Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘moving

Six Years

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Somehow, six years have passed since we moved from our home of twenty-five years in a suburb of the Twin Cities to this amazing property in western Wisconsin.

Happy 6th Anniversary, Wintervale!

What an amazing time we’ve had figuring out a completely different life from the one we had previously known.

Looking back on our arrival here, we now laugh about the week-long struggle we endured to accomplish the actual closing on the property, while being granted access anyway by the sellers and moving our furniture in as if it was already officially ours.

We put our trust in a local fencing company to help design a layout for our paddocks and pasture fences and were rewarded with a much-loved result. They also helped us accomplish the addition of the hay shed, overcoming repeated weather delays caused by one of the wettest springs locals had experienced.

Five years ago September, our horses arrived and really brought this place to life. That started an ongoing lesson in the art of composting manure, among many other more romantic attractions of owning horses.

This time of year, we are probably composting as many leaves as we are manure.

We are in our second year of having chickens around to control flies and ticks, while also enjoying the secondary benefit of unbelievably great eggs.

We have learned a lot about baled hay and forest management.

We dabbled a little in trying to launch a business.

We’ve stumbled through trying to train our first dog, while simultaneously working on keeping one of two house cats we adopted from a rescue organization.

Every time the leaves fall from our trees and cover the trails six inches deep, it throws me back to that first year when we arrived.

That leads to thoughts about all the things I’ve listed above and gives me an opportunity to acknowledge the number of things we have accomplished since moving here.

I also have a tendency to contemplate what life might have been like had we not made this move. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be in as good of shape as I am now. Caring for animals and managing many acres of hilly fields and forest has a way of keeping a person off the couch for long stretches of time.

I wouldn’t trade this for anything. It’s been a great six years.

Here’s to diving into our seventh with wonder and glee over whatever adventures it may bring!

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Written by johnwhays

October 24, 2018 at 6:00 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

Clutter Kept

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Honestly, there were things within the first drawer and over the top of my dresser that have been there for years. When we made the move almost five years ago, I poured everything that had accumulated in the top drawer for the twenty-five years prior into large ziplock bags. Upon arrival to this home in October of 2012, I pushed those bags right back into the drawer to be dealt with later.

Or not.

I have actually found myself digging through the contents a couple of times in the ensuing years, in search of some phantom item from a vague recollection –which I never, ever find– and had the thought that I should probably sort through the bags and bust some clutter.

Over the weekend, Cyndie made a sweeping pass through the house to prepare for a showing to a potential client. Her magical ability to make things disappear from surfaces always excludes my dresser, but this time my mess really stood out to me.

On a whim, (was it connected to the celestial show to come?), I took my shot at Cyndie’s sweeping magic and waded through the clutter on top.

Inevitably, there were a few items to which I couldn’t part.

I slipped them into one of the bags in the drawer. Soon, I realized the bags had to go. I needed space in that drawer for currently active items that had been laying on top. The bags were so full they completely filled the drawer.

Full disclosure: The clutter isn’t busted yet. To save time, I moved the bags into a box, instead of processing the treasure of collectibles contained within. However, in the interest of not totally giving up on the ultimate goal, I set the box –too full to even close– on the floor beside my bed where it would be out of sight to the casual viewer, but where I would trip over it every day until I deal with it.

Any bets on whether I can do five years, stepping around the obstruction?

While I have a hard time parting with treasures, I am getting better at spending a little coin to replace things that wear out. When it comes to my cherished threadbare Carhartt Double Front Work Dungarees, it took an email spam ad touting half-price irregulars to wrench open my wallet.

The three primary pairs in heavy rotation for dirty-work around the property have gotten so ratty as to be entirely fashionable, although not completely safe for public display by anyone with a little modesty. The crotch where Cyndie had sewn patches is now vented around her handiwork.

The kicker last week was when Cyndie came up from the laundry with a six-inch stick about half the diameter of my little finger and asked if I was keeping it for any reason. It was now a clean stick, as it made it through the wash inside the rip of the first layer at one of the knees.

Pequenita put my new replacement pairs through some serious testing as soon as they arrived yesterday afternoon.

Now I will look a little more presentable for the multitude of workshops Cyndie and Dunia are holding in the days ahead to kick off Cyndie’s return to active duty following this summer’s shoulder surgery.

Hopefully, no one will wander into the bedroom and stumble over my treasures that are no longer on the dresser.

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Written by johnwhays

August 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Step One

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Well, we got the first part out of the way. The old house is empty. That was quite a day. The truck showed up bright and early, and they pretty much worked straight through to around 6 p.m. carrying a few precious pieces of furniture, and way too many boxes of crap. They pretty much filled the trailer up. We have accumulated too much stuff, no doubt about it. Take away my uncluttering badge, now. I have not earned one.

With a little luck, today’s experience will encourage us to be more aware, but I fear the added space of our new home may foil my dreams of becoming clutter-free. I know that it influenced some of my packing decisions regarding what to discard and what to take with me. I might find a use for the stuff, and I will have plenty of places to store things.

It has me thinking of the photo book by Peter Menzel, “Material World,” where he captured portraits of families around the world, posing with most of their possessions placed strategically around them. I shudder to think what our portrait would look like.

One humorous moment yesterday was when the movers popped out the front door with a dresser on their dolly, obviously laboring. One of the guys pulled open a drawer to see if we had left it full of clothes. It was empty. They were surprised at how heavy it was. My comment was, “They don’t make ’em like they used to!”

My siblings will appreciate that it was the dresser from our parents’ bedroom set.

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Today, we will do a final clean-up of the old property, and make a purchase of a device to give us a mobile internet connection that we will test on our new property for a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow will be step two: the closings.

 

Written by johnwhays

October 17, 2012 at 7:00 am

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Getting Closer

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The reality of my situation is, I have only 1 weekend left to finish packing. Since we were off gallivanting around the countryside this past Saturday, I was left with only Sunday, to tackle something significant. I chose the garage. Next weekend, it will be the remaining portion of the basement that gets my full attention.

I’m feeling okay with the progress in the garage, but I didn’t quite complete the task of getting it ready for movers to just pick things up and load. What I did accomplish was, getting my hands, at least once, on everything stored along the walls, or on a shelf. Some things made it no further than to a pile on the floor, but at least they are accounted for and are now moved from where they were previously stored. I still need to bind handles together, and otherwise wrap things for maximum carrying efficiency.

While going through drawers in a cabinet at the back of our garage, I discovered one of my stashes of zip-lock bags. Then I found another stash, and then another. I seem to be a hoarder of zip-lock bags! At the day-job, there are a wide array of sizes of heavy-duty bags that I hang on to for general storage, or for camping and bike trips, and even for moving! Just last week, I brought home a new pile of really good bags, thinking I could use them to dump all the things that have collected in my top dresser drawer.

Obviously, I had lost track of the fact that I already have bags upon bags stored up for just such an occasion. Maybe I should let Cyndie in on the whereabouts of my zip-lock bag stashes, so she can actually put them to use, instead of my just storing them indefinitely.

Let me take this opportunity to say that for every one thing I pack, Cyndie is doing tens of things. She helped me in the garage some on Sunday, and then scoured the yard to claim every last item we had outside that wasn’t a permanent fixture. She drained and coiled all our hoses, which I particularly appreciate.

Every day, she is packing more things than I even knew existed in our home, while I am stuck toiling away at the day-job. Meanwhile, she is managing the communications and documents involved with our closings.

Yesterday, I watched a handful of emails that she copied me on, as she continued to carry out the navigation of demands from agencies trying to get everything they need for our two closings in one day. I am at a loss as to who is who, what documents need to be prepared, and in what order.

The closer we get to the big day of name signing, the more I realize that I couldn’t have accomplished this without her.

Written by johnwhays

October 9, 2012 at 7:00 am

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Worthwhile Commute

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Yesterday was filled with a dizzying number of email exchanges between Cyndie & me, our realtor, the lender, and multiple contractors, as we strive to address the many inter-related issues being simultaneously addressed, to resolve concerns discovered during the two respective house inspections. As much of a hassle as this could be perceived to be, we are finding it easy to tolerate, because it is all related to acquiring that precious property of our dreams. The closing date has undergone its first adjustment, moving into October now. That came as no surprise to us.

We left my car parked next to the barn all weekend, and on Monday, on our way home from the lake, we once again had our impressions confirmed about how wonderful the location and environment are for us. It thrills us to the core to drive in this region and realize it will soon become our home base. Arriving at the property to pick up my car was a great hint of what it will be like to have that be our home destination when returning from the lake. The subsequent drive to our current home provided another glimpse of the commute that we will face for business in the Twin Cities, most importantly for me, my current day-job. There is no denying it will be extremely long, compared to what I am familiar with, but everything about the property and its location is making the long distance seem bearable for some period of transition.

Traffic congestion will be the key feature defining how irritating the drive can become. It will take some time to learn the nuances and timing of each of several optional routes, after which I hope to hone my skills of interpreting traffic maps to determine my daily choices. I will gain a whole new respect for the concerns of hazardous winter driving conditions. With my current short distance, and my 4-wheel drive Subaru, I barely glance at weather warnings for information on poor driving conditions. That will need to change this coming year.

Thinking about moving in October made me wonder how many trick-or-treat visitors we might expect to make the trek up our long driveway on a Wednesday night Halloween. If we get any, I will be very surprised. I will count that as one more perk making the long commute well worthwhile. That, and the fact that I will no longer suffer the sound of neighbors using their infernal leaf blowing machines! B’bye suburbs.

Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2012 at 7:00 am

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