Relative Something

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

Looking Back

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Last week we reached the milestone of the 3rd anniversary of making Wintervale Ranch our home. Lately, Cyndie and I have found ourselves randomly recollecting some of the early days here and marveling over the variety of things that have since changed.

It feels a little —what is it? Presumptuous? Gratuitous?— somehow inappropriate for me to request, but I urge you to sneak a peek at one or two posts from the Relative Something archive (Previous Somethings) for the month of October 2012. There are too many gems depicting our arrival for me to do justice to them by trying to produce links, or re-posting to bring them forward to current posts this week.

PequenitaBarely a month after we finally closed on the purchase of this place, we adopted the cats, Pequenita and Mozyr. After about a year, we came to the realization that Mozyr was not happy with his situation, and we returned him to the shelter, but Pequenita has proved to be compatible with the random chaos that arises here from time to time.

In July of 2013 we added 10-month-old Belgian Tervuren Shepherd, Delilah, to our family, purchased from a breeder nearby. From that day on we have tended to find ourselves in a battle between her training us and us training her. It’s fair to say there have been a smattering of victories on both sides.Delilah

Just short of 3-months after Delilah joined us, in the last week of September in 2013, our horses arrived. That was a monumental occasion for us, and came after an intense effort over the previous 11-months to be appropriately prepared.

We removed rusted barbed wire, installed new fencing, built up protective cover on barn walls (previous owners had miniature horses), buried a water line to an on-demand waterer in their paddock, and built a hay shed, along with a variety of lesser noteworthy projects.

IMG_2816eI knew so very little about horses at that time. They have taught me a lot in the ensuing years, and come to mean the world to me. Just standing among them, passing time, has become one of my favorite things to do.

I have built a wood shed, twice. After it blew down in a storm, our friends Barb and Mike Wilkus came by and helped me to put it up a second time. Any time we weren’t working on something else, we were creating the spectacular 70-foot “Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth.”

Speaking of storms, we have endured a variety of dramatic winter weather events. Two of them particularly stand out for me.

The first one involved 18-inches of heavy wet snow in early May and snapped a lot of tree branches. Two pine trees that tipped over during that storm eventually died, even though I tried standing them back up and staking them.

The second snow storm blew for days and eventually filled the space between the 4-foot banks on either side of the driveway. It took me two days to dig us out, even with the assistance from both of our closest neighbors. What did I learn from that storm? The neighbor to our south told me he had plowed his driveway twice during the storm, so it never got to the extreme that ours did.

Lesson learned.

An awful lot has changed in the last three years. It is hard for me to imagine what might be different, three years from now, but I expect the changes won’t be near as dramatic as what transpired when we first arrived and worked to establish the infrastructure to support having 4 horses and fulfilling a dream of creating our Wintervale Ranch & Retreat Center.

What fun it is to look back once in a while.

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Written by johnwhays

October 27, 2015 at 6:00 am

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