PRESIDENT’S NOTES ARCHIVE
PRESIDENT’S NOTES ARCHIVE
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
You would think that for as many times now that I’ve had to sit down and write something for this column that it would come easy, but it doesn’t. I mean, I make notes and jot down ideas for topics as they come up. I read the newsletter I get from the National Association of Landscape Professionals for information that might be relevant to pass on. And of course, there’s always NHLA news to report. I swear though, the minute I sit down at this desk to write something, it all just goes away and I end up staring at a blank page for way too long. Then I suddenly remember that I have to fill the bird feeders! Not later, not tomorrow. I mean right now! And when was the last time I cleaned out my truck? That certainly can’t wait any longer! Then there’s the wood stove to be filled, and the dog is staring at me, so maybe we should walk down and get the mail from our mailbox that’s conveniently a half mile away, and from the look in her eyes it’s imperative that we go right now! Any excuse to not sit, and no excuse is too trivial to get me up from the desk or the drawing board to do something else.
And it’s not like I don’t want to do it. I do like to write and I do like to draw and do designs, but it’s something about that blank page. It’s just there, by itself. Just waiting. Kind of like this article or a new landscape project or a new planting, and definitely like a new fieldstone wall. It’s that first pen to paper, that first scoop of the excavator, that first shovel in the ground, that first base stone set and then, hopefully, you’re off and running.
And here we are, full blown into a new year – kind of like a blank piece of paper, in a way. Just waiting to be filled in. Looking back at this time last year, almost to the day, when I was probably sitting at my desk wondering what to write, the weather was almost exactly what we’re seeing now, mild with very little snow. We’ve had a few days where the temperature was in the single digits, at least in the mornings, but for the most part it has stayed in the 30s and 40s. There have been several days recently when I didn’t need gloves while working on a stone wall, which is great in one way but very wrong in another. Of course it’s only the end of the first week of January so there’s plenty of time for it to get cold and for the snow to come, and I hope it does, especially for all of you who depend on snow removal to get through the winter. By the time this issue comes out it will be time for tapping trees and we’re going to need snow and that combination of cold nights and warm days for a good harvest, so we’ll see.
We have quite a bit planned for this coming year and a few challenges to fill that blank page. We’re finalizing details for the upcoming DOS / First Aid Safety day that will be held at North Point Outdoors in Derry on March 29, so save that date. Thank you very much to Central NH Trailer Sales and Site One for sponsoring breakfast and lunch, and thank you to Cross Insurance for sponsoring the medical kits to be handed out to attendees.
We’re currently scoping out some sites to hold a pruning workshop and one on proper mulching techniques that will happen in April. So if you would be willing to host either one please let me know, especially if they’re in the Seacoast, Lakes Region, or western part of the state. The same for Twilight Meetings. We really want to start moving these events around the state instead of always in the Concord and Manchester areas, so we need your help on that.
On January 9, we held our second Board Retreat, facilitated by Mike Barwell and Annette Zamarchi. This gave the Board a chance to look back at last year and talk about what we accomplished and to look forward and discuss where we want to go. It’s a brainstorming session without the distraction of having to do regular Board business and to put all possibilities on the table. Thanks again to Mike and Annette for guiding us through it, I look forward to 2023 to see where we go.
With that said, I would like to ask: Has anything we’ve done this past year, whether it was teaming up with NARFA and Greenius, or the Twilight or Dinner Meetings, or the Field Day, been helpful or made a difference? If so, let us know, and if not, then you really need to let us know what didn’t work and what would have. We have almost a full calendar already planned out for 2023, but as always your input is very important!
Well that’s it for now. As if I didn’t have enough distractions from writing, we just picked up a new 8-month-old puppy from a local rescue service and he’s a handful – but a good boy and a future work buddy!
Hope you all have a good rest of the winter and here’s looking toward spring!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Happy New Year!
I hope you all were able to enjoy Christmas and the Holidays and maybe even get to relax a little bit. As I’m writing this the weather so far has been mild and except for some rain pretty storm free so hopefully you’ve been able to catch up and even finish projects.
I know I’ve certainly taken full advantage and although I’ll never be caught up, this weather has allowed me to finish and even start some projects that I wasn’t even sure I’d get to. For me 2022 was a tough and chaotic year. Some of it was my own doing, mostly due to poor planning. Some of it was because it seemed that on every job there were last minute changes and add-ons. And some of it was just plain out of my control. But despite all that, I have to say that I have had the most amazing and patient clients one could hope for, and no one jumped ship on me. For that I’m very grateful.
This winter, while I’m building a stonewall I have prepped and will soon start working on, I’ll be doing a lot of reflecting on the past season and how I can improve on the next. I’m sure many of you can relate to that; there’s always room for improvement, and so I hope for nothing but the best for you in 2023.
As an educational association NHLA has always been an integral part of my career and continues to be an important source of information and networking for me — and hopefully for you and your employees as well. A simple example of that is the recent maintenance and repair workshop held at North Point Outdoors in Derry. A small group attended, but every one of us came away from it knowing something we didn’t know before and are now better able to repair and maintain our own stuff. As always, the NHLA Board of Directors, the Education Committee, and the Certification Committee have worked hard to bring you educational as well as other opportunities to add value to your membership and provide ways to set yourself and your companies apart from the rest of the pack.
This past year we were finally able to get back to in-person events starting with Dinner Meetings in January and March, Twilight meetings, and our first day-long Field Day event, which by all accounts was a big success. During the past year we also partnered with Greenius and NARFA giving members access to extensive on-line training and comprehensive insurance. We updated the NHLA by-laws so that now all employees of a member company are members of NHLA as well. The logistics of this will take some time to roll out but we’re working on that, and we will keep you updated as we move forward with it.
We already have several meetings and events on the calendar for the coming season: a Dinner meeting at the Puritan this month, a Safety/DOS Compliance and First Aid day-long event in March, a workshop on pruning and proper mulching in April (we’re looking for a place for this event, so if anyone has a job site or other spot where we could hold this program let us know), and a possible hardscaping workshop in May.
We also have a venue and tentative date set for our Field Day next September, so watch for more details in the next couple months. We’ll be looking for speakers, vendors, and sponsors so if anyone is interested please let us know. And certainly if you have any ideas or requests for Twilight Meetings, speakers or topics that you think would be of benefit, then by all means reach out to me, Mike Barwell, or anyone on the Board.
Well that’s it for now. I hope you have a good winter and a very good 2023 Landscape season. Happy New Year!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Well, I can’t believe it’s already time to say Happy Holidays, but as I write Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and by the time this edition of the Newsletter comes out Christmas will be right around the corner, so Happy Holidays in advance!
I, for one, am not at all sorry to see 2022 in the rear view mirror, and now that the mid-terms are over I look forward to a slightly quieter, slightly calmer 2023.
Thank you to Andrew Pelkey and North Point Outdoors for hosting our “Let’s get Dirty” Engine maintenance and repair workshop. Chris Baker and Andrew Giampalo led a very lively demonstration and discussion on preventative maintenance and repair for chain saws, pole pruners, trimmers, blowers, and mowers. They discussed the common problems that crop up on a daily basis and the three most likely causes of the those problems — fuel, air, or spark. It was a perfectly-sized group for this sort of workshop, giving everyone who attended the opportunity to learn, ask questions, and talk to each other. All sizes of businesses were represented, but the issues of repair, preventative maintenance, cost of repairs, and efficiency are a common thread regardless of size of company.
The discussion continued through the pizza dinner provided by NHLA and Chris, and Andrew were very open generous in talking about the systems set up to run North Point and how the company has evolved over the last six years. Thank you again to Chris and Andrew, and thank you to everyone who attended.
We have several other events coming up, the next one being our January Dinner Meeting at the Puritan restaurant in Manchester on the 18th (snow date January 19) featuring John Forti. The topic will be “The Heirloom Gardener – Traditional Plants and Skills.” His talk draws from his new book of traditional plants and skills for the modern world. His PowerPoint shares inspiration from our long history of heirloom and native plant preservation, garden craft, and homestead lifeways that we can apply to our own gardens and landscapes. This is one not to be missed, so watch for more information and registration details.
In February Ben Huntington will tentatively be hosting a tour of the expanded growing operations and facilities at Pleasant View Gardens in Pembroke, and in March we have scheduled another Safety Day which will include DOS compliance rules and demonstrations as well as On-site First Aid. This will be a great way to start gearing up for a new and safe 2023 season .
Check out the Newsletter and website for more information on these and other events. We have lots planned for the coming year to keep employees and business owners alike informed and to help keep your businesses profitable.
Have a great rest of the season and Happy Holidays!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
As unbelievable as it is, it’s now officially fall. We still have a good couple of months to continue on and hopefully complete projects, but we’re getting to that time of year when anything can happen with the weather and the pressure is on even more to get things done before winter sets in.
It was a crazy summer again, way too busy and it went way too fast, but I appreciate that many of you took advantage of the Twilight Meetings that were held in June, July, and August. Jeff Toomey of Read’s Custom Soils gave a presentation at Gale Memorial Park in Exeter that was very well attended as was Mike Garrity’s tour in July of a spectacular garden in Dunbarton. Chris Maroun, owner of Miracle Farms in Moultonborough greeted NHLA members at one of their projects on Lake Winnipesaukee in Tuftonboro on August 30, and that was a great way to close out the Twilight Meeting season. This amazing 2 million dollar project, now close to completion, has been in progress for the last year and a half and included pool installation, construction of a cabana, physically moving an existing cabin from one spot to another, a new septic system, a beautiful dry laid granite retaining wall, paver driveway, gardens, and a Bocchi Ball court. Thank you to Chris and his crew for the delicious food they set out and for their generosity and openness to share information about the job and their business. Their easy going style allowed for lots of questions and the discussion could have gone on for a lot longer if it hadn’t started to get dark. This was truly what a Twilight Meeting is all about, as they all were: a chance to talk with peers, compare notes, and see some amazing work.
If any of you would like to host a Twilight Meeting or have an idea for a Twilight Meeting please contact our Education Committee Coordinator, Mike Barwell, at firstname.lastname@example.org
After many months of planning our first all day outdoor event was, from all accounts, quite successful. Our September 14 Field Day was a huge effort planned and put together by everyone on the Board as well as Pam and Jim Moreau, Mike Barwell, and Annette Zamarchi. Truly a team effort, and it showed.
Held at Shaker Village in Canterbury it was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting. Other than a couple of Pop-up tent casualties due to the wind, things went more or less according to plan and the classes and talks were well attended. Thank you to everyone who gave their time to give talks and demonstrations and of course thank you to all of our vendors who so generously and continuously give NHLA your support through sponsorship and purchasing booth space.
Now that our first attempt at an event like this has come and gone, we will take what we learned from it and will soon begin planning for next year and place it among our annual events. As it is one of our bigger events and takes a lot of planning we can certainly use more help with it. Ideas for talks, speakers, venue location, and feedback on what we got right and what we didn’t are always appreciated. If you can give some time and would be willing to volunteer to be on the Education Committee to help plan for the Field Day, Twilight Meetings, Dinner Meetings and the other educational opportunities we offer, then please contact Mike Barwell.
As we move forward with ideas for the opportunities mentioned above, we are discussing the idea of offering two tracks for learning., one geared toward the practical day-to-day for employees, foreman, and those in the field and one geared toward, owners, managers, and supervisors.
Again, let us know what topics you are interested in and what you would find useful to help make your businesses even more successful. In the mean time plan on attending our upcoming November 8 Dinner Meeting to be held at North Point Outdoors in Derry where the topic will be small engine repair. This hands-on discussion and demonstration will be led by North Point Outdoor Fleet manager Chris Baker, so don’t miss this practical and informative evening.
Well that’s about it for now. Good luck in the remaining few months of 2022. I hope you have a busy and successful fall season!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
It’s like living on the Sun! Okay, the person who really said that was exaggerating a bit, but August has been pretty hot and we’ve just gone through an extended period of 90 and above temperatures. It’s cooling down now though, and the humidity has started to fall. Of course we have these two or three weeks of hot and humid weather every year and that’s to be expected. But these periods are getting a little longer and a bit more frequent, also to be expected with the climate changing such as it is. It’s all taking a greater toll on work crews.
This time of the year is always a little tough. You’ve been running full speed since April and everyone is hot and tired, motivation is waning. You’re behind schedule, running too many jobs at once, can’t get materials, can’t get help and DOS just pulled you over for inspection for the third time this season. You just heard Molly Hatchet’s song “Flirtin’ with Disaster,” and it seems like a fitting theme song for your business at the moment, making you wonder why you thought this was a good career choice. These moments don’t last all that long though; you’ve probably had that thought at least once every year for the last 5 years or 35 years and yet here you still are because you really do love it.
So you take a deep breath, step back and take a look at what you and your crew have created: the patio with a fire pit, the work of art wall you just built (shout out to Bob Follansbee at Eastern Valley Landscaping – amazing stone work!), the gardens and outdoor spaces you’ve created and maintained, and you remember why you do this and why you love it.
August 2 was a welcome break from the crazy routine as we met at Candia Woods for our 9th annual Golf Tournament. This year’s tournament sold out fast and was our biggest one yet with 136 players. This is our biggest fund raiser and it helps to pay for our website updates, upgrades and fixes, the educational opportunities we provide, and other NHLA business expenses.
A huge thank you to Pam and Jim Moreau and the Golf Tournament Committee for making this such a great day and great annual event. Very big thanks to Millican Nurseries, The Yard at Pleasant View, Pierson Nursery, Read Custom Soils and Milton Cat for your sponsorships and support for this event and for your on-going support for NHLA. Of course it wouldn’t be the day that it was without all our NHLA members that took the day off from very busy schedules to play a round of golf and tried your hand at the putting contest and the air cannon. Thank you to Scott, Isiah, and Greg from Make a Difference for letting me play along with them, giving me pointers, and not giving me too much grief every time I barely got the ball off the tee.
Really looking forward to the upcoming Twilight Meeting to be hosted by Miracle Farms up in Tuftonboro. They’ve been working on this project on Lake Winnipesaukee for over a year, and it sounds pretty amazing and worth taking some time to come and see.
We are also closing in on the final details for our Field Day to be held at Shaker Village on September 14. This will be a full day of talks and demonstrations, food trucks and vendors showing their equipment and products. You can meet representatives from Greenius and NARFA and hear talks on soil testing, first aid on the Job, proper paver installation techniques, tips on irrigation, chain saw safety and small engine repair. Graham Pellettieri will be giving a Drone demonstration, Abby Zuidema will be on hand to discuss the benefits of becoming a NHCLP, and Andrew Mauch from Millican Nurseries will be discussing fall plants and planting. Quite a well rounded list of topics and speakers, so there’s something for everybody.
Registration for vendors starts at 7:30 and registration for attendees starts at 8:30. By now you have seen several emails containing proposed changes to our NHLA By-Laws and we will be voting on these changes the morning of the Field Day. It’s important that you read and understand the proposed changes and it’s very important that you vote. I believe we are voting at 9:00 am in the Garden Barn so please make it a point to attend that brief meeting.
We are also looking for volunteers to help throughout the day, so if you are a NHCLP looking for additional credits or you would just like to help out then please contact me, Pam Moreau, or Abby Zuidema.
Hope to see you there!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
I’m sitting on our porch in Canterbury, and it’s a perfect Sunday summer afternoon. Got a few hours of work in this morning, home by noon in time to get some chores done around the house, and still have time to sit with a beer and write these notes. They’re due today so no long-winded ramble from me this time.
I’d like to thank Jeff Toomey for hosting our first Twilight Meeting of the season at Gale Park in Exeter. It got rave reviews and everyone I talked to who attended enjoyed it very much.
By the time this edition of the Newsletter is out we will have had our second Twilight Meeting hosted by Michael Garrity, owner of Gardenworks, at a private residence in Dunbarton. Mike gave a tour of the extensive gardens and discussed the many challenges that caretaking this property faced. I’m thank you in advance Mike; I look forward to hearing how it went.
At this point I have to apologize to both Jeff and Mike for my absence at both meetings. I have always tried to make it to as many meetings and events as I can, but this year family matters on the west coast have kept me going back and forth, and the timing has been such that I’ve missed the first two. Things should settle down though, and I look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming Golf Tournament (which will already have happened by the time you’re reading this).
In our industry, which is so weather dependent and has a relatively short window of time to cram in as much work as possible before winter, it can be difficult to find a balance between work and family, something I’m sure we have all struggled with. Family does and always should come first. That has not been an easy lesson for me to learn, but over the last several years I’ve begun to understand that better, and I certainly appreciate how much harder it is for those with kids and starting new families. So with that in mind I would like to first congratulate Scot Flewelling and his wife on the arrival of their baby girl, just a few weeks old now, and to thank Scot for 10 years of service to NHLA. Scot will be stepping down from the Board this fall to concentrate more on his new journey and new family, and rightly so. Scot has been on and contributed to just about every committee and has been a dedicated member of the Board — we really,really appreciate all you’ve done. Good luck and good wishes!
By the way, that appreciation extends to all our Board members, committee coordinators and committee members, especially those of you with newborns, small kids, and teenagers who put in so much time for the Association on top of work and everything else. Thank you for all you do!
You know, when I started out writing this I was going to talk about the H-2B program and my response from Congresswoman Kuster regarding my inquiry into HR 3897, our By-Laws which you have all received in your emails and should read, our up-coming Field Day and other NHLA business but today it ended up being a little bit about family, and there’s always next month to cover the other stuff. So I hope today, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, that the trucks are parked, the tools are put away, the phone is off for a little while, and that you’re at home, at the beach, the lake, the mountains, or where ever with friends and family.
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
We’re fully into summer now, and I hope everyone is having a good, successful season so far in spite of the astronomical fuel prices. We are all having to make adjustments in our pricing to account for the increases in fuel and materials, which means the estimates we gave last year and during the winter for work this year also need to be adjusted. So far, for me, as I’ve let clients know about price increases and changes to their estimates there has been very little push back beyond some quiet grumbling. Everyone is in the same boat at the moment, client and contractor alike, so there seems to be a tacit understanding of the situation. Surprisingly, with everything going on in the world and here at home economically, I’m still as crazy busy as last year and booking into next year. The phone is still ringing and no one has backed out of their projects yet. Not sure if that’s a sign of optimism or not, but I’ll take it for now.
By now you have all received a copy of the NHLA By-Laws (at least all voting members) with the proposed changes. I hope you will take some time to read through as we will be voting to accept the changes or not at the Field Day on September 14, and it’s important that you understand the changes we are proposing. If anyone has any questions you can certainly get in touch with me, and I will be happy to discuss it with you.
By the time this issue of the Newsletter is out we will have had our first Twilight Meeting of the season at Exeter’s Gale Park; there’s another one coming up this month in Dunbarton to be hosted by Mike Garrity of GardenWorks, and another in August to be hosted by Miracle Farms. We have our annual Golf Tournament, which I believe is already sold out, coming up in August, as well, and our Field Day event at Shaker Village is coming in September. Lots to do and as Certification credits for this year have been bumped back up to a requirement of four, these are good ways to receive some credits.
Recently the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Seasonal Employment Alliance hosted about 80 professionals in our field to go to Congress and lobby for and educate Congressional members on the importance of reforming and re-instating parts of the H-2B program.
This was in a recent NALP newsletter:
“H.R. 3897. The Returning Worker Exemption Act of 2021 would reenact the returning worker exemption that would exempt returning workers from counting against the 66,000-cap if the H-2B worker is a returning worker in any of the previous three fiscal years.
“It also puts in place provisions to modernize the application process, create additional worker protection measures, and strengthen integrity measures by increasing fines and possible disbarment for reckless and willful misconduct by H-2B employers.
“The landscape industry is the largest user of the H-2B program, and over the past few years a lack of H-2B workers has forced landscape companies to turn away customers, scale back services, and cancel capital equipment purchases.
“2022 research found that a drop in H-2B program admissions in a specific community did not boost labor market opportunities for U.S. workers but rather worsened them because opportunities for U.S. workers suffered without having enough H-2B workers to assist with seasonal/temporary labor needs.”
I have reached out to Congresswoman Annie Kuster to see where HR3897 stands and to find out what her position on this important bill is. I have invited her to speak to our Association on this issue so I’ll keep you posted when and if I hear back from her. In the meantime if you have been affected by this issue, as I know many of you have, then I urge you to get in touch with Congresswoman Kuster’s office and voice your opinion.
Well, that’s it for now. Have a great summer! l
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
How did this happen? It seems like just yesterday I was 25 and walking down highway 10 just outside of a little town called Van Horn, Texas hitchhiking east or west, I don’t really remember. Now I’m about to turn 65 in a few days and I’m still getting daily reminders to sign up for Medicare!
I kind of miss that kid who could stand on the side of a road for hours and hours, patient, not too concerned if I got a ride or not. Now I lose my sh*t if the person in front of me at Dirt Doctors takes too long trying to decide what color mulch they should get!
I can’t complain though. I’ve had and have a great life, and it was hitchhiking that led me to what would become my home and career. Leaving Terre Haute, Indiana, heading west but not getting a ride, I walked across the highway and decided to head east and visit a high school friend who lived in Concord, and the rest is history. A chance meeting in the winter of 1979 with Rick Rideout, who was just starting Three Season Landscaping, led me to return to New Hampshire in 1980 and start working for him. Rick would become president of NHLA in 1995, and now here I am into my second year of my third time as president of the Association and starting my 35th year in business. Really happy I didn’t continue west that day!
Looks like we’re finally heading into some warm weather this week and by Thursday it could be in the 80s. I’m sure everyone is in full swing now with spring cleanups and projects, and I hope it’s going well in spite of the continued lack of help and supply shortages. The issues from last season seem to be continuing this year (maybe to a lesser degree?), so it will be interesting to see where we are by mid summer. I haven’t run into too many material availability problems yet as I pre-bought or at least had set aside what I need for several jobs; so we’ll see how long that lasts.
We have a lot going on this year as far as the NHLA Board and the Association in general is concerned. Now that we’re back to being able to have in-person events again, the Education Committee is putting together a full schedule of Twilight Meetings, starting with our first one at Gale Park in Exeter on June 15. From there we plan to have one each month, leading up to our Field Day event to be held at Canterbury Shaker Village on September 14, so keep an eye out for information on that. Of course we have our annual Golf Tournament coming up on August 2, which is always a good time. Beyond that we’re working on some Dinner Meeting topics to be announced and hope to start working on getting back to our annual January Winter Conference.
Among other things the Board has been working on this year to make this a better, stronger organization has been to review and propose some changes to the By-Laws. We’ve done this a few times over the years, the last time about five years ago.
Under Article 4 of the constitution you will see that we have proposed to change who is a member by adding the wording that a member shall be ‘ any entity, New England based company and all current employees of that company…’ This would allow employees to have access to the Newsletter ( we’re exploring digital options for the Newsletter but more about that another time) and information about educational opportunities, as well as other events that NHLA and others like UNHCE put on.
We’re also proposing under Article 1 in the By-Laws that ‘upon receipt of application and payment membership is obtained’ This does away with the rather cumbersome and time-consuming process of having the Board vote on each and every application. This also means that if someone fills out an application and pays at one of our events they are immediately a member.
Under Article 5 in the By-laws we have formalized the practice of allowing the Business manager to take over some of the duties of the Secretary/ Treasurer. These duties include, but are not limited to the general supervision of the financial affairs and keeping records and books of account on NHLA, prepare budgets, collect dues, and disburse funds. Other changes throughout the By-Laws have mostly to do with either adding or omitting wording. While none of the changes would be all that major it is very important that all members of NHLA take a look at the By-Laws and the changes we are proposing. Over the next two months you will find By-law and proposed changes in the Newsletter and on the website. Please take some time to read through and on September 14 at the Field day at Shaker Village there will be a vote to approve or not approve the proposed changes. Please vote!
If you haven’t seen it yet the NARFA (National Automotive Roads and Fuel Association) page is up on the website (nhlaonline.org). If you’re looking for a health insurance plan for your employees or for a way to attract and retain workers NARFA has many different types of insurance packages and benefit programs to offer. Check it out.
Also new on the website is the HELP page. The Horticultural Enhanced Learning Experience is a new program available to NHLA members as a way to find and hire new employees as well as a way to bring the next generation into the horticultural industry.
Another soon-to-be new addition to the website will be the Greenius page. Greenius offers a whole series of online training classes that covers a wide range of topics for employees, foremen and supervisors.
Representatives from NARFA and Greenius may be at the Field Day in September and both could be topics for future Dinner Meetings.
These are just some of the things that we have been working on and will continue to work on to bring you more value to being a member of NHLA. As always we look to you for ideas, suggestions and feedback, what are we getting right and what needs more work? Let us know.
Well that’s it for now. I turn 65 in a couple days, I think I’m going to go kick some kids off my lawn just for the hell of it!
Have a great Spring!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Well… this isn’t what I expected be doing on a beautiful Sunday morning while drinking my coffee, and I’m pretty sure it’s not what you all were expecting to be reading from the president in this May issue of the NHLA Newsletter, but here we are. Things change, things happen, and so I’ve been asked to stay on one more year as NHLA’s president, and here I am once again trying to think of something to write as the deadline looms.
The ballots had already gone out and voting had already taken place so there really wasn’t time to let members know that you’d be stuck with me again. In the end it appeared that work and family time constraints would prevent Ben from fulfilling the president’s duties, so he and I agreed that I would stay on as president and Ben would stay on as a director, and the board agreed.
I really can’t imagine that NHLA members would have an issue with this, other than being tired of reading President’s Notes from me, but if, for any reason, anyone feels as though this isn’t right, then by all means talk to me or anyone else on the Board about your concerns. And if there is anyone who really isn’t happy with these circumstances, then by all means join the Board, join a committee, and get involved.
As far as everything else I wrote in the last issue, except for the part where I said it was my last one, it’s all true and I stand by it 100%. We have some very dedicated people putting in a lot of time for the Association and I’m looking forward to working with everyone as we begin implementing some of the ideas that the Board and the various committees have been working on. It’s going to be a very busy season in every way. We have a full schedule of Twilight Meetings, the Golf Tournament, Dinner Meetings and workshops planned right through the year, so keep an eye out for information and make some time to attend! Have a great start to the season!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
The weather whiplash continues! It’s Superbowl Sunday, out fixing and tightening up sap lines and getting ready to start tapping trees next weekend. Yesterday it was a beautiful 58 degrees as I tromped through the woods looking for breaks and chew marks in the lines, and today, this morning, it was 19 degrees!
The mild weather at the early part of the winter helped me keep going on some stone projects which was great, but once it started raining after it snowed and then got cold, I just couldn’t keep up with the ice buildup on the steep driveway I’m building a wall along side of. Even with micro-spikes on my boots it was getting a little sketchy, so I finally listened to that little voice that said quit while you’re ahead. So at the end of January I packed it in, and now I’m on to pruning apple trees, at least on the nice days.
I can’t say enough about everyone on the Board, our Committee Coordinators; Carolyn Isaak, our newsletter editor; and Annette Zamarchi, our advertising editor. These are all some very dedicated people working hard for the Association, and I thank you all so much for all the help and inspiration you’ve given me this past year. I’d also like to thank in advance our newest member of the Board, Andrew Pelkey of North Point Outdoors, who has graciously agreed to step into the Vice-President’s position and has already come to the table with some great ideas and enthusiasm. In fact, I have to say that this year, and especially over the last few months as we have navigated through and started to move away from Covid and the pandemic, we have gotten re-energized. Not just re-energized in planning events and opportunities to increase members professional development, of which there will be many, but also in tackling some very fundamental questions about the Association, the Board, the By-laws, membership, and about who we are and what we represent.
I think these are questions the Association has always asked of itself, but sometimes Boards and members get complacent and comfortable with the status quo, especially when it’s the same Board members year after year doing the Association’s business. Sometimes it’s just easier to say “well that’s the way we’ve always done it” and go with that. As someone who has been on the board since 2005 I’ve been as guilty of that as anyone, but thankfully this year with the addition of Mike Barwell coming in as Education Committee Coordinator and having some great ideas and with Annette asking some tough questions, we seem to be shaking that off in a big way. Helping this new energy in no small way is the fact that with Ben coming in as President and Andrew coming in as Vice-President, we will now have the outlook and perspective from the next generation of younger entrepreneurs and business owners, and I for one really look forward to their ideas!
Thanks again to everyone on the Board and to all our members for your support over the past year. As always it has been a privilege to part of the Board and to be a member of NHLA. Hope to see you all at the Dinner meeting on March 22, the Vehicle Safety Workshop on March 26, our first Twilight meeting on June 15 in Exeter. Coming in September we are also planning a Field Day Event at Shaker Village in Canterbury. Information on these and other events will be emailed and will be found in the Newsletter, on our website and on our NHLA Facebook page.
Have a great season!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
A month into 2022 and it’s finally starting to look and feel like winter, at least here in Canterbury. As I write, we finally got some snow over the existing few inches of crust, so it actually made for some nice snowshoeing. Up to mid-January it’s been mild with more rain than snow, but below zero temps are on their way, so maybe winter is here for awhile. It’s definitely gotten quieter, the pace has slowed a bit to the point where I can pick and choose my days when I work, depending on weather and motivation, on my winter wall projects,and try to balance that with office work and just being at home for awhile.
Apple tree pruning will be starting in a month or so and before you know it we’ll be off and running again into the landscape season. I’m pretty optimistic about this coming work season having learned a lot of hard lessons from last year, and I think I’m better prepared for some of the uncertainties we all faced last year. Hopefully it will be a less chaotic schedule although, truthfully, pandemic or no pandemic, supply chain issues or not, I think I’ve been saying that for the last 34 years! Who am I kidding?
Covid and it’s variants continues to make things difficult for everyone and a lot harder to plan for events. As of this writing we are moving forward with our dinner meeting planned for January 18, but Covid numbers are up so we’ll just have to see. As we get closer to spring we have several more opportunities to learn and these may be a little easier to plan as they can be, weather permitting, held outdoors. One of these planned events is a talk and demonstration of electric and battery operated tools and equipment that are coming onto the market and that will eventually take the place of gas powered equipment. It’s definitely coming, and we need to start getting prepared for it. An article in a recent NALP newsletter talks about how on Thursday, Dec. 9, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) approved the proposed amendments to the Small Off-Road Engine Regulations: Transition to Zero Emissions, which would ban the sale of virtually all carbon-emitting landscape equipment beginning with model-year 2024. Although it doesn’t mean that you suddenly won’t be able to use your existing gas-powered equipment after 2024, it does mean you won’t be able to buy them. We’re a little different than California in that only California can create its own regulations regarding emissions because, like other states, we are under the federal law, the Clean Air Act, so we are even further away from a complete ban. But it is coming sooner or later, and we’d like to help our members get ahead of it.
Other events coming up or in the planning stages include a Safety Training day, a Department of Safety Compliance demonstration, a Field First Aid class to cover the basics of first aid on the job and what to do before and after calling 911, and a Landscape Basics Training day, which would cover proper pruning, planting, and mulching techniques. These events may be half-day or full-day programs, Dinner Meetings if appropriate, or Twilight Meetings. We will do our best to follow CDC and State guidelines, such as they are, in order to keep everyone safe and healthy so we can continue to learn and improve our professional development.
When the next Newsletter comes out we will hopefully be well into the spring season with clean-ups and getting back to those projects that need to be finished or new ones to be started. I wish everybody good luck in the upcoming year and hope to see you at all the events we have planned!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a great Christmas and Holiday season and a profitable year in 2021. No need to say anything about what a crazy and chaotic year it was because we all experienced it, and everyone I talked to pretty much had the same story. Hopefully you got through it, though, with equipment and crew intact and that you are looking forward to a busy, but hopefully calmer, season coming up.
Although we’re still navigating the variables brought on by Covid we have a lot planned for 2022 starting out with another Dinner Meeting on January 18 that will focus on the challenges brought on by labor issues and shortages (see page 5). From there we’ve got many more programs and events planned throughout the season to help business owners and employees alike. These programs will include, among other things, a Safety Training Day touching on chainsaw and equipment safety; Job Site First Aid to learn what to do before and after you call 911 if someone is injured on the job; and a Dept. of Safety Day.
As landscapers become more targeted by the Department of Safety and are being pulled over, inspected, and issued citations more and more we are really looking forward to working with the DOS and offering a demonstration/seminar on DOT regulations to help our members and all landscapers get ahead of it and be confident that they are compliant.
We’re hoping these classes can be held regionally to make it easier for everyone in different parts of the state to attend, so watch for more information on that. Back in the fall the Board did a phone survey of some NHLA members and though the response was very limited we did get some great ideas and feedback for future topics for Dinner and Twilight Meetings and other “hands on” field days and demonstrations, which the Education Committee will start putting together. If you have any other suggestions and ideas for topics and classes you’d like to see don’t hesitate to contact me (603-608-7860, DDEJo71@aol.com), Mike Barwell (603-491-0847, email@example.com), or anyone on the Board and let us know.
In February, the 4th and 5th, we are partnering with the Farm, Forest and Garden Expo where we will have a booth set up to promote NHLA and our members to the public. There is also the opportunity for some members to take advantage of free floor space being offered to create a display and showcase your work. There are also booth spaces available, for a fee, if you are interested in getting in front of thousands of potential clients. See more information about this event in the pages of this Newsletter.
Last but not least, the Board had a very interesting meeting back on November 2 at the Common Man restaurant at which we focused on the future of NHLA. Mike Barwell and Annette Zamarchi lead the discussion as we tried to answer questions like: Who are we as an Association? Where are we going? And, who are our members? Over the coming months, as the Board begins to grapple with these and other questions, I will keep you informed of the on going discussion and, as always, I will be looking for and asking for your input and ideas about the direction of NHLA into the Future.
Have great New Year!