Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘vacation

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

Fiery Sky

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The horses were heavily harassed by biting flies yesterday, which made my session of scooping manure a lively affair. The biggest hazard, beyond unpredictable flailing hooves as they fling a leg out in response to a bite, is the nasty snap of their tails. They could take an eye out with that whipping action. At the very least, it stings when they get you.

I’ve noticed they will frequently align themselves to purposely have their heads in the wash of someone else’s tail for added fly management. There is no doubt they are thicker skinned than we are. I wouldn’t be able to endure the beating.

I worked well past the dinner hour last night, after a full shift at the day-job, to create added open space in the compost area for my approaching week-long absence from home. The effort now should pay off when I return, so I won’t come home to a disaster of overflowing piles.

Manure management is one of those jobs that is made easy by frequent attention. Let it go for a day or two between scooping and it can become an exponentially more significant project.

Last night, I opened up a gate to a section of pasture that still has long grass, to allow the herd a brief session of grazing. The first thing three of them did was pee. The second thing they took turns doing was laying down and rolling around.

When I looked their direction to see they finally got around to seriously grazing, the setting sun was illuminating the clouds to create the impression of a great conflagration. Photo Op!

One last day at the day-job today before vacation. I hope to try mowing the yard tonight and maybe doing a little laundry so I can pack clean clothes for the bike trip.

If I pack warm clothes and rain gear, maybe I won’t need them. We all know that if I don’t pack those things, it would guarantee that the week would turn out cold and wet.

If we see fiery clouds in the evenings during the bike trip, I hope it will mean, “sailor’s delight.”

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Written by johnwhays

June 15, 2017 at 6:00 am

Welcomed Home

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Despite some fleeting moments of inclement weather early in the morning (after a really nice little thunderstorm in the middle of the night) our flight home was on-time and without incident. That part about no incidents is a little surprising because of the number of babies and infants on board.

I spotted the youngster sitting closest to us was under headphones and being mesmerized by programs on a tablet for much of the 3-hour flight. What a great invention when it comes to really, really wanting a child to be occupied for an extended time. Too bad that advantage gets offset by the greater number of times when parents would like their kids to be present and engaged with others in a moment when they instead choose the oblivion of a tablet.

When we landed in Minneapolis, instead of having George and Anneliese pick us up, we took a taxi to Cyndie’s parent’s house in Edina to borrow her mom’s car while mine is in the body shop for repairs. That had us on the road for home at about the same time I would normally be driving home from work on a Monday.

That’s one way to quickly put an accent on the fact we are not on vacation any longer.img_ip1904e

We were met at the door by a very friendly dog who seemed very happy to see us again. Before unpacking a thing, we changed into work clothes and headed out to walk Delilah and tend to the horses. Cyndie decided to put her recent gains in mobility to the test and grabbed ski poles to support her first foray into the snow and uneven ground of our trails. She had done some good walking on multiple surfaces and outdoors while we were in Florida.

We made our way to the horses and got right back in the swing of the usual routine.

Anneliese made a wonderful dinner, followed by a card game at the table, making us feel completely and warmly welcomed back to our home.

Just to get myself fully back into things at Wintervale, I did a little repair work on a problem spot on the electric fence. It was arcing something fierce at the insulator that Legacy had pulled off the t-post. Turns out he cracked it. It was a quick fix of swapping out the bad one with a replacement stolen off a post that wasn’t currently being used.

With that task accomplished, I felt like things were well in order after 5-days away.

Now we have new snow expected tonight and tomorrow, which will serve as a final punctuation mark to our welcome home.

No doubt about it, we are no longer in Florida.

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Written by johnwhays

January 24, 2017 at 7:00 am

Vacation Disorientation

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It’s a bit dizzying to compound my vacation escape from routine by also burying myself in a memoir while simultaneously binge-watching a spy thriller 6-episode series. What day is it today? Where am I again? Who am I?

I’m certainly not at Wintervale anymore.

dscn5650eWe are up in the woods of northwest Wisconsin. Yesterday morning, as I was comfortably lingering in bed after waking up, I spotted a deer moving through the trees outside our window. Then there was another, moving slowly across my view, pawing and sniffing at the ground as they went.

As I watched, the first one suddenly laid down for a rest. A while later, more deer moved into view, and one by one, they curled up in the snow by the first deer. Eventually there were five of them, and they ended up spending most of the day there, despite a small bit of activity in and out of the front door of the cabin as the hours passed.

I like that our little nook is a spot they find to be comfortable for spending their day.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Robbie Robertson’s “Testimony” and finding my mind ensconced in the 1960s music scene that he describes. Between chapters, Cyndie’s parents have us watching the short series, “The Night Manager,” which involves lavish views of exotic places where thrilling intrigue is at play.

Of course, I submerge myself in the identity of each leading character, so by the end of the day, I have lost myself to being a mixed up compilation of people who are definitely not me.

It feels a little bit like being on vacation.

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Written by johnwhays

December 30, 2016 at 7:00 am

Sad Quiet

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Last night when Cyndie stepped out to walk Delilah before bedtime, I became aware of how empty and quiet the house seemed, despite the whirr of the overhead fan and the evening drone of chirping insects resonating beyond the screen door. It was far from silence, but it had a way of pointing out how otherwise silent it was.

Monday afternoon, our friend Dunia departed for her home in Guatemala, ending our stretch of what felt like a 2-week vacation adventure, even though most of it happened at our house. The long-distance separation from our dear friends causes a real bittersweetness when it comes time to say goodbye.

DSCN3776eThe sky was a cloudy gray when I got home from work, as I took Delilah down to the barn to feed the horses and linger with the herd. I got the sense they were missing Dunia, too, even though it had only been a matter of hours for them.

Delilah and I moved on after a while and walked many of our trails, coming upon a few photo opportunities. Despite her lack of interest in my pausing, she politely occupied herself while I worked the angles and light.

Over dinner, Cyndie and I watched a rented movie and then sat together in the quiet, puttering away on separate projects, surrounded by the void of missing companions.

I’m guessing there was also an element of fatigue lingering in the aftermath of the busy weekend filled with the activity and people here for training sessions. We’ll catch our breath and absorb all that’s happened recently, in hopes of conjuring up plans for the next offering sometime this fall.

I hesitate to face it, but fall is so close it is beginning to impact our weather already. My favorite weather blog is predicting an October-like storm moving in today.

It’s probably a good thing that Dunia got out of here when she did, even though her departure has left us with that sweet sorrow of parting. I wonder how much it would cost to fly our horses with us to visit the Morales family in Guatemala again.

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Written by johnwhays

August 18, 2015 at 6:00 am

Seriously Tired

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I gotta tell you, this not-working-at-the-day-job thing is incredibly exhausting. Between the shortage of sleep every night and the mixture of home chores and lake place entertainment, I am operating under the influence of some serious tired.

Our departure from home yesterday was late enough that I had a chance to finish all the fence trimming I needed to do before we left. The drive up seemed more laborious than necessary due to several traffic hindering repaving projects underway. We ran into a section where the highway crew had laid down oil on the existing surface in preparation of whatever the next step was going to be, and they then directed traffic to drive on it. What choice do you have at that point?

Shortly after that, we met congestion created by workers painting the lines down the center and shoulders of the new asphalt. It seemed as though we were slowing down as soon as we accelerated out of a previous delay.

With little hesitation after arriving to Wildwood, we donned our swimwear and made our way down to the beach. One sure-fire way to reach serious tired is playing a game of “Last person standing” on the floating RAVE Sports Water-Whoosh. You can’t touch the other competitors as you do everything possible, beyond touching, to knock the other participants down.

Much of the exhaustion comes as a result of the non-stop laughter induced by the game. The rest of the exhaustion is caused by needing to repeatedly climb back up on top of the floating platform. Cyndie captured some fun shots of young Marco and me in action:

DSC04907eCHDSC04910eCH.

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DSC04912eCHIt is a good thing that I am away from home for a couple of days, so I can rest. NOT!

Having a blast can be a lot of work, you know.

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2015 at 6:00 am

What’s Next

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DSCN3588eWith my vacation over, I find myself feeling a mixture of calm and uneasiness. My mind is surprisingly quiet and my body is somewhat tired. I hopped right into the routine of chores yesterday, with a trip to Hudson to pick up supplies and then an afternoon of mowing grass.

I finally received some irrigation tubing I have been waiting for, which will allow me to bury a water line from the house down to the labyrinth garden. Just to keep me from getting too cocky about my plans, almost immediately, I allowed the line to kink while working with it. Curses!

The day of working on the endless number of things that deserve attention —not the least of which is the management of growing things that never pause in their attempts to extend their reach— exhausted both my mind and my body.

It troubled me a bit to be feeling so burdened by the daily chores after having just enjoyed a week-long break. Shouldn’t I feel renewed and energized to get back to the tasks at hand?

Part of it, I think, might be related to my sense of a lack of progress toward launching an actual income-generating business from our horses and the place we have created. I have noticed it causing me to feel my efforts to prepare and manage this place were becoming an exercise in futility.

That may be about to change. When I got home from my trip, I found a copy of Cyndie’s resignation letter from her job as Chief Academic Officer of Anoka-Hennepin public school district on our counter.

Uh oh. No wonder I’m feeling some uneasiness. What will happen next?

Are we going to make that leap of faith?

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Written by johnwhays

June 21, 2015 at 9:47 am