So many memories in 2023! Sincerely, thank you. We love what we do, and are striving to do it better.
The winter of 2022-23 was a long one with the 3rd highest snowfall on record. Icy and cold! With work in the greenhouse we enjoyed our “Florida in our Minnesota Backyard”! It was great to be able to get down to t-shirts in the winter while working on water plants for spring.
Spring Startup season saw an increase to 162 waterscapes started. We’re blessed to see so many water features out there; the most we’ve ever visited in spring! This 25% increase over last year exposed some weak areas in our processes we’re working at filling. We really appreciate your tenacity and patience while we figured things out. A couple times in May we had 8 vehicles on the road, with one of them dual-purpose for both day and evening shift.
During spring startup season the GreenhouseWater Plants were flying off the shelf in the greenhouse. While people purchased about the same amount of plants as in 2022, Hope, Lexi, Joleen, Julia and Becky had a lot of fun learning how to make the plants “Big, Beautiful, and AWESOME.”
After 5 years working with us, Josiah had an opportunity open up for his passion in music, video and audio productions right after spring start up season. While he left a HUGE hole, we were happy he was able to use his skills that he’d been dreaming about ever since Jeff met him.
Construction season started out lively. We built features from Northfield to Clear Lake, and Delano to Stillwater. We built/rebuilt 15 disappearing waterfalls and ponds, and installed 5 garden fountains. Chris, Alex, Mykoka, Josh, JJ, Sami and Jeff had fun building, and even repairing several features.
As with anything, Repairs are a part of life, and some had unique situations requiring renting a spider crane to help lift rocks. Leaks are always a kill-joy, and we had our fill of those. Most leaks we find in minutes, some of them take, well, too long. We’ve been refining the process, trying to make it easier for all.
Summer Maintenance visits were intense this year keeping Ethan, Andrew, Sami, and Becky all on our toes trying to keep up. The addition of Natural Pond spraying, bacteria treatments, and fountain repairs was sadly a little lacking.
On July 31st, Jeff received a 2×10 to his head. This took him from loving working 10-16 hours a day through the season, to maybe 3 hours per day of relative “help” to the team along with many naps. You may have seen him with his pillow in the truck and possibly even saw Becky driving him around! This injury would last through the remainder of the season. As of Thanksgiving he would finally get up to 50% production.
August took a couple more hard hits to Minnesota Waterscapes.
Andrew’s primary passion had more opportunities for him. Working evenings, and with shortening days he decided that he wasn’t able to help with the natural pond maintenance and spraying. We were so grateful for his help this year.
JJ was able to round out his work at his primary passion. This didn’t leave him the ability to work for us. He’s flourishing where he’s at and we appreciate his 6 years of work.
Ethan returned for his final classes for his degree this fall. While secretly we hope he doesn’t find a job so we can have him back, we know with his dedication to figuring things out and his love for people he won’t have a hard time finding whatever work he desires. Anywhere he applies would be crazy not to want him.
Angelica, our customer interaction specialist was able to take her business from serving us to having enough clients that she had to hire more people. She found us Samantha to take over our client interactions. Sam, having a boss (Angelica) who was overwhelmed, and a client (Jeff) who had a concussion and could barely hold a good conversation longer than 10 minutes, did an amazing job at attempting to keep up.
One of Jeff’s friends from childhood was willing to step in and help out this fall, due to Jeff’s concussion. Ben and his son Vernon put up many fall nets and also shut down a lot of waterscapes. They covered a lot of miles, put up around 500 feet of pond netting, and shut down over 60 waterscapes. To say they were a blessing is an understatement. We’re not sure how it would have all gotten done with Jeff walking around like he was 95.
In October, doctor’s orders were to step away from work and do some relaxing, even for a weekend. While still work related, Jeff and Becky met up with Angelica and Johnny (her husband) in Pittsburg, PA to drive to a small business summit in Altoona, PA. Jeff has been here 2 other times and absolutely LOVES the bluffs of Pennsylvania and the fellow businesses he sees there. Becky was the amazing Chauffeur as Jeff was again often seen with his pillow sleeping during drive to and from, or at least eyes closed “due to concussion” and trying not to tell Becky how to drive. Jeff hoped to see Falling Waters (Frank Loyd Wright house), but it was closed on the day they were able to go there. They spent a couple hours relaxing by the river in Ohiopyle, PA. Seeing rivers and waterfalls is always exciting. Seeing how nature makes them and dreaming how we can improve on the techniques when we build was quite relaxing!
Jeff had his first “100% brain day” one week before Thanksgiving. The ability to see straight, walk straight, have a clear brain, and actually enjoy the bright sunshine was long overdue. There are still ups and downs since then, but he’s up to 75% “productive.”
Now that work things have slowed a bit, what will we do in the winter? It won’t be sitting at the bottom of the pond shivering with the koi, but we will be:
– doing maintenance on equipment and vehicles
– making improvements to the greenhouse.
– getting the office set up a little easier.
– making the “she-shed” (another long story) more streamlined.
– feeding our baby koi and trying to get our big koi to realize we really are friends!
– working on estimates that haven’t been getting done.
– spending more time rounding out our processes so we can do an even more phenomenal job serving you.
– Creating processes and training videos to help you maintain your ponds and help our newest teammates get up to speed quickly and help you the best.
If you have suggestions on leading a team and/or want to join in the effort to bounce ideas off each other, Jeff would love to create a group and have people join that are passionate about training the next generation to be passionate about their work. Jeff’s current activities include listening to books and attending webinars that help build processes and make a more cohesive team. A few books he’s currently listened to are:
– The 4 Obsessions Of An Extraordinary Executive, Patrick Lencioni
– The E-Myth, Michael Gerber
– Extreme Ownership, Babbin and Willink
He’s always looking for the best books to help build others up and provide exceptional service to others. We’d love to hear what your favorites are!
With the long “fall”, I’m afraid it might not all get done this winter, but we’re going to give it our best shot!
We really appreciate your sticking with us while we went through the ups and downs this year. With God’s help, Jeff’s brain is recovering at the perfect rate to help him stick with working “on” the business through the slow months more than “in” the business.
As we finish up our “WHY” and core values, next we’ll be putting together our job descriptions and then looking for people PASSIONATE to serve others, LOVE on your pets and waterscapes, and DEDICATED to making your life easier. If you know anyone that is looking for play, er, work with water features, we’d love to have a conversation to see if we can be a good fit!
To say thank you is what we have to offer. You help us do what we love and we deeply appreciate it. You are helping our families live while we do what we love. Thank you!
The TEAM at Minnesota Waterscapes