Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘family

DejaVu Again

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With less than a week until I leave for my umpteenth annual Tour of Minnesota bicycling and camping week, planning is well underway. Surprisingly, we are also in the midst of planning for coverage to assist Cyndie with life and ranch chores while she recovers from a surgery.

With a totally unexpected speed usually associated with emergency procedures, the office of the orthopedic surgeon initiated an accelerated series of appointments leading to repair of Cyndie’s shoulder on Tuesday, just three days before I leave for my trip.

They got her fitted with a special sling to be used for days after the procedure, and on her way home she was able to squeeze in the requisite pre-op physical. Cyndie will be back on pain meds and placed on the disabled list for ranch management activities for weeks after her surgery.

And I will be on vacation for a week. Good luck with that.

It’s a bit distracting, trying to take a break from the routine, while faced with the knowledge my wife is unable to fulfill her own role, let alone cover for my absence.

The solution: Family and friends.

We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. Thank you, in advance, to all who are volunteering to take a shift covering our needs of Cyndie-care and animal care this week while I try to keep hours at the day-job and then leave for a week of vacation.

You’ll just love the chickens!

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Written by johnwhays

June 11, 2017 at 9:07 am

Precious Getaway

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We are so lucky to have people who are willing and able to take care of our animals for enough time to allow us to get away to the lake place every so often. It is our Memorial holiday weekend in the U.S. and for the second time in three weeks, we are again up at the lake place.

This time, we are without Delilah. She stayed home to be with our very capable recent college graduate, McKenna. Two of Cyndie’s brothers are up here with kids, and her parents as well. We got the weekend off to a very festive start by venturing out to the Lost Land Lake Lodge for the Friday night fish fry.

The place was hopping and our server was a real charm. Food was perfect in every way and the family banter was wonderfully entertaining. It was almost enough to entirely purge the lingering mental distractions of the day-job, where business has gotten so good (busy) it’s getting annoying.

Before the night was over, I had already lost two completely different card games. It didn’t bother me one bit. The precious ambiance was all the victory I needed for putting me in my happiest of places.

A precious getaway is an amazingly priceless luxury. This one is certainly more than I deserve.

As it fills my cup to overflowing, I will send the extra love out to you and the world to distribute and amplify all that is good.

It’s the least one can do for a world that too often seems out of our reach to help.

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Generations

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

May 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

Peacefully Walking

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Wintervale Ranch and Retreat Center hosted a World Labyrinth Day event yesterday and participated in the Walk as One at 1:00, a global wave of taking steps for peace.

Family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, and previous property owners arrived throughout the afternoon on a beautiful May day to trek the roundabout path and ponder.

One participant mentioned she had spent 35 minutes striding to the center and back out again, adding that stopping to touch things may have lengthened the duration of her journey.

It was a delightful departure from my norm to see the labyrinth energized with so many souls walking together. I spend a lot of solo time in that garden.

Cyndie worked her magic in the kitchen to fill the counter with a wide variety of fresh-baked caramel rolls to provide both energy and incentive for walking. I was careful to avoid eating a great big serving, but by sampling bite-size nibbles from the plain, frosted, with raisins, and finally, a pecan covered version throughout the entire day, I’m sure I successfully obliterated the balance of my healthy food pyramid for the week.

After the labyrinth, the chickens and their coop became a prominent attraction for visitors, followed by a stop to see how the horses were doing.

It was an invigorating day. As always, our belief was confirmed. As fabulous a place to live as this is, it is never in full spectacular bloom until guest arrive to launch the ultimate greatness.

Thank you to all of you who found your way here yesterday. It made for a wonderful mix of energized peacefulness.

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Written by johnwhays

May 7, 2017 at 8:23 am

Chicks Move

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Of course, the chicks were one of the more popular attractions for visiting family yesterday. On the group’s first visit to the barn, I decided to take Delilah for a walk in the opposite direction, to keep her from feeling neglected and barking her shrill attention plea while everyone was cooing over the chicks.

Julian was kind enough to take my camera and record the proceedings for me.

He wonderfully captured the moment when one of the chicks fell asleep in Steve’s grasp. It looks like the poor thing died in his hands.

After the festivities of the day wound down and visitors had departed, Cyndie and I went to work getting power to the chicken coop so we could move the heat lamp out there. The time had come.

We transferred our chicks from the brooder to the coop. They seemed to handle the stress well and quickly looked very comfortable in their new home. One of the Barred Plymouth Rocks wasted no time in climbing the branch that led up to the poop board beneath the two roosts.

I’m pretty sure they will be sitting on the roosts when Cyndie checks on them this morning. They were easily jumping that high in the brooder to sit on top of the waterer.

I moved our trail camera to a tree next to the coop in hopes of recording any new traffic arriving to investigate the fortress. If prowlers begin to snoop, we’d like to find out who it is so we can tailor any control measures for the most likely threats.

We spied on the chicks through the window for quite a while before leaving them for their first night in the new residence. It left us wishing we’d installed a video feed so we could watch them from the house.

Our little chicks are growing up! So far, so good.

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Written by johnwhays

April 17, 2017 at 6:00 am

Going Slow

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We are in a bit of a rush this morning. After staying out late last night at Gary’s for dinner and music, we are hosting brunch for Cyndie’s family in a couple of hours. Although we started preparations early yesterday, there is much to be done right down to the last minute.

Care for our animals does not get postponed, so we end up feeling like we are trying to do two things at once. The natural result of that is, we try to rush everything we do.

I gotta say, rushing things tends not to be my favorite mode. I definitely prefer going slow, especially when it comes to being with our horses. Even when there is more to be done than there is time for, I can’t help pausing in the morning sun, breathing in the spring air, and just being quiet around the herd for a few moments.

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I ponder over the incredible saturation of soil we are currently in the middle of, amplified right now by the 4.5 inches of rain that has fallen over the last two days. I marvel at how quickly –overnight!– the rain greened up the grass. I smile at the new buds popping open throughout our woods.

It definitely feels like spring has sprung.

Growing things obviously aren’t going slow now, so my pauses to enjoy will become squeezed between frantic efforts to keep up with the mowing and trimming that is already on the verge of demanding attention in some spots.

Life can be a delicate balance of hurrying up and slowing down all at the same time.

See? Opposites attract!

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Written by johnwhays

April 16, 2017 at 10:02 am

Trail’s Open

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I have been waiting for the ground to thaw in order to clear the remaining sections of the downed tree laying across my new trail, but other things have commanded my attention. Each day, the project was on my agenda, but something else got first priority.

On Saturday, after I dragged my butt home from the bike ride, I refueled with some lunch with Cyndie. Rallying our energies after the midday meal, we set out to tackle separate chores. She was going to brush the horses, and I wanted to chainsaw a downed tree in our woods so I could continue chipping branches in that area. I also wanted to do some manure management and then take on the tree across the trail.

Cyndie suggested it sounded like I might be setting my goals a little high, especially after how drained I was when I got home.

She was dead on.

I barely summoned enough energy to finish chainsawing that downed tree. I was running on fumes as I lumbered around cleaning up and putting things away. Before calling it a day and heading in, I checked with Cyndie at the barn and offered to go get Delilah and take her for a walk.

Delilah had been on a “time out” inside all afternoon after running away from Cyndie into the woods while I was on my bike ride.

The dog and I headed out along my new trail. As we approached the downed tree, Delilah went around to the right and I hopped over toward the left. I landed on a piece that suddenly shifted. The ground had thawed enough to free the wood from its grip!

I couldn’t resist. The opportunity gave me renewed energy, so I hooked Delilah’s leash to a small tree and went to work on it. One after another the pieces of the tree came out of the ground and I was able to push them off the trail.

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I moved everything except the little piece that I determined was actually the stump of a small tree right in the way. That would require more attention than I was ready to give in that moment.

On Sunday, Mary and Tim stopped by for a short visit and on our way back from checking out our new chicks, I took them over to see my big accomplishment on the trail.

As I was telling them the story of that remaining stump, I kicked at it to demonstrate how solid it was.

It moved.

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Turned out it had just been frozen solid all along.

It was a little embarrassing, but that emotion was quickly overridden by the thrill of being able to simply move the obstruction aside.

The trail is now open for business.

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Written by johnwhays

April 4, 2017 at 6:00 am