Relative Something

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

Smashing Success

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Sunday was a day of major accomplishment. Finally, after a serious thunderstorm tipped multiple trees back in mid-July, we have pulled down and cut up all of those, plus some other dead ones in the area that weren’t affected by the winds.

DSCN5110eThere were some complicated techniques required to force these large trees to tip back from the direction of their lean, over center and down to the ground. It didn’t all go flawlessly, but they all did go successfully in the end.

The rope rigging that Julian helped get set up on Saturday paved the way for yesterday’s first big success. That tree was key to getting after the one behind it.

While clearing a standing tree from the landing zone, the exercise expanded when that tree didn’t fall free as hoped and became another challenge to our skills.

IMG_iP1626eCyndie and I had to toss a rope up for leverage to pull so we could coerce it to come all the way down to the ground.

The extra effort of throwing rope and hooking up and operating come-alongs turned the big effort into an all-day project, but it was so thoroughly satisfying to have those trees down after weeks of wanting it done that it didn’t matter.

The chainsaw performed admirably, despite some abusive handling it was subjected to on a couple of occasions when I allowed the blade to get trapped in a pinch.

Beyond that, we are extremely happy to have completed the day injury free. It was a day filled with some dangerous work, but the equipment held up and we avoided the many potentials for calamity.

Despite the gleaming success, I will be very happy if I don’t need to use the chainsaw again for a very long time. I admit, it is an incredibly rewarding feeling when a tree you are trying to bring down finally falls, but it is a strenuous job. Plus, we have so much splitting that needs to be done now, I won’t have any time available to be cutting even more.

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Written by johnwhays

August 29, 2016 at 6:00 am

Incremental Progress

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Thanks to the added support of our son, Julian, I made it another step closer to bringing down the last two ‘widow maker’ tipped trees in our woods yesterday. He arrived in the morning to assist me in finalizing the installation of our new signal booster for cell phones and internet connection. In the afternoon, I had him out in the woods, lending a hand with tree work.DSCN5100e

Just having him standing by boosted my confidence to attempt a cut I had only observed in demonstration videos to release the tension of a hung-up tree and get the base onto the ground.

After that, we started the tedious exercise of tossing a leader over a high branch so we could string ropes to pull the tree back from the direction of lean. It is a daunting task.

This morning, in a thick fog that has the forest dripping wet, I plan to attach a come-along in a test of geometrical physics. I have no idea whether I have the right angles and properly placed force to coerce this dead weight off its tangled perch, but I’m happy to experiment.

The final measure of success won’t be whether I am able to get it to fall. No, my celebration will hopefully be over getting it to topple over anywhere that isn’t on top of me.

One added bit of drama this morning is that I am hoping to achieve it in a narrow of window of time before a looming thunderstorm arrives from the west.

Never a dull moment.

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Written by johnwhays

August 28, 2016 at 8:38 am

Intervale Windmill

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IMG_iP1625eBFCyndie’s brother, Ben Friswold, recently sent me some photos he took of the old windmill from Intervale Ranch which is still standing on the Braemar Golf Course in Edina. The course is undergoing some renovations that had us questioning the fate of the precious relic.

Both Cyndie and Ben separately contacted the course manager to inquire on their plans and let him know of our interest in preserving it. If they weren’t going to keep the old beast, we wanted to have it. Alas, the response was that they love the history of it and thus included the windmill as part of their new design.

I think this is the better place for it, but if they weren’t going to preserve the implement, we would much rather have it than see the metal tossed to a scrap pile.

I’m curious about the markings on the tail that say, “Hays Farm USA.” I rather doubt the naming would have been something my father or grandfather would have done.IMG_iP1624eBF

More likely, the city of Edina added that. In most of the historical documents I have reviewed about the property, the city identified it as the Hays Farm, as opposed to Intervale.

It has occurred to me that I don’t know if the windmill ever appears in any photos of the Intervale Slideshow I posted a couple of days ago. Wouldn’t that be something if it did.

This morning I searched for old posts on Relative Something where I wrote about the farm and discovered I did that back in July of 2009. If you are interested in reading more about the property, check them out.

You can find them under the category, “Intervale,” or navigate the “Previous Somethings” back to July 2009.

Or, I could provide a link to one of them. More About the Farm seems like a reasonable start. From there you can travel to the ‘previous’ or ‘next’ post on the subject by clicking the links just above the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Many thanks to my golfing brother-in-law, Ben, for keeping an eye on our treasured landmark, and providing the pictures used here!

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Written by johnwhays

August 27, 2016 at 8:02 am

Nail Appointment

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The horses had their hooves trimmed yesterday. We are nearing the end of the season of rapid hoof growth, as the days grow shorter and the horses’ bodies shift their energy to growing a winter coat of hair. The hoof growth is still going summer-strong and combined with the wet weather we’ve experienced all summer, our horses’ feet have looked pretty rough around the edges.

Cayenne has received some special attention since her days of lameness when she developed an abscess on one foot. George has been slowly reshaping the hoof over a period of multiple trims to correct the way it will support her weight. She has one hoof that tends to develop a crack in it.

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The horses weren’t the only animals having an adventure here yesterday. Delilah was exposed to a wonderfully submissive female bob-tailed Australian Shepherd. We are always grateful for a chance to work on Delilah’s socialization, and this episode verified we are a long way from having control over her aggression.

Delilah is good at blocking out our attempts to command her to stand down, soldier. I’m afraid she requires reprimands that equal her outbursts, and I’m not sure our level tends to match hers.

I don’t know how to balance an intense level of reproach between that which would be effective and one inducing unintended trauma to her canine psyche. We got her when she was already almost 10-months old, not knowing the full extent of her early history, and it seems to us that she shows occasional signs of possible past trauma.

Cyndie is considering shopping around for a training school course this fall. She has my full support.

Our feline had a different sort of adventure last night. Pequenita was conspicuously absent overnight and this morning, such that it was the very first thing Cyndie and I spoke of this morning. Where was the cat?

She has a history of wanting to get outside. Last night we had company over and ate dinner on the deck, so were in and out of enough doors that ‘Nita had plenty of opportunities to sneak out. Our first thoughts were to look outside, but logic told me that there are plenty of indoor places where she might have gotten trapped behind a closed door.

With that in mind, it didn’t take long to hear her distant call from the storage room downstairs. She was thirsty and starved for affection, but otherwise unharmed by her overnight confinement away from her peeps.

We dive into another day of relative animal normalcy with our crew…

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Written by johnwhays

August 26, 2016 at 8:22 am

Speedy Stability

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Oh. My. Gosh. The signal booster kit arrived yesterday. Without a moment of hesitation after getting home from work, I opened packages and inventoried the goods.

DSCN5086eGot what I wanted!

Everything matched my expectations. Still, I was not overly confident it would work for us. Sellers of this equipment clearly express the ultimate results are dependent on a lot of variable factors. I wanted to take as few steps as possible toward testing things out before putting in the effort to permanently install and wire all the components.

DSCN5092eThere was no getting around needing to have that outdoor directional antenna mounted on the peak of the roof, though.

With Cyndie inside the house getting readings from my phone and the internet hot spot, I adjusted the outdoor antenna in every direction for her to record levels. Using two-way radios, we methodically ran through the steps 8 different times. It didn’t seem all that critical, because all the readings showed improvement, but I settled on splitting the difference between two of the best decibel readings while aiming it toward a hint of an opening between trees.

After doing a little web site surfing and making a test phone call, the results were exhilarating enough that Cyndie suggested we not disconnect the hastily routed cables and use it as is until I can work on the more permanent installation over the weekend.

We took advantage of one of the window screens Delilah wrecked and duct taped around the cable as it passed through the screen to get the signal in a window from the outdoor antenna to the amplifier.

We are now enjoying an unprecedented 3 strong bars of 4G LTE signal without interruption. The best we had prior to the signal booster was 1 flaky bar of 4G every other day. On days it couldn’t grab 4G, it would settle on 3G, but usually reset every few minutes, or simply drop down to 1x and provide little to no forward progress on getting anything accomplished.

What a difference this makes. Pictures uploaded to my blog library in one try! Shocking! And no waiting!

It’s almost like living in the suburbs again. Except, we don’t have houses nearby, or traffic, or the sound of leaf blowers.

I tell you, the kit is not only improving our connectivity, it is boosting morale!

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Going Public

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After trying to get permission to use copyrighted music prior to publicly posting my slideshow of the old farm property that my grandfather owned, Intervale Ranch, I have decided to accept the default automated claim that kicked in after I uploaded the video to YouTube over 10-months ago. I’m not allowed to monetize the video, which I never intended to do, and YouTube or the music license holder or both —I don’t know which— will be able to place ads on the video.

I hope I am correct that those will be the ones that viewers can click to remove as the video plays.

So, last evening, I changed the video from private to public. Feel free to kick off the rush that will send this gem viral. Might as well give the license holders their money’s worth.

Without further delay, I present, The Intervale Ranch Slideshow.

Question and answer session to follow. I invite those with inquisitive minds to post any questions the slideshow engenders by posting a comment to this post. I may use them to write a follow-up post that will fill out the detail glossed over by the sometimes cryptic collection of images.

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Written by johnwhays

August 24, 2016 at 6:00 am

Leisure Happens

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I may describe most of our activities as exclusively focused on one project or another around here, but our days are not entirely void of occasional leisurely pursuits.

IMG_iP1615eFrom the driver’s seat of my car as I approached the house yesterday after work, I noticed instantly that Cyndie had put up one of our hammocks. I wondered if I had failed to pay attention to her plans to host visitors. Why else would she be putting out our “accessories?”

Inside, I spotted a string of horse-shaped lights she had hung across the mantel over the fireplace, and figured something must definitely be up.

She came in from the barn and said that it was such a nice day with a wonderful summery wind blowing, she put up the hammock for us to lounge and enjoy. It was for us to use! Imagine that.

I asked about the string of horses on the mantel. She told me those had been up since her workshop two weeks ago.

Color me oblivious.

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Written by johnwhays

August 23, 2016 at 6:00 am

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