Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘balanced rocks

Syrup Again

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Since moving to the country and discovering some of the local treasures around us, Cyndie has purchased pure maple syrup only once a year. It’s that time again! Just a few miles south of Ellsworth, the Stockwell family taps 35 acres of maple trees and collects enough gallons of sap to supply folks with a full year’s worth of syrup, if you have containers to hold it.

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We’ve figured out the routine and bring two 2-quart Mason jars to be placed under the spigot of the large tank and filled with the dark amber bliss every April during the S & S Sugar Bush open house pancake breakfast weekend.

It’s hard to find an event pancake breakfast that isn’t pretty darn good, be it firefighters, boy scouts, legions, or service clubs, but I gotta say the fresh, hot blueberry cakes, sausage, and pure maple syrup combination we enjoyed yesterday morning tasted about as good as I can recall ever experiencing.

Our friends Mike and Barb Wilkus accompanied us, having also joined us for the live Climate Cast at MPR Thursday night and then sleeping over to be available for the Sugar Bush open house. After the scrumptious breakfast, we took a stroll through the woods to witness the number of tapped trees that were supplying the sweet maple sap.

It is impressive to consider the hundreds of gallons of sap running up through the roots of these trees when the spring temperatures are just right —warm during the day and below freezing at night. One of the Stockwell sons described how the percent of sweetness drops in time, but his grandpa would collect the later sap for a vinegar.

The syrup open house has become so precious to us, Cyndie invited more friends to stop by today so she could go again and share the event with them, too. I reckon the delicious pancakes might have something to do with her zeal, as well.

There is another precious annual event that will be happening next week for us. For the second year in a row, Wintervale Ranch will be holding our own open house as a host site for The Labyrinth Society’s World Labyrinth Day Peace Walk. Walk as one at 1.

Around the world, at each location, people will walk and visualize peace at 1:00 p.m. in their time zones, creating a wave of peaceful energy flowing around the globe.

Cyndie has been working to spruce up our labyrinth, despite the lack of growth from the barely thawed landscape. I noticed when Barb and Mike were here and we did a moonlight walk Thursday night that the overnight freezing and daytime warm sunshine was still conspiring to tip over plenty of my rock arrangements.

It sounds like we can expect some rain showers this coming week, so maybe new growth will be exploding in spectacular glory for visitors on Saturday. If the day dawns nearly as spectacular as today, World Labyrinth Day will be a wonderful opportunity to experience the best of Wintervale Ranch.

If you are reading in the Twin Cities area, I hope you will consider joining us!

Saturday, May 5, 2018 between 12:00-3:00 p.m.  Please email cyndie@wintervaleranch.com to register and receive directions.

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Intriguing Finds

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Imagine this: Delilah and I were on another walk around our property. How many times have we done that before? Regardless the frequency of our travel on the variety of paths available, there is always something new to discover. Yesterday in the quickly fading light of day, it was snow and marks in the snow that caught our attention.

Well, my attention, anyway.

In both cases, I had almost entirely passed by the beauties when something caused me to stop and fish the camera out of my pocket. Despite the bitterly cold temperature and the low light, I came up with images that work for me.

The first subject was a couple of balanced mossy rocks that the snow had frosted with a flair. It flowed down from the top of the upper rock and circled perfectly around it as it settled over the rock below.

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The second find was even more fascinating to me. At first glance I assumed the marks in the snow were probably from George and Anneliese’s dogs, but one mark didn’t make any sense. My brain processed it as if a bear had swung a clawed paw.

Probably not.

Then it occurred to me. That was the shadow of a passing wing! These were the tracks from a predator snatching up prey. Wow.

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I had to halt Delilah’s progress so I could get out the camera again and position myself to capture the shot. I couldn’t reach because she was pulling against me toward something more interesting to her.

I called her to come back toward me and then quickly pleaded with her to stop and stay, in fear she would come barreling all the way back to me and stomp through the scene. Luckily, she stopped.

Just another walk around the property. Yeah.

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Written by johnwhays

December 14, 2016 at 7:00 am

Entryway 2.1

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DSCN5010eBack in the first week of August, I posted about the bush at the front door of our house dying an unexplained death. A few days after I published the picture, I arrived home from work to find the dead branches all gone.

Cyndie had cut it back to the main trunk, saving that for me in case I wanted to balance some rocks on it.

dscn5151eThat was all the invitation I needed.

I didn’t actually believe this would last as long as it has. When I pass by with the lawn tractor while mowing, I fully expect the stone to topple over from the vibration, but it has survived multiple mowings thus far without falling. There have been a few rainy and windy days, too, but it continues to stand.

I never expect balanced rocks to last, but when they endure for long periods of time, I grow increasingly attached to them. It becomes hard to try something fresh after they come down, because I get more interested in trying to get back what we had before.

That’s probably a good metaphorical life-lesson for me right there.

I’ll ponder that as I gaze a while longer at the mesmerizing balanced stone.

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Written by johnwhays

September 14, 2016 at 6:00 am

Reconciling Melancholy

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Every day isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes transplanted trees don’t survive and balanced rocks fall. In and of themselves, individual issues are not really that big of a deal. What I noticed over the weekend was that the little things have a mysterious power to lurk below the surface and weigh down the ambiance of an otherwise wonderful series of days.

Fortunately, I have access to an incredible antidote in the form of some fine animals in a very special setting. Photos by Cyndie.

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After a short span of time, the rocks that I used the tractor to lift into place on the tall tree stump, have already fallen. Since it happened so quickly this time, I have decided not to try again. I was thinking I could cut the stump to a lower height, where I would be able to reach without needing the tractor, and then select some rocks that aren’t too heavy for me to lift. But then I remembered that we have another bird house that was given to us, and that could be a great spot for it.

It was probably a bird that landed on, and tipped, the balanced rocks anyway. What do you figure?

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Written by johnwhays

May 9, 2016 at 6:00 am