Editor's Note: "Fish Out of Water" features Minnetonka Patch Local Editor Katelynn Metz (me) trying my hand at a new job somewhere in the west metro. New editions of Fish Out of Water will appear every Monday. In this third segment, I try my hand as a forestry worker with the St. Louis Park Parks & Rec Department.
It’s not even dawn, yet my alarm is blaring, demanding that I get up—quite obnoxiously in fact. Goody.
It’s hovering around freezing and a wind advisory has been issued, yet I’m gearing up to spend hours outdoors. Double goody.
Hat? Check. Gloves? Check. Subzero parka? Check. Steel toed work boots and safety glasses? Ummm?!
To be perfectly honest, I was a little less than enthusiastic about the day’s "Fish out of Water" assignment in which I replaced the reporter’s notebook with a rake and tried my hand as a forestry worker with the St. Louis Park’s Parks and Recreation Department.
But upon meeting my supervisor, Jayme Hamilton (who in addition to being a forestry worker is also an expert chainsaw-wielding wood artist), my day got a little brighter. Brighter that is until I was forced to don an unflattering neon yellow vest and unstylish safety glasses. But set on being a good sport, I proudly sported my forestry outfit and decided to be the best forestry worker I could be.
First item on the agenda: trimming a dead tree and collecting its branches so that the branches could be turned into mulch. I have a black thumb—jet black, so this seemed like a perfect assignment for me. And because I didn't have anything to do with its death, for the first time I was able to get rid of the evidence left from a dead plant/tree without feelings of shame or guilt.
Next up: raking up the bits and pieces of said-tree that were too small to pick up by hand. At first this was really hard—too hard. "Why didn’t these darn pieces move—isn’t this just like sweeping, but outside?" I thought to myself. Come to find out that my rake was upside-down, which was (so I’m told) not only ineffective but also dangerous. Once corrected though, I was on a roll.
Finally: tree pruning. While I questioned the sanity of anyone who thought that giving me a large machete-like object was a good idea, I actually did a great job! Not so great that they let me near the Bobcat (I asked several times) but a good enough job that I might just get myself one of those four-foot-long lethal pruners (which are, I checked, available at Menards) and try to prune at home.
Eventually we finished up and the guys headed off to their next location. For a split second, I even wanted to go with them. That is until a gust of wind almost knocked me to the ground and I suddenly became acutely aware of just how cold it was and how urgently I needed a venti, one-pump, non-fat, two-Splenda latte.
On Tuesdays Patch runs —a video segment highlighting notable athletes and teams in community sports leagues. Wednesdays feature the ‘feature where local experts in various arenas of expertise showing us what they do and how they do it. And finally on Thursdays, Patch features which introduces us to the personalities in the kitchen of a local restaurant.