Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘patience

Spontaneous Transplantation

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Last night presented one of those moments that would unfold without us having a clue where it would ultimately lead. Thankfully, due to Cyndie’s willingness to run with it, we took a step that was long overdue.

She transplanted some volunteer sprouts of oak and maple trees.

It started with her walking the dog and me doing some work in the shop. I had the door open and some music playing. Suddenly, Delilah popped in to say hello. Cyndie paused to trim some growth around the vicinity.

While pulling weeds, she discovered the saturated ground made it easy to pull out the new tree sprouts.

We’ve been talking about transplanting trees for weeks, but never really formulated a plan on where they would go when we finally take action. Since she now had a stack of multiple beauties fresh out of the ground, it presented an urgency to decide on a new location for them.

I honestly have no idea why I didn’t come up with this before, but it hit me in an instant that planting them just outside the paddock fence would someday offer a natural shade for the horses inside the fence.

So, that’s what Cyndie did.

It will require some care to give these babies a fair chance at survival, but given the vast number of new sprouts showing up every spring, we will always have plenty of opportunities to try again, in case of any failures.

This is another thing that I would love to have done years ago, to have already taken advantage of that time for growth. The shade I’m looking forward to could be a decade away, to get the trees tall enough and filled out enough to cast a useful shadow.

It’s like our story about growing our own asparagus. People told us that it takes at least three years after planting to start harvesting stalks. For some silly reason, that information repeatedly caused us to not take action. Inexplicably, our response to something that required waiting a significant amount of time for results was to do nothing. Over and over again.

After three years, I mentioned that if we had just planted some when we first talked about the possibility, we could be harvesting already.

Then Cyndie came across the brilliant idea of not planting from seed, but buying a 2-year-old plant and burying it in the ground.

We are learning to get out of our own way.

In this regard, the spontaneity becomes our secret weapon. We will always get more progress if we just do it, and not wait for the “perfect” plan. We need to not worry so much about the possibility of failure.

My old mode of thinking involved not wanting to work hard on planting trees if they are just going to die, but I’m getting over that now. Maybe the four tries to succeed in the center of our labyrinth have softened my resistance.

We transplanted this group yesterday without any planning or preparation.

I have no idea what the result will be, but at least we have taken the required first step, thanks to Cyndie’s adventurous spontaneous effort.

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Snow Going

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We dodged a spring snow storm overnight. That’s what it feels like, anyway. Obviously, we didn’t do any dodging. We stayed right where we are and didn’t flinch, while the white stuff slid past a little bit to the south of our region. Too bad for those folks.

I guess we all get a turn at weather adventure.

This leaves us with the adventures of watching snow melt. I am fascinated by the way anything of color absorbs the solar energy and melts a perfect pattern into the otherwise reflective snow.

Meanwhile, that reflective snow mass is radiating an amazing chill that offsets some of the best efforts of warm air to tip the balance. Taking a walk across the crusty surface in our open fields feels like a trip down the frozen foods aisle in the grocery store. The sun is shining warmth, but, brrrr, there’s a cold draft wafting up from everywhere!

We can now see where my winter plowing has torn great gouges of turf from the edges of the driveway and sprayed rocks in a wide array across the grass. New cracks in the old asphalt of our neglected driveway look another significant degree decayed.

I’m amazed anything survives unscathed. The concrete apron in front of the house garage looks to have moved its slope another degree in the wrong direction, inviting the snowmelt and rain runoff to drain toward the foundation instead of away.

And in terms of heaving earth, the waterer for the horses in the paddock has shifted dramatically off-kilter so that one side overflows and the high side holds inches less water.

Where is all the hope and renewal of spring?

It’s waiting. Biding its time beneath the surface. We must be patient. It will come.

The trillium we have transplanted will bloom again. Volunteer maple trees will sprout in mind-boggling numbers everywhere we turn.

The snow is going.

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Written by johnwhays

March 24, 2018 at 9:23 am

A Chance

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Have you noticed the lone lopsided tree left standing to the right of the ones we took down over the weekend? A number of people have suggested it would make sense to cut that one down, too.

There are plenty of reasons it would be a logical choice, but who am I to let logic get in the way of my emotions?

One key reason I am letting it stand is that it isn’t dead. Not yet, anyway. It has carved out its meager existence and endured despite the shadow of the larger tree. Now that it is no longer crowded out, I’d like to see how it will respond.

I want to give it a chance to take advantage of the unobstructed afternoon sunlight and the uncontested space to spread out in every direction. It is very birch-like, but I haven’t specifically identified it. Black birch, maybe.

What does it cost me to wait a year or two to find out if it shows signs of renewed vigor? Just some ongoing questioning of my decision-making process, but that’s something I can tolerate.

Cyndie and I were surveying the space left after the trees were removed and discussed whether it would make sense to transfer some of the multitudes of volunteer maple seedlings that sprout all around our place each spring.

It’s an odd little corner of our property. The primary drainage ditch that nicely defines the southern border for most of the span of our open fields takes a little turn inward and orphans a fair-sized triangle of grass up to the road. The neighbor to the south is more than happy to tend to it, and he cuts that grass when cutting his adjacent strip along a cornfield there.

Honestly, I have reasons to believe he would consider it madness to plant new trees in that spot. He once offered to come cut down trees behind our house to create a larger space of lawn for us. Our opinions of what is more valuable are in stark contrast.

If we plant new trees, we will start by placing them along, or close to, the drainage ditch. I’m happy to work slowly and give him time to adjust to our changes.

The chickens show no sign of needing time to adjust. They showed up instantly when we drove to one of our trails to distribute a load of wood chips. I think they wanted to help spread them around.

In reality, what they were really doing was, scratching away the chips to get down to the dirt below, which was comical. They could do that anywhere. In fact, it would be easier to do it where we hadn’t just laid down a new cover of wood chips. Instead, they looked as though the new chips were a real bonus.

I’ll give them the benefit of doubt. Maybe there were bugs in the chips that dropped to the dirt below as soon as the chips got tossed on the trail.

There is a chance there is a logical method to their madness.

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Written by johnwhays

December 5, 2017 at 7:00 am

Shaping Up

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It has snowed and then melted again, so the ground here is well saturated, but not frozen. It was time to tend to the raised circle in the paddock before the earth becomes hard as rock. It’s been a year since I last shaped it and the definition was fading to the point it wasn’t really performing as a raised perch above the wet.

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Try as I might, I am not able to pack it firm enough to support the weight of the horses, but if I keep reshaping the circle as they stomp around on it, eventually it will become what I envision. It worked in another spot that we created when the excavator was here digging out our drainage swale.

That flat mound is visible in the corner of fence in the picture above on the left. Since it was made from slabs of turf scraped from the swale, there was a lot of grass in it that seems to have added a lot of stability. The circle I am creating in the middle has a lot of layers of hay which the horses’ hooves punch through with ease. It becomes a pock-marked uneven surface.

On the plus side, residue from the hay includes plenty of grass seed that wants to grow and will help firm up the surface over time. If I keep tending to it, I’ll get what I’m after. In the end, it’ll seem like it’s always been that way.dscn5514e

Good thing I’m a patient person.

Dezirea supervised my progress while Legacy grazed from the slow-feeder behind her. I get the feeling the horses recognize what I’m trying to create, and they approve.

When I came out from taking a lunch break halfway through the project, I found Cayenne standing beside the circle on the ground I had just raked flat.

It was as if she wanted to be close to what I was doing, but didn’t want to mess it up by stomping on it too soon. I appreciated her discretion, but in no time, the results of my reshaping will be hard to perceive amid the multitude of hoof prints.

Watching the horses all day long, you get the impression that they don’t really move very much. They don’t appear to cover much ground in a day. However, if you survey the ground over time, it becomes evident that there isn’t a spot where they haven’t been at one time or another.

In the long run, they are definitely shaping the ground of their confines.

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Written by johnwhays

November 27, 2016 at 11:03 am

Trying Again

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Despite a strong inclination I have had to just shut up about the tree transplanting —at least until we finally meet with success in this one particular spot— I can’t stop myself from reporting the story. We have waited for most of the summer to pull out the previous dead tree from the center of the labyrinth, even though it was long ago obvious it hadn’t survived.dscn5387e

There was no hurry, because our plan for the next attempt was to wait until the trees drop their leaves before trying again.

The trees have dropped their leaves.

Earlier in the summer, when we knew we would need to try again, I searched through the saplings beneath the magnificent maple tree that has been my inspiration all along. I like envisioning what one of the offspring of that beauty will look like in the middle of the labyrinth garden when it reaches the same maturity of years.

I selected and marked a tree that I liked. Then we waited.

Yesterday was the day we picked to execute our fourth try at transplanting one of our maple trees to the center of the labyrinth. Cyndie dug out the hole in preparation and when I got home from work, we set about the challenging task of extricating our selection from the spot where it originated.

dscn5388eIt didn’t want to come out easily.

With daylight fading, we finally wrested our new hope from the earth’s grasp. Using a wheelbarrow, we transported the tree to the labyrinth and slid it into the hole.

With all the tender loving care we could muster, we prepared the new home for this tree. Now we wait. Nature needs to do the rest.

And if it doesn’t take, I’m just going to keep trying, all the while debating whether I will do so covertly, or choose to continue chronicling the possible repetition of failures.

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Written by johnwhays

November 3, 2016 at 6:00 am

Freezing Wet

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You know what is worse than freezing cold? Freezing wet. It is one condition for which we would never question whether or not to move the horses indoors. Our horses do a pretty good job of enduring exposure to snow and cold, but when it comes to rain at freezing temperatures, they need shelter.

Regardless the pleasure of early warmth we enjoyed throughout much of the month of March, the trend recently has shifted significantly away from pleasant.

IMG_iP3132eCHIt has us burning fires in the fireplace and cuddling up under blankets, drinking hot drinks.

I suppose there is a lesson for us somewhere in this situation about patience, but I don’t really need to be tempted by early warmth to get the lesson about being patient for the spring growing season to truly arrive. I’m sure I could learn it just as well with winter staying winter the whole time, and lasting well into April.

If I had any sense I’d be using this time to change the oil in the lawn tractor and finish preparing it for the long mowing season that lies ahead. The cold and wet may be lingering, but logic dictates it will eventually end.

When it does, growing things definitely won’t hesitate to respond.

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Written by johnwhays

April 6, 2016 at 6:00 am

Waiting Games

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My patience has been tested the last few weeks, waiting for three different contractors to make appearances on our property. Unfortunately, nature isn’t going to delay the onset of winter just because my projects weren’t completed. Completed seems like a humorous concept, since I can’t even get people here to start. They all claim the reason they can’t make it is that they are too busy and behind schedule.

Yesterday, I received a token visit from landscapers who will put in drain tile to route water around the paddocks, in hopes of keeping them from becoming such mud pits. It was “landscapers” plural, because the first one was so over-busy through the end of the year he needed to contract it out to a friend. They took some final measurements and said work should be able to start next week. I can only hope.

It felt a bit like the experience I often have in a visit to the doctor. I check in to let them know I arrived at the time of my appointment, and take my place in the waiting area. After what seems like way too long to be waiting, I start getting agitated. When that feeling starts to morph into anger, a nurse pops out and calls my name.

That resets my angst, and I am happy my turn has finally arrived. Except, it hasn’t. I eventually discover that all they have done is move me from the outer waiting area to an exam room to continue waiting. It’s a great system, because I tolerate a lot more waiting when it is broken up by little moments of faux progress. It would have been an intolerable wait, had I spent the entire time in the outer chairs. Broken into two stages —the second one feeling like actual progress— helped me accept the overall total wait-time without making a fuss.

It feels like the landscape contractors finally made an appearance yesterday to reset my angst and make me feel good about them telling me the work should be able to start next week sometime.

Once again, it works wonders for me. My previous anxieties have been reset. I’m happy with their latest promise.

Here’s hoping they are able to live up to it.

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Written by johnwhays

September 18, 2014 at 6:00 am