Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Unproductive productivity

Last spring I was speaking with a customer for tree tubes, a guy I have known for years.  I hadn't spoken to him since we moved from Minnesota to California.  He asked where in California and I said the Central Coast, near San Luis Obispo.

"Oh yeah," he said, "I've been there many times."

"Really?" says I.

"Yes," he said, "every time I hired a new sales manager to cover that territory I had to fly out there two years later and fire him because he'd start spending all of his time hiking, surfing and fishing.  It's just too beautiful there to get any work done."

I can easily see how that could happen.  However, sadly - or perhaps happily - I have the opposite problem.  Since we moved here I have never been so busy, nor have I ever worked so many hours.  Customers won't let me slack off.  That and having three kids to get through college tends to be all the incentive I need to keep my (extremely large) nose to the ol' grindstone.  Surfing?  Cripes, as you have seen I don't even have time for blogging - an activity I enjoy more and which carries a 97.3% reduced risk of getting attacked by sharks.

No, any reduction in overall productivity I have at this time of year is due primarily to this:

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And this:
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And, finally, this:
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Coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) flowers, taken last week at a park in San Luis Obispo. To paraphrase my words at the time, "Ha-ha-ha...CHOOO!"  Yes, I am deathly allergic to oak pollen.  Ironic, no?

I tracked this small grove of oaks from flowering through acorn harvest last year.  I took this photo about this time last year (obviously a little later since the flowers were browning by then):

These small coast live oaks had what I'd call a moderate acorn crop last year.  In autumn every time we visited the park my then 2 year old son would want to pick some acorns and taste them... and then spit them out in disgust while shouting "Ewwwwy!"  It became a sort of ritual.

This year's blossom seems much more dense and verdant.  It will be cool to see how that translates into an acorn crop.  And it gives me about 5 months to teach my son how yummy acorns can be!

Meanwhile, as long as the oaks are blooming and my allergies are raging every burst of productivity from me takes seemingly three times the effort.

Stupid trees.

Read This


Read this.  Now.  My newest hero. 

I was lucky enough to speak to this guy's nephew yesterday and learned his story.  Gives me goosebumps.

Only problem:  It has become trendy lately to come up with your own personal Rushmore of heroes, and I have been working on mine.  Mine so far:  J. Russell Smith, Mark Twain, Aldo Leopold, Bruce Springsteen.

Now someone's got to go.

Read.  Enjoy.  Marvel.  Go plant some trees. Then plant some more.