My eyes are heavy after a few hours of labor in the gardens of affluent homeowners, followed by happy hour cocktails at Stockman’s Tavern & Grove.  Angela & I completed some end of season services for three clients- clipping back mums, pruning fruit trees, applying deer repellent- on a cool, yet tolerable early December day.  The sun provided much-appreciate warmth at various intervals off-setting a cool breeze.  Among the clientele is retired Buffalo Sabre Teppo Numminen, who has an ice rink constructed in his side yard, presumably for the kids.  I cut myself on a rose-bush while grasping in the icy earth to remove the remnants of last season’s growth.  It is but a job hazard, and not a terribly painful one by any means.

After happy hour we drove back to Angela’s house and sat by the wood stove to chat over a couple of drinks.  A friend from the bar, Michelle, joined us fireside as we discussed the crazy change in the weather resulting in disruptive growth cycles for plants.  Last spring’s early season heat wave forced fruit trees to flower early, only to be zapped when temps dipped below freezing and a harvest well below the norm.  I was soaking up the heat radiating from the soapstone and remarked that one day I will have such a piece in my home.  Before long we were called upstairs to join Angela’s daughter’s for dinner, a delicious tossed salad and citrus for dessert.  I enjoyed the youthful energy, along with the animals, three cats and a senior citizen canine, Stella.

Tomorrow will likely mark the end of the landscape season, although I thought that was the case before Thanksgiving, and yet we just keep getting blessed with more work.  I’ve been engaged off and on in outdoor labor for nearly two decades, and there’s no question it has become part of who I am.  No matter where this path leads I doubt I shall ever refrain from digging in the dirt.  I enjoy the plant world, and I feel how they respond to my energy.  There’s something quite nourishing about spending time outdoors, whether for work or recreation.  I credit my childhood experiences playing in the gardens and the wooded hills gathered with family for imprinting this passion in my soul.

In common wealth,


“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

—Zig Ziglar (1926-2012): Esteemed author
and beloved motivational speaker