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Still a lot to be Thankful for...

 

 

 

Still a lot to be Thankful for...

What a long and strange ride its been this year and I am not sure I can speak for everyone else but, I CANNOT BELIVE IT IS ALREADY THE HOLIDAY SEASON!! Where did the time go?

Okay, okay so we are here and yes, it is November now and for the most part we have all accepted the new normal caused by the pandemic which is very much still happening…so what do we do now? Isolate and not see friends or family? Throw food at each other from 6 feet away? Risk it all for a warm embrace? I know that is a lot to think about for most of us after months on end of lockdowns, curfews and overall heightened anxieties. If you are trying to make that decision this year here are a few things to keep in mind.

If you should find yourself among those who have the good fortune and constitution to travel or have guests over this year, then here are some tips from the CDC to stay as safe as possible. You deserve to have a fun and relaxing holiday. Just please remember we need to do what we can to safely return to the office as cautiously and respectfully as possible afterwards. 

By this point, all of us should have the 6-feet of social distancing, hand washing, and face mask wearing memo, I will glide on to the other helpful points of precautionary plans to have a safer Thanksgiving gathering. First and foremost, communicate with all guests who made the limited invite list and clearly lay out the expectations set for this year’s event. It may seem a bit harsh to call and give guests a set of rules and expectations before warmly welcoming them to your home, but remember these are unprecedented times and you must understand these “rules” are only in place because you care deeply about every guest and their continued health. For example: 

  • it should be addressed if there is a strict guest list and to please not bring any surprise guest
  • mention that there will be “off-limits” areas of the house like the kitchen where food and drinks will be prepped
  • Send a friendly reminder text to “please bring a mask” for socializing between meals 

 

 

How about those who can’t make it this year? 

I didn’t forget about you guys, and I absolutely respect and honestly admire your difficult decision to just stay home. You may be alone this year in body but certainly not in spirit! In fact, more than ever this year will hallmark a new tradition of the virtual holiday experience. With  "Virtual Thanksgiving” quickly becoming the theme of 2020, many have already suggested some creative options to feel a bit more connected despite the distance. 

  • Virtually attend anywhere around the world by creating a free ZOOM account and inviting your friends and family! All you need is an internet connection and a free account which you can make at https://zoom.us and viola! 
  • Drive-by caravan a relative or friend’s house who may not be able to leave the house. You may not be able to go inside or have face-to-face interaction but it is the next best thing to show up and show that you support them and their situation. Maybe you can even bring a sealed food plate to leave for them at their door! A little goes a long way this year, trust me. 
  • Plan a watch party for a tv show, movie or sports game that you can arrange to all start at the same time as your remote friends. You can all group text or chat over Facebook messenger or Google's Gmail Hangout for free while you simultaneously watch. For a brief moment in time, you may just feel like you are hanging with friends again like normal.

Whatever you choose to do this holiday season please just remember that there is still a lot to be thankful for.  I know I for one am thankful to live in a world with modern medicine and high speed internet. We can communicate news and the progression of a vaccine information immediately as it happens worldwide. I am thankful to have a table to eat on and roof over my head. I am thankful for every minute I am of free volition and strength and not afraid and alone in a hospital gasping for air like many less fortunate others are this year…to you all, my heart goes out. I am profoundly thankful this year to all the first responders, nurses and doctors in crowded hospitals who will be working on Thanksgiving. You do not even have the luxury to chose to stay home or see friends. Thank you. 

I hope you all have something you can look at this year and show thanks for despite all the negativity and loss. Loving your friends and family may just mean respectfully staying away this year. However, if you are one of the lucky few who do manage to travel, then please do what you can to be as safe as possible so that we all have a smooth return to work afterwards. All that to say, I truly wish you and yours a HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY!  

 

Color Change

Color Change

Fall and Winter Color Change for Commercial Landscaping

 

Winter is here! I have a few tips and tricks you should know for your commercial landscaping contracts to ensure you will have beautiful pops of color all year round no matter how harsh your winters get. The name of the game is called: “Color Change,” and you want to make sure your contract has at least 2 color changes per year. 

 

 

 

There are some really beautiful and affordable options when it comes to cold loving flowers. The most popular I would say would be the Pansy. Not only are pansies absolutely stunning in their vast array of color options from warm yellows to vibrant almost neon pinks, purples, and blues; but they are also extremely conservative financially. You really can get any color pansy that you wish to compliment your landscaping color scheme and the install is very simple, you can plant them in almost anything! These deceivingly delicate little flowers stand their own during cold winds and even freezing ice storms. Many plant pansies in the fall around October and they last well into February/March…the only thing you really have to worry about are the squirrels getting to them (they love the pretty color flowers too!) 

In the same family as the Pansy, we have another favorite winter flower called the Viola. Resembling the Pansy in both color varieties and general shape, the Viola is basically the little sister of the Pansy. Both can survive extreme colds and freezes. 

Another great winter foliage will be Cyclamen. Resembling almost that of a Tulip, Cyclamen are feathery upright petals that pop in bright pinks and purples and white. Cyclamen do run a bit more expensive that Pansies and Violas but they really are majestic when you see them lined up in a row around the base of a tree or in a potted arrangement. As well, though Cyclamen can withstand cold and freezing temperature drops, they do need quite a bit of running water and sunlight so these tend to be better in more mild winters. 

The best thing you can do is ask your Landscaping crew what they think is the best fit for your region and your projected winter, and then don’t be afraid to get a second opinion! If you need any help deciding what is best for your landscaping, please give us a call here as Aspen Services Group! We are always happy to serve! 

How to Prevent and Treat Tree Frost Crack

How to Prevent and Treat Tree Frost Crack

Frost Crack

How to Prevent and Treat Tree Frost Crack  

Frost crack happens when there is a large drop in temperature most likely when it is a sunny day and then turns to freezing cold and wet at night. The danger of frost crack is that it will snap and sometimes even explode trees like a cold burst pipe. This can cause trees to fall on cars, homes, or worse yet on power-lines causing rolling blackouts for electricity. Frost crack is extremely dangerous but there are many things you can prepare for in your facilities’ landscaping contact that will help prevent and treat frost crack if it does happen. 

 

 

 

First and foremost, the best offense is a great defense when it comes to landscaping; making sure your trees are properly pruned and fed nutrients regularly ensure that not only are the excess weight of the limbs lightened but the nutrients are there to help develop and support the branches’s individual strength. Many neglect the extra nutrient packages and annual pruning when they look into commercial landscaping bids because they tend to be a bit more steep in price than landscaping without trees, however, when it comes to trees you really want to invest in their health and maintenance because replacing a dead tree is vastly more expensive and time consuming than just maintaining it’s health. As well, planting shrubs or mulch around the base of the tree will help to insulate the tree during cold drops in temperature, this step is critical.

Oklahoma City recently got struck with this phenomenon and we can all see the devastation that happens, it is almost worst in circumference of distraction than a tornado! The trees fell all at once and there have been people without power for over a week including hospitals, grocery stores, schools, and other business. It is truly devastating what nature can do to your landscaping and facility utilities. 

If you would like any help or quotes for your facility landscaping then please feel free to call or email aspen directly and we will send someone out to help! 

 

OFFICE PLANTS

OFFICE PLANTS

A QUICK GUIDE TO FINDING YOUR INDOOR PLANT

Looking around my office I have to admit the parts that always perk me up (besides the coffee machine) are all the green accents of foliage. I like to call indoor plants, living artwork, and when you look at some of these options you will understand why!

No matter what you office space consists of, there is always a plant that can work with what you got! Some plants can even live in a dark bathroom and only get watered once every month!  Any office can get on board with that!

Now if you want to add some elegant pops of color with minimal maintenance you can always go the route of Orchids. These beautiful flowers last for months and take literally only 2 ice cubes every 2 weeks for watering! It is the perfect plant for people who can’t keep plants alive.

 

Looking at the chart you can see that some plants need very little water or sunlight, meaning there is a plant for every office!

Sanitizing Standards

Sanitizing Standards

What is your facility plan to keep a safe workspace during the predicted second wave of the Covid 19 viral outbreak?

It's that time, we must all prepare for the second wave of the Covid 19 viral outbreak. Projected to be even more dangerous and destructive than the initial round, there really is no excuse to not have a safety plan for your business and your building. Do you not have a plan for a fire escape? Do you not have a plan for workplace violence?  We all need to know our plans of attack before a situation becomes a crisis.

Personal protective equipment and masks all help to lessen the curve and lessen your chances of contracting the virus, however, as we all know, in real-life situations occur that are unplanned. Say you're at work and a coworker who is sick uses the restroom, takes her mask off, coughs, and then opens the door to leaves. The next person to touch the doorknob will never know what happened before they came to the restroom and no matter many times they wash their hands or how many masks they wear in public, the risk is still there. In fact, the risk of contamination at work is incredibly high because most people feel more relaxed

around people, they know and probably practice less safe distancing.

CREATING A PLAN…

The CDC recommends that if you do have a positive case of COVID-19 in your workspace the first thing you should do is evacuate the contaminated area for 24 hours. After you have it evacuated the area for the proper amount of time, you can then invite a cleaning crew who is properly equipped with a hospital-grade disinfectant spray,  like Aspen’s crew,  to sanitize the area completely on every surface both hard and soft. After seven days you are allowed to invite your employees back to the area. I know this sounds like an impossible plan, we can't be without our workspace for seven days, can we? Unfortunately, we do not have a choice this is the new normal by the rules to end the destruction of the pandemic before it gets even worse. This is the time to come together and be over sure we have done everything in our power to slow the spread of coronavirus.

 

Back to THE OFFICE

Back to THE OFFICE

 HOW TO RETURN TO WORK CONFIDENTLY

Well, it's that time, whether we are ready or not, it is time to head back to the office and pick back up our lives to resemble some sibilance of normal. Returning to the office after this devastating pandemic can lead many to feel a slew of emotional anxieties and physical discomfort; all of which are completely reasonable. The ‘what ifs’ starts to add up in the minds of the worried and can have negative effects in a workplace even if there is no immediate threat of contracting the infamous Covid-19 virus itself. These are unprecedented times we are living in and it is important to remember we are all experiencing this together and we are all doing what we can to get by. With that said, it is critical to know your options both as an employee and an employer when returning back to the office. 

The CDC has listed helpful cleaning options and disinfecting guidelines on their website for all the different sectors of industries that can be followed when returning back to work and opening doors back to the public: Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Facility.  In the chance that a coworker becomes infected, there are vital steps that must be taken; immediately close off all areas that the infected person could have contaminated, Open outside doors and windows to increase ventilation, wait 24 hours before inviting a cleaning crew into vacuum and disinfect all surfaces, and then wait an additional 7 days before allowing others to return to the compromised area.  These guidelines are helpful when treating a potential positive case of Covid-19 situation,, but at the end of the day it really comes down to an individual responsibility we each must take to know when to stay home. Truly, it is always better safe than sorry.

Aspen Services Group does offer an EPA registered hospital grade disinfectant spray service. If you or any business that you know of could benefit from a disinfectant spray, then please just reach out to us! We provide free estimates and full transparency. Regardless of your business having a reported Covid-19 case or not, I can guarantee that your employees and guests will feel 100% more confident in returning to your facility.

 

“at the end of the day, it really comes down to an individual responsibility we each must take to know when to stay home…”

 

Further information: 

The CDC website also has employer edification on how to notice changes in employees’ emotions as they return to work.