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Exhausted Nature Displacement Engineer


For the past several years, I have employed a local gentleman to keep up our yard. In the Spring and Summer, he mows the grass and weed eats down the banks and along the edges. As fall approaches, his attention turns to blowing and raking leaves. Since we are located on 57 wooded acres, we have a lot of leaves falling. This is a never ending, thankless task for often they fall faster than we can collect them. I have a picture in my mind of a former employee going down the driveway blowing the leaves as fast as he could. The immediate area he was blowing was clean and neat; in front of him the driveway was covered with leaves, and behind him they were falling heavily, covering what he had just blown. I asked him if that was frustrating for him to work so hard only to have his work covered backup with leaves so quickly. He just laughed and that was his “job security”.

My yard worker and friend was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with a rare cancer that incapacitated hem quickly and took his life in just a few short months. It shook up all of us. His son graciously offered to continue his work for the rest of the year. The only drawback was he already had a full-time job, so it was going to be bit more complicated than before. But we greatly appreciated his offer and quickly accepted.
As you may have also experienced, our fall was slow coming and slow to end. Usually, all, or at least most, of the leaves have fallen by the end of October or early November. Our peak weekend this fall was not even until the first weekend of November and the leaves lingered on the trees for a long time afterward. I wanted to make sure the last of the leaves had fallen before he came do a final cleanup so I asked him not to come for a while. I finally called him in mid-December and told him to come do a final cleanup. But his job interfered and he had problems getting here. After the holidays, I contacted him again and told him that since the inn was closed, I had time to do it. I was not disgruntled with him (it was not his fault). I just like to get out and do tasks like this. It keeps me active and clears my mind. I have made many business decisions and written several blogs (including this one) while outside doing jobs or hiking.

After the rains and snows finally slowed down, I began my task. I planned to work just a few hours at a time. I was in no hurry, but I wanted the place nice and clean. My goal was the blow and rake up around the inn the first week. Blowing out the gutters, the parking lot, and around the Innkeepers, Rondette, and Woody Cottage. I found that over the year, many leaves had simply found there way under all those boxwoods and settled into low areas. While the top layer was dry and easy to move, the layers underneath were still wet from all the rain ad snow we had in December. The leaves were ankle deep around the Woody Cottage and in front of the Rondette. They could not be blown easily. The only way I found to move them was to rake them onto a canvas tarp and physically drag them somewhere out of the way. Which brought up another issue. Where do you put all the leaves you collect? Years ago, we had a guest ask that very question. We laughed and thought that was a dumb question. But I found it was a real issue. I blew and raked leave over the many banks we have as much as possible. But at some point, I had more leaves than I had places to put them. My mind started wondering just how many leaves I was moving. When I first began, I thought how many thousands were there? It didn’t take me long to figure it wasn’t thousands, it was millions, billions, even trillions of leaves. In retrospect, I guess I should have just piled them up and burned them all, but that thought came long after I had already pushed most over a hillside.

Anyway, my wondering mind came up with another question…. how I should classify this job. This is an important task that deserved a better title than leaf raker or blower. I settled on Exhausted Nature Displacement Engineer. Exhausted (used up, worn out) Nature, (leaves) Displacement (relocated, moved), Engineer (worker) . I thought that sounded better. I may even advertise for that sometime…..Hemlock Inn now hiring an Exhausted Nature Displacement Engineer. Nah, that sounds too expensive. I think I’ll just find some teenager to rake my leaves

I still have to finish down our quarter mile driveway. Probably a few more trillion leaves to move. My plan is to get it done before we open for President’s Day weekend. That’s only a month away. I guess I’d better stop writing and start blowing


PS If you are looking for a winter get away, come join us for Valentine’s /President’s Day weekend, February 14, 15, 16, 17. We’ll have a fire in the fireplace, good food and fellowship and a bunch of chocolates from the Chocolate Shop in Bryson City. . . . You can also inspect my leaf cleanup job