Saturday, August 11, 2007

Business Progress on Route 2

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yesterday afternoon I was here at Vermont Flower Farm giving Gail a break from customer duties and shipping packages. She headed down to Marshfield Inn and Motel to see Tracy and Diana and see how last fall's planting of daylilies was maturing. She hadn't been gone long and a car drove in I wasn't familiar with. Two ladies got out and one looked at me and said "You must be George." It was more definitive than questioning and I almost wondered if I had gotten myself in trouble along the line and didn't remember.

"I'm glad to see that you are looking well.", one lady said. "I was worried about you." Now I have to say that it's nice to know that people care about you but for the life of me I couldn't figure out who this woman was. Then she explained. "We've never been here before, but we both read your two blogs and Vermont Gardens has been motionless for almost a month. The Vermont Gardener has been slow too and we wondered if you were ill or something happened."

I was immediately relieved to know that a blogless month had caused the concern and that I really hadn't done anything wrong save for forget to keep my readership posted on garden life in Marshfield. I apologized for the hiatus and emphasized there would be no promises for improvement as we were really entering a very busy time for us, not a gradual end to the summer business like most nurseries. The ladies laughed and said they figured as much but they do so enjoy reading what I write and miss it when I get out of sequence. We talked flowers for some time and then I gave them an orientation to the gardens. They finished their tour and shopping just before Gail returned, promising to return soon and volunteering that they would help with the move to Route 2 if it was not such a long way to the ground anymore. With that we all laughed and departed company, knowing for certain that we would meet again.

During the past month I have worked diligently here and at the new property. Michelle's friend Mark has been helping with the fence and as of yesterday all the 4X4X10 foot pressure treated posts were cemented in the ground, Alex's mandatory "Please give me a door to the river" gate has been framed and cemented in, and 1320 feet of fence has been hung, with 990 feet of it secured to the posts.

Hanging 7.5 foot fence the entire perimeter of a +4 acre parcel of land is no easy task, especially for one set of hands. I was really happy to have Mark say he could help and happier still that he didn't complain about lugging and mixing the two 80 pound bags of cement that went into every post hole. The posts are placed every 30 feet so this was no easy task and amounted to moving tons of material.

The Route 2 part of the job on the village side was the most difficult task because the holes had to be hand dug through stone laden road fill, thick grass and tree roots. To top it off this was on a hillside that at times would have made a billy goat replant its feet. Then there was the poison ivy along the Winooski River and the variety of weeds along the way which invited sneezes and itchy eyes. In one more day, this job will be finished, and I'm really thankful for that!!

The entry gate from Route 2 is left to install and I am still pondering the best approach. I have been watching travelers as they turn into the drive to reverse direction. There haven't been any accidents yet but just watching the antics makes me remind would-be business people to consider road access long before you decide to buy a piece of property for your new endeavor. In our case the Agency of Transportation was involved in picking the access road. This is mandatory in Vermont but would have been my choice anyway. The engineers choice and mine were the same. A speed limit sign that reads 50 mph doesn't necessarily mean people will slow down or use caution when they see vehicles turning. The ease with which cars can turn into your business and exit it has a lot to do with how successful you will be. I may ask the Transportation folks for a safety sign for traffic coming from the east so people understand traffic will be slowing at the crest of the hill for left hand turns.

Besides the fence I have been using the New Holland tractor to move large quantities of manure from a pile to the new flower beds. This is a giant pile of manure brought by large trucks from a popular and well known East Montpelier dairy farm. Since last fall the price went up 20% and I am really irritated by the gouging. Fuel certainly rose since last fall but 20% is a bit much by my book. They have the market cornered and they obviously know it too. I'll find a new supplier as soon as I can and I'll post the availability. Fall is a good time to obtain a pile of manure for next spring's planting.

Tomorrow I'll rototill everything a couple times, and then begin trucking compost I have at the flower farm. Within a couple weeks things should be ready to plant. We have some good planters lined up but how many thousand plants we can deal with before the soil temperature cools too much is yet another question. We'll keep you posted.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where August sunshine encourages kind thoughts and happy smiles.

George Africa

1 comment:

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