The days are long, but the years are short. -Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
February is an interesting month around here...
First of all, it's our calm before the storm that is the spring rush for a landscaping business. We have our previous year's records updated, organized and safely stored away for future reference. We've attended trade shows, met with suppliers, filed taxes, tuned up the equipment, researched new products, interviewed new employees, cleaned, sorted, evaluated, and reevaluated. A lot of checks have been marked off that winter list.
Secondly, you know how Michigan weather can be...do we break ground on new projects in one week? Maybe three? How early is too early for a spring clean up? We certainly don't want to damage any new protected growth by uncovering it too early. But then again, the sun is out! The ground is bare! What's that you say? 6" of fresh powder coming by Friday? *sigh*
Finally, let's be honest: it's a short month! Personally, I have a tendancy to skip right over most of February- going from Super Bowl (and our son's birthday) to March 1st. Who has time for looking out the window at the falling snow and pretty birds at the feeder...let's get this year rolling!
Kidding aside, one of the MOST important events my husband and I do each winter happens in February (No, this has nothing to do with Valentine's Day). We goal set, together. We'll circle a day on the calendar that fits our *busy* winter schedules, get out our journals, sit down at the table together and talk. We reflect on past goals: why we made them, how we're doing on them, if we want to discard them, or changes to be made to them. We discuss new goals: personal goals like eating cleaner, taking up new hobbies, being a better parent; financial goals like paying off the mortgage early, how much we want to save each year; "things" goals like replacing the old carpet in the bedroom, replacing the failing garage with a pole barn; and most relevent to this blog, business goals. How many crews we want to run full season, what our ideal job looks like, what direction to grow the business, how big to grow the business, who we want to work for...
It is always amazing to me, after more than 13 years of making a point to sit down and set goals with my husband/business partner, how many of them come to fruition. And the ones that don't? There's usually a great reason why. Maybe it was in direct conflict with another goal, or maybe it just hasn't happened yet.
A la Tony Robbins, Todd and I give our goals a timeline: 1 year, 5 years or less, 10 years or less, 20 years or less. We often don't know how they'll happen, but now they're out there...and we never, never leave the scene of a goal without taking an action towards achieving it.
If you've never goal set, you should try it. It's not hard...and the results can be amazing.
(Today's post is written by Susan Florian, who has joined me in keeping the office running smoothly on Thursdays & Fridays. Please give her warm welcome when you get the chance- we are excited to have her around!)
We have bird feeders stationed outside our office windows and we never know who might show up during the day to provide us with a
delightful distraction. Finches, chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, juncos, song sparrows, turkeys and other species are all regular visitors.
If you feed birds to attract them to your yard, seed that isn’t cleaned up by the birds or other wildlife during warm weather may sprout, resulting in volunteer plants growing under your feeder. Unfortunately, some of these plants may be invasive weed species. Weed seeds have been identified in samples from several commercial wild bird feeds.
To avoid this problem, purchase seed mixes that have been baked, or select alternative bird favorites like raisins, peanut butter, suet and sunflower heads.
If you can’t find baked seed, or prefer to bake your own, here are a couple of different ways to stop seeds from germinating.
Using an Oven:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the birdseed in a single layer
on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes and let it cool completely before using.
Using a Microwave:
Spread bird sheet on a microwaveable platter or pie plate and place in your microwave.
Make sure your microwave is set on “high,” and heat for two minutes. Allow the seed to cool completely before filling your bird feeder.
Baking the seed doesn’t change its nutritional value. It simply sterilizes it and prevents germination…and unwanted weeds.
Anna and her husband Todd own Arcadia Gardens, LLC a Stevensville, MI based landscape design and build company. Her degree in Horticulture with a focus on landscape management from Michigan State University allows Anna to select plants specific to on-site conditions and with maintenance requirements that suit the client's needs. She is comfortable designing across a range of styles- from contemporary to classic- and makes a point to include the client's input throughout the design process. She is an active member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and is serving as 2014 President of the APLD-Michigan Chapter. Anna has recently contributed to media such as "The Designer" and Gardendesign.com and is qualified to speak on a variety of topics from landscape design and maintenance to addressing local garden clubs and organizations.
PO Box 88
Stevensville, MI 49127