Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘preparations

Good Use

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We made good use of the gorgeous day we were granted yesterday, before today’s winter storm arrives. I made sure we had plenty of dry wood inside for long hours in front of the fireplace, watching the flakes fly outside.

Do you remember the picture I posted last week of our labyrinth hidden beneath the blanket of a season’s worth of snow? We decided it was time to do something about that. We are doing a lot of heavy thinking lately, and the meditative stroll along the labyrinth path will be a welcome resource for deep contemplations.

Even though it may get buried by another foot of snow today and tomorrow, at least we will have a noticeable impression to guide us in the days that follow.

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We think Cyndie’s phone, which captured the image of me on the left, probably had a foggy lens when she pulled it out of her pocket. There is quite a difference in quality of the pictures we took of each other with our phones.

Figuring out the turns and leaving appropriate space between rows took a lot of mental effort with so few landmarks visible. When our effort was completed, we were rewarded by a spirit-lifting visit from a pair of bald eagles who circled multiple times, very low, just above the tree tops.

I got the impression they approved of our effort. The thought did occur to me while we were carving out the well-defined path, that the pattern of the 11-circuit Chartres labyrinth would look great from the sky.

Okay, let it snow today. We made good use of the calm before the storm that yesterday provided.

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Written by johnwhays

March 9, 2019 at 10:17 am

Tangled Web

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We survived yesterday’s day-long precipitation without receiving any torrential downpours! The ground is soaking wet, but we avoided any further washouts, I’m very happy to report.

I spent yesterday trying to finalize my preparations for the Tour of Minnesota bike trip. I will leave this afternoon for the drive to the initial camping spot before tomorrow morning’s departure on the first day of cycling. I’m hoping for much better weather than we endured last year.

I found the exercise of packing to be almost beyond my mental capacity. It seems a bit extreme to me, but I seriously believe I am continuing to suffer rather significant symptoms of withdrawal due to my quest to stop over-eating foods laden with sugar. I did some reading on the subject, and opinions seem universal about the individuality of responses to reducing or eliminating sugar from a person’s diet.

I hate to imagine that my very noticeable symptoms are a reflection of how much excess sugar was in my diet prior to this effort to pay attention. I have had headaches and dizziness, but my primary complaint, which was making me particularly uncomfortable yesterday, is flu-like symptoms of aches and pain, lethargy, and weakness. I just want to lay down and sleep. I feel crappy. If I thought I had the flu, I would just stay in bed.

Meanwhile, I am preparing to embark on a week of bicycling. What am I thinking!?

My thinking was pretty foggy all day, and packing became a random series of wandering around collecting things and then setting them any variety of places. Nothing actually got packed. In the early afternoon, I succumbed to the overwhelming urge to lay down and napped for over an hour.

Today, if the grass dries enough, I would like to do some last-minute mowing before departing. I hope to use the early morning hours to finally put things in my bag and be ready to jump into afternoon traffic after one last shower in the privacy of my own home.

I think I have participated in this week of biking and camping so many times that my frame of reference during preparations has shifted significantly from the excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead, to lamenting the last night of sleeping in my bed, using our private bathroom and showering alone for the next week.

Granted, those issues are some of what contribute to the charm and camaraderie of this event, which is what draws us all back, year after year, but the inconveniences seem to become amplified after so many years of doing it.

I plan to drown any sorrows in sugar during the week, as I anticipate “cheating” on my diet a fair amount, to calm my symptoms and provide necessary fuel for the confused furnace of my body. I just hope it doesn’t mean my withdrawal symptoms have to happen all over again when I get back and resume my measured daily intake.

It’s a tangled web I am weaving.

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Written by johnwhays

June 12, 2015 at 6:00 am

Grooming Session

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The horses were long overdue for some serious grooming, and yesterday Cyndie was able to give each of the 4 of them a thorough cleaning. Of course, this morning a couple of them have already found ways to grind in some new dirt. Apparently, they won’t have a chance to roll in dirt tomorrow, because the ground will be covered with snow. Weather forecasters have updated their prediction to a high likelihood of a significant snowfall event tomorrow.

Looking at the weather this morning, I don’t get any inkling of the impending mayhem. It brings to mind the deadly storm that occurred on Nov. 11, 1940, the Armistice Day Blizzard. Thank goodness for the improvements in weather forecasting that have evolved since that time. If you want to see some in-depth detail of what is being forecast (as of 10:14 p.m. last night) for our region tomorrow, check out this post on my favorite weather blog, Updraft, from MPR news. It paints a pretty dramatic picture of what to expect.

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As I toiled away on my projects yesterday, moving dirt and pea gravel around the paddocks, Cyndie focused her attention on the horses. It was a treat to see how much they seemed to relish the attention. It was so calm and quiet I almost burst with appreciation for the pleasantness of the moment.

Delilah was restrained on a leash nearby, and when she started barking for attention, I moved her closer to the action. That seemed to satisfy her needs and she laid down in the mid-day sun to regally observe the activity. The horses alternated between lining up for the grooming appointment and strolling down to graze along the fence outside the paddock or out on the hay-field hill.

Most of all, it was blessedly quiet. The air was filled with contentment, …a striking contrast to what is predicted to befall our little paradise tomorrow. Now I need to go batten down some hatches. There’s a storm a comin’!

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Written by johnwhays

November 9, 2014 at 10:07 am

Final Preparations

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I took advantage of being home on Monday and whittled away at the list of things we want done before the horses arrive. Cyndie had to work, so I was left to choosing tasks that I could accomplish alone. One of the big ones for me was to finish preparing the area we have set aside for manure management (just in case the 4 horses happen to produce any manure).

IMG_2796eWe selected a site last fall, and did some initial clearing. At the time, it seemed like the perfect location, if only we could remove some stumps. We cut into the bigger of two that were right in front, to see if it might come out with minor effort. It didn’t. Elysa’s friend, Anne, volunteered to work on it, because cutting out a stump appealed to her. She made great progress at the time, cutting through all the roots around the perimeter, but the stump held fast.

Early in spring, when Cyndie initially began cleaning out the stalls in the barn, the old sawdust and wood chips got dumped behind and beside the stumps. We ended up ignoring the area for most of the summer, and it grew tall with weeds and some grass. Yesterday, I brought out the chainsaw and made all the stumps disappear, both front and rear (sorry, Anne). Now we are set to dump manure from the front side, and remove it from the back side.

It is another one of our visions realized.

IMG_2799eIt will be easy to access the manure composting area off the new road that comes around the back side of the barn. Turning around from the view of the [future] manure pile, I took a picture of what the back side of the barn looks like.

We’ve got some spare gates remaining, which will likely get used in a next phase of fencing, whenever that occurs. Speaking of gates, my next project was getting chains installed to latch all the gates in the paddocks. That was definitely a priority to be done before the horses arrive.

When Cyndie got home, she helped to roll some big rocks into the bucket of the diesel tractor. The semi driver scouting our layout said he could back down toward the barn if the rocks weren’t there. We’d been meaning to move them ever since they were dropped on that spot at the start of our re-landscaping project, so we promised him they would be gone.

Now the rocks are back by the labyrinth.

In the evening, before we turned out the lights and closed up the barn, we turned on the electric fence to confirm everything was in working order, and then proclaimed the place ready for horses.

Today, I will mount some hardware to create tie-points where Cyndie wants them, to secure horses during saddling or other tasks. I will pick up some grain from the feed store. I will bring our collection of pallets down to the hay shed, to place under the bales of hay.

We are one day away from the planned arrival.

Written by johnwhays

September 24, 2013 at 7:00 am

At Least

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It’s not really all that much progress to boast about, but at the very least, the wood has finally been unloaded from the trailer. The major effort put forth yesterday involved moving snow out of the way, in the areas where work will occur in the days ahead.

IMG_1934eToday we are anticipating delivery of several truck loads of gravel, which will get distributed and packed in construction of our expanded driveway to the barn. At this point, any progress it thrilling, but this step will significantly define the fence line for the first paddock, which is a really big deal. Already, as I was walking around after I got home from work, I was better able to visualize the area that will soon be fenced. It is energizing.

Actually, just walking around on the land that we now own is pretty energizing. Since we don’t have any horses yet, we haven’t been spending much time down around the barn. As I explored the area where they had cleared away the snow, I experienced a sense of how much this will change with the arrival of horses. This space will become the center of attention.

I discovered that the snow that slides off the “uphill” side of the barn roof, and piles up against the wall, eventually leads to water leaking into the barn there. Next winter, when we will be spending time in the barn every day, I will be managing the snow more regularly, and will take steps to keep it from piling up to this same degree.

We have learned a fair number of things about our new property this winter, but I’m not sure it has been all that helpful toward helping us prepare details for when we get horses. I think the best way to do that will be by actually having horses. I expect we will quickly discover what works and what doesn’t. Then, as with all things, we will simply adjust accordingly.

I’m told that we could see fence posts installed by Thursday or Friday. Yahoo!

Written by johnwhays

March 27, 2013 at 7:00 am