Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘teamwork

Million Bucks

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It was an asphalt ballet as workers seamlessly moved around obstacles and each other to wield their specialty tools or switch them out with another to work the hot material into the perfect final form.

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In the areas by the house and the shop/garage the new asphalt was overlaid on top of the old driveway surface. We were able to do that because the base in these sections had stood the test of time and not fallen apart like so much of the rest of the driveway. I had no idea how they would start the process and was duly impressed to see what they could achieve using just their hand tools.

The Bobcat would deliver a bucketful of loose hot asphalt and the crew then made quick work of shaping and packing the first edge with their “T” poles. The big machine would then move in and set up directly over what they started and slowly roll away leaving a perfect layer of pavement behind it.

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At every seam or corner edge, the guys wordlessly collaborated to fill gaps, shape edges, and perfect the finish of the surface. They all demonstrated an impressive attention to detail.

The garage gained a new piece of equipment.

Almost looks like it belongs, although I’m not sure I would be able to put it to good use beyond flattening all the mole hills and tunnels annoyingly prevalent everywhere we turn.

By the end of their workday, they stopped between the shop/garage and the turnout to the barn. Today, they won’t have to deal with any more corners. It’s just a straight shot to the road now. If all goes well, they should complete their work today.

Already, the portion they have completed has our place looking like a million bucks.

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Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2022 at 6:00 am

Almost Done

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We got close to finishing the woodshed project before calling it a day yesterday afternoon. All that remains is installing shingles on the roof. I plan to do that when we return next weekend.

Cyndie was an essential contributor to the progress achieved. We verbally sparred over the math to figure spacing as I wrestled with factoring in the number of spaces is one more than the number of boards.

She kept solving math calculations in her head before I could enter the numbers into the calculator on my phone. At one point, as I was cutting a spacer block to a dimension I calculated, she texted me the same spacer dimension she figured out while taking Delilah for a walk.

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With tools put away, I was able to grab the remains of the previous unprotected stack of firewood and move it into the new shed.

I look forward to seeing it filled with a couple of years worth of split firewood. We’ll need the first batch soon as cooling weather is about to bring on the days when comforting fires in the fireplace become de rigueur.

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Heavy Lifting

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For our Labor Day holiday three-day weekend during this pandemic, we have chosen to stay home but we wanted to spend some time together working on a project that was as much fun as it was a productive accomplishment. With no negotiation required, we both felt an equal desire to put some focus on collecting more rocks for our labyrinth.

There are several very old stockpiles of rocks in our woods from past farmers clearing their fields that we periodically mine for ideal specimens. It is difficult work because the adjacent wooded acres have expanded to swallow the piles and years of accumulating sediment have buried all but just the top portion of some wonderful rocks that need to be excavated.

Since the extra effort it takes to get rocks from these locations tends to limit progress at any given time, we expanded our range yesterday to piles on the edge of our neighbor’s property so we could make a bigger impact on the labyrinth enhancement. It paid off handsomely.

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It was quickly apparent how much the previous rocks defining the labyrinth path have settled into the earth, some almost disappearing from sight.

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I don’t know why I would choose to wear a white shirt to wrestle rocks all day long. That’s an image of a guy who hugs dirty rocks.

By the end of the day yesterday, we were physically exhausted but emotionally energized to see a least two rows improved one step closer to the vision we share of how we’d like the borders to look someday. It will continue to be an ongoing project that advances in fits and starts.

Like building a jigsaw puzzle, the urge to make progress arises in proportion to the progress recently made. This morning, all I want to do is go back down there and add more rocks.

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Written by johnwhays

September 6, 2020 at 9:57 am

Smashing Success

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Sunday was a day of major accomplishment. Finally, after a serious thunderstorm tipped multiple trees back in mid-July, we have pulled down and cut up all of those, plus some other dead ones in the area that weren’t affected by the winds.

DSCN5110eThere were some complicated techniques required to force these large trees to tip back from the direction of their lean, over center and down to the ground. It didn’t all go flawlessly, but they all did go successfully in the end.

The rope rigging that Julian helped get set up on Saturday paved the way for yesterday’s first big success. That tree was key to getting after the one behind it.

While clearing a standing tree from the landing zone, the exercise expanded when that tree didn’t fall free as hoped and became another challenge to our skills.

IMG_iP1626eCyndie and I had to toss a rope up for leverage to pull so we could coerce it to come all the way down to the ground.

The extra effort of throwing rope and hooking up and operating come-alongs turned the big effort into an all-day project, but it was so thoroughly satisfying to have those trees down after weeks of wanting it done that it didn’t matter.

The chainsaw performed admirably, despite some abusive handling it was subjected to on a couple of occasions when I allowed the blade to get trapped in a pinch.

Beyond that, we are extremely happy to have completed the day injury free. It was a day filled with some dangerous work, but the equipment held up and we avoided the many potentials for calamity.

Despite the gleaming success, I will be very happy if I don’t need to use the chainsaw again for a very long time. I admit, it is an incredibly rewarding feeling when a tree you are trying to bring down finally falls, but it is a strenuous job. Plus, we have so much splitting that needs to be done now, I won’t have any time available to be cutting even more.

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Written by johnwhays

August 29, 2016 at 6:00 am

Incredible Focus

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DSCN3771eHorses are experts at paying attention. That is one of the reasons they are so good as facilitators of our learning exercises. They don’t miss a thing.

During preparations for an exercise in the round pen, all 4 horses stood in close proximity to the participants, whether they were involved or not.

At one point during the afternoon, I spotted 2 of the horses turned around and facing the other direction. There was something in the distance, not visible to us, that the horses had alerted on from two different positions. Their heads were positioned identically, and moved together as if they were connected.

While they stood watch, the other two remained calm and kept their attention on our activity, feeling safe to entrust their well-being to the two sentinels. Whatever it was that had gotten their attention must have disappeared shortly thereafter, and they rotated like a compass needle, to point back at the round pen.

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Written by johnwhays

August 17, 2015 at 6:00 am