President’s Notes: February 2023

February 28, 2023

by David DeJohn, NHCLP
February 2023

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!