on to watch.

A few minutes later, she called me back to report the mission was postponed. There were lightning strikes showing up inside the radius of acceptability and the stormy seas in the “if-need-to-abort-launch” landing zone were also problematic.

“Due to the weather conditions, the launch is scrubbing,” NASA wrote. “Our next opportunity will be Saturday, May 30 at 3:22pm ET.”

The good news is that their next try will be at a time I should be available to witness the historic return of U.S.-launched astronauts. I was able to see a few minutes of NASA’s live streaming coverage yesterday about three hours before launch and was thrilled over the incredible visual access provided to what felt like almost intimate moments of preparation.

From a mix of alternate camera angles switching back and forth like a scripted movie, I saw technicians’ eyes inside their hooded jumpsuits and above their face masks as they tended to the complex number of details securing Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in their seats. Watching with the sound off, I was undistracted by narration as I watched the sequence play out and the techs waited as the astronauts wiggled their hands into the sleek spacesuit gloves and tried to close the two different zippers.

Eventually, a tech reached up to assist with the last little pull. Then the two technicians swapped positions and double-checked each step the other had executed on their respective charges. The astronauts and techs exchanged fist-bumps that gave me goose-bumps.

Why, in my day <cough> all we got was Walter Cronkite talking along with occasional animated shots of what was about to happen interspersed with long-distance views of the launch pad, in grainy black & white images.

If you haven’t visited the NASA live streaming coverage before, I encourage you to check it out on Saturday afternoon. It is truly fascinating. Coverage is expected to begin around 11am ET.

Tuesday night, we had some weather delays of our own at Wintervale. Anything we expected to accomplish outside was put on hold for a series of rumbling thunderstorms that carried on through the night, leaving drainage ditches filled and flowing and the small creeks up to the brim by yesterday morning.

Sure am glad I’m not trying to plan a bike trip in this kind of weather this year.

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Written by johnwhays

May 28, 2020 at 6:00 am