Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘patience

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

Patience Practice

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IMG_2650eSlept in today, on the first day of September. Nine hours of slumber last night! Woo hoo! Even though I didn’t accomplish everything I would have loved to yesterday, what I did do, wore me out. By the end of the day, Cyndie gave up on her idea of going up to the lake, too, so I guess we were both beat.

I spent more time than was productive for me, just watching the guys working on the hay shed, and even that seemed to contribute to making me feel exhausted. Unfortunately, their progress was much slower than I anticipated, and I think slower than they hoped. By the end of the long day, the only sheet metal attached to the frame was across the front of the roof.

Cyndie worked the ground in one of the paddocks to level it out, pulling out weeds and raking up dead grass, whenever she wasn’t helping hold boards for me. I was framing and hanging boards on the wall of our barn under the overhang, to protect the steel siding from horse activity. We continue to upgrade the infrastructure from what had been set up for mini horses, to become a full-size equine facility.

It’s all good, just not as much progress as we’d hoped.

What can we do but be patient? We are discovering opportunities to practice patience over, and over, again. The process of refining our patience will serve us well when we finally are caring for horses here. So, even before they arrive, we are learning from our horses, through the process of getting prepared for them.

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Written by johnwhays

September 1, 2013 at 10:31 am