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

Archive for February 2018

Warm Welcomes

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For those who haven’t been paying attention, we’ve reached the last day of February. Geez. It’s like 2018 is half over already. Tomorrow we welcome March to our calendars, historically a month when we can receive whoppers of snow storms in this region. In my youth, that was grand. Now, as a man with property and animal responsibilities, the big late-season storms threaten too much damage potential to be welcomed.

I’ll be pining for calm and boring as winter slowly makes its way into the history books.

After a couple of days back in our own bed again, things are settling back to normal. We are feeling fresh sensations of missing Fred and Marie (as well as Mike and Barb) and our meals and conversation on the lanai beside the pool, with the pond fountain spraying away spectacularly as our backdrop.

I have been enjoying a particularly warm welcome home from our cat, Pequenita. I think she missed me.

Not that Delilah didn’t, but ‘Nita just shows her lust for my attention much more emphatically. She steps right up for some prolonged hands-on contact and melts into a puddle of kneading, purring fur, regardless whatever blog writing I had in mind to accomplish.

On Monday afternoon, we welcomed a new farrier to the ranch, as George wasn’t available and the vet had prescribed some hoof trimming to treat Hunter’s laminitis. Our veterinarian provided a name and Cyndie was able to schedule the visit before we left town last week.

That was another reason I needed to have the driveway opened wide yesterday, after the two trucks had been dug free of the drift. Company was coming!

Hunter was a trooper, and suffered his way through standing on three feet, despite the pain. The new farrier, Marcus, said he tells people to imagine having migraine pain in the hoof. Today, Hunter is standing on a couple of reverse horseshoes, and seems to be okay with it, despite his otherwise having only ever been barefoot.

The reverse shoe supports the heel and relieves pressure at the toe.

We are definitely welcoming any relief Hunter can get. It’s been over a month now that he has been suffering, and pretty much everyone around here is suffering right along with him. It takes a toll.

Here’s hoping March brings calm weather and better health. It’s been a tough winter at Wintervale this year.

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Written by johnwhays

February 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

Drifted Driveway

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My system of plowing in the middle of big snowstorms to avoid dealing with too many inches at one time doesn’t work so well when you are out-of-town during the snowfall events.

There were two storms while we were in Florida over the weekend.

Mid-morning yesterday, I received a phone call from McKenna. First, she explained that her boyfriend got his truck stuck trying to get out of the driveway. Second, she got her truck stuck trying to pull him out.

It turned out that the assessments she gave us in response to our queries over the weekend from Florida about whether the driveway needed to be plowed, or not, were based on how things looked out on the back deck, not the actual driveway.

The wind blowing across the driveway from the open field at the top of the first hill took the roughly 10-inches that fell in two separate events on Thursday and Saturday and firmly packed it into about a 36-inch deep drift. The deck on the back of the house benefitted from wind clearing a lot of the snow off and sunshine melting what was left.

It didn’t look very intimidating.

The driveway, however, looked pretty darn intimidating, but they didn’t realize that until they had both tried driving into it.

By the time I got home, they had successfully dug through the worst part of the deep snow and were able to get their trucks out. I spotted their tracks and decided to see what my Crosstrek could do.

About two-thirds of the way up the first slope, I could see that the undercarriage of their trucks had pressed on the snow significantly. I knew then I was in trouble. I’m pretty sure my car has less clearance than their trucks.

Luckily, Cyndie was there with a shovel. She had smartly parked her car on the roadside, having arrived when the trucks hadn’t been completely extricated yet. I dug out enough of the snow from beneath the car that I was able to move forward and keep going toward the house.

Being cocky, I forged ahead and tried to back the car into the garage like I usually do. I got stuck again, now spinning on glare ice beneath all the snow.

After a little more shoveling, I got the car into the garage. Then it was time to change clothes and jump on the Grizzly, to see if I would be able to plow all the heavy, wet snow.

It was a trick, and the driveway didn’t give in without a fight. The drift was too much for the ATV. Every time I made a pass, the firmly packed snow would push the Griz out and around. It looked like I was plowing an “S” curve.

I dug out a section to find where the pavement ended, which revealed how much snow was left to move. Much of that volume was moved by hand, with a scoop shovel, instead of with the plow.

While I was plowing down by the road, I paused to pick up the pieces of our mailbox, which pops apart when blasted by snow flying off the county plow. It was easily repairable.

Once the driveway was wide enough to easily fit vehicles, I was able to move on to cleaning snow off the roof near the front door, and then shoveling the heavy, wet snow again, to clear the steps and walkway.

We are definitely not in Florida anymore.

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Written by johnwhays

February 27, 2018 at 7:00 am

Gulf Coast

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Our day at the beach…

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Written by johnwhays

February 26, 2018 at 7:00 am

No Snow

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No snow here.

We hear that’s not the case back home.

Our return flight leaves tonight. We expect to be back to the Edina house late, where we will spend the night before facing our Monday responsibilities and then each driving home at separate times to witness the final weekend accumulation first hand.

I’ll remember this Gulf view while I’m plowing.

Truth be told, I’m actually looking forward to the task. You can take the fool away from the cold and snow, but you can’t change his love of returning to it.

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Written by johnwhays

February 25, 2018 at 7:53 am

Making Do

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It’s a struggle down here in Florida, coping with all this convenient weather for strolls in the sun and nights out on the town, but we are making do.

Cyndie was behind the wheel with Mike holding on for dear life. It looks like they were coming in hot and she stopped just in time, but she was actually about to back out for an excursion down to the bocce courts.

Cyndie’s mom added a little adventure to that outing by taking a tumble, and somehow, which even she can’t explain, cut her leg severely on a metal rake used to maintain the courts. Expert response by bystanders, including some nurses, offered immediate treatment and Cyndie, Fred, and Marie got to spend the afternoon at the clinic where a doctor stitched the deep gash.

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Walking the grounds we saw some remaining toppled tree stumps from hurricane Irma last summer.

Fred and Marie took us out for a night of music and food, keeping the genre a secret to surprise us with the perfectly suited personifications of Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, and CSN&Y.

The fact that there are snowstorms battering the ranch at home while we are gone is making this all the sweeter, and only slightly causing me to fret over how things are going for Mckenna.

I didn’t leave instructions on how to start the Grizzly to plow. It’s not in her job description.

She’ll just have to make do.

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Written by johnwhays

February 24, 2018 at 8:34 am

Different View

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Things have changed. Here are two different views.

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We arrived without any problems and are having a wonderful time with Cyndie’s parents in Florida. What a difference in atmosphere. Humidity! Warm gentle breeze! No snow!

I guess I can see the attraction.

We walked outside without putting on boots, snow pants, scarves. We just walked out the door.

It’s amazing!

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Written by johnwhays

February 23, 2018 at 7:00 am

Brief Getaway

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See ya! We’re outta here!

Who needs a reason? We are leaving this morning for a weekend in Florida, traveling with our precious partners in adventure, Mike and Barb Wilkus to visit Cyndie’s parents.

I expect my posts will be rather brief for the next four days, while I focus the majority of my attention on people, food, sun, surf, games, and whatever else spontaneously grabs our fancy.

Just in case, I have a series of snapshots queued up from the house and grounds in Beldenville to provide you with a daily distraction. Time will tell whether I end up inserting a few tropical surprises, too, from our weekend escapades.

A great big “thank you” shout out to McKenna for taking care of things at home for us while we are away. We couldn’t do it without you!

Bon voyage!

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Written by johnwhays

February 22, 2018 at 7:00 am