Winter work is well underway and we are busy both inside and outside. Inside the shop we are improving current conditions to better our efficiency for the upcoming season. Kenny had been busy finishing weatherstripping around garage and man doors to better our heat retention in the building. He has also built a new shelf to house all of our battery operated hand tools as well as some electric. Finally he has just finished changing our door from the offices to the shop to a double swing. Believe it or not this has made a world of difference in traffic flow getting in and out of the office area especially first thing in the morning.
We have also finished installing a digital job board in the shop area. For as long as I can remember, a dry erase board has been the norm for job assignments in most maintenance departments. We have decided to upgrade to a smart board to better streamline information to the crew. We mounted a 58″ Smart TV to the wall and have run both audio and Ethernet cables out to the router and stereo. We then purchased a very inexpensive Google Chromebox computer that measures 5″x 5″x 2″. This computer hooks up the TV via a HDMI cable. Using Google Drive I can now load a spreadsheet that is used for our job assignments onto the screen and make changes to it anywhere that I have internet capability. This will make it very easy for myself and my assistants to make changes to the board without having to come in from the course when the crew finishes their first assignments. This setup also gives us the capability to watch safety and training videos as well as using Google Earth to show the crew the areas we will be working on that day. Since this setup is in our main shop area, we needed to protect these electronics from dirt and debris as well as from an accidental impact. We built a sealed framed box around the unit and installed a piece of Plexiglas that is hinged on the front. We then wired up a fan to circulate air inside the box with a filtered vent cut in the bottom to release the heat build up.
Outside we have started on tree removal. We have removed 5 Ash trees by the parking lot along number 9 lake that were completely dead from the ash borer. We are now currently working on the left side of number 4. There several dead Ash trees that need to come out immediately in order for us make room for new trees going in their place. The trees have to be removed and the stumps need to be ground and cleaned up so we will be able to dig the holes for the new trees. We will be planting over a dozen new trees in this area before we open this spring. Most of these trees will be evergreens but there will be some deciduous trees as well. Below are some pictures of the ash borer damage that were on the trees that we removed. I had to remove almost no bark to take photos of the borer tracks in the tree. Most of the bark in these area had already fallen off because the tree was already dead.