As far back as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by plants. My father was the director of the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium located at SUNY Buffalo. My whole youth was spent wandering around that science building absorbing as much as I could from all areas of science. One of my favorite places to infiltrate was the college’s greenhouse.
I was blown away at the vast array of rare and tropical plant species that were flourishing in the wintery wonderland that is Buffalo, NY. My young mind tried to grasp how such a thing was possible. So I kept returning over and over again to harass the botanists with endless questions. They, in turn, seemed to love fueling my budding passion (pun intended) and indulged every query I put forth. They would even allow me a small spot in the greenhouse to carry on experiments of my own.
With a similar fervor, I explored and harassed all the science departments. Oceanography, physics, chemistry; you name it. They were all suppliers of information that has made me the man I am today. A kind of Neo-Rennaisance man. An artist at heart and hand, with the soul of a scientist and philosopher.
It was difficult for me to choose one singular path throughout college. I ended up graduating on the dean’s list with a BFA in Photography and a minor in Art History. But, I also studied sculpture, philosophy, anthropology, herpetology, animal husbandry, entomology, horticulture and botany. Just to name a few!
Over the last several years, I began studying the art of bonsai, which has truly helped me to hone my botany skills due to the extremes in which the art is surrounded. Extreme pruning and a very sensitive micro climate mixed with a touchy nutritional need and constant care really helps hone what works and what doesn’t when it comes to healthy and happy plants.
As far as my career goes, I’ve been all over the place. I typically master a career for a decade or two and then move on to other challenges. The Neo-Rennaisance man is only happy when he is learning and growing. My latest exploits for the last 12 years have been a successful career at The San Diego Museum of Art. Here I’ve been the Lead Carpenter, Head Preparator, Associate Registrar and Senior Mount Maker. The latter being my current and favorite position. I build seismic mitigation armatures for the collection’s 3D objects. Fascinating work and I get to build the coolest prototypes and handle some of the most beautiful ancient and contemporary objects in the world.
I now find myself itching for the next phase of my journey. I’ve gone as far as I can here at the museum and it’s high time for new challenges. It’s time to devote more time to my botany work. And it’s time to raise chickens!
Through all of my many careers, the one constant has been my love and fascination with flora and fauna. I have a lifetime of knowledge and experience and I want to share all of it with you, dear reader. I’m here to make you laugh, inspire you, make you think and help you succeed in whatever project you have. I’m also here to learn from you, so this will be a two way street.
Back in November of 2012, I got my first starter home. I was finally away from the continuous concrete jungle and multi-apartment complexes. Due to my modest income from a non-profit institution, my options were very limited here in Southern California. My real estate agent kept pushing me to get a condo to build equity. I kept firing back, letting them know that I wasn’t interested in building equity as much as I wanted to have a backyard. I craved soil to work and repair. I had plans for raising chickens and building compost bins. I had dreams of landscaping and greenhouses and waterfalls nestled under weeping willows.
One of my personal heroes is Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect best known for Central Park, the Chicago’s Colombian Exposition and my personal favorite, Delaware Park and the entire Buffalo New York park system. He designed the whole city so that one can travel from the bustling downtown all the way into, what was then, the suburbs while never leaving the parks.
The man was a visionary. He made these elaborate parks not only for the patrons of the day, but for you and I. Each design was meant to only be completed a hundred years after planting, when everything was grown in properly. If he was here today, I’d give him a high-five. This is the kind of lasting legacy that I can truly appreciate.
While in college, I spent countless hours in Delaware Park. Sometimes even when I had classes (oops). To see the handiwork of a master landscape architect during a period when his vision is finally becoming realized is what I would call sacred. To this day, any trip back to Buffalo will eventually find me back in my sacred places. Lazily dreaming and getting inspired by this manufactured oasis.
Needless to say, my whole life has been a great desire to create my own little slice of paradise. A sustainable and beautiful oasis to escape my woes. There would be no way to do this with a condo. It had to be a true home with a full lot. I searched for what seemed forever. But I never gave up and I changed to a real estate agent who would actually hear me when I say I want a home. Well, it all worked out in the end because I’m here and my paradise is coming to fruition.
Mind Your Dirt will be a ongoing record of the transformation. All the pitfalls, successes and failures. I will wax poetic from time to time and may even get a bit controversial or political. If you disagree with anything, let me hear your voice. I don’t have all the answers, and have even been wrong once or twice in the past. The second time I was wrong about being wrong about something. Turns out, I was right all along 😉
So, that said, I’m here for you. So visit often and comment even more. I live for your feedback and your advice and your questions. It fuels me. Don’t let my fire dwindle!