Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘change

Cracked

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

May 3, 2017 at 6:00 am

Mildly Hesitant

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I found myself mildly hesitant yesterday about writing of our having ordered chicks. I had it in my mind when building the coop last fall that we might be able to get our hands on some adult chickens for our starter flock. Instead, we are starting with chicks. That involves a bit more nurturing than I’d been contemplating.

I should be thankful. We could have gone all the way and opted to hatch them from eggs. With no previous experience in this realm of chicken raising, there is always a chance disaster could happen and we might make some fatal error that takes innocent lives.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to blog such a possible outcome and expose the personal failure. Then it occurred to me, that is what I do.

In discussing this topic with Katie at work, I became aware of a change that has transpired in the four-plus years Cyndie and I have been here. When we first arrived from our lifetimes in the suburbs, we were entirely naive about almost every situation we faced.

Long time readers might recall that we didn’t realize we already had a hitch installed on the old pickup truck we bought. I had no experience with a chainsaw. We didn’t know anything about growing hay. We’ve come a long way. I would even say I’ve had a few moments of feeling cocky about our accomplishments.

So, it dawned on me that cockiness was bringing me to a place where I felt less inclined to write about the things with which we still have no experience, like raising chickens.

I guess I’ve quickly worked through that hesitation I was feeling. This John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences currently involves our ongoing transition from a suburban lifestyle to a rural ranch, one experimental step at a time.

Hopefully, next year I will be reporting about how few flies and ticks we are bothered by after the addition of chickens to our menagerie. Maybe also, how the transplanted tree in the labyrinth is thriving.

If those things don’t happen, I’ll likely have chronicled about that, instead. Chronicling the whole range of adventures we are living, both the successes and failures, is what I do. Even if sometimes, with a little hesitation.

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Written by johnwhays

March 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

One Hour

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I don’t recall whether I have officially gone on record with my thorough disliking of the practice of changing the clock one hour twice a year. Regardless whichever lame and outdated excuse is used to justify the idea, I am not the least bit convinced it has merit.

Maybe it’s the ridiculous name. There is absolutely no daylight saved by humans readjusting their clocks used to measure the hours. And I don’t like to admit how picky I can be, but the all too common habit of pluralizing the word “Saving” in the title has become like fingers on a blackboard to my ears ever since I learned about it and stopped doing so myself.

It’s only one hour, but it messes with my body clock and my feeble mind for days after the change. I should probably be more curious about why that would be, the science of it, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to interest me. I just know it does and I don’t care for it.

Leave the hours alone. Let the planet spin while it orbits the sun and keep the clocks adjusted to one reference. I don’t care whether it’s Standard or “Saving.” Just leave it the same all year round.

Please.

There. It’s on record.

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Written by johnwhays

March 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

Powerful Thoughts

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Remembering things that have long ago faded from view is an art to be cherished. It does many things for us, but most significantly, it keeps alive those who are no longer physically here. Our mental processing happens the same for information arriving through our open eyes as it does for conjured memories. When we think about those who are not with us, it turns out that they actually are.

Arriving yesterday afternoon for a funeral service, Cyndie and I could feel the love and the grief before we saw it on the faces and in the hugs. Love and emotion radiates from the intensity of powerful thoughts.

Last night my dreams were as real as ever and traveled to one of my childhood homes, accompanied by faces and personalities of my present day. This morning the aroma of wood smoke from the warm flames in our fireplace reaches deep into my being and magically mixes the present moment with hundreds of equally pleasant fires of my past.

Most powerful of all, I get to choose where I will direct my thoughts to go. Shall I nurture the angst I feel over disturbing news reports and harrowing unethical prospects of late, or will I focus the power of my imagination on virtually hugging the globe and all its inhabitants in an embrace of love and compassion?

Yesterday, while editing an article Cyndie wrote, I was reminded of how much impact our mental energies have on outcomes.  She described her journey of transformation in defiance of a particular diagnosis of permanent disability, choosing to purposefully embrace the power of possibility, in lieu of passively accepting untested limitations.

My mind would be far less able and aware if it wasn’t for Cyndie’s influence. I’m embarrassed for the number of years I dragged my less-enlightened self, kicking and screaming in resistance, behind her bold explorations of potential for better possibilities.

“I dwell in possibility,” she would always tell me.

“Yeah, it’s possible this could all go wrong,” would be my natural reaction.

Proof lies in the pudding, and I’ve seen enough results now to recognize the beauty of her powerful thinking.

I’m going to send my love today to those who just lost a precious relation, while also renewing the lives of members of my own family by fondly remembering them in the same way my mind did when they were here.

An amazing power, thought.

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Written by johnwhays

March 11, 2017 at 10:17 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

Days Happen

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dscn5459eDespite our lofty plans and petty concerns, time marches on. Days happen, one right after the other. The present moment unfurls and that quickly becomes history. Last night, I was struck by a reference in a PBS Frontline story to research done in the archives for information from 1977. Was that really that long ago?

I guess so.

Today I am struck anew by the amazing place where I now reside. As the year 2016 nears the twelfth month, we have become ever more normalized with our rolling hills and areas of hardwood forest. We have slowly developed new trails and arranged sections of fenced pasture. It is becoming a reflection of us and the animals now living here.

In the relatively short time we have been here, the neighborhood has changed noticeably. We are currently in the final weekend of the annual deer hunting season, an event that has quieted significantly compared to our first years on the property.

dscn5458eI’m not sure why there is less activity visible this year on the properties adjacent to us, but it’s been nice to have fewer sights and sounds to trigger Delilah into the fits of unnecessary outbursts she feels called to deliver. I wish I could attribute her good behavior to a continued maturation, but evidence hints otherwise.

It’s quite possible that her presence alone is a factor in relocating local hunters to more distant acres, although she isn’t chasing all the deer off. We still see them around with regularity. More likely, what has moved the hunters away is the combined activity of the horses and humans roving around here along with her on a daily basis.

Life is happening here everyday. And as soon as I chronicle it, the stories become archived in the “Previous Somethings.”

Time marches on.

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Written by johnwhays

November 26, 2016 at 10:29 am

Shaping Terrain

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dscn5371eDespite the sprinkling rain that pestered most of the day yesterday, I decided to try moving some dirt and turf from the drainage ditch along our southern property line to the adjacent sloped path.

When the new fence was installed and the drainage ditch improved, there wasn’t much width remaining beside a little bend in the fence. It was an impediment to being able to use the tractor to mow that section of path around the outside of the hay-field fence.

Originally, I envisioned using the loader on the tractor to dig out the sediment that has been accumulating in the ditch, but it hasn’t been dry enough to do that for months.

Since I was already working along that fence line this weekend, I decided to see what I could accomplish using a shovel to dig it out by hand. It was a little messy, and a bit tedious, but it was probably a better method for then using the material removed to improve the path.

Using blocks of dirt and turf that I could barely lift with the shovel, I built up the low side until it was wide enough to fit at least the lawn tractor, for now. Might be dicey fitting the diesel around that bend.

The strip around the fence only received infrequent attention and would grow tall and thick, so I had been mowing navigable portions with the brush cutter. Now that I will be able to drive the lawn tractor around, it will be convenient enough that I can keep it cut short all the time.

Well, as short at the rest of the lawn, which all grows so fast that short is a relative term.

With that little narrow bend of path fixed, there was only one other barrier remaining to allow driving the full circumference of our horse-fenced fields. Back in the corner by the woods there is an old ravine that was created by years of water runoff. Previous owners had dumped a lot of old broken up concrete in it to slow the erosion.

We have created a better defined intentional swale a short distance above that directing the bulk of energized flow into the main drainage ditch. It crossed my mind to fill in the ravine, but some water still wants to follow the ease of that natural route and I’d rather not fight it.dscn5373e

Simple solution: a bridge. For now, nothing fancy. I used a few left over fence posts and then broke down and actually purchased additional lumber to make it wide enough to drive across.

I placed them across the washout yesterday in the rain, leaving the task of cutting a notch in the dirt on each side to level them for today.

Then I will be driving to the airport to pick up George and Anneliese. I’ve come to the end of my solo weekend on the ranch. They are going to return the favor of airport transport after midnight tonight when Cyndie arrives home from Guatemala, so I can get some sleep before the start of my work week.

I’m looking forward to having everyone home again.

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Written by johnwhays

October 30, 2016 at 9:15 am