Thursday, April 08, 2010

Supply Chain Helpers

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quiet here on the mountain after heavy rains last night. Temperature fluctuation has kept me from putting out the rain gauge but it all started about 8:30 when Alex and I returned from a meeting of the Marshfield Historical Society last night At midnight it was still going strong which explains why the birds and animals haven't started moving about.

Retirement is going well. I am working harder than I did a week ago but I am enjoying every bit of it. Gail isn't used to me being around and Alex isn't sure he likes additional assignments and little "hey, can you help me on this?" requests. In time it will work out. Karl the Wonder Dog seems to enjoy me more than anyone but dogs are that way. He receives more trips in the truck, places to go, things to bark at. It's fun!

Yesterday the truck arrived from Montpelier with our potting mix. Although we won't start potting perennials for another couple weeks, our nursery is laid out in a way that certain deliveries have to be accepted and placed just so. We have to be able to get the trucks backed right to where we want to use different products to minimize labor and speed up the planting process for me and Gail and our helpers. So far it is working well.

This year I switched to a different brand mix. These mixes are all a high percentage of peat that is saturated with a wetting agent to hold water in the mix. Then there's perlite and some minor fertilizers. We mix the commercial mix with straight garden soil and then some of the Fafard mix I showed earlier. This is not the mix I would like to make for myself but lacking space for staging all the materials and the labor of mixing everything with the tractor, this is a fine way for a small business to go.

Yesterday we received 100 3.6 cubic foot bales. The driver only had a hand truck and without a pallet jack to lift 24 bales at a time, the job wasn't what I expected--but the price was still right! I had unloaded about 6 bales when my friend Mike appeared, munching on a breakfast sandwich and appearing like a knight, save for overalls and a Jack Russell sidekick named Rusty. Mike is the kind of neighbor who does not need an invitation to work. Two bites of his sandwich and the jacket came off and the bales started moving. That's just how Mike is and I know it will always be like that. We unloaded the truck, I paid the driver and the morning kicked off in high gear.

Mike's dog, Rusty is the best trained Jack Russell I have ever seen. The dog shakes with excitement when he appears at the nursery, a place he visits at least once a week. Jack Russell's are hunters and Rusty is no exception. He hunts for red voles and mice among the pots and he loves his title of Chief of Woodchuck Eradication. This time of year it takes him a little longer to get cranked up in the morning because the woodchucks and other critters have new holes, new entrances and Rusty has to reprogram himself for a morning tour. I often feel guilty seeing a pristine, freshly washed dog come out of hole with a mouth full of dirt and earth tone hair but that's the nature of the breed. This one is a joy he watch although I have to admit that for me it's more fun watching him bounce a ball or balloon in the air or race through a crowd of chickens pushing his ball with his nose.

Rusty is a very obedient dog and as our work finished. Mike called Rusty and put him up on a stack of potting mix. He loved the attention and had a good day. All businesses should be as lucky to have such a well behavior dog as Rusty.

Gail has another pot of coffee ready and it's time to pack up for a day at the nursery. I have tons of chores to do but like an early start on the spring days when the temperature is already 45 degrees. If you are out and about, stop by the nursery and interrupt me for a while. I need to be able to stop and stretch and chat once in a while.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the loons are talking over breakfast dives for small fish.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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1 comment:

Elephant's Eye said...

Hi George, Hope you have a wonderful day on the 13th. Diana of Elephant's Eye