June 4, 2009
John Dorroh - [email protected]
June arrived and summer was born, as if it might have been turned on with the twist of a water spigot. WHAM! ... just like that! Teachers and students started their summer break just before the humidity became an issue. The heat is on.
Mississippi summer weather brings with it swimmin'', grillin'' and chillin''; taking road trips, catching up on books, friends, DVD''s and the much-dreaded yard work.
Maintaining one''s property can be challenging enough, but yard work adds another dimension. Let''s see ... there''s the main task of keeping the grass cut.
Then there''s the driveway to edge, and the curb.
What about weed-eating around birdbaths and fences where the mower can''t reach?
It seems, at least for me, that once I begin a specific job on my property, I see three or four others that need to be done. It never ends.
On a more detailed note, there''s fertilizing the yard, hedging, pruning and replacing plants that have kicked the bucket.
Then there are seasonal chores and year-round jobs such as raking and bagging leaves, mulching and a hodgepodge of other tasks.
Fear not. There are individuals such as David Nelson who do the work for you. Nelson, a local science teacher and coach at Lee Middle School, started doing yard work several years ago to supplement his income to help pay his sons'' college tuitions.
"It started out as just that," he said, "and now it''s like a hobby."
His only helper is "Cookie," Dennis Bailey, who has worked at several local schools and at the YMCA.
"There''s not a typical day," Nelson said. "Usually we begin around 8 or 8:30, and we may cut two or three yards that day and then do some flower beds in the late afternoon. It just depends of what fits everyones'' schedules that day."
Nelson told me he has completed flower beds and landscaping projects all over the state -- Greenwood, Greenville, Houston, New Albany, and Jackson.
"I also work some during the holidays in the winter months when people are expecting company and want the exterior of their homes and yards to look nice," said Nelson.
Obstacles to overcome
"Dogs can be a problem," said Nelson. "Most people are good about making sure that their dogs are penned or in the house when we''re working on private properties, but other dogs in the neighborhood in many cases run free and can cause problem."
He also added that summer heat can be dangerous. Staying hydrated is a must and avoiding the hottest part of the day, using common sense, is essential.
Joys of the job
On the plus side, maintaining yards keeps Nelson healthy and fit.
"Doing yard work not only helps me supplement my income, but more importantly, it makes us feel good to know that our clients are happy with our work," he added.
Although Nelson and Bailey are not the only two people in the area who perform such daily miracles, they are two who seem to really enjoy the outcome.
John Dorroh is a semi-retired high school science teacher, who writes a business column for The Dispatch.