Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘change

Rusty Hue

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The changing season has taken a very noticeable shift in a short span of days, from brilliant to subdued, in terms of color palette. Last week, the color was electric, but yesterday the landscape looked like someone had unplugged the power and all the trees have begun to rust.

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Those pictures were taken just four days apart. Our forest is quickly becoming transparent, as you can see.

It kinda gives the impression that winter is on the way, which is mind-bending because yesterday the temperature was so summer-like. How it looked, and how it felt were not quite in alignment.

Naturally, I base my perception of what kind of weather to expect, on what I’ve experienced in the past, but the planet hasn’t been itself lately. With all that humans have done to muck up the natural order, we’ve made the art of prediction less predictable.

It has me trying to reclaim the naiveté of my youth, when I didn’t have a clue about weather and seasons. Each day was just something to be explored. I’m sure it was magical. I don’t actually recall. Though, of course, I didn’t need to plan and prepare for what would come next.

This has me longing for the benefits of childhood freedom from needing to be concerned about preparing property for the freeze and clearing snow, having enough fuel, getting vehicles winterized.

Oh, to just wake up one morning and exclaim, “Snow!” with pure joy about going outside to play in it.

That is, if it still gets cold enough for snow in coming days.

It’s getting hard to predict.

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Written by johnwhays

October 21, 2017 at 8:24 am

Five Years

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Happy Anniversary, Wintervale!

This week, five years ago, is when we made the big leap from the suburbs in Minnesota to the rolling countryside of west-central Wisconsin. We only moved about an hour east, but in many ways, we are a world away from our previous life.

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There is so much that I didn’t have a clue about in October of 2012 when we committed to this new adventure. Actually, that is one thing I was very certain about, …that I didn’t have any idea what would happen next.

In the five years since, we accomplished a remarkable number of things, most of them made up as we went along. There was no grand five-year plan, just a vague idea of what we thought we could do. It has really been more of a case of multiple one-year plans, each one blossoming into the next.

Honestly, we’ve had a remarkable number of successes that have fueled inspirations to take on whatever next possibility showed up in the light of each additional day.

The idea that we could even end up here in the first place was born even further back than five years ago, in September of 2010 when we traveled to Portugal to meet Ian Rowcliffe. Ian’s insights, wisdom, and initiative to nurture his Forest Garden Estate planted a seed in us that has blossomed into what Wintervale Ranch is today.

We also give a lot of credit to Tom and Sue Sherry, who helped design our layout and fencing, doing the work under their company, Best Built Fence, but becoming friends, as well. They deftly interpreted our dreams to devise a real world layout that suited us perfectly.

Honorable mention goes to nature, itself. The four seasons, the extremes of weather, and the march of time have done the most to shape this land since we arrived. From the onslaught of 18 inches of heavy, wet spring snow in the first days of May, 2013, to the flash-flooding rains of 2017, many changes are forced upon us whether we want them, or not.

The simple growth of trees becomes a striking reference of change through a span of five years.

I didn’t find an exact matching shot, but this recent picture of the mailbox with the Wintervale flag and signs caught a corner of one tree by the road that has tripled in size.

Can you spot it in the picture on the left above, to the right of the moving van backing up the driveway?

We’ve come a long way in five years, baby. Now, without a break, we are jumping into our sixth and everything is just going to keep on growing.

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Written by johnwhays

October 20, 2017 at 6:00 am

Maple Floor

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All that fall color in the trees eventually makes its way to the ground. This time of year we get a beautiful new carpet on our forest floor.

A new maple floor. I like how well it hides stains. Unfortunately though, sometimes it gets slippery when it’s wet.

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Written by johnwhays

October 11, 2017 at 6:00 am

At Last

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After too many days of no improvement, we are finally seeing glimmers of the old Delilah we knew and were often irritated by. Funny, how perspectives change, and behaviors that came across as a nuisance when she was overflowing with canine energy can become a celebration after a long series of days of droopy, pained existence.

Delilah has regained a little spring in her step, and has flashed moments of youthful yearning to playfully bite and romp, quickly curtailed with reasonable restraint.

Just hearing her let loose with a full-body shake that flops her ears in the rapid tremolo pounding against her own head is of significance when the sound has been absent for so long.

It is like a fresh ray of sunshine after a long period of rain, which is also an apt description of the day we have been blessed with today.

Hello, fall colors!

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Written by johnwhays

October 8, 2017 at 9:14 am

Cracked

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

May 3, 2017 at 6:00 am

Mildly Hesitant

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I found myself mildly hesitant yesterday about writing of our having ordered chicks. I had it in my mind when building the coop last fall that we might be able to get our hands on some adult chickens for our starter flock. Instead, we are starting with chicks. That involves a bit more nurturing than I’d been contemplating.

I should be thankful. We could have gone all the way and opted to hatch them from eggs. With no previous experience in this realm of chicken raising, there is always a chance disaster could happen and we might make some fatal error that takes innocent lives.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to blog such a possible outcome and expose the personal failure. Then it occurred to me, that is what I do.

In discussing this topic with Katie at work, I became aware of a change that has transpired in the four-plus years Cyndie and I have been here. When we first arrived from our lifetimes in the suburbs, we were entirely naive about almost every situation we faced.

Long time readers might recall that we didn’t realize we already had a hitch installed on the old pickup truck we bought. I had no experience with a chainsaw. We didn’t know anything about growing hay. We’ve come a long way. I would even say I’ve had a few moments of feeling cocky about our accomplishments.

So, it dawned on me that cockiness was bringing me to a place where I felt less inclined to write about the things with which we still have no experience, like raising chickens.

I guess I’ve quickly worked through that hesitation I was feeling. This John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences currently involves our ongoing transition from a suburban lifestyle to a rural ranch, one experimental step at a time.

Hopefully, next year I will be reporting about how few flies and ticks we are bothered by after the addition of chickens to our menagerie. Maybe also, how the transplanted tree in the labyrinth is thriving.

If those things don’t happen, I’ll likely have chronicled about that, instead. Chronicling the whole range of adventures we are living, both the successes and failures, is what I do. Even if sometimes, with a little hesitation.

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Written by johnwhays

March 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

One Hour

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I don’t recall whether I have officially gone on record with my thorough disliking of the practice of changing the clock one hour twice a year. Regardless whichever lame and outdated excuse is used to justify the idea, I am not the least bit convinced it has merit.

Maybe it’s the ridiculous name. There is absolutely no daylight saved by humans readjusting their clocks used to measure the hours. And I don’t like to admit how picky I can be, but the all too common habit of pluralizing the word “Saving” in the title has become like fingers on a blackboard to my ears ever since I learned about it and stopped doing so myself.

It’s only one hour, but it messes with my body clock and my feeble mind for days after the change. I should probably be more curious about why that would be, the science of it, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to interest me. I just know it does and I don’t care for it.

Leave the hours alone. Let the planet spin while it orbits the sun and keep the clocks adjusted to one reference. I don’t care whether it’s Standard or “Saving.” Just leave it the same all year round.

Please.

There. It’s on record.

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Written by johnwhays

March 14, 2017 at 6:00 am