Personal growth

Personal growth depends upon stepping out of one’s comfort zone. In 2004 my wife and I moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Adapting to country life demanded this city boy acquire a skill set he did not bring with him. We are not wealthy, so if we were to avoid having chamisa and sagebrush running right up to the walls of our house, I needed to learn how to landscape and garden.

In any job, proper tools are requisite and I responded first by purchasing a Ford F-150 pickup truck in order to transport materials to the construction site. The second tool was the knowledge to properly execute each portion of the project. Fortunately, I am a hairdresser by day and my client base comprises an extensive cross-section of the population. Among them: contractors.

I soon got up to speed, learning how to build a fence to code, how to lay flagstone and erect and mortar retaining walls and rock terraces. In time, I learned to install underground conduit for electricity and the drip irrigation system I constructed. I moved every rock unassisted, some weighing eighty pounds or more. I don’t know if that makes me smart or desperate. We’ll discuss the double hernia operation another day. (No, I’m not kidding.)

Because I had never gardened, and because the soil here is worse than poor, I had to learn soil chemistry and how to enrich the stuff into which I would situate my garden’s population. The learning curve was steep and the work difficult, requiring several summers to complete. Every spring, however, I am rewarded.

Do yourself a favor and acquire a new skill new this year.

Raymond Bolton


8 responses to “Personal growth

  1. Oh, my gosh, Raymond. I love what you’ve done! It’s fabulous, and so appropriate for the surroundings. We’ll be doing some flagstone work here shortly. I might have to pick your brain!!

    We’re also building a second pond this summer. We learned a lot from the first one, so now we definitely know what NOT to do. =)

    • Raymond Bolton

      “We’ll be doing some flagstone work here shortly. I might have to pick your brain!!”

      Please do.

      “We’re also building a second pond this summer. We learned a lot from the first one, so now we definitely know what NOT to do.”

      Trial and error may not be the best way to learn, but it definitely works. ; )

  2. Raymond, learning new skills is essential and, obviously, from the photos, you’ve done a terrific job. Learning new skills keeps us interested as we move through life – right now I’m re-learning a skill I’ve forgotten, working out at the gym. Only three months, but it’s killing me. Amazing, though, how fast it comes back to you. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.


    • Raymond Bolton

      Yeah. Working out. Now that the weather has improved, I’m taking 45 minute power walks almost daily. If I don’t want to buy a new wardrobe before I see all you gorgeous women at the Conference, I have to burn off what the winter months put on. *sheepish grin*

  3. Jar O' Marbles

    I try to learn something new every year. Last year I taught myself how to play the guitar and learned that it wasn’t great for my hands lol. But it was fun. This year I’m focused more on expanding my knowledge in certain areas.

    Since I live in a townhome, I’m so jealous of anyone who has a garden or the space to have one.

  4. Awesome post, Ray! (and lovely garden!)

  5. Hi
    Thanks for your nice article about personal growth. It helps me for research.

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