Throw Me A Rope
Friday, July 25, 1997

it's been a rough past 3-4 weeks in a seemingly unending 18 or 19 week drought; I've lost track. The accumulated heat stress on everyone and everything is tremendous. I envy the Midwest's overabundance of water, but feel bad that it's a flood and not helpful, gentle rains. We could use their excess runoff. The grass is always greener somewhere else, isn't it?

Anybody Home?
Had I been more attentative, I wouldn't have let the drought situation get to the point where plant material is dying all over the Nursery.
I'd even given several interviews to local newspapers about how I'd hired extra weekend staff to help with watering during this drought period, as well as provided concise information on what homeowners could do to prevent drought-related damage. After demonstrating to the new hires, what to water and how to water, I'd taken it for granted that the they were doing the jobs I'd showed them. They weren't and now it's time to pay the piper.
The damage is done. I scrambled all last weekend watering plants in between landscape evaluation meetings and helping customers with assorted problems. The hot, drying winds took their toll. There's a lot of crispy nursery stock around here.

Drastic Action.
The other evening, I noticed that hundreds of container (plastic 1-2-3-5-7 gallon buckets) trees, tied to watering rails in the Nursery Display Area, were looking bad. Upon closer inspection, many were defoliating and either going dormant or dying from the hot air temps, containers drying out during the day, and strong winds carrying the sprinkler system's water past the trees themselves, watering just the crushed stone they're sitting on. If water doesn't get into the trees' buckets, they dessicate and die fast.
I acted quickly: both my landscape crews were enlisted to cover Greenhouses 3-4 with 70% shade cloth to immediately cool the thousands of perennials residing inside. The container trees were removed from the rail system and moved into shaded greenhouses to recuperate. They'll get cut back, watered and be allowed to regrow for (maybe) Fall landscape jobs. The much larger B&B trees heeled-into the ground are on their own; we'll water as we can afford to do so from the two wells, after all else is cared for.
I hadn't noticed this problem developing over the past few days. If I had, corrective action could have saved many more of them. I've been too busy with marketing, landscape evaluation meetings, newspaper interviews, website work, estimates, billing and 86 other jobs that I do on a daily basis. It's my fault they're in such sad condition. I had to let the new hires go who didn't get the job(s) done, and have reverted back to mechanical watering systems, plus spot hand-watering where it's needed.
With so much damage to container trees (shrubs are fine, thank you), I'll wind up buying in a tractor trailer load of 500+ container trees just to get through the Fall rush for landscaping and retail sales. When I put everything on 25% Off Sale in September, the remaining container trees and shrubs fly out of here like shit through a goose. There's no choice now but to buy more in for sales.
We could use some serious rain, but all the storms seem to pass north of us for now. If patience is a virtue, then I'm running out of that currency.

The Fall Schedule.
I'm still booking landscape jobs for September and beyond, in the hopes that this drought will have run its course and moisture will return to the area in the form of steady rain patterns.
The few large jobs that I had to cancel for July and August are merely postponed until September; they involved the transplanting of existing, established large plant material which would be certainly killed if the root systems were cut and moved in this inclement weather. Prudence dictates waiting until the ground and air temps have fallen to reasonable levels, and moisture returns.
In the meantime, there are thousands of container shrubs and trees that need to be stepped-up to larger pots; the landscape crews will take 2-3 weeks and do that task. Usually, we do it before putting all nursery stock away for the Winter. But since it's the growing season right now, each plant will have the opportunity to root-in to its new container and be ready for sale in the Spring.
This down period caused by the drought forces us to do things earlier than usual, and leaves a greater window of opportunity open for Fall work.

Strike One.
The Republicans seemed to miss the target a little for the past two weeks of Senate Hearings, in trying to prove that there were campaign irregularities by the Democrats alone in 96; nothing they presented could draw anything other than circumstantial evidence against the weasel, John Huang. His wife's involved in this mess, too. The Republicans had their troubles, too. Getting the truth out is going to be painful for both sides.
Well, it's not over until it's over, but it seems they've still got a long way to go. If they can ever get past all the partisan bickering and agree on something with the liberal scumbags on the committee. The worst liberal on the committee is (Ohio) Sen. John Glenn, the ex-astronaut, now firmly in Clinton's pocket and running interference for Clinton's White House damage control team. Why can't these children attend to the matter at hand? Each person on that committee has his or her own conservative or liberal agenda, and it just fucks up everything they collectively touch. Nothing substantive is expected from all the hearings anyway.
Despite the damaging information that's beginning to trickle out, shit-for-brains Clinton and his idiot advisors somehow aren't convinced there's a problem. The just continue to lie. And Hilary, the drag queen keeps on defending her philandering husband's corrupt, criminal liberal practices. Just amazing she's so stupid. Of course, she and Bubba have circled the wagons now: both will be indictable for their crimes. And Slick Willie's popularity keeps climbing. How does this happen? Perhaps the American public is that stupid. We're (collectively speaking) not, are we?
Nonetheless, the whole process really does matter, and here's why.

Is Netscape Dead?
There was an interesting article at the ABCNews site this morning, about how Miscrosoft will completely displace Netscape in the browser war. And soon.
With the integration of Microsoft InterNet Explorer (MSIE) v4.0 into the new Windows98 (Memphis) O/S later this year, Netscape is again crying foul. It seems that they can't deliver what MS delivers: a fully integrated browser in an O/S for free. And they somehow believe that the US Justice Deptartment should save them again. Sorry, but I don't.
I sold my 1,000 shares of Netscape (NSCP) stock weeks ago and added another 500 shares of Microsoft (MSFT) to my portfolio; Netscape's value has been in the toilet for many months due to lack of innovation, while Microsoft's has split twice and continues to rise. I should have seen the imminent signs of Netscape's coming demise: MSIE has 35%+ share of the market; Netscape is playing Defensive Marketing Warfare with their 55% and getting their lunch eaten on a daily basis. (Other browsers hold market share fractions.) They'll get their entire dinner eaten after Win98 comes out. All the pity.
But Netscape isn't a browser company anymore. No sir. They're trying to be Microsoft by incorporating the Navigator browser into a desktop interface with tons of options, called Communicator. And they're going to lose. No one takes on Microsoft and wins. No One. Only Microsoft can injure and destroy themselves. And they're doing that too.
The dichotomy here is that Microsoft's actions are good for consumers, while Netscape's are good for small business. Being a small business owner, I usually side with them; in this case I'm siding with MS and trading in my Netscape Navigator v3.01 for MSIE v3.02. It is a difficult decision after using Netscape for almost two years. I'll miss the familiarity, but won't completely delete it from the Pentium machines.
I downloaded the 7.4mgb file and stored it on a Zip Disk, until I'm ready to make the 6 degrees of separation.

The Rains Cometh.
At 4am I heard an unfamiliar sound: rain beating on the skylights of my condo. My two cats were nuzzling my face to get me up and feed them; how could I say no? It was that time anyway.
After coffee and croissants, I logged on and went to The Weather Channel to see if I was really just hallucinating or if this was for real. It's been 18+ weeks without rain here and I delved back into my memory for a recollection of just what moisture from the skies was.
Sure enough, it's rain. It would be a nice day to sleep in, but there's lots of work to do at the Garden Center, so I had to get moving.
The ride in was extra enjoyable nice and cool and no AC and plenty of rain water everywhere. Windshield wipers working for the first time in months, driving through puddles!, downpours; wow, what a fun time. Doesn't take much to entertain me these days. We got about 2" of the 10" we are low on. The grass benefitted, as did shallow rooted plant material. It was better than nothing.

Love This Stuff.
I use lots of garlic in just about everything I cook. (And my mouse doesn't have any tumors either.) There are many ways to use it. People with garlic on the breath are people worth knowing, I've always believed.

Road Trip.
Read in Salon Magazine about one of my 70s road trips back from Florida to New Jersey and what I ate along the way. Yuk.


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