Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘bocce ball

Flying North

with 2 comments

Today, we fly back to winter, just in time for a blast of snow and Arctic cold air to put an exclamation point on the end of our 9-day visit to Florida. We ate like royalty, played cards, laughed, shopped, explored, watched movies and never wore mittens once.

Yesterday, maybe as a primer for our return, the temperature hovered on the cool side of comfortable, compressing our outdoor activity to a couple matches of bocce ball and a walk back to the house before the next rain shower.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Barb was the difference maker in both close competitions, despite the missing sunshine that would have allowed for much more relaxed muscles during tosses.

We expect to arrive to the Minneapolis airport in the late afternoon today, and hope to drive the hour toward home without suffering any delays that may result from snow-covered roads.

Whether I will be able to execute my usual commute across the Twin Cities in my return to the day-job tomorrow morning remains a mystery, at this point.

The forecast (as of late last night) is rather ominous:

The predicted high temperature on Wednesday could remain in the double-digits (F) below zero. That will be the warmest part of the day.

One tiny shred of consolation about coming home to this brutal weather, is the fact that the polar vortex pushing down into the middle of the country will have an impact all the way to Florida. Cyndie’s parents had us put the insulating cover on their pool last night, in preparation for the cool week ahead.

Good thing we are going home, so we don’t have to suffer in any of the cold Florida weather they will be dealing with down here.

It’s all relative, isn’t it?

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 27, 2019 at 7:00 am

Making Do

with 2 comments

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.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

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.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 24, 2018 at 8:34 am

Celebrating 80

with 2 comments

I always treasure the opportunity to celebrate people while they are still alive to experience it. The milestone of an 80th birthday is a worthy occasion for doing so. Today is Fred’s actual birthday, so, Happy Birthday to him!

After moving furniture around on the lanai to make room for the dozens of invited guests coming to join us in honoring Fred yesterday, we headed out to the really fine bocce ball courts.

dscn5732edscn5730e.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The weather continues to be perfectly comfortable. Clear sunny skies, warm temps, but not too hot, and nothing more than a gentle breeze. Another day in paradise.

It boggles my mind how often I am able to write about being in paradise, between visits to here in Florida, their lake place in Hayward, WI, and at our Wintervale Ranch home.

One of the things that expands the greatness of a paradise in exceptional ways is a gathering of precious people. Marie and Fred have amassed a large collection of wonderful friends and many of them were available last night to join us for a nice party at the house.

img_1898ebfCyndie and her brothers had enlisted the grandkids in helping collect a list of adjectives that describe Fred. Barry printed them out and cut up batches for distribution to everyone attending. With some spur-of-the-moment ad-libs sprinkled in, friends and family took turns reading the words and heaping all sorts of heart-felt love and respect on the birthday boy.

Fred told us the other day, “It’s getting harder to maintain my image as a child prodigy.”

Happy 80th birthday, Fred.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 21, 2017 at 9:25 am

A Portrait

leave a comment »

The author, in a rare moment of leisure.

DSC06645eCHCyndie took the picture of me reading while keeping an eye on the fire last night. See, I was still working. I was tending the fire so it would be hot enough to cook burgers when company arrived. Oh, were those burgers good! Probably made even more so by the homemade buns that Cyndie freshly baked moments before.

DSC06647eEarlier in the day, Cyndie had hosted guests who had some lawn games out and it inspired me to improve the croquet setup. I made my own little “sport court” out of grass. It is set up for croquet, but could just as easily double as a bocce ball space.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to find time for that much leisure.

I need to move composting manure to make room for piling the fresh collections. Production never slows, despite my running out of space to cook it.

Before I can get to that project, we need to head out with the trailer for another load of hay to be purchased. We will be silently chanting, “No rain, no rain, no rain” the whole way there and back.

With our lawn growing faster than I can tend it, it’s a shame I can’t bale it up and save those clippings for feeding the horses in the dead of winter.

Our experience with trying to acquire good quality grass hay for horses this year, hoping to improve on the several years of less than desired content we’ve previously had, has been enlightening. We initially dove into the task of getting hay with such naiveté.

We have discovered that what constitutes “good,” when it comes to baled hay, can be a very individualized opinion. On top of that, what nature provides and farmer skills harvest, in terms of moisture content, involves a very narrow target range. Too dry and the nutrition value to animals drops considerably. Too wet and it will mold and/or spontaneously combust in a conflagration that destroys storage buildings and turns planned food stores to ash.

Different livestock have varying needs from baled fodder. One version of hay does not work for all cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Some of the local farmers are growing hay for their cows and are kind enough to offer to sell some of it to us if we want to feed it to our horses.

It can work, but it’s a bit of a guessing game. We ended up with a batch that had too much foxtail grass which caused mouth sores in our horses. We’ve had some with an annoying amount of sour dock weed and woody stems that the horses labor to work around when grazing. It creates a mess and interferes with them getting what they want. Both horse and human get irritated.

This year we found a batch that looked like ideal grass bales. They turned out to be too wet. Then we found an even better batch, and got caught in a downpour bringing it home.

We are hoping the third time’s the charm this morning. Then maybe I’ll sneak some time to finish that book later this afternoon.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 29, 2016 at 8:13 am