Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘labyrinth

Coming Around

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A day later, I’m coming around to the idea that I will be able to figure out a modification that will sub-divide the coop into two smaller apartments. I guess I just need to whine about it first. Upon further review, I’m pretty sure we can come up with something that can work.

Maybe my knee-jerk reaction of pessimism is a way of balancing Cyndie’s unbridled optimism on projects like this. If I don’t think I can do it, she will take care of it herself, regardless her rather unreliable spatial relations perception, and currently, her limit of only one available arm.

Don’t for one minute assume her having only one useable arm has stopped her from accomplishing anything. It slows her down a little bit, but she still has managed to do way more than seems possible around here.

I felt a little like the questionable photographer when I kept snapping shots of her struggling to scoop piles of grass that we had raked up. Sure, I could have set the camera down and helped her, but she was actually doing pretty well without me.

As soon as I finished raking, I took over the scooping chore from her and she wandered away to a different spot to pull weeds.

We opened up the back pasture to the horses so they could keep us company while we worked, but they weren’t our only companions. Delilah, who Cyndie had tethered nearby, alerted us to the appearance of chickens. How nice of them to come help.

I had just been thinking of them a few minutes earlier when I spotted a big juicy bug pop out from a pile of grass. I figured that would appeal to the chickens. Maybe they picked up on my thinking.

They happen to be about as good a helper as the dog has proved to be when I am working. If I move something, Delilah likes to move it back for me. The chickens checked out our raked piles by kicking them to smithereens in search of a snack.

We think the three survivors of the great chicken massacre of June 16 may have a little PTSD over the event. They no longer put themselves to bed in the coop at dusk. Many nights I would find one of the Barred Plymouth Rocks up on a branch in the same tree where I found her that fateful night.

Now she has lured the others to join her. At first, it was just the Buff Orpington, but two nights ago, it was all three of them up in that tree as the sun disappeared. Cyndie just alerts me, the one of us with two useable arms, and I come out to pluck them from the branch, one at a time, unceremoniously returning them to the coop for the night.

Last night, retraining to the coop started anew. We round them up before they take to the tree at dusk and herd them over to the coop, to be enticed inside with treats.

And we want to get more of these birds?

I’m coming around to the idea.

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Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2017 at 6:00 am

Short Note

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No time for blathering on this morning… Finished with breakfast, we are hustling down to rake and remove piles of grass from the labyrinth before rain arrives today.

While we work, you enjoy this image of berries and flowers that Cyndie captured.

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Written by johnwhays

July 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

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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

Herd Reunited

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I am very happy to be able to report that Dezirea has made enough progress toward good health that Cyndie decided to allow her back with our other horses. In fact, to celebrate the milestone, Cyndie let all 4 of them step out onto the green grass for their first brief taste of the spring.

We have now arrived at the difficult period when we meter out their minutes of grazing on the lush spring growth. In years past, the strict constraints on the time we allowed them were merely applied to ease their digestive systems into the change. Then we came to realize that they don’t work hard enough to justify the rich diet full-time.

We have to limit their grazing most of the year in order to keep them from becoming overweight.

Cyndie has purchased some muzzles in hope of giving the horses a chance to roam the pasture without over-eating. They can eat through the muzzle, but it takes a bit more time and effort. It will slow down their intake.

Since they are not out on the pasture full-time, they’ve been eating hay longer into the warm months. Last night we visited a new local source of small bales that Cyndie found through an ad. We filled the back of the pickup with as much as it would hold and hustled back to the ranch, quickly serving up a few test bites to the horses.

They loved it! That was a relief.

Hauling hay at the end of the day was a lot of work, because we were already fatigued from continued sprucing of the labyrinth, mowing the lawn, re-hanging the vines across the path out of the back yard, spending time with chickens out of the coop, and turning the composting manure piles.

Today will be a much more leisurely day. It’s World Labyrinth Day! We are expecting visitors around noon, so after a few small chores of preparation in the morning, we will be lounging, snacking, visiting, and walking for peace throughout the afternoon.

I’m looking forward to having the afternoon off.

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Almost Ready

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This is our fifth spring of reworking our Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth after the abuses that winter throws at it. It’s got me questioning our decision to make it as large as we did. Aesthetically, it is just the way I envisioned, so that’s very rewarding. The downside however, is that maintenance ends up being a VERY large chore.

Here’s something I don’t get: The freeze/thaw cycles tend to push rocks up in the farmer’s cultivated fields, where they are totally unwanted. The rocks we positioned to define the circling labyrinth path are all moving down and getting swallowed by the earth around them.

I spent time re-balancing the double-stacked rocks at the U-turns last night. There were areas of the paths where I could barely find the rocks because they had settled so deep in the soft turf. My long-term goal was to keep adding rocks every year, to form little rock wall barriers defining the trail.

At this point, it is more like starting from scratch every spring, trying to define the pathway from almost nothing.

I’m probably exaggerating a little bit, because after a reasonable effort last night, we’ve gotten close to feeling completely ready for tomorrow’s big event.

World Labyrinth Day is Saturday and we have opened up our 11-circuit Chartes style labyrinth to host visitors in the “Walk as One at 1:00” event. There is going to be a global wave of peace flowing tomorrow afternoon.

If you don’t make it out to Wintervale to join us, pause wherever you are during the one o’clock hour and send some peace out in the world.

Then take a moment to absorb the wave flowing along.

Namaste.

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Taking Precautions

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A few steps forward, and one giant leap back from spring. It is interesting how different 36° (F) can feel depending on whether arriving to it from above or below. When it has been below freezing for months, a day that reaches 36° can feel dramatically warm.

When it has recently been 70° outside, a dip down to 36° feels despicably cold. Same temperature, different perspective.

This morning feels despicable.

Up until now, I have been purposefully avoiding paying attention to the status of the tree we transplanted to the center of the labyrinth last fall. We’ve failed enough times before –three to be exact– that I’m attempting to avoid getting excited too soon.

A couple of days ago, Cyndie texted a picture of the many new leaves that have emerged. Time for my denial to end. With the threat of sub-freezing temperatures predicted, we felt it necessary to cover the sapling for protection from the cold.

It was a challenge, because the sprouts are so delicate that some dropped simply from the abuse of my clumsy attempt to get the sheet up and over the top.

Regardless, I feel better to have tried protecting it, than if we’d done nothing. I’ve watched too many of our other small trees with delicate early growth wither and die in the past two years when warm spring days were followed by hard freezes.

I’m hoping this tree turns out to be as robust as the ten chicks we ordered through the mail have proved to be.

I may be trying to protect myself from disappointment, but I won’t give up without doing everything I can to improve the odds of success. With the cold temperatures, the saturated wetness now, and the likely dry spells to come, we have our work cut out for us for many months ahead.

Here’s hope that our precautions pay off in every way.

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Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2017 at 6:00 am

Labyrinth Love

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Did you know there is a World Labyrinth Day? Maybe you didn’t even know there was such a thing as a Labyrinth Society. Well, there is, and Cyndie knows all about both. She has been a powerful force in guiding the creation of our precious Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth at Wintervale, and now she is sharing it with the world of labyrinth lovers around the globe.

Over the weekend she added our site to the Labyrinth Society’s locator database. You can look us up here.

In addition, Cyndie has written an article for Minnesota Women’s Press that was published in their April issue, to express the transformative power of walking the path of a labyrinth. If you follow that link to read her article, don’t be alarmed by the “Edina” address in her bio-line. She offered her parent’s address to align with their Minnesota focus, and that is the one they preferred. It’s not fake news, just an alternate fact.

At the end of that article, there is a paragraph describing World Labyrinth day. We are planning to participate in the “Walk as One at 1pm” wave of peace around the globe by inviting guests to join us at our labyrinth.

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If you are interested in joining us on May 6th, make sure to let us know in advance, so we can be properly prepared.

In the off-hand situation we get an overwhelming number of participants, I’ll just have Cyndie pull out the portable labyrinth she made with canvas and duct tape. I don’t recall if I posted a picture of the finished product already, but here it is on the day she and her LaLas (Labyrinth Ladies; see her article) finished it in the sanctuary of a church.

Come share the love of labyrinths and join in a global wave of peace. It will be transformative!

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Written by johnwhays

April 3, 2017 at 6:00 am