My New Favorite Park

For the last week and a half I’ve visited a small park in town.  The park starts level by the road but quickly drops off to a small rolling river below.

I’ve gotten in the habit of getting a bacon, egg and cheese and stopping at the park to eat my breakfast.  It’s on the way to where I’m working.

My breakfast nook. 

The path entering the park.

The real treat comes at the bottom of the hill when you get to the river.  It’s a great place to collect your thoughts.

If you look through the crystal clear water you can see the ledge beneath.  There’s no mud, just coarse sand below.

Looking up the river you can see the hemlocks that flank it.  What a peaceful place.

I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

The old foundation of some sort of building.  It’s been a long time since that building served any purpose.  

It’s neat how this maple tree grows even though the dirt washed away around its roots.  I wouldn’t be surprised if something lives under that tree.

This yellow birch started life growing between two boulders and continues to thrive.

If you live in Newtown, CT you can find the park about a half mile up from where 34 meets 110.  You have to look hard or you’ll miss the little parking lot.  It takes about 10 minutes to get to the river.

Here’s an article about the Halfway River Open Space.

Some Mistakes We Have to Make

I spent most of the day replacing a shock absorber on my truck.  It took me from 9 to 6 to replace one shock absorber.  One shock absorber!

I quickly learned there’s a lot of rust on suspension parts which ‘welds’ them together.  Suspension parts are also in awkward places.  Finally, it took two trips to the auto parts store to get the right shocks.

I felt like, and acted like, the new guy today.  I made every mistake in the book and wouldn’t be surprised if I came up with some new ones.

The only way to learn how to replace shocks is by doing it.  It’s not the same as reading the repair manual or watching a YouTube video.  I was bound to make mistakes, mistakes I had to make to learn, mistakes I’ll never make again.

In life there are mistakes you have to make.  Whether it’s your first time changing shocks, your first bank account, your first relationship.  There are mistakes we all have to make to learn and move forward.

If you’re replacing shocks in a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 (1) use an impact wrench to remove the top bolt; (2) take off the tire before you try to loosen the bottom bolt and (3) if you need to replace a nut on the shock tower they’re metric M10-1.5 not standard 3/8-16.

Lessons learned!

Do The Right Thing

It’s 8:30 at night on Labor Day as I write this post.  I just got off the phone with a prospective client who needed some masonry work done to get the CO for their new deck.

After asking questions about the job it became clear what they needed more than a landscape designer was a mason.  I assured them that when the time came for grading around the deck or designing the gardens I would be glad to assist.

I recommended they call a local company for the masonry work or visit Southbury Stone and Supply for materials and to get references for masons.

Some contractors would subcontract the job or make something up on the fly.  I’ve reached the point in life where I know what I do well, and profitably, and what I don’t.  I enjoy masonry work but my detailed mind can’t get the work done quickly enough and frankly its heavy work.

I don’t know if I did the right thing or not but I listened to my gut.  If I’ve learned one thing in life it’s to always listen to your gut.

I hope I get a call to design and install some landscaping work around the new deck.  It sounds gorgeous.


*Note:  The featured image is a patio I installed in the late 90’s.  I cut granite slabs to make the rounded corners and used flamed bluestone for the patio.  The granite slabs I used for the steps had a ‘cushion edge’ to give them a weathered look.

My clients hired masons to build steps to their new french door.  When the mason stepped on the patio he looked at me and said, “Do you think you’re working with wood?”  That’s one of my favorite projects.

It’s Monday Morning and I’m Ready to Work

One of my rituals on office days is to clean the office before starting work.  I can’t decide if cleaning is a stalling tactic or productivity tweak.

Clutter is a huge productivity killer for me.  My brain can’t start solving problems or being creative in clutter.

Everything in it’s place and a place for everything.

I keep a bottle of Windex and paper towels in the office to clean the desktop, computer monitor and everything else on my desk.  A damp paper towel picks up dust and has yet to scratch my computer monitor.

A quick run of the vacuüm across the floor keeps Theo’s furballs at bay for at least the morning.

The fish tank looked a little cloudy so I siphoned out some water, cleaned the glass and topped off the tank.

My children won Shimmer and Zoomer at a carnival 4 years ago.  I often glance over at their tank and see them staring at me trying to convince me to feed them more.

Shimmer and Zoomer Goldfish
Shimmer is the fish on the left. He’s named Shimmer because of his shiny scales. Zoomer on the right darts off when she or he feels threatened.

The last touch is to light a Candle.  A candle sets the tone for the day by relaxing me.  I save the candle for when I’ll be in the office most of the day.

Yankee Candle Home Sweet Home

I also cleaned, fed and watered Minnie.  Here’s a video of Minnie, named after Minnie Mouse because of her black ears, if you’re interested.

Time to get to work.