By David DeJohn, NHCLP
Well I guess we certainly got a Winter this year or, at least, it finally showed up over the last eight days. Just as I was starting to get lulled into that false hope of an early spring start – bam! – storm after storm. February has a reputation of being the snowiest month and this year they sure weren’t kidding. Great for the bank account I guess, but forty hours in a skid steer over the last few days and I’m starting to get punchy.
Besides plowing though there has been no shortage of things to do this winter, and I hope you were able to take advantage of some them. There was our Joint Winter Conference of course, which had a great turn out despite the weather, the upcoming Genest Bootcamp in Portsmouth and several workshops and clinics hosted by Stratham Hill Stone/Landcare. There is the new Northeast Hardscape Expo in April, and we have our Spring Conference coming up on March 15.
One advantage to all the snow we’ve been getting is that the snowshoeing has been phenomenal. It’s been great to take a break from office work, slap on the snowshoes and get the dogs out into the woods. From where we live we can just head out the door and into the woods and go for miles. There’s one spot we always try to get to in the middle of a Hemlock grove where there is a wide brook with a series of small waterfalls running through. Sitting there we’ve seen deer and fox and rabbit and once even caught a glimpse of a Bobcat. It’s amazing to see all the winter activity that goes on in the woods and for a little while have only the sound of the brook to listen to.
Eventually though it’s back to reality and office work, which at least for now there is more to time to take care of. The hectic pace of plowing aside, it’s nice to have a little slower pace. Estimates are going out, scheduling has started, contracts are being signed, and two designs are on the table. I’m just disciplined enough so that I spend a few hours each day to pick away at these things to keep on track and moving forward. Apple tree pruning has started and we just tapped our Maple trees, so my days are filled with a nice balance of indoor and outdoor activity.
Last but not least, I just got done reading the February Newsletter and I want to thank Bill Gardocki, Phil Caldwell, and Liz Rivet for your articles. I always enjoy reading the Newsletter, but these three articles in particular were great and really hit home with me. I couldn’t agree more with Phil’s article, and it really made me appreciate the habits that were instilled in me and the training I received when I first started in landscaping. To this day the last 30 minutes to an hour of any given day on a job site is spent cleaning up the site, blowing down the driveway, raking out tire tracks, and covering tools. You may not think it, but as Phil said that is something the client really notices and appreciates. Bill’s article hits home because I am one who still, at this late date in my career, struggles with the business end of things, but I am always taking classes and attending seminars and willing to try new approaches. I started using the LMN estimating system a few years back, and it has made a huge difference, not just in profitability, but in presentation as well. Through several of Bill’s talks I’ve learned better more efficient ways to do things, although I admit I still hold on to a few of my “old school” ways of doing things.
Liz Rivet’s article made me laugh out loud and who among you didn’t see yourselves in that article? She really hit the nail on the head, and I can’t wait to show that article to my wife, Roberta, and prove to her she does not suffer alone!
Thanks to all of you for contributing such great articles – keep ’em coming. I’m sure there are many more of you out there with stories to tell. Write them down and send them in!
I hope to see you all at the Spring Conference on March 15. Happy Spring!