As 2016 draws to a close, most attention is about reflections of the outgoing year as the new year of 2017 dawns.
For some reason, my reflections return instead to the year 1990 when construction first began on the garden center on August 1st of that year.
The construction of buildings, greenhouses, irrigation lines, driveways and parking lots commenced all at once during that summer and fall when the rains were never ending. Every day seemed to bring a new challenge as trenches dug for irrigation lines filled up with mud and water.
Grading and excavating fell behind as sand and gravel from the rear of the property had to be mined and hauled toward the road in order to make a well-drained area for the buildings and greenhouses.
For months as the site buzzed with heavy equipment, carpenters, electricians and general laborers, the project inspectors from Bank One would slowly tromp through the mud and mayhem to be make sure the project was proceeding on schedule.
The original farmhouse, built around 1870, was ready for my occupancy in September of 1990 although I honestly debated whether or not to push the house over with a bulldozer.
Roof leaks destroyed some of the plaster and rotted the front door off the hinges.
Two, six foot long Black Pilot snakes occupied the storm cellar that contained a 60 amp fuse box from which knob and tube wiring emanated.
More than 100 years of layers of wallpaper were peeling from the walls as paint on the outside as thick as putty began to flake and fall off the siding.
To make things more “interesting”, no heat was vented to the upstairs rooms that contained only a light bulb in one room each, with no electrical outlets. A calendar with the date of April 1958 hung on the wall.
To top things off, the old house had no insulation which made for a cold stay for the first few years.
As the new construction of the garden center drew to a close in February of 1991, opening day became a reality on March 1st of that early warm spring.
As the years have gone by, the old house has been significantly upgraded with a new roof, plaster, paint and insulation while the other buildings have been continually upgraded and new ones built.
For me, the most notable changes are the growth of the trees in which planting was begun in October of 1990 has continued even today. In particular, two Dawn Redwoods of a height of 3 feet were planted in the front yard of the store building into soil that was so compacted by excavation equipment that the planting hole needed the aid of a mattock to break up the soil. Now the two trees are at least 50 feet in height with a trunk diameter of at least 2 feet.
In conclusion, the cliché of “how time flies” is literally true and the adage of “I will see it when I believe it” is true as well.
Happy New Year to all