Relative Something

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

Partial Trim

leave a comment »

The weather yesterday after work wasn’t conducive to getting a lot of mowing done with the tractor, as storms bobbed along in the thick atmosphere and brought frequent rain showers to the region. As a result, I opted to get out the trimmer to clean up some fence line because that tool is quick to start and easy to maneuver if/when precipitation arrives.

I barely made it through one tank of gas when rain clouds interrupted my progress, which left the back pasture fence line only half done.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Getting caught up with all the mowing and trimming that needs to happen will occur in small steps this week, between occasional showers and thunderstorms. My plan is to take advantage of short blocks of time by doing a little bit of work whenever I can fit it in.

Oh, and to also stay home all weekend to maximize my availability for getting things done.

Even if it is only partial progress, it is better than none at all.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 26, 2017 at 6:00 am

Growing Hope

with 2 comments

Our hope is growing for the maple tree we transplanted to the center of the labyrinth. If you are keeping score, this is the 4th time we have tried to move a maple sapling from beneath one of the character-filled old giants lining the driving path along the back pasture fence line.

This tree is currently holding its leaves longer into the summer than any of the previous attempts did. Between our extra effort and the favorable weather conditions this year, I’m finally allowing myself to hope this one will take, maybe even flourish!

It’s funny how much I want certain things to grow, while at the same time wishing others wouldn’t. It would be just great if the weeds currently sprouting in the hay-field would just take the rest of the summer off. I’d love it if the tree-climbing vines would cease and desist. And the poison ivy that is thriving here could make me very happy if it would just shrivel up and die.

Maybe I should try to transplant the things I don’t want. I could do a mediocre job and watch them wilt away.

Do plants fall for reverse psychology?

The growth along the fence lines has been neglected for too long and has become both a nuisance and an eyesore. Cyndie, back when she had the use of both arms, was doing a heroic job of landscape maintenance using the Stihl power trimmer. In her absence, the fence lines have been ignored, as I’ve been putting my focus on the lawn and the main part of the fields.

As it is, I haven’t even kept up with the fields. There is still one section of pasture that I haven’t cut all summer, and it has gotten about as overgrown as possible.

Even though I am behind on the mowing, it occurred to me last night that we shouldn’t feel too bad about the state of things. Over the last two weekends, we have given up over 4 days to entertainment activities which borrowed entirely from time I would have been tackling chores on the property.

It appears that I am my own worst enemy when it comes to interfering with my ability to get things done. I better review Wintervale’s time-off policy and see if there has been a violation of the guidelines.

Now, if I could only figure out where the HR department is around here…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

Enough That

with 2 comments

That’ll be enough of that. I’ve changed the login password so the animals won’t be able to babble on here again for as long as I can avoid it. I’m grateful for their help and everything, but I think it is best delivered in small doses with long intervals between.

We had new help tending to the ranch while we were gone and they did a spectacular job of caring for animals and property. It makes our time away that much more enjoyable. Our fun was guilt-free.

Flying to Barb and Mike’s lake place worked out fabulously. In just a blink of an hour we were there. It was a wonderful weekend of palling around with treasured friends, eating out, shopping, playing games, boating, swimming, hiking, visiting, cooking/eating/cleaning, taking in a movie, sharing stories and laughter.

Happily, the weather cooperated in allowing us to fly home on schedule, without conflict.

It was a priceless weekend. Thanks, Mike and Barb!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 24, 2017 at 6:00 am

Three Chicks

leave a comment »


With John and Cyndie still up north, the chickens will take their turn at guest-blogging for a day. Hold your applause until you’ve actually read their scratching.

Still Surviving

Barred.1: Is this thing on?

Buff: We are typing this out silly, not clucking.

Barred.2: Run away!

Barred.2: Oh. Never mind. Thought I saw the dog.

Barred.1: Please don’t keep doing that. You trigger memories of the massacre.

Buff: Do John’s blog readers know about six/sixteen? Oh how we miss our lost sisters.

Barred.1 & 2 at the same time: [unintelligible]

Buff: But we still have each other.

Barred.2: And we have our safe tree over John’s compost piles, despite their efforts to convince us otherwise.

Barred.1: Why won’t they let us roost there over night? It saved me back on six/sixteen!

Buff: I think they are afraid that snazzy coop John built might go to waste if we don’t sleep in it overnight.

Barred.2: Seems like as soon as you convinced me to join you in that tree they started knocking us out of it with brooms.

Buff: I heard John and Cyndie talking about getting more chickens. I’m not sure what I think about that. She raised us since we were a day old. How do we just accept a flock of strangers into our space?

Barred.1: But maybe they will know how to lay eggs. Then maybe Cyndie would take out those neon plastic ones from the nest boxes that she thought would help us figure it out.

Barred.2: Eggs! Do we have to? I thought we were just supposed to eat bugs. Lord knows, they have enough of them.

Buff: OMG. I can’t eat enough to give those horses a break. The biting flies were harassing them something awful the other day. Legacy almost squished me when he was stomping to shake them loose.

Barred.2: Well, Cyndie has been trying to coax us to the coop at dusk with so many raspberries, I worry about my figure if eat insects all day too.

Barred.1: [squawk!] Hah! I know! But she’s so cute with her sweet little-girl cooing voice, I can’t resist.

Buff: Were we supposed to be writing something for the blog?

Barred.1: What’s a blog?

Barred.2: Some relative thing John does in his spare time, I think.

Buff: They are supposed to be home tonight. We can ask him then.

Barred.2: Can you wait until Cyndie serves up  bedtime treats before you ask?

Barred.1: You’re such a chicken.

Barred.2: Takes one to know one.

Buff: [buc booaaaack!]

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2017 at 6:00 am

Dog Speak

leave a comment »

John is out of town for the weekend and has asked the animals to fill in for him for a few days. Today, Delilah gets a chance to “bark,” and to do so without John or Cyndie hollering, “NO!” at her every time she does.

I Didn’t Mean To…

First, I just need to say, that joke about, “Squirrel!!,” …it’s really getting old. I’m sorry if we canines have a heightened sense of chase instinct. Other than that, hello! and consider this my face-wash of a happy dog greeting! There is so much to tell you about now that John has given me this unprecedented access to his blog thingie.

Did you know he asked the cat, Pequenita, to write for today before he asked me? I think he was just trying to be nice to her, because he sees how smitten she is with him. He absolutely knows I totally own her. That’s why he always feeds her first, trying to show me how high and mighty the little meow machine is around here. I see right through him. I can drape my paw over her back any time I want to and she just sits there with a stupid cat expression on her face.

She thinks she’s all that because she gets to roam free all night when I am imprisoned in my crate. Whatever.

What can I say? Dogs and cats. We are what we are.

Now, dogs and chickens… That’s another thing altogether. I didn’t mean to end that chicken’s life when I raced up and grabbed her with the soft grip I’m so practiced at using. When I do that to the baby rabbits around here, they never seem to have a problem with it.

I think the bird probably had a weak heart and couldn’t survive the excitement of seeing me up close. I’m a lot to handle, I know. I get that.

Hold on a second, I need to go bark at the window again. There’s nothing out there, but I still need to do this regularly to make a good impression. I mean, what if there was a rabbit/bird/squirrel/deer/cat/another rabbit/raccoon in the yard and I missed it? What would that do to my reputation?

I’m sorry if I’m panting too much. It gets to be a habit in the summer, between this thick coat I wear all the time and the pent up energy from confinement. Yeah, I brought that full-time leash rule on myself. I admit it.

A girl’s gotta run, you know. And when you’ve got legs like these… combined with my nose! Oy! I don’t blame John & Cyndie for their precaution. <yawn>

Squirrel!!

Dammit. Pretend you didn’t just see that.

I was doing so good for a while there, too. You should know, it’s taken all I can muster to paw out these human-like word sentence things and not just type, “Are they home yet, are they home yet, are they home yet…”

It’s a dog’s life, I tell ya. <bark! bark, bark!>

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

July 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Neighing In

with 2 comments

John is out of town for the weekend, and he didn’t want to bring his computer –in order to keep his travels light for flying– so he has asked the animals to fill in for him for a few days. It’s the least they could do, in the face of all the loving care he bestows on them day after day…

The Herd Makes Themselves Heard

Hunter: I’d like–

Legacy: I’ll do the talking, thank you very much. [The three chestnuts instantly defer.] Since John is gone again, we are happy to cover for him on this crazy blog thing he is always pondering on. We can hardly get a word in edgewise through his busy brain when he is toiling away among us because he is constantly ruminating over what wild, exaggerated story he can make up about our behavior.

What? You didn’t think I knew the word ruminating? Flbbblllbbbbhh. Excuse me. I had something in my nose.

Hunter: Can I–

Cayenne: Pardon me, but are we going to graze out in the pasture soon?

Legacy: As I was saying, the stories John writes about us are all blown way out of proportion. The man has no sense of scale. If he would just quiet his mind long enough to recognize the simple intricacies of what we would like to teach him, the tall tales he spins would come back down to earth and finally speak to the wider audience we think our messages deserve.

Hunter: Don’t you–

Dezirea: I just noticed some movement up on that hill beyond the neighbor’s outbuildings. Are any of you concerned?

Legacy: If John would spend a little more time making sure our hay was out here before we want it, and not after, I wouldn’t have to spend so much time staring him down when he walks by. And what the heck is it about his fascination with our feces? But enough about him. I can’t say enough good things about Cyndie. Imagine the things we could accomplish together if she would stop asking all those doctors to do surgeries on her joints. I worry that she might run out of limbs to repair and decide to start in on my aching knobby knees. <cracking sounds>

Hunter: I–

Legacy: Honestly, I’m not the complainer this is starting to make me seem. It’s been a while since I had access to such a wide audience and some of those issues hadn’t been purged for a while. I guess it’s time I should get the herd back to grazing. This place really is a paradise. [Nickering of agreement from the chestnuts.] If you ever have a chance to visit here someday, we would love to meet you. Wintervale is radiating with love and affection. We, the herd, are thrilled to be a part of this great adventure John and Cyndie have going.

As John might be heard to mutter on occasion, Namaste. If I could bring my hooves together in front of my chest, I would. Just picture me nodding my head up and down at you, with emphasis.

Hunter: Bye!

Legacy: I heard that.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 21, 2017 at 6:00 am

Distant Thunder

with 3 comments

We had plenty of warning last night that heavy weather was going to visit. The majority of thundering was happening well to our south for about an hour before it moved in and started dropping rain on us. The sun was just setting when the edge of the billowing tower of clouds became visible, giving them a foreboding glow.

It was a late night for me, as I crammed to get some manure management done before we head out of town for the weekend. It’s a job I have been neglecting for enough days that it was going to be a problem for our horse-sitter while we are gone if I didn’t do something before leaving.

And, we are leaving this afternoon. In fact, I am leaving from work. Our plan is to meet at the airport in Eden Prairie to fly to Barb and Mike’s lake place near Grand Rapids.

After completing my manure chores, I needed to haul some hay into the barn for the weekend. Then it was time to shower and pack. I struggle every night just figuring out what I will wear the next morning for work, and that got amplified last night by needing to also think through a weekend of possible needs.

Since we are flying four people in a small plane, the goal is to pack light.

It’s a great recipe for forgetting something, if you ask me.

I packed a swim suit, and my sunglasses, so I at least have the essentials if something else was overlooked.

Now we are just hoping there is no thunder happening along our flight path during the hours we hope to fly. If the weather isn’t friendly enough, we’ll simply drive up north instead. Which, in that case, would mean I could then haul up more than I need, like I usually tend to do.

Maybe I should toss all my heavy non-essential items in my car just in case. It usually turns out that if I bring extra stuff, I won’t have a need for it. The need only arises if I don’t bring something.

It’s like a law of physics or something. Probably a cousin of Murphy’s Law.

Wish us some flying luck! It’ll be pretty sweet if we are able to pull it off. Who wouldn’t want to cut the travel time to the lake in half?

Here’s hoping any thunder is REALLY distant during the appointed hours of our planned travel.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2017 at 6:00 am