Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Wintervale Ranch

More Family

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Yesterday we enjoyed a visit with more family when my sister, Judy, and her daughter, Tricia, and kids stopped by for a dose of Wintervale that delightfully just kept on going, despite their intention to make it brief.

I treasure the opportunity to share the preciousness of idle time among our animals and strolling around our grounds. When the participants are as thrilled by what they find here as Cyndie and I are, it is both energizing and confirming. 

The experience is what I believe it to be. Rejuvenating. Inspiring. Mesmerizing.

The kids didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t blame them one bit.

There are chickens! The horses! They walked/ran the labyrinth, laid on the hammocks, split wood for a fire, made s’mores. We ate fresh-picked sweet corn and cooked burgers over the fire. What’s not to like?

The best part for me was sharing some custom time among the herd, just standing or sitting near the horses while they munched on sweet clover in the arena space. We pulled out the giant soccer ball for the horses, but it held little appeal compared to the greens at their feet.

As we stood observing, the horses eventually oriented themselves right in front of us, chomping away about as close as they could get. Coming from our previous snack of corn on the cob, we recognized that they were gobbling the grass with very similar motions and zeal.

Quietly hanging out with the horses is time I am able to enjoy every day, but drop-in guests rarely get the opportunity, with the inherent hazards of unexpected horse reactions and unfamiliar humans creating unnecessary risk. Cyndie offered a crash-course of safety instruction and the group was able to enter the horses’ space for some unscripted interacting.

Hunter was particularly appreciative of all the attention being lavished and he soaked up the scratches for all he was worth. The picture Tricia captured of Brooke’s kiss while Hunter closed his eyes is a wonderful depiction of the sentiments.

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Written by johnwhays

August 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

A Nutshell

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Have I already shared this? I don’t recall. In a nutshell, here is a synopsis of the Wintervale Ranch story, composed for our “About” page on the Wintervale website.

Wintervale Ranch is a one of a kind retreat center started by Cyndie and John Hays upon their relocation from the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in 2012. Inspired by their travels and life experiences, they began to explore the wonder of equine wisdom. Cyndie enrolled in an Epona apprenticeship program from which blossomed their life-changing move to a gorgeous paradise property in the rolling countryside of west-central Wisconsin.

With a wise herd of four Arabian horses and the beautiful setting not far from the Twin Cities metro area, Wintervale Ranch has become a destination for a variety of opportunities in personal and professional development, as well as rejuvenating health and wellness retreats. On twenty acres with forested trails, open pastures, an 11-circuit Chartes labyrinth, rolling hills with wild berries, perennials, flowers and towering trees, the setting provides an ideal atmosphere for quiet reflection, and opportunities for personal discovery and professional growth.

Wintervale Ranch is a perfect setting for individuals, teams, and small groups to explore possibilities beyond the usual limited focus of daily demands, while connecting with the wonderful wisdom of horses in a natural outdoor nurturing environment.

We invite you to inquire and begin your exploration of discovery. Find what dwells in your possibilities.

In the relatively short time that we have been striving to develop the vision we have for this place, it has become clear to us that our most rewarding outcomes result from the wonderful expressions of our guests, both their words and in the looks on their faces, as they take in the powerful ambiance of the overall setting. That type of reaction becomes magnified even more when the people spend time exploring the lessons and interacting with our horses during Cyndie’s workshops.

It is a thrill to witness learners discovering what dwells in their possibilities.

People visiting Wintervale bring this place to life, and at the same time, Wintervale reveals a broader depth of life to visiting people.

That’s it, in a nutshell!

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Marketing Crunch

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Here is a peek behind our Wintervale curtain. Cyndie’s two months of pent-up energy while out of commission with the bum shoulder has now exploded in a barrage of hyper-active efforts to do a year’s worth of planning and execution in a span of a few weeks.

In addition to our recently getting a Wintervale Ranch presence on Facebook and updating our website, Cyndie has now pumped out more than a half-dozen flyers promoting specific workshops with times, dates, and registration fees.

She has quickly made things real.

With our precious friend, Dunia, planning to come from her home in Guatemala to help, they have plotted an impressive series of workshops with a variety of areas of focus, planned one-after-the-other, for the last few weeks of August.

Now all they need to do is get the word out while also enticing some learners to leap at the chance. That effort started small, with some posts on the Wintervale Facebook page, but after it became obvious that choice provides a rather limited reach, the next logical step was, paid advertising.

Stop. Picture John and Cyndie suddenly switching hats to [untrained] Marketing Specialists in 2017. I have already submitted our business information and location to Google maps. I have also manually ventured to update search engine optimization for our website. Dipping toes into the world of social media paid advertising is a whole ‘nother thing.

It’s a jungle in there.

We not only need to increase the number of viewers, they need to be enticed to make some pretty prompt decisions about committing to participate. That’s a tall order.

Good thing Cyndie and Dunia like to dwell in positive possibilities. And, we are guaranteed nothing would happen if they didn’t at least try.

This week we are ordering new logo’d shirts for facilitators, and a flag for the end of the driveway.

We can lead people toward what we have to offer, but we can’t make them drink. Or something like that.

Give it a couple of weeks and I’ll let you know how things are turning out.

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Written by johnwhays

August 2, 2017 at 6:00 am

Additional Steps

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You might think the title of today’s post refers to walking, after all the promotion we have done recently for our World Labyrinth Day event, but that’s just me being cute. The added steps to which I’m referring are in the realm of expanding the promotion of Wintervale Ranch and Retreat Center. We are slowly updating the pages of our Wintervale Ranch web site, and we have now launched into today’s world of social media.

If you are on Facebook, you can now follow Wintervale Ranch there, because we have our own page. That is where we will regularly share news on upcoming events and workshops.

Those of you willing and able could help us out in our quest to grow our online presence by “Liking” our page and sharing it with your Facebook world.

I’m told, this is how it works. We solicit others to like our page. Honestly, it feels a little contrived to me, but my sources have assured me this will be a familiar and accepted request to regular Facebook users. So, if it makes sense to you, we would love to grow a wide pool of followers from near and far.

“Relative Something” fans, do your thing…

And thanks, from Cyndie, me, and all of our animal family at Wintervale!

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Written by johnwhays

May 8, 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

May Snow

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It snowed a little bit yesterday, off and on amongst the day-long soaking waves of cold mist that blew down upon us. I am not startled by snow flakes in the month of May, after surviving our first spring here back in 2013.

Four years ago, it looked like this:

That was quite an event for us. The Twin Cities barely received a half an inch, but the band of heavy snow to the south and east rode right over us in Beldenville.

We are much better off this year, even though it is still exceedingly wet. The view along our driveway looks much different today.

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Written by johnwhays

May 2, 2017 at 6:00 am

I’m Thinking

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I’m thinking of changing my writing style. Making it great again. Really great. You already know —and people tell me this— that I write about what I know. I know a lot. I’m smart. Very smart. I’m the best friend blogging has ever had. They love me. I tell all the stories about our dog Delilah; the best dog. Best breed. Very, very smart.

dscn5704eWe have horses —Arabian horses— that I write about when I blog. Incredible horses. Our horses love me. When I go down to clean their manure —they create a lot of manure; 50 pounds per day from each horse, every day. You could power a small factory on the heat their composting manure creates every day. Daily— I can walk right between each of the horses, right between, and they know why I’m there. They will come right up to me, Hunter does this, they walk over to piles I am raking, while I’m still raking the piles, and deposit a fresh contribution for me to collect.

Their manure is so smart, it composts itself. I don’t do anything. Just make a pile. It cooks on its own. Hundreds of degrees. 160° right in the middle of the pile.

Okay, enough of that dung. Except maybe the narcissistic part where I bragged superlatively. That part was pretty great. Well, sort of great, anyway. I want to give some credit to the article I spotted on Vox while researching linguistic stylings, which inspired my little adventure in changing my writing style for a few paragraphs.

Back to my woe-be-gone tales of our paradise called Wintervale… where all the horses are strong, the dog is good-looking, and the cat is probably above average. We are wallowing in the purgatory of “between-snow.” That’s a phrase I use to categorize the amount of snow which is messy and should be cleared, but isn’t enough to deserve shoveling or plowing. It’s a common winter hassle, especially during periods between real snowstorms that dump so much snow at one time you have no choice but to plow if you want to get in and out of the driveway.

The best way to solve the conundrum is to simply plow as soon as it falls, even if it is barely enough to warrant the use of the machine. My problem in this case is a limited opportunity (or to be more precise, limited energy), after getting home from the day-job. An inch or two isn’t worth the push to get off my butt and plow after work, whereas three or more inches would inspire me to rise to the occasion.

Since I’m home today, I will do some plowing. It will give me an opportunity to test out that tire repair I did before leaving for Florida, and allow me to clean up the paths I want to have open for the tree trimmers, whom I hope will be here in a week or two.

That’s what I’m thinking, anyway.

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Written by johnwhays

January 27, 2017 at 7:00 am