Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘success

Impressive Results

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I found myself inexplicably overjoyed upon reading news from Cyndie yesterday morning that “all [eight] hens ran out of coop” together when she opened the hatch. A short time later, she found them all still together, hanging out in our woods. Just as we had read would happen, after a mere two days in the “broody breaker” cage we built, the uncontrolled urge to constantly lay in a nest box has been dispatched. It worked!

The two Golden Laced Wyandottes who went all broody on us are once again foraging along with the rest of the flock.

We couldn’t be happier over the results.

If only we could enjoy success like this when trying to adjust Delilah’s behavior.

Unrelated to any behavior concerns for our almost perfect pooch, I got my thumb bitten more painfully than ever a few days ago, when trying to wrangle a pull toy out of her mouth in her favorite game of tug-of-war.

She didn’t notice she got me, which I am happy about, because it wasn’t her fault at all and I didn’t want her to feel bad. I just had my thumb in the wrong place at the wrong time and it cost me one heck of a bruise, right at the nail bed. I get a frequent reminder when I type.

Luckily, the pressure didn’t break the skin.

I certainly learned of the impressive results of her bite, though.

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Written by johnwhays

May 15, 2019 at 6:00 am

Trusting Intuition

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Yesterday, I wrenched success from the jaws of failure after I reacted thoughtfully and purposefully to the engine failure of our lawn tractor in the middle of mowing the hill of our back yard. With barely a minute of pause to simply sit and contemplate the predicament, I decided to spring into action. I was racing the weather.

After a quick test to see if I could push the tractor uphill, I went to get the ATV and a nylon tow rope. It was possible that the mower was just low on gas, but it was way too soon to have used the entire tank, based on previous experience. I was concerned that maybe the engine was working harder than usual and burning more fuel. That deserved attention.

There was evidence to support this possibility. You see, I was in a hurry to beat the coming rain, so I started early enough in the day that the dew had not dried off the grass. There were sticky wads of wet cuttings littering the lanes where the mower had already passed. It was likely the bottom of the deck had become caked with dirt and grass that was severely hampering the efficiency of the whole operation.

Despite the time pressure of impending precipitation, I disconnected the deck to pull it out and flip it over to clear the debris. Working quickly, I did a perfectly imperfect job of sufficiently completing that task. With the deck out, I wanted to grease the three spindles, but remembered I hadn’t reloaded the grease gun last time it sputtered out on me.

What better time than right then. Usually, for this kind of task that I rarely deal with, I struggle to recall how I did it last time, and make six mistakes before figuring out the simple technique. Yesterday, my intuition was strong, and I got it right, first try.

About then, Cyndie arrived to report the line on the power trimmer had run out. I popped off the spool for her, grabbed some remaining lengths of nylon line I’d been wanting to use up, and wound both the upper and lower spools without my usual mistake of starting with the wrong one first.

Since I had the nozzle on the compressor hose to blow off the mower deck, I also blew off the business end of the trimmer for Cyndie and sent her on her way before finishing the task of remounting the deck under the tractor.

We were both back to work after minimal delay and the lawn tractor worked like almost new.

Honestly, the smooth sailing I experienced was in sharp contrast to the norm of multiple struggles to make minimal progress. Tasks certainly do get incrementally easier with repetition.

Despite the unplanned delay right in the middle of mowing, I squeaked out finishing the entire job just as the first drops of rain arrived.

Now, if only this run of success will carry on into figuring out why the pond pump doesn’t turn on again after Cyndie shut it off to clean the intake filter.

Come on intuition, stay with me…

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Written by johnwhays

August 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

Mildly Hesitant

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I found myself mildly hesitant yesterday about writing of our having ordered chicks. I had it in my mind when building the coop last fall that we might be able to get our hands on some adult chickens for our starter flock. Instead, we are starting with chicks. That involves a bit more nurturing than I’d been contemplating.

I should be thankful. We could have gone all the way and opted to hatch them from eggs. With no previous experience in this realm of chicken raising, there is always a chance disaster could happen and we might make some fatal error that takes innocent lives.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to blog such a possible outcome and expose the personal failure. Then it occurred to me, that is what I do.

In discussing this topic with Katie at work, I became aware of a change that has transpired in the four-plus years Cyndie and I have been here. When we first arrived from our lifetimes in the suburbs, we were entirely naive about almost every situation we faced.

Long time readers might recall that we didn’t realize we already had a hitch installed on the old pickup truck we bought. I had no experience with a chainsaw. We didn’t know anything about growing hay. We’ve come a long way. I would even say I’ve had a few moments of feeling cocky about our accomplishments.

So, it dawned on me that cockiness was bringing me to a place where I felt less inclined to write about the things with which we still have no experience, like raising chickens.

I guess I’ve quickly worked through that hesitation I was feeling. This John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences currently involves our ongoing transition from a suburban lifestyle to a rural ranch, one experimental step at a time.

Hopefully, next year I will be reporting about how few flies and ticks we are bothered by after the addition of chickens to our menagerie. Maybe also, how the transplanted tree in the labyrinth is thriving.

If those things don’t happen, I’ll likely have chronicled about that, instead. Chronicling the whole range of adventures we are living, both the successes and failures, is what I do. Even if sometimes, with a little hesitation.

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Written by johnwhays

March 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Mostly Ready

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Today I depart for my week of vacation and I believe I am, for the most part, ready. That is, I finished the majority of necessary tasks at work and got my “away message” programmed in my email. I completed the task of mowing all the grass areas that we regularly mow. Most amazing to me, I took care of two tasks that have been successfully neglected for a loooong time.

It may have something to do with the fact that we have Elysa’s celebration planned for the day after I return from my adventure. I won’t have much time to tend to things in the small number of hours after I get home. What I find curious is how particularly easy it was to address both of these issues. It was like changing a light bulb.

Well, one of them was, anyway. Except, the light bulb(s) were high enough to require a tall ladder to reach, and were a unique size which we couldn’t buy until we climbed up to pull one of the burned ones for reference.

The other task was to adjust the hinge on one of our french doors to the deck. That’s not all that hard. I’ve done it before. But it requires a wrench and instructions that were down in the shop. I just kept neglecting to get around to remembering to bring them up to the house.

The real kicker is that the act of fixing the hinge adjustments put me in the mindset to finally also look at the lever mechanism which has been a curious nuisance from the day we moved in. To set the latch on the three doors to the deck, the levers needed to be lifted upward, which is entirely counter-intuitive. Visitors are always baffled by the anomaly, and often fail to successfully set the latch.

Since we plan to have a lot of visitors soon, I felt added incentive to take a crack at solving the riddle. It was a case of the simplest and most obvious possibility being the answer. There was a plastic plug holding the conventional latch retracted in all of the doors. Popping the plug out released the latch that automatically catches when the door is closed. Now when the handle is moved in the more typical direction of down, the doors will open.

It was a huge fix for us. Now it’s done. How much more ready could I now be?

Bring on the trip, and then bring on Elysa’s celebration.

In the mean time, for those of you who haven’t already seen it, I’ll offer the song I wrote about the week of biking and camping which I have participated in for many years around the middle of June…

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Written by johnwhays

June 17, 2016 at 6:00 am