Visit our website: www.thecatskillfarms.com

Don't miss our fun Video Series

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Snow At Christmas

Here's my main man Juan, who has been building houses with me since 2002. Now, he's a great man, mostly close to my heart since he is a pillar of honesty, hardwork and integrity and understands that those qualities are few and far between up here. Not so much anymore, but we used to work with a large amount of true idiots, and Juan always understood how much abuse I took in order to keep the houses moving. Especially when the economy was overheated over the past few years, this little area had a true scarcity of labor that made every endeavor impossible.

Now, Juan is not so close to my heart in this picture because he left my lights on yesterday and now we had a dead battery.

We had a great snow storm arrive on Friday, starting about mid-morning, and snowing hard all day. Pretty fabulous, and definitely quintessential, it was a spectacular showing of why people love it up here - it's beautiful to be sure.

Here's Cottage 15 all snowed up. Gayle's house.

And Cottage 7, the abode of Pablo and Ana from Argentina.

Senior Citizen, old Lady Storm testing out the powder.

And my modest little farmhouse all decked out with winter's white. And Theresa in the foreground - she's our neighbor and she was bringing me dinner since Lisa and Lucas are out of town.

And Gavin and Emily's house, which we just finished and into which they just moved. Now, in a questionable strategy, the entire family on both sides are coming up tomorrow to break in the house. Their neighbor David, from Cottage 6, is our most productive client in terms of referrals - he's sent 2 other families our way after we finished his house.

And then here's Farm 9 from last winter, if you all remember. Soon after I sold it to them, the owner's husband/boyfriend thought he would start a construction business and starting soliciting my workers who worked on his house. As you can imagine, that was a bit demoralizing, but as Curtis said -'it doesn't take a genius to see that shipwreck on the horizon.' Especially after he planted his garden on top of his septic. That's one way to fertilize your vegetables.
And then they were upset when I refused to send my worker's over there without some sort of understanding. I lacked 'integrity'. Maybe, but that's a definitely debatable conclusion
I think it's one of the deadly seven sins, or the 11th commandment- "Never touch thee another man's workforce'. Besides the impact on my business, most customers are affected in some manner by any labor disruption, through quality or through our quickness, of such actions.
I think if I lack one thing that is detrimental to my business it would be my lack of 'thick skin' - I'm a big sensitive softee. My business acumen is sharp, my honesty, integrity, intentions and efforts are pretty strong, but it's that sensitive artist in me that makes me bristle at being wronged. Actually, I think it's easy enough to understand when I was wearing a few hats stretching anyone's talent to the limits, but now that James, Anouk, Juan and Curtis are kicking it, my efforts can be more focused on matters other than a missing light fixture.
Hats I was wearing when we had no staff (just deborah the bookkeeper and me) - Developer, designer, builder, procurement guy, purchasing agent, construction manager, marketing manager, sales manager, administrative assistant, customer relations, complaint department, strategy department, IT guy and the one I excelled at most - all-round nice guy with faults too slight to mention (oh yeah, that was someone else).
50 homes down over the past 4 years. Now that is saying something.
But not saying as much as the fact I almost purchased "Hip Hop Abs" this morning from a TV ad before I sat down to watch Jeremiah Johnson, commercial free. I mean, who could ask for more - tightening up your 6 pack while learning the latest hip hop moves. I found it very compelling.