Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Winter

Quick Melt

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Yesterday was a day of blue sky and above freezing temperatures. The world around us responded emphatically.

It seems only fair. The winter storm that rolled over us last weekend came with its own significant emphasis. When I got to work on Monday, I was greeted by a three-foot drift that filled the sidewalk to our front door.

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I needed to shovel my way into work.

Yesterday’s swift melting was spring’s perfect response to the double-digit blast of snow.

The metal roof of the shop-garage is always a source of creative snow-melt. Before the large icicles had a chance to break off the edge of the roof, the entire mass of snow lost grip with the roof and slid down, curling as it rolled over the lip.

The sideways icicle made for a spectacular visual.

As the sun headed for the horizon, I spotted the withering snow mass covering the deck. I have no idea why the snow melted the way it did, but it became a blanket of patterned bumps that I have never seen before. Turn the image upside down and it could be a mammatus cloud formation.

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It didn’t feel possible last weekend, but I do believe spring is going to finally respond to the earth tilt that is lengthening our hours of sunlight.

Yep, we are finally getting a quick melt to this very long, slow winter. At this point, I’ll gladly take it.

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Written by johnwhays

April 18, 2018 at 6:00 am

Almost Spring

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We’ll get there eventually. In a spattering sleet yesterday, I finished toiling away on the giant winter’s-worth pile of manure in the paddock to stir some fresh oxygen into the middle where there are signs of productive microorganism activity. The chore has been on hold, awaiting enough of a thaw to make reasonable progress possible.

On Thursday, the temperature reached 50°(F) under a gray sky. It was almost enough to inspire hope, except the forecast threatening another serious blast of winter wind and snow loomed large enough hold us fast in the beat-down of prolonged Arctic conditions.

I took a picture out the front door on Thursday afternoon, then again on Friday morning in a downpour of graupel, and finally, an hour ago.

They tell us this is just the beginning. Oh, joy.

The calendar says spring, but the weather just laughs and says, “Whatever.”

I’ll say, “Almost.”

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Written by johnwhays

April 14, 2018 at 8:56 am

Changing, Again

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At the rate the transition from winter to spring has been playing out this year, this Words on Images post from April of 2013 resonates enough that I’ve decided to give it a fresh viewing. The prolonged cold and snow is getting mind numbing, but the change will eventually swing through to fruition. At least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves.

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

April 11, 2018 at 6:00 am

Feathered Friends

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The new chicks are growing into chickens already! They are sprouting feathers and flapping around in the brooder like the little adolescents they are. The downy, peeping hatchlings that arrived in the mail are gone but for the memories.

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If they keep up at this pace, and the weather continues to pretend it’s still winter, these guys are going to have a shocking move to the coop and the great outdoors. The landscape is under a two-and-a-half inch blanket of white stuff this morning. Based on the forecast I read for the coming week, with more snow and cold temperatures due, it’s as if spring has forgotten to sprung!

Yesterday, the three adult hens were busy aerating the forest floor.

Looks like they are going to have to put that project on hold for a while now.

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Written by johnwhays

March 31, 2018 at 8:59 am

Snow Going

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We dodged a spring snow storm overnight. That’s what it feels like, anyway. Obviously, we didn’t do any dodging. We stayed right where we are and didn’t flinch, while the white stuff slid past a little bit to the south of our region. Too bad for those folks.

I guess we all get a turn at weather adventure.

This leaves us with the adventures of watching snow melt. I am fascinated by the way anything of color absorbs the solar energy and melts a perfect pattern into the otherwise reflective snow.

Meanwhile, that reflective snow mass is radiating an amazing chill that offsets some of the best efforts of warm air to tip the balance. Taking a walk across the crusty surface in our open fields feels like a trip down the frozen foods aisle in the grocery store. The sun is shining warmth, but, brrrr, there’s a cold draft wafting up from everywhere!

We can now see where my winter plowing has torn great gouges of turf from the edges of the driveway and sprayed rocks in a wide array across the grass. New cracks in the old asphalt of our neglected driveway look another significant degree decayed.

I’m amazed anything survives unscathed. The concrete apron in front of the house garage looks to have moved its slope another degree in the wrong direction, inviting the snowmelt and rain runoff to drain toward the foundation instead of away.

And in terms of heaving earth, the waterer for the horses in the paddock has shifted dramatically off-kilter so that one side overflows and the high side holds inches less water.

Where is all the hope and renewal of spring?

It’s waiting. Biding its time beneath the surface. We must be patient. It will come.

The trillium we have transplanted will bloom again. Volunteer maple trees will sprout in mind-boggling numbers everywhere we turn.

The snow is going.

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Written by johnwhays

March 24, 2018 at 9:23 am

Grand Transition

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It is beginning to feel like the transition from winter to spring is swinging significantly toward the latter under our present weather system of warm, sunny afternoons. The snow cover is receding with increasingly visible change apparent each time I travel up the driveway when arriving home from the day-job.

What a difference we are enjoying in comparison to the east coast where it must seem like spring is nowhere in sight, with their region getting pummeled by the third nor’easter in two weeks.

We are less than a week away from the March equinox marking the start of astronomical spring. Thus brings on the half-year of days longer than the nights for those of us in the northern hemisphere.

Already, our three existing chickens have returned to their daily production of eggs. The increasing daylight hours are working their magic.

The trees are even beginning to develop buds.

As exciting as that is, it brings on one of my great fears. The warming climate is extending the growing season beyond what was usual for the many years of my youth. Over the last five years of living here, we have seen too many occasions when the early warmth has triggered early growth on the trees that was subsequently obliterated by a brief return of an overnight freeze.

That doesn’t usually kill the tree, but it wreaks havoc on growth for that year. It’s something that breaks my heart to see. So, as happy as I am to see the leaves sprouting, I don’t breathe easy until the nighttime temperatures are convincingly done dropping into the 30s(F).

Getting to that point is definitely a grand part of the transition from winter to spring.

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Written by johnwhays

March 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

Missed Again

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If you take a lot of pictures, you know what it’s like to miss a shot. Like most things, there are more misses than hits when it comes to the spectacular capture. If you want to nail the perfect picture, beyond some good luck and good equipment, you need a lot of patience.

I came up short on all three yesterday while out on a walk with Delilah. Cyndie wanted me to give our little shepherd a workout to burn off some extra energy, so I strapped on the snowshoes and headed out to pack some of the trails that haven’t been walked since the last snow storms.

Delilah didn’t get the deep snow workout I had intended, because she was just light enough to stay on top of the wind-packed, partially melted blanket of beautiful snow, but I had a plan for that. We would be hiking many routes and doubling back on several of them.

If I can snowshoe both directions, it makes for a better packed path.

The first time we approached the road from our southern fence line, two hawks were up to something, putting on an air show with vocal enhancements that intrigued Delilah greatly.

From there we continued across our driveway and traversed what we call the “north loop” trail that pops out at the big willow tree famous for tripping Cyndie up when she stomped on the rake. Normally, this route would be followed by traveling up the driveway to the house. Delilah was locked into that program to such a degree that my instruction to turn around and head back in the other direction was met with quite the expression of complete confusion.

It’s was laughable, especially because that was quickly followed by a sprint that said, “Let’s do this!”

As we returned to the road from the opposite direction, it wasn’t a hawk that caught our attention, it was a big eagle flying away. With my eyes skyward, the silhouette of another white-headed dark bird perched in a tree was easy to catch. Even though I was limited to what my pocket camera could achieve, I stopped Delilah and tried to zoom in for a photo.

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It didn’t provide much in the way of opportunity, so after a couple shots my attention shifted to Delilah at the end of her long leash in front of me. She was staring across our field, holding a gorgeous pose that was definitely photo-ready.

As I lifted my hand with the camera and my finger reached for the shutter button, I missed and pushed the power to “Off.”

Delilah moved as I fumbled to get the power back on and the spectacular sound of large flapping wings made a couple of snaps into flight. That beautiful bald eagle pushed hard against the air to soar into the sky away from us.

It won’t be the last beautiful photo I just missed.

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