Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Wind

Climate Forum

with 2 comments

Last night we attended a fascinating climate discussion at the MPR building in St. Paul, hosted by Chief Meteorologist, Paul Huttner.

I fully expected to be left in a downtrodden mood, but they actually did a fair job of offering some hope and encouragement about things that individuals can do, as well as sharing some accomplishments of young people who are getting involved to influence municipalities to take some timely action. It’s the kid’s future at stake, after all.

It has me wanting to put more effort into figuring out how we might make further progress toward utilizing renewable energy like wind and solar, in addition to the geothermal furnace we installed when we moved here. I’m also wondering about the possibility of getting a fully electric car. For the long commuting I am doing to get to work four days a week, that would feel like a most tangible change, to no longer burn gasoline and spew the exhaust.

We almost didn’t get a chance to burn fuel on the way home after the event. Upon arriving downtown, we had pulled into the first parking ramp we found near our destination. Signs indicated it was open until 10:00 on weekdays, so we felt satisfied. Unfortunately, when we returned to the building shortly before nine, it was all locked up!

After walking the full circumference in search of an unlocked door, we happened upon a back door with a security intercom. It seemed like the solution, but communication with the person was not entirely clear, and we found ourselves standing and waiting for someone who never came.

We were saved by the coincidental arrival of two police officers who were able to open the door and direct us to the elevator that led to the parking levels below ground. There were no humans around at that hour, but a machine at the exit swallowed our five dollar bill and gates automatically opened.

We gladly hustled the car onto the city streets and headed for the freeway back to Wisconsin, dumping our carbon emissions all the way home.

The data is pretty obvious folks. The climate is changing and the effects on our weather are underway.

It only makes sense to take this into account and make decisions accordingly. Not just for the immediate future, but for the lifetimes of those who will be dealing with it for the next 50-100 years and beyond.

From the “Eat local, think global” catch phrase, try this morph: Act today, with a plan for tomorrow.

And turn off the lights on your way out.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 27, 2018 at 6:00 am

Wind Wins

leave a comment »

There is no question about who has the upper hand in our never-ending battle against the wind. I figure we are running about 2-to-1 against, between us and the wind in the years we’ve been here.

One of the more spectacular fails we experienced happened in 2014 when my first version of our wood shed was tossed over by a particularly blustery thunderstorm.

We have lost more trees and limbs to wind than I can count.

The winter wind has created havoc on our driveway numerous times, filling it with drifted snow that piles up multiple times the amount that actually falls out of the sky.

Monday’s blizzard of snow and wind racked up another victory over our feeble attempts to protect ourselves and our animals from the ravages of the gusts.

Cyndie reported that upon opening one of the doors to the barn yesterday morning, she needed to shovel a drift… on the inside.

The chicken coop suffered a more evenly distributed coating of snow on the inside. My ingenious design of the mesh ceiling beneath the roof panels was no match for blowing snow at the angle and rate mother nature dished out for hours on end.

I asked Cyndie what the chickens thought about the situation.

She reported a cacophony of upset hens.

I guess I understand their angst, after our forcibly removing them from the expansive barn (despite the one drift) to the extremely permeable confines of their small coop.

I bow to the prowess of the wind.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 7, 2018 at 7:00 am

Catching Up

leave a comment »

I’m in ‘catch-up’ mode this weekend, trying to do a week’s worth of chores around the property after my bicycling vacation. Tomorrow, it’s back to the grind of the day-job. Meanwhile, Cyndie remains tethered to one-arm limitations while her shoulder heals from the surgery.

I finished mowing and trimming the lawn grass areas yesterday, but that leaves quite a few acres of fields yet to be mowed with the big tractor and the brush cutter. It’s a jungle out there!

The horses happily volunteered to work on keeping the arena space short.

We enjoyed a pleasant surprise yesterday when a contractor knocked on our door to announce he was ready to start work on building doors for our hay shed. After a few years of watching the outside bales baked to a nutrition-less crisp of dried straw, we have settled on solid doors for a long-term solution.

The prospect of a curtain or hanging shade cloth would be a challenge to secure against the abuse of wind and sun. Rolling metal doors is our choice.

Speaking of wind, we lost two large tree branches to a gust yesterday after I mowed. I didn’t even notice the wind blowing, but the evidence is impossible to ignore in two completely different ends of our property.

Even after having the tree service trim out the risky dead wood from our large trees, there is always a threat of falling branches. Maybe we need to provide hard hats on windy days around here. Geesh.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

June 25, 2017 at 10:32 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , , ,

Soft Ground

leave a comment »

Nature didn’t live up to what the forecasters had predicted for us on Sunday. The temperature struggled to approach 50° (F) and the sky never really cleared enough to allow the sun to make much difference. Despite the less-than-inspiring conditions, Cyndie and I rallied our energies to pull out the wood chipper for another round of chewing up brush piles.

Since we are in the wonderful season when the top layer of soil is freezing and thawing daily, I had hoped to park the tractor on the driveway again, near the next largest pile of branches. Unfortunately, that meant the chute would be pointed directly into the wind and everything coming out would blow right back at the tractor.

Plan B had me moving a short distance off the pavement so we could point in a direction where the wind wouldn’t be a problem. Things progressed swimmingly until I apparently tossed in a limb that too closely resembled the petrified oak branches that foiled our efforts last time out.

I instantly realized I had completely forgotten to shop for more robust shear bolts after the previous go-round when the hardware replacement broke as fast as I installed it. Details, details.

I think I’ll remember to buy new bolts this time, especially if I do it on the way home from work today. No time like the present.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 20, 2017 at 6:00 am

Cyndie Shots

with 7 comments

Cyndie is the one of us who is home full-time now, and there are some glimpses I get from her day that give me a familiar feeling. She shared the following images with me last night.

While Mother Nature raged over our earth with pummeling winds yesterday, Cyndie captured a few moments that defy the agitation of non-stop air rushing by to somewhere else.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 8, 2017 at 7:00 am

Posted in Images Captured

Tagged with , , ,

Fighting Wind

with 8 comments

Of all the days to try to put on the roof panels, the strong gusting winds we experienced yesterday made it much more challenging than desired. I didn’t help myself any by having previously installed the middle row of plastic panel supports just a little out of line.

Regardless, I am claiming victory and celebrating the completion of the roof. Hurrah!

dscn5281echdscn5283ech.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

George stopped by to inspect our progress and Cyndie snapped a photo while I gave him a tour of the place.

With rain predicted, we decided to try wrapping a tarp around 3 of the walls for the night. Even though I am getting weary of the daily intensity of this project, we’ve reached a point where I pretty much need to forge ahead and get the coop buttoned up and weather-tight.

The bungie-tied partial tarp is not going to cut it for long.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 11, 2016 at 6:00 am

Feels Like

leave a comment »

I don’t know if it is universal around the globe, but our weather reports include a “feels like” temperature along with the actual air temperature readings. Most people don’t need to be told what it feels like. We know when it feels like the gales of November even though the calendar indicates we are in the last week of April.

DSCN4690eDSCN4689e.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

There have been enough days of increased daylight, and a few early days of spring when the temperature climbed above normal, that plants and grasses have kicked off their growth. On Tuesday, when I got home from work, I mowed about 3/4s of our grass areas. It was so chilly outside that I needed a sweatshirt, but the growth of grass down by the road was enough that I didn’t want to wait.

I figured I would finish getting the remaining portions of yard cut when I got home yesterday, if it wasn’t raining. That didn’t turn out to be the case. There were a few random spatters on my windshield during the drive, and as I neared home, I could see the falling rain in the sky to the south.

DSCN4704eCHThe cool temperatures and falling rain were enough reason to let the horses have a night indoors. Cyndie headed out into the chill to prepare their stalls. When she invited them inside, she described Legacy, the herd leader, started toward her and then paused.

She said it was as if he was uncertain whether he was getting an afternoon chance for grazing the new green grass out in the pasture, or was just being offered shelter from the elements.

The other three horses needed to halt their advance while he sorted this out. Cyndie said they weren’t being very patient about it, circling around in anticipation of continuing on to the barn, but also trying to respect Legacy’s not yet authorizing the choice.

Cyndie described Hunter eventually showing a look indicating he was done waiting. He and Cayenne came up to the gate to get inside. Responding to Hunter’s initiative, Cyndie let him come inside first. Once inside and alone, Hunter called out over being separated from his mates. Cyndie said that Legacy immediately responded with an acknowledging whinny.

She brought Legs next, followed by Dezirea, and then Cayenne.

Back in the house, we sat in front of the fire and listened to the ferocious sound of wind and rain, pleased that the horses weren’t stuck outside where they could find out what the weather actually felt like.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2016 at 6:00 am