Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘chores

Partial Trim

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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.

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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.

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Written by johnwhays

July 26, 2017 at 6:00 am

Growing Hope

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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…

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Written by johnwhays

July 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

Distant Thunder

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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.

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Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2017 at 6:00 am

Better Sense

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It looks as though my shadow has better sense than me about taking a much deserved break in the midst of toiling over non-stop things to do.

After work yesterday, it was another trip in the pickup to fetch 45 more bales of hay. Tossing them off the truck and then hefting them back up, stacked high in the shed, was a little more exercise than I was planning to do.

Of course, the stacks get higher as I grow more exhausted, so I out-smarted the task by placing the last half-dozen on the lowest level for now.

I do have better sense than to over-tax my weary body on one particular activity.

I’m better off spreading the exhausting efforts across several days-worth of projects. After that, my body can catch up to my shadow and take a well-deserved rest for a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon.

About that time, it will be the beginning of another week and I’ll get to start the process all over again.

Luckily, the rewards for our efforts are plenty, and we are richly blessed in this paradise we endlessly tend.

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Written by johnwhays

July 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

Dust Bathing

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While I was busy sprucing up the property, the chickens were sprucing up themselves with a rousing dust bath yesterday afternoon. Apparently, two of them had simultaneous interest in the exact same spot of sandy ground. If it hadn’t been for their two different colors, I wouldn’t have been able to tell where one left off and the other started.

The three of them were pretty cute in their companionship earlier in the day when I was turning the piles of compost. They would climb up on the pile I was working on, startling a little bit each time I tossed another scoop on the heap. Not intending to alarm them, I would switch to a different pile to work, after which they would migrate over to help me on that pile.

After a few hours of compost management, I pulled out the Grizzly with our towable grader/rake and did some laps in the round pen to disrupt the uninvited weedy grasses that love taking root in the sand. Maybe the chickens will take a liking to the newly raked sand over there.

Finally, I cranked up the lawn tractor to mow the yard and all the nooks and crannies from the house to the road.

I feel ready to return to the day-job. The next big task demanding attention is the labyrinth. With Cyndie reduced to one working arm, that garden has been mostly neglected. It is something I can probably do after work one of these nights, if I have any energy for the project. The grass and weeds have gotten tall and thick, so it won’t be a quick and easy job.

When that is completed, I need to get after the north pasture, where Cyndie has already removed the fence webbing. I want to pull the T-posts that remain standing and then knock down the shoulder-high growth with our brush cutter. That will be an adventure in mowing what you can’t see.

Sure hope the chickens stay out of that field.

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Pickin’ Time

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Today is Independence Day in the U.S. I’m not sure whether there is added significance about the holiday this year, but it feels more complicated than usual with the turmoil over the bizarre turn our national government has taken, starting early in the Presidential campaign season, then through the change of administration and beyond, and all the while, compounded by the apparent ongoing meddling of foreign nations.

Did someone say “Russia?” Cough, cough.

Are we still an independent country? “One nation, under multinational corporations, indivisible…”

Regardless, we will be celebrating the day by mowing grass, composting manure, and picking raspberries. We returned from the lake yesterday afternoon, despite the gorgeous conditions beckoning us to stay. There was just too much work to be done at home.

Unfortunately, more than gets done in one day, but what a difference a day can make. I’m confident I will feel just fine by the time I throw in the towel tonight and head in for a shower and some dinner.

We took a little reconnaissance walk around the property last evening and found horses and chickens in good order. Most noteworthy was the amount of progress visible in the raspberry bushes compared to how they looked when we left on Friday.

Without delay, Cyndie got a bowl and started collecting berries. Soon, the chickens arrived to join her. It appears she will have some added competition this year on picking raspberries.

Another new addition to our landscape is bursting open like 4th of July fireworks! The first of the many colors of lilies at the top of our driveway are in full bloom.

It was a nice treat welcoming us home.

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2017 at 6:00 am

My Battle

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It’s Saturday. It’s the first day of July. It’s a holiday weekend in the U.S. and Cyndie and I are up at the lake. We brought Delilah with us, our trusty canine who has gotten car sick on the last two drives to Hayward. I negotiated a delayed departure from home to give me time to mow the hay-field a second time with the brush cutter before we high-tailed it for the lake.

The horses are being well cared for by Shelby, a local college student who has been helping Cyndie since the shoulder surgery. As we drove past the arena on our way out, Dezirea was gorgeously trotting laps around Shelby on the lunge line. I tend to perceive Dez as the least athletic of our herd, but she was showing no sign of any physical limitations yesterday.

After my vacation week of cycling and this long weekend away at the lake, I’m discovering an ongoing battle simmers in my mind over work to be done on our property and my precious few hours away from the day-job. As I pedaled through the countryside a couple of weeks ago, some of the prominent scenes that repeatedly caught my eye were the lawns and farm fields being mowed.

“I should be doing that,” was my first impression.

Yesterday, after extended hours of bouncing on the tractor seat over the rolling hill of our hay-field, the accomplishment was satisfying, but only served to reveal the remaining acres still needing attention. Yet, here I am at the lake while the grass at home continues to grow.

While I was on the hay-field, Cyndie worked –one-armed– to remove the webbing from fence posts around the north pasture. We are going to pull the posts, since we aren’t grazing the horses up there anymore, as this will simplify the maneuvering necessary when mowing the area. The grass there is so tall right now that it is hard to see where the posts are with the webbing removed.

My negotiations with Cyndie will resume after the 4th of July games and community dinner are over up here, to see if I can get home with hours to spare for mowing the lawn before the short work week lays claim on my time again.

I’m here, but my mind is mulling the chores needing attention at home. Nature doesn’t take a break when we decide to go on vacation.

It’s a battle.

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Written by johnwhays

July 1, 2017 at 8:15 am