Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘change

Still Missing

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Not a day goes by that we aren’t still missing our horses. Yesterday, I spent a little time tending to residual piles of manure. The urgency to deal with it every single day is gone since there is no longer a need to make space for more. I also find myself avoiding dealing with it because it so obviously reminds me of the absence of our equine partners.

There was quite a large accumulation inside the paddock left over from winter that I was planning to convert into a high spot over a drain tile that I didn’t want the horses to collapse from walking over it when the ground was soft. The chickens are doing their darndest to spread it flat, so I have given up on maintaining a pile that will “cook” to compost and am just spreading it out to dry.

There were some huge grub worms in there that the chickens gladly feasted on while I was raking it out. They only last so long out in the bright sunshine before suddenly sprinting off to the wooded shade for a break. After they cool off a bit, they come out for another round of ugly looking grubs, then run off again.

Eventually, I took the hint and moved to reshape some of the leftover composting manure under the shade for them. They appreciated the wealth of smaller worms and centipedes to be found in the piles I moved there.

Standing out in the vacant paddocks now is disconcerting. The encroachment of weeds and tall grass gives an impression of neglect that seems so very out of place. I suppose I will mow it down eventually.

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We are still really, really missing our horses.

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Written by johnwhays

July 13, 2019 at 9:09 am

Sale On

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What’d I tell you? That girl doesn’t do things halfway. In a single day, Cyndie transformed our barn into a spectacular equine boutique. Then she fled town and left me to handle the first two customer appointments on my own.

There is a conference of some sort in Dallas that has been on her calendar for some time, but she found a way to do a couple of weeks worth of work in two days before leaving, so that she would be ready to capture this weekend’s target audience of horse folks headed to the Minnesota Horse Expo at the state fair grounds in St. Paul.

It feels strange to no longer have horses living with us.

It is so bittersweet. It’s what we wanted, while also being not at all what we wanted. Obviously, we can’t have it both ways, so it is time to reconcile the reality of our here and now.

We are giving new life to perfectly good equipment so it can serve the purposes for which it was created, as well as bringing pleasure to folks who will find beneficial treasures for their horse activities at reasonable prices.

I’ll be trying to keep that in my mind, but I gotta admit, this all feels rather disorienting for me.

I must be adjusting some already though, because I’ve noticed several instances lately of flashing back to not all that long ago when I had absolutely no horse experience whatsoever.

I guess it would come as no surprise that I had a dream a couple of nights ago that was set in our old Eden Prairie home.

It makes me chuckle to look back at my old self there in the suburbs and contemplate how oblivious I was about where I would end up in the twenty-teens.

Horses? Uh uh.

Not until I visited Ian in Portugal.

I’ve come a long way since then.

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Written by johnwhays

April 25, 2019 at 6:00 am

Final Season

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The horses are gone, but their manure is not. We have entered the final season of composting horse manure, with an extra large inventory of winter piles to be processed, both in the paddock and the compost area.

The advantage I have this time is that there won’t be a new daily supply forcing me to constantly arrange for open space. That takes away a lot of pressure.

I will turn these piles when convenient, but won’t fret about getting it done in the shortest time possible.

Sadly, that burden has left the barn.

It’s bittersweet. I’m thrilled over the release from daily manure duties, but I miss the energy of living with horses.

This afternoon, a neighbor is planning to stop by to purchase some of our leftover bales of hay. It is one small step in the slow transition of the very large project of getting rid of all the trappings related to keeping horses.

We need to have an “Everything Must Go!” sale. Ropes, buckets, blankets, saddles, fly masks, halters, and brushes.

Cyndie has itemized and priced everything that isn’t nailed down. The panels that form our round pen are one of the highest priced items. I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried to sell the sand we brought in for that circle where her teaching took place.

We talked about moving the gazebo over near the labyrinth. Seemed like a logical idea to me at the time, but thinking about it yesterday, I realized it would probably require disassembly to achieve. That’s a lot of hardware to futz with.

I wonder how long I can put off that effort.

I’m pretty sure I will be too busy turning compost piles.

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Written by johnwhays

April 21, 2019 at 9:40 am

Best Outcome

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It all started out so well. Moving horses that aren’t fond of trailers proved to be a little more dramatic than we hoped yesterday. Cyndie brought them out, one by one. First, Cayenne.

Cayenne was understandably cautious, but eventually made it all the way to the front position inside the trailer, remaining calm while Hunter whinnied from the barn. His turn came next.

You might sense his uncertainty, visible in his body language in that image. Regardless, he championed through navigation of his footing on the unfamiliar ramp, and took up his assigned position near Cayenne.

We learned, after the fact, that Dezirea does not like being trailered. She actually surprised me by how impressively she overcame her usual heightened sensitivities and soldiered through the “scary” sights and sounds to get into the trailer. All except that last step, where one back foot slipped off the side of the ramp.

She had a bit of a tantrum in the back of the trailer and stalled proceedings for quite some time while we struggled to calm her and secure her position. She ended up backward from our initial intentions, but that ultimately turned out okay, and actually ended up making her exit that much easier.

The best news of all was that the return to their former home worked out brilliantly.

In fact, Cyndie and I now have a better understanding of just how right our decision was to rehome the horses, not for our sake, but for the horses’.

They have been well cared for and deeply loved by us, but their world as horses wasn’t all it could be. After Legacy died, their world changed. They all lost their leader, but Dezirea had lost her partner. Their health forced us to restrict their access to our rich pastures.

Their world had shrunk.

When Cyndie described how all three were welcomed back by their old herd-mates yesterday, and saw how quickly Dezirea got to be the boss mare again, adored by the geldings/boys who she helped raise when they were young, it solidified a belief that the return of the three horses we were caring for was ultimately the best outcome.

It is very jarring now to walk past our paddocks and through the barn and not have their precious energy present. That will take some getting used to. But, knowing they are among their old herd again and have returned to their previous horse relationships, greatly eases angst we were having about the difficult decision of sending them home.

 

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Written by johnwhays

March 29, 2019 at 6:00 am

Unparalleled Escapades

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Indeed, there is an element of sadness today, with the moving of our horses back to their previous home, but we are making equal effort to frame their transfer in a positive light. Think of it as a graduation ceremony. Like children who are sent off to school for a period of years, these horses came to live with us for five and a half years. I think they taught us a lot more than we taught them in that time.

Now they have completed this phase of life with us and are going back home. We will use the memories and lessons of our unparalleled escapades together as the foundation for whatever comes next.

Thank you to all of you who are thinking of us today, and sending love and support! We are soaking it up as a healing balm for the inherent sorrow of parting from these beloved creatures, while also using it to bolster our spirits to properly honor the equine wisdom bestowed upon us over the years.

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Written by johnwhays

March 28, 2019 at 6:00 am

Rehoming Horses

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In less than a week, they will be gone. Our three horses are returning to the home from which they traveled when they came to us back in the fall of 2013. There is an invisible gloom darkening the energy around here of late. It feels eerily similar to the dreadful grief we endured after Legacy’s death in January of last year.

Happiness still exists, we just aren’t feeling it much these days.

Cyndie spent hours grooming the horses yesterday. I found myself incapable of going near them. It’s as if I’m preparing myself in advance for their absence. This place just won’t be the same without them.

For now, we still have the chickens. With the snow cover receding, and hours of daylight increasing, they are expanding their range again, scouring the grounds for scrumptious things to eat from the earth. It is my hope that they are getting an early start on decimating the tick population around here.

After Cyndie said she picked seven eggs yesterday, I asked if we were getting ahead of our rate of consumption yet. Almost three dozen, she reported!

Spring has definitely sprung.

I walked the grounds yesterday to survey the flow of water draining from the melting snow. We are benefiting greatly from overnight freezes that have slowed the process enough that no single place is being inundated now. It was the heavy rain falling on the deep snow that led to the barn flood last week. We’ve had little precipitation since, and that has helped a lot.

There are a couple of spots where the flow has meandered beyond the modest constraints in place to facilitate orderly transfer, mainly due to the dense snow that still plugs up the ditches and culverts.

Water definitely chooses to flow the path of least resistance.

I can relate to that. It feels like our life here is changing course in search of a new outlet for our energy to flow. Part of me feels like there should be a rehoming of ourselves, except we have no home to which we would return.

In a strange way, it’s as if I am experiencing a similar avoidance of being with myself, like the way I couldn’t bring myself to stand among the horses yesterday.

If this is not the place where I belong, then I already don’t want to be here any more. Unfortunately, there is nowhere I’d rather be right now.

When buds pop, and leaves sprout, I will breathe in our forest air. That will help.

But it won’t be the same without our horses.

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Written by johnwhays

March 23, 2019 at 6:36 am

Big Changes

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Last Sunday, Wintervale declared a “Snow Emergency,” restricting any parking on either side of our driveway until June, but it looks like that will be rescinded very soon. The weather has changed in a big way, from cold and snow, to chilly rain.

The liquid precipitation yesterday made short work of the snow that had collected on tree branches, instantly changing the landscape views. The woods now have an incongruous appearance with so much snow still on the ground, but the trees all wet and dark.

At this point, the deep snowpack is absorbing the bulk of the water that is falling from the sky, but the situation should get interesting after a couple days of increasingly intense rain.

After the saturation point is reached, the water will start the great migration that ultimately takes it to the Gulf of Mexico. Can you say, “flooding?”

The glacier on the front side of the barn already has a lake forming on top, and the piles of snow on either side look like they aren’t going to offer an outlet any time soon. I may resort to a little creative drainage engineering to avoid the water choosing its own alternative route through the inside of the barn.

Up by the house, on the hill where I boasted about not worrying about flood concerns, I noticed the water running down the gutters wasn’t flowing out the end of the ice-packed downspout.

As a result, it isn’t directed away from the house, finding its way, instead, right where we don’t want it, along the foundation.

That situation shouldn’t last long, but in the land of freeze and thaw, I never like seeing any water pooling where it isn’t welcome.

Funny, how the landscaping which used to slope away from the house in November, takes on a variety of gradients after months of settling, being heaved by frost, and burrowed in by rodent pests. The results are rarely favorable.

Meanwhile, it is refreshing to have this glimpse of the next season making its rapid appearance. It’s WAY too early to expect such luck, but I would be thrilled if don’t have to plow again until next year.

On that note, I should probably make sure the lawn mower blades are sharp and ready to go.

Big changes are underway!

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Written by johnwhays

March 13, 2019 at 6:00 am