Sunday, May 04, 2008

Physical Construction

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A damp, raw day here on the hill with a gusty wind and heaviness in the air suggesting that last night's rains have no intention of vacating the area for some time. It's 38 degrees this morning, two degrees colder than yesterday and 10 degrees worse than when I wrote here last.

Karl the wonder dog and I walked out into the back field this morning. His sniffer was in full operational mode as spring time encourages wild life to travel lots and Karl finds one scent trail after another. We heard a male partridge drumming across the road when we left the house and then in the back field saw a large tom turkey identifying his presence and telling other turkeys to leave his hens alone. His beard is about 10 inches long so my estimate is that he weighs about 20-24 pounds. Turkey season is under way here but he's safe from me as my "things-that-must-be done" list does not include turkey hunting.....only turkey watching.

I'm lame today because yesterday started at 5:30 am when the morning light allowed me to load tools in the truck and head to the new nursery. Kim and Lenny were scheduled to begin construction on our new building and it's a good thing they are outdoor guys as the wind, rain and temperature were not pleasant.

We were at the property by 6:30 and unloaded fifteen minutes later. As soon as thing were clear on who was dong what I returned here to get things prepared for Gail's planting crew that were arriving at nine. It was a mostly "work for barter" type crew of folks who appear annually at a phone call from Gail and work diligently despite some bad weather to help us get things potted. Vermonters still do a lot of bartering and frankly it establishes an interesting relationship that goes beyond getting plants and labels in pots.

Over time, Gail's informal groups have become known as "potting parties" where people show to work for hours or days and in the end everything is ready for sale. The events include some kind of a treat at coffee break time in the morning and then a super good lunch usually long after traditional lunch time. Gail has this philosophy that well fed workers don't work as well so she gets the main work accomplished before she brings out the food. People laugh, seldom complain and in the end everyone comes back to do it all over again.

As soon as I returned to the nursery, I saw that Kim and Lenny had the 6" X 6" pressure treated timbers in place and bound together, and the 2 X 6 X14 pressure treated floor joists in place . Conceptually this building will be 28 feet long, 14 feet wide with the first 12 feet on the right side as you face the structure, open and lacking a floor. This will be the wrapping and sales area so there will be a packing bench and a dirt floor. The infamous "money Box" (" will be located here until we can afford a cash register. Entrance to the 14' X 16' office will also be through this room. I say "dirt floor" but it will be compacted Stay Mat, that crushed rock, coarse sand mixture that packs and hardens well. It will absorb water from freshly washed plants and is a cheaper way to go.

Kim and Lenny work well together. They have known each other since they were little kids and now they both work full time in the granite industry in Barre. They both have exceptional skills and are in demand for their ability to do any production job with ease. It is a pleasure to watch people who know what they are doing. There is limited communication but each takes visual cues from the other and completes the next required step without conversation. They seem tireless in comparison to me but I know they feel the same way at the end of the day.

When we closed down for the night at 6 PM, the two long walls were framed and in place. The area on the right shows where a garage door will be installed. The window in the back wall will be a sliding window so we can help customers in the shade houses out back or pack web orders. Directly in front of that window will be the kids sand box where customers can leave their kids while they shop. The other two windows on the left will let us see who is entering the business if we happen to be in the office, on the phone or computer, sending a fax or working on an order.

Today if the rain is not too heavy, the end walls and the one internal wall will rise. The weatherman is less than positive and I fear we will get washed out at some point but time will tell. Here on the hill I have to get things set up for today's potting crew. Yes, it is Sunday but the nursery business is open seven days a week in Vermont's short season. Come join us if you wish.

Writing from the hill above Peacham Pond where trilliums abound in the woods, hellebores are in full blossom, bloodroot hold their petals closed tight this time of day, and sadly, hepaticas begin to go to seed. If you drive by our new location, check out how the building is coming. We have a long way to go before the sign maker installs Vermont Flower Farm on the roof but it's all very exciting to us.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm where web sales of astilbes are exceptional this year, probably because of mention in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

1 comment:

kjohnson said...

Good luck on your construction. We have wild turkeys here in suburban Long Island. They are new to us. The winter "flock" had three Toms and four females. They've dispersed now. I see the Toms occaisionally but not the females or their poults.