Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘snow

May Snow

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It snowed a little bit yesterday, off and on amongst the day-long soaking waves of cold mist that blew down upon us. I am not startled by snow flakes in the month of May, after surviving our first spring here back in 2013.

Four years ago, it looked like this:

That was quite an event for us. The Twin Cities barely received a half an inch, but the band of heavy snow to the south and east rode right over us in Beldenville.

We are much better off this year, even though it is still exceedingly wet. The view along our driveway looks much different today.

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Written by johnwhays

May 2, 2017 at 6:00 am

Fading Fast

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It’s March alright. Snow melts in the rising spring sun as fast as it falls from the late-winter clouds. It kind of resembles my motivation some days.

dscn5879eThree days this week started with a covering of fresh, white snow. The first morning was so fresh, it was still falling out of the sky. The drive to work was a maze of crunched cars that had spun out and crashed into each other and flashing blue emergency lights. Those of us successfully navigating the slippery mess were forced to move from one side of the freeway to the other, alternating back and forth to get around the frequent closed lanes.

Over the last two days, the snow has been mostly melted by the time I got home in the afternoon. It must be time for high school hockey and basketball tournaments. In my lifetime the March tournaments became synonymous with classic winter storms that delivered oodles of snow accumulation.

I have a feeling that association is fading along with the rest of what we used to know as winter around these parts.

Meanwhile, Cayenne is causing us increasing concern with her laminitis induced lameness. She hasn’t improved enough for us to feel the anti-inflammatory doses and overnights in the barn are making a difference. George is here this weekend and we are talking about putting some shoes and pads on her feet.

We don’t know if it will freak her out to have shoes on, but it is worth the attempt since George tells us there is no harm in trying. It will at least feel like we’re not giving up on her. Otherwise, we just fret over her lack of improvement.

img_ip0001echAt the same time, we are also a little more concerned about Delilah, having now done some reading on “hot spots” after learning about the condition from Steve and Liz’s comments. Seems like a reasonably likely diagnosis to us, but the range of possible causes have us a little stumped.

Fleas? Allergies? We hope not.

I think she’s probably frustrated over not getting a full season of cold and snow.

Cyndie captured this portrait with a snow-frosted snout yesterday morning. Delilah does show a good fondness for the white stuff.

It’s a little curious that we just had her groomed last week and are now seeing an issue that can be a result of lack of grooming. There is also a possibility she is allergic to a shampoo the groomer used, but the reaction seems rather delayed for that to have been a trigger.

So, one horse and one dog are a little out of sorts for us. With winter fading fast, it would be nice to have the animals returning to peak health before the next challenges arrive.

I seem to recall a plan of adding chickens around here this spring to aid in controlling the tick and fly populations. More creatures to be concerned about.

I tell ya, this caring for animals life is not for sissies!

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Written by johnwhays

March 3, 2017 at 7:00 am

Snow Goes

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dscn5868eThe month of March arrives with its saying about lambs and lions, but the climate confusion we have going may require we come up with a new definition for the chaos of winter’s departure. Last week’s snow is fading fast around here now.

The little snowman that Sara made on Saturday has become just a fraction of his old self in the back yard.

In a week and a half we’ll be moving clocks again to shift the days an hour forward. Will it inspire me to get anything more accomplished in the evenings after work? I don’t know.

There is plenty to be done, but my motivation has been lacking by the time I get home from the commute. Of course, yesterday it happened to be a gloomy gray day.

dscn5869eIf the sun is out and the air gets warm, I expect there will be an added spring in my step.

With the grounds wet and soft, I can turn my attention to some machine maintenance that is more than due, and there is always wood to be split.

Indoors, we have an appointment tonight for a quote on window replacements, and then I have a dishwasher door that needs the counter-balance spring mechanisms replaced.

I don’t see a day on the calendar marked for lollygagging around anywhere in the near future.

Do I need to make an appointment for that?

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Written by johnwhays

March 1, 2017 at 7:00 am

Different Landscape

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As predicted, by Friday morning our landscape didn’t look at all like it had on Thursday. While the bulk of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area squeaked by with nary a flying flake, our county rode the sharp northwest edge of precipitation and Wintervale Ranch received a respectable 9-10 inches by the end of the day yesterday.

Taken late Wednesday afternoon.

Taken late Wednesday afternoon.

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Taken Friday before noon.

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I took the snowy picture shortly after plowing the driveway in the morning, about mid-way through the duration of snowfall. Tracking the total accumulation involves some guess-work because the ground was so warm that snow was melting from the bottom up. The flakes also settle under their own weight and then the gusts of wind were whipping up some fair drifting.

dscn5854eThe National Weather Service report from just south of us was 11 inches and the next reading to our northwest was 9.5 inches. Since we are located between those, and our anecdotal evidence coincides, I feel justified with the assessment I presented in the opening paragraph.

Plowing was a hassle because the bottom layer of the snow was heavy and wet, and the ground was soft from the recent thaw. It led to the blade tearing up bad spots of pavement, as well as the turf on each side of the driveway.

I like snow removal to look neat and tidy, but I was making a mess of things. Also, since I was plowing in the middle of the storm —to turn it into two small efforts instead of one big one— the new falling flakes were piling up as fast as I cleared what was already on the ground.
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It didn’t look like a job well-done, but it was perfectly fine for a mid-event effort.

Cyndie had put the horses inside the barn Thursday night in anticipation of the snow’s arrival, which had been predicted to start out as rain. We checked the radar several times that evening, for an indication of the timing of the precipitation’s start, but even though it appeared to already be snowing overhead, it was actually still dry outside on our grounds by the time we went to sleep.

When morning dawned, it was all white outside.

As the blowing and snowing became the obvious order of the day, it got easier to make a decision to stay indoors by the fire all afternoon. I played my guitar until I started to get sleepy. We watched a movie.

It feels a little like winter around here again.

It will be strange come Monday when I drive a few miles toward the cities for work and return to the places nearby that didn’t get the snow. We are now under a completely different landscape for a while.

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Written by johnwhays

February 25, 2017 at 7:00 am

Traces

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Words on Images

Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

February 15, 2017 at 7:00 am

Tidying Up

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With temperatures climbing into the 40s yesterday, Cyndie and I saw an opportunity to do a little tidying up around the property. After the most recent bouts of quasi-winter rain-sleet-snow precipitation, an annoying icy, glazed mass of packed snow had become the surface of our driveway.dscn5785e

I took out an ice scraper and pushed away at the soft, wet edges of the ice pack in front of the house. The portion that will come up without resistance is visibly obvious. I focused on that, picking the low-hanging fruit. After working the edges and then pushing the crumble of snow and ice to the side with my shovel, I looked back to see there was already a whole new measure of visibly obvious portions that begged attention.

How could I not keep going? After three times around, I had the whole upper platform of our driveway clean to the pavement. The  melt was happening at an amazing rate.

Cyndie was down with the horses, planning to give each of them some individual attention and grooming. That was my next stop, thinking I could hang out with them and clean up manure while she brushed them out. Even though there was a cloud cover painting the day with a hue of gray, the air was absolutely calm, allowing the warm temperature to feel perfectly comfortable without getting hot.dscn5784e

Legacy’s tail has always grown long, but Cyndie noticed it had reached a point where he was stepping on it, so she decided to give it a trim.

After scooping fresh manure from under the overhang, I fanned out a little further around the paddock and picked up some of the newly exposed piles emerging from the melting snow. Like the last couple of winters, we have been dumping much of the season’s worth of manure right inside the paddock.

Since much of the manure is frozen by the time we get around to scooping it up, there isn’t much in the way of composting that goes on in the pile, so it just keeps getting bigger and bigger with every passing day.

dscn5782eContinuing with the theme of tidying up, I decided to try giving the giant mass a little more shape by cleaning up around the edges. I was surprised to discover over the last few winter seasons that despite the dark color of the pile, if it starts out frozen, if left alone, the center can stay frozen well into May or June.

We placed this pile at a spot that we would like to fill in effort to reduce the amount of slope, but it becomes a long slow process to move from an ugly pile of manure to an unnoticeable natural ground cover nicely filling a low spot.

All part of the ongoing process of running a neat and tidy ranch operation, regardless what the weather presents.

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Written by johnwhays

February 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

Which Way

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In the months following Cyndie’s knee replacement procedure at the end of November, I admittedly neglected the labyrinth. Contrary to previous winters, this year I haven’t bothered to walk the path each time it snowed. On Sunday, Cyndie mentioned that she wanted to use the labyrinth again. It was time to tread that pattern.

It wasn’t as easy to execute the proper turns as I had hoped. With the rocks mostly buried, I needed to start from both the outer entrance heading in, and then from the center, heading out, before I figured out precisely where I needed to be.

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Once I had figured out the correct route, as we walked the path and chatted I began to notice a lift in my spirits. Cyndie pointed out something I had completely overlooked: she was walking on the snowshoes with her new knee. It was a noteworthy achievement.dscn5770e

I also discovered something else that was occurring.

My neglect of the labyrinth for the previous months had been intentional, giving me one less thing to tend to during Cyndie’s convalescence. During those months, I felt a small sense of pleasure over not spending any energy on it. What I didn’t realize was, ignoring the labyrinth was contributing to my feelings of hopelessness.

There was this duality again. (See comments with Jim on my post “Being Me.”) I didn’t want to have the labyrinth, and I did want to have it. Both feelings were present at the same time.

It feels like having Cyndie and the labyrinth both functional again is helping me to find my way once more.

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Written by johnwhays

February 7, 2017 at 7:00 am