Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Wintervale

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

Merry Christmas

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DSC02561merrychristmas.

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Written by johnwhays

December 25, 2016 at 7:00 am

Morning Pictures

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Delilah and I set out in the pre-dawn light to walk the long way through the woods to the barn so we could feed the horses. The coloring comes through with a blue tint before the sunlight starts making its way through the clouds.

dscn5548eI always find the view of fresh snow on the branches irresistible to capture, but the pictures never do justice to what I get to see in real life.

Legacy likes to pretend he doesn’t know how to get around the obstacle of the arena fence line to come in for the morning morsels of feed. The two younger chestnuts ignore his act and simply keep grazing until its time to go.

dscn5552eThis morning provided good evidence of the horses having a preference for one hay over another from the selections we have to offer them this year. I specifically mixed the supply in this box last night.

dscn5550eNot wanting them to suffer over their picky-ness about the fuel being served this morning in the snowy cold, I emptied the box of the less desirable hay and replaced it with one of the bales they prefer.

I dumped the unwanted hay out in the raised circle.

dscn5553eNow guess which one they prefer.

After getting back up to the house to feed the rest of the crew, I will be stepping back outside to crank up the Grizzly for the first snowplowing of the year.

With a Polar Vortex cold snap predicted for the days ahead, it is finally feeling a lot like winter around Wintervale today.

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Written by johnwhays

December 11, 2016 at 11:06 am

A Recap

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How did we get to this point in the story? …Previously, on Something Relative:

John (that’s me) and his friend, Gary, were going on a trek in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal and wanted to share stories and photos of the trip with friends and family. Son, Julian, suggests I should use a blog for the purpose. I look to post something new everyday to keep the thing from becoming stale.

I write some poetry and take pictures. One day, my wife, Cyndie, tells me I should put my poems on my images. Words on Images becomes a regular, occasional feature.

I share stories and pictures from an annual bicycling tour and camping week that happens in June every year.

Cyndie and I go on a trip to Portugal to meet Ian Rowcliffe and his family and friends. Life altering trip inspires us to dream about creating a forest garden of our own and leads Cyndie on a path of discovery with horse communication.

When we decide to look into selling our suburban home of 25 years and shop for horse property, Cyndie gets recruited for a lucrative position with Boston Public Schools. Blog becomes filled with posts depicting me trying to cope with her absence while doing some minor remodeling in preparation of putting our house on the market.

Cyndie comes home after a year and we get our first offer on the house. We take a look at a few new properties in town before seeing the paradise that we chose in Wisconsin.

Blog becomes a chronicle of our transition to rural life while making property enhancements toward becoming first-time horse owners. Oh, we also got a Belgian Tervuren Shepherd dog named Delilah who has a knack for commanding all attention possible. Cat, Pequenita, is a sweetheart who demands less attention, but is no less loving and lovable.

I begin to figure out power tools and tractors. Cyndie and I trade off years staying home full-time to manage the property. We plot launching an equine-assisted training business. A relationship blossoms between our family and the Morales family in Guatemala, growing from a first meeting between Cyndie and Dunia at the Epona apprenticeship in which they were both enrolled. Trips back and forth to visit each other in our home countries ensue.

We decide to try building a chicken coop ourselves and make plans for a couple of years, fretting over how we would keep dog, Delilah, from killing them if we added a flock.

Neighbors (and our farrier), George and Anneliese temporarily move in with us while they are between homes in a plan to move closer to family back in Minnesota.

Somehow enough people overlook the crude and bullying, most times inappropriate, and occasionally vulgar statements and behaviors of a candidate with no previous governing experience to elect him as our 45th President in our national U.S. election.

Super moon arrives to the closest proximity in the last 69 years. It looks like a sunrise in my image.

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I’m not quite sure what to expect next. Will we actually get chickens? Will we figure out how to grow our own hay and get it cut and baled? Will we launch the business? Will we ever get our dog appropriately trained? Will the climate continue on its trend of increasing warmth and extreme precipitation events? Will I continue to post something new every day? Will I find a way to get back to visit Ian in Portugal again? Will we get the significant projects under control enough that I can ride bike and play guitar more? When will I cut my hair again?

Stay tuned and keep following along. I’ll probably post about all the above and more, with photos!

Thanks for reading my “Relatively Something” take on things and experiences!

John W. Hays

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Written by johnwhays

November 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

Beneath Trees

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After a bit of a pause in construction, I was stepping out to work on the chicken coop again yesterday, now that Cyndie is home to lend a helping hand. We were taking advantage of the very summer-like weather gracing our region this first week of November.

Striding across the yard I was suddenly struck by how distinctly different the carpet of leaves was within just a few steps. Photo op!

dscn5414eBeneath a big old oak tree that holds most of its dried leaves through the winter.

dscn5413eNext tree over is a dominant poplar that lost a significant portion of its top in a storm during the summer.

dscn5417eOn the other side of the driveway, the grove of maples create a thick layer of light crunchy playfulness that is a delight to walk through.

Another example of the micro-environments that collectively make up the paradise where we live. We call it Wintervale Ranch.

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Written by johnwhays

November 5, 2016 at 8:45 am

Updated View

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The satellite view I reference most often was finally updated to show our property after all our renovations. Back in early July, I posted about my surprise finding that the satellite view available on Apple devices was updated to 2015. I recently discovered that the view on Google maps has been updated to show our property as of this spring, 2016.

We are able to see the wild flower garden that Cyndie had started and the T-post fence we put up to sub-divide the back pasture, both of which happened in April. The trees look fully leafed out and I had obviously mowed the lawn, but the farm fields look bare.

N6667GoogleViewSpring2016I found particular pleasure in noticing that all 4 horses were again in view. This time they are somewhat evenly spread, grazing around the perimeter of the round pen.

N6667Spring2016zoomedWe found one object that we haven’t been able to identify in the yard. The resolution stops just short of providing the necessary definition. If it were a different color, I’d guess it might be me mowing the lawn.

I may need to review my posts from that timeframe to see if there is anything that triggers a memory about something we had been up to in that spot.

I love having this overhead view to refer to. If satellite images weren’t available on the internet, I just might be inspired to get a drone, so I could take my own shots and have some control over when and how often they are done.

I’ll be interested to see how long this view is active on Google. Now that I have a good reference point, the next update will clearly reveal the duration between updates of this region.

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Written by johnwhays

August 15, 2016 at 6:00 am

Cloudy Skies

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The weather did not cooperate with our desires to see the predicted spectacle of the Perseid meteor shower outburst Thursday and Friday nights. Cyndie held a workshop over the last two days that had been intentionally timed to coincide with the opportunity.

Our views were blocked by cloudy skies both nights.

The good news about that outcome is that I got to sleep through the wee hours of the mornings, instead of being outside star gazing or watching the NASA live stream broadcast of the events.

Workshop participants still had plenty of opportunities to enjoy all that Wintervale provides. Thursday evening was  beautiful for their walk in the labyrinth. The sky looked threatening on Friday during exercises with the horses, but those sessions were completed before raindrops started to fall.  That timed well for the final indoor expressive arts integration projects.

DSCN5038eIn my role as staff photographer, I showed up at the round pen when they were learning with Legacy. He was being very attentive to the preparations of this exercise.

I particularly enjoyed seeing how differently he responds to each individual who interacts with him. Part of me tends to assume the horses are just responding to a routine to which they are familiar, and that may be true to a degree, but the specifics are definitely unique.

That is the reason the exercises work the way they do, and why the horses provide these amazing opportunities for us to experience valuable insights.

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Legacy was definitely present in this moment.

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