We moved to a different location in mid-August and it was a major undertaking for us on several fronts. First, we opted for a mortgage with the new property and that took longer and was a lot more detailed than I could have imagined. About the only thing I wasn’t asked to submit was a sample of brain tissue and that’s good because I need all I have left. Coordinating and managing the tradespeople to get work done on the new place in the time frame we wanted was more challenging than anticipated. We’re quite happy with the outcome, but we didn’t hit our target date and we went over budget…just like the folks on the folks on HGTV. The physical move wasn’t as taxing as we thought it would be thanks to our great movers, but getting our other place ready to put on the market took a lot more energy and time than we estimated and we had kept the place in great condition.
The new neighborhood is smaller and more rural with less traffic. We have a lake behind the house so we can sit on our lanai and watch the abundance of wildlife…egrets, herons, kingfishers, cormorants, sandhill cranes, turkeys, and alligators that pass through. It is hard to consider there is a better place to start or finish the day.
I’ve been impressed with the overall design and care given to the landscaping by the developer. There has been a liberal use of tall grasses throughout and this particular variety turns dark pink in the fall. The fine, brushy heads are great collectors for dew and in the mornings there are more beads on them than on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. This makes my morning walks just a bit more enjoyable.
Name: Sebastian Horvath
What’s your job title? Flooring Installer
What do you like most about your job? My freedom. My work shows a bit of me…it’s very detailed.
What’s the hardest part of your job that no one knows about? This work takes a lot of focus. There’s little margin for error. It has to be right every time. The job is physically demanding, too.
If you weren’t doing this work, what kind of work would you be doing? I would be a monitor support technician at a hospital. I want to be a master of my craft and be my own boss.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at age 16, what would you say? Keep your ass in school. Get good grades.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Trust in God.
Name: Travis Burran
What’s your job title? Flooring Installer
What do you like most about your job? It’s different all the time.
What’s the hardest part of your job that no one knows about? Trying to keep everyone happy.
If you weren’t doing this work, what kind of work would you be doing? An outside job…something physical.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at age 16, what would you say? Go farther with your education.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.
Name: Marc Goerke
What’s your job title? Flooring Installer
What do you like most about your job? The outcomes. I take pride in my work and enjoy seeing the reactions of people when we finish the project.
What’s the hardest part of your job that no one knows about? The mental part of the job is very challenging. You have to stay focused and keep track of all the little things that can impact the outcome.
If you weren’t doing this work, what kind of work would you be doing? HVAC work. I liked the challenges of dealing with new issues every day.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at age 16, what would you say? Concentrate on school! Plan on going to college.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Be dependable and pay attention to detail.
Name: Ken Turner
What’s your job title? Project Manager
What do you like most about your job? The finish work...getting to the end of the job. It’s an opportunity for me to step back and take a look at what I’ve done.
What’s the hardest part of your job that no one knows about? There’s a lot of disciplined thinking that goes into each aspect of the work. You have to keep sight of the finish as you do each part of the job. Being able to work in the present while keeping in mind what the finished project will look like is a challenge.
If you weren’t doing this work, what kind of work would you be doing? Painting. I’ve always been a painter. It comes naturally to me.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at age 16, what would you say? Save your money!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Pay attention! Keep your surroundings in mind and remember where you’ve been.
Prior to the purchase of our new home, we decided to have tile throughout the house. That meant removing five rooms of carpeting and finding a dye lot of tile that matched what we already had. Since the home was only two years old, we caught a break and were able to get something that you have to look closely to notice any differences. Then we had to find an installer in whom we had confidence and could meet our timeline. We got a great recommendation and after an initial meeting, the job was handed to XXXX XXXX. From the moment they arrived on the first day to when they pulled out of our driveway on the last day, these guys were in constant motion. There was no slack in anything they did and their work was topnotch. For the next five posts, you’ll have a chance to meet the guys who tiled our home.
Name: Anthony Davidson
What’s your job title? Owner
What do you like most about your job? Meeting new people. I love seeing the reaction of our customers when we finish the job.
What’s the hardest part of your job that no one knows about? Keeping several crews of installers going at the same time on multiple jobs.
If you weren’t doing this work, what kind of work would you be doing? I would return to school, maybe med school. I really love helping people.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at age 16, what would you say? Finish high school! Go to college and learn about business.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? My mom told me, “Make sure you enjoy whatever you do.
Cades Cove is the most visited place in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and for good reason. It is a stunningly beautiful island in a sea of mountains and trees. The first settlers of European descent arrived in 1818 and the population grew to 671 by 1850. Driving through the area today it's easy to be distracted by the surroundings and abundance of wildlife and miss the three churches that are in close proximity to each other. Initially there were two congregations: Baptist and Methodist. A split among the Baptists led to the renaming of the initial church as Primitive Baptist and the creation of a new church called Missionary Baptist.
Spending time in the Missionary Baptist and Methodist churches, I was struck by their similarities...and a few differences. I loved the simplicity of each place as they were truly houses of worship. Except for the cross on the front wall of the Methodist church and the small pulpits in each, there was no religious ornamentation present. Simple wooden pews were present in both and the few windows held no stained glass. There were no distractions. The Baptists provided some additional windows for their pastor, while the Methodists opted for a piano. They also provided a constant reminder of our mortality by having the cemetery visible through the windows on the right side of the building. Being a Methodist, I'm reasonably sure casseroles played an important part in the life of the church, but I'm not sure what year that started.
Regardless of your religious affiliation, I highly recommend stopping to visit the churches. They're a great place to reflect on times past and to get away from the pace of our lives in today's world.
You’re looking at progress.
It might be hard for you to imagine, but for farmers from the early 1850’s to the 1930’s this one invention made sweeping changes to their work life. That the cast iron seat remained largely unchanged for 80+ years is a commentary on the pace of change and the limits of creative thinking applied to an industry where work was defined by bone wearying, muscle aching tiredness.
After a few hundred years of trudging behind draft animals in the mud and muck, seats allowed farmers a bit of ease and greater effectiveness in their work. New farm equipment came with levers, and seats enabled the operator to control the machine and drive the horses.
In the early 1850’s companies made seats from wood, adding cast iron backs by the middle of the decade. The 1860’s saw the introduction of molded cast iron seats. While these were an improvement, the solid construction gave the farmer the choice of sitting on something that was hot, cold, or wet. Farmers had a well-deserved reputation for being tough, but some were getting tired of the jarring ride and looking for more comfort. In the absence of social media it took a while, but not too long, before implement companies began putting holes in the seats for the comfort of their customers. Enterprising folks in marketing realized the seat was a great space for the company names, which would be cut out of the metal covering the seat face. Seeking competitive advantages, some equipment salesmen would custom fit seats to the buyer. Still, most seats were bolted to the frame of the implement, which meant that every bump was transferred to the body.
The 1920’s brought an increased focus on operator comfort and there were designs featuring padded bench seats. Rather than experiencing a widespread adoption of the padded seats, iron seats stayed in fashion for a number of years. In a classic case of evolutionary changes versus revolutionary changes, equipment manufacturers didn’t change the seat, they focused on how it was supported. Instead of anchoring the seat to the frame of the implement, the new design featured a seat connected to a flexible steel band. The band might be straight or slightly arched and would flex under the weight of the operator. This improved design would hold sway until the early 1960’s when padded tractor seats came into widespread use.
Is it any wonder so many young people left the farm for other jobs?
If you ever visit Santa Fe, New Mexico, I encourage you to spend some time in Loretto Chapel, a former Catholic church that is now a museum and wedding chapel. The chapel is best known for its miraculous staircase, which is shaped like a helix. The gift shop sells collectible rosaries and many can be found decorating the trees just outside the chapel. You can learn more about what prayers of the faithful can achieve at www.lorettochapel.com.
One of the defining structures at the Georgia State Railway Museum in Savannah is a very tall chimney. At the base of the chimney is a building made with iron, brick, and wood. Given its function, it would be reasonable to expect the base would be have a utilitarian design, but both the iron and brickwork were given artistic touches. I continue to believe we are all better for the presence of art and design in our lives and must admit to the surprise I registered when I first looked upon this construction. I love these little visual surprises in unlikely places.
This is one of those images that asked to be made. It called to me from across the street and down an alley, so I went even though I had looked down the same alley earlier and saw nothing interesting there. This time the light bounced off a nearby wall and brightened the scene. The reds and blues contrast nicely with the greens and the brass eyes add a bit of interest. I'm not sure why I missed it the first time, but I sure am glad it summoned me back.
The gas lamps along Factors Walk are an important design element and add to the historic appeal of the area. They offer a special ambiance after the sun goes down and offer considerable visual interest in the early morning light.
I have a lot of respect for folks who make their living in the maritime industry and that came from spending a bit of time photographing them at work. The conditions can be challenging due to the weather and working at night can be particularly dangerous due to the contrasty lighting and uneven surfaces. Staying safe requires real focus when many of the things in your work area are hard, sharp, or under a lot of tension. Though I enjoyed my time with the deckhands and I like being on the water, I was glad to get back to the parking lot and the relative safety of my car.
There are usually a few working boats along the Savannah riverfront and I saw this composition during a morning walk there. The lines, cables, and pulleys look pretty harmless, but I know better.
Rodd owns the Resurfacing Company in Jacksonville and we met him a few years ago when our driveway was in desperate need of some TLC. The previous owner of the house had spilled epoxy on the concrete and that left a stain that could not be removed. We decided to create a paver apron and Rodd's crew broke out the old concrete and replaced it. When we saw the finished product, we decided to have him widen and coat our walkway. Several months later, when we were considering pavers for our lanai, Rodd got the call. That project got significantly bigger than planned when we opted to put in a covered drain and ran those pipes out to the edge of the yard. Once again, the finished product exceeded our expectations. When we moved to a new home in mid-August, we wanted a non-skid finish on the garage floors, and there really wasn't a lot of discussion about who would do the work. The only real question was whether Rodd could fit us in to his schedule and meet our timeline. Lucky for us the answer was "Yes".
Refinishing concrete is a dirty, physical process anytime and when you add the heat and humidity of Florida in the summer, it's demanding work. Part of you wants to get the job done so you can get to a cool place while another part is telling you to slow down and get it right to avoid having to do the work over. It takes physical stamina and mental discipline. Fortunately, Rodd has an abundance of both.
What is your job title? Owner
What do you like most about your job? I get to go to a different location each week and there's a lot of creativity that goes into my work. I love seeing the "Before" and "After" photos of the projects I've done because there's such a difference. Plus, I get to meet a lot of really nice folks.
What's the hardest part of your job that no one knows about? Keeping up with the demands of the job...doing sales, planning the jobs, scheduling crews, making sure each job has the supplies they need, and dealing with the heat in summer.
If you weren't doing this work, what kind of work would you be doing? I think I would be working for U.S. Customs somewhere on the water. I'd actually like to be a fisherman in the Bahamas, but don't think that would pay as well as the Customs job.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at age 16, what would you say? Invest early and often. Save your money and resist the temptation to buy cool toys.
What's the best advice you've ever been given? Stay in school!
Factors Walk along the Savannah riverfront is a feast for the eyes, particularly in the early morning. The ages of the buildings and variety of materials used in their construction offer opportunities for interesting visuals from a distance or close up. Test your compositional skills and see how many individual pictures you can create from this image.
Savannah is one of our favorite destinations. Regardless of how many images I make during our visit, I'm always ready to return for more. Oh, and then there's the food. It's pretty amazing...and I'm not a foodie.
Living so close to St. Augustine allows me to get there early to catch some of the great morning light on the waterfront and out in the neighborhoods. The back of this house had some great straight lines already going for it and the shadows just made it more more interesting.
No visit to Cahone, Colorado is complete without stopping at the Ruins of America Trading Post. You won't find any details about it on Trip Advisor, but then you won't find anything about Cahone there either. Most of the community appears to be for sale and the part that isn't looks abandoned. Located on Highway 491 between Dove Creek and Yellow Jacket, I can say with confidence that you are likely on your way to somewhere else if you get to Cahone.
While the community may be dying, the spirit of American enterprise lives on in Cahone. Amid the maze of trash and treasures left to the environment in front of the trading post is a jerry can with a sign that says, "Take a Picture, Leave a $1." There were eight quarters in a puddle on top of the can when I unscrewed the lid to add my dollar. Looking inside, I counted another three dollars in bills and change for a total of six bucks. A pretty good return on an investment of a repurposed gas can and a hand-lettered sign. While I'm not an economist, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I think it's going to take more than six dollars to get the community back on its feet. Still, I sleep better knowing I did my part. I also left my contact information in case Cahone rises from the ashes like a phoenix and city officials want to recognize early investors with a statue or by naming a building after me.