May the 4th be with you… I mean the workforce

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It would be easy to say that the way we work has changed significantly since Covid-19’s impact. Many people never stopped working during the shutdown, some temporarily worked for home, and others transitioned to full time work at home. Those in the skilled trades were considered essential workers, and their business boomed.

During Covid, it is my belief that the importance of Skilled Trade careers became appreciated, and valued by a larger population. Some might even say that these Skilled Trade careers are going to be “recession” proof… These careers will always be needed.

Elevator technician, Plumbers, Electricians, Welders… and many more career opportunities

But really… aren’t all careers important??? I never have understood why some people place more “value” on some careers than others. We all have value and worth in what we do. No stigma should ever be attached to any job or career path we choose.

Handcrafted woodworking

Today, May 4th is National Skilled Trades Day. This is observed annually on the first Wednesday in May. National Skilled Trades Day was established in 2019 by City Machine Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio. The purpose of the holiday was to raise awareness about the importance of skilled trades workforce in the United States, honor skilled trade workers, and also to create awareness about the skilled trades deficit in the United States.

Skilled trades are the individuals we call to repair our cars, complete complex electrical tasks, do plumbing repairs, build our homes, collect our blood, and ensure the health of our pets.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US will need close to 4 million skilled laborers to replace the nearly 8 million lost from the labor force during the pandemic. The pandemic created a significant labor shortage, and many Baby Boomers who left the skilled work force industries have chosen not to return. Some opted for early retirement rather than returning into the skilled workforce. Boomers are ready & waiting for a new generation to step into the skilled trades workforce.

For those highly skilled workers in trades such as welders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and others, the rate of pay is actually higher on average than college graduates. This rate of pay could grow as the demand for these trade careers increase.

So how do we move to filling the gap in trade based careers ??? The answer is simple in my opinion. We need to talk about it and find solutions. Educators, parents, grandparents, and community leaders, this is a discussion about educating our younger generations about ALL options they have available for career paths.

Beautiful handcrafted items are definitely part of our cultural heritage and legacy of trade based skills

Trade based careers offer a more specialized approach to learning in a specific field, ie plumbing or electrical. The overall cost of a trade based education is significantly less. The time involved in the training can be completed in one to two years versus college, 4 years or more depending on the educational path that is chosen.

College education is great, but every student may not be in the right mindset for university level learning or ready for the debt that it could bring into their future. It sure could save a lot of time, money, and heartbreak by exploring all career options if your teen is not ready for college.

Did you know that student loan debt is the second largest consumer debt factor for many Americans? Mortgage debt ranks first in the consumer debt category.

Student loan debt is estimated at $1.75 trillion with the US federal government holding 92 percent of the debt in student loans.

Approximately 43.4 million people in US have student loan debt(this equates to 1 in 8 Americans). This to me is a heavy dose of information… 😳asking a lot of a young person to tackle… finding a career, paying the student debt, management of family bills and more! Wow!!!

Ultimately, all a parent wishes for their children to have in their chosen career path is happiness, success, financial freedom & security. Right??? Laying out all possibilities in future potential careers today seems to me to be the responsibility of parents, educational staff & other stakeholders in the lives of children.

In closing, isn’t the key to success in a career this… finding what you are passionate about and not treat it as just a job you go to everyday???? Just a thought.

Thanks for reading y’all

Mowing Grass

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The memories linger from the days of my youth, of the first signs of spring… Windows open, a freshly cut lawn, a light breeze blowing through the curtains, and the aroma of cut grass coming indoors. Spring had arrived!!!

I can remember spending hours on that red riding mower going round and round. Our yard was large and it took a good hour or so to finish everything when we mowed the lawn. I would take my place on the riding mower & dad was usually on the power tools, cleaning up the edges of the flower beds and working the push mower like a pro. We worked as a team to get the lawn looking good. Mom often worked in her flowers, while we were outside. Mom always had beautiful roses. I learned to love to be outside, and meet completion of a beautiful task, a well kept yard.

Today I would like to share a few tips I learned from my dad about mowing grass and keeping a nicely kept lawn. These may seem novel to you, but they are truly important for growing good grass.

1. Keep your equipment in good working order. Do the routine maintenance on your equipment & keep your blades sharp. Your lawnmower blades if dull, can create problems for you. Need new blades or blades sharpened??? We can do that!!!

We can sharpen your blade or you can purchase tools to do it yourself!!!
Need a good gas can to keep your mower powered up???

2. Never mow while the lawn is wet… patience is a virtue for a “Mowologist”

A good neighbor is one who doesn’t mow in the early morning hours… right???

3. Mulching your grass is good for your lawn, bagging grass takes those nutrients out of the yard.

4. Be aware of your blade settings, & don’t cut your grass too short. This may mean you cut your grass more frequently because you don’t want a situation where your grass gets too long and your mower bogs down with grass clippings, and then you have to rake the yard 😳

Just in case you need a new rake, we have those too 😉

5. Mix up your mowing patterns, it is good for grass growth.

6. Never mow grass into your flower beds!!! 😳😳😳Yep, I’ve watched people do this!!! Mow grass away from your flower beds and keep your flowers healthy & happy!!!

7. Your lawn is only as good as what you put into it. Curb appeal is a portion of your home value. If your curb appeal is amazing, that in turn, will help your overall home value. Homes with a well kept lawn & gardens could sell faster & for more money!!!

I don’t mow the lawn anymore, because of our work schedules…which puts us at work 6 days a week but, my dad still does his own lawn care. It is one of the things he truly enjoys doing AND he has one of the best looking yards in his neighborhood!!!! 🤩🤩🤩🤩

Whether you consider mowing as a chore or as a joyful gift to be immersed into the great outdoors, Wilkes County Hardware has invested in your lawn care needs. When y’all are ready to tackle that lawn this spring, we will be there to assist you whether you are novice “mowologist” or a veteran.

Speaking of being of novice… Have you been here before??? Going into a big box store and have serious questions that you need answers for and no one is around 😳, OR needing a product loaded into your car and no one is available 😬???If you have questions about your lawn, bug/pest control options for your lawn, our team should be able to assist you AND we load our customers purchases everyday!!!

Bagged goods can be quite heavy!!! We always load up our customers at Wilkes County Hardware.

Furthermore, did y’all realize that we have tools to make your yard work easier???? This is one area that we are trying to “grow” into. Many of these lawn care/mower maintenance products were not available at Wilkes County Hardware several years ago. Our customers were coming in asking for basic weed eating string, mower spark plugs, blades, etc and we now have them!!! Richard & I felt this was an area that we could definitely “grow”. Our “mowologists” regulars/customers know where these supplies are and they find them before gearing up to work in the yard.

Richard & I have have also expanded our lawn and garden product line over the last 6 years. We have lime, pre-emergents & post emergents weed control products for your lawn, and much more.

Just a small sampling of what we offer

Unsure, what a pre-emergent or post emergent products are??? A Pre- emergent is used to help prevent weed growth in your lawn… before they begin!!! Yes, that is definitely a win!!! Be very careful, you should not use a pre-emergent & grass seed at the same time😳. The pre-emergent will stop the growth of the grass seed as well as the weeds! Pick one to focus on for spring.

When is the best time to use a pre-emergent??? How do you know if it is warm enough??? Once the forsythia finishes blooming, pre-emergents can be used in your lawn.

Post emergent products for your lawn are used after the weeds have popped up into your lawn. Yes, Wilkes County Hardware has products that you can use safely in your lawn without killing the grass.

Let’s get growing & mowing this spring y’all!!!

2021 Favorite Photos

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Sharing my favorite photos from my camera roll from this past year. Hope y’all enjoy!

Cold morning walk on the Greenway
Joy loving her evening snuggle time with me
Bella… we miss you sweet girl
Cold winter morning
Waiting patiently for our Covid shot
Morning sunrise in April
Spring thoughts
Best buddies hugging for the first time in over a year.., 💕
Joy checking the neighborhood
Colorful sunrise
Yes!!!
Morning clouds
Prom time
Summer Evening Sunset
Hydrangeas in early bloom
Summer morning sunrise
July 4th fireworks
Walking among the corn stalks along the greenway path
Super senior year /Kindergarten photos… be still my heart ❤️, my boy is grown!
September sky in the morning
Fall is coming!!!
Nightlights of MerleFest
Fall clouds
Fall morning sunrise
Southern Christmas… blending the seasons together
December morning sunrise
Frosty Morning in the shadows
Wishing y’all a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from our house to yours!!!!🎄🎄

Thanksgiving

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My sister asked everyone today at Thanksgiving what we are thankful for… my reply was simple at the time but I wish to expand upon it… my thankfulness was wrapped around my family but there is so much more to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for not only my family, but the beauty each day brings us. Each sunrise and sunset is unique by our ultimate Creator.

I think the experience of the last few years has taught me that life is short . Each day is a treasured gift.

I’m very blessed to work with my spouse each day, which I never thought I would have the opportunity to do.

Blessings abound in the small things we have in our lives. May you be blessed this holiday season with Thanksgiving in your heart each & every day. Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours today.

Stories…Our Legacy

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A view from our town, a picturesque view. A story via photography

My last blog post commanded attention from my readers who connected with my story about Waiting.

My last blog post entitled, Waiting… featured photo

The messages sent to me were powerful, with beautiful scriptures, kind words & your personal stories of experience made my heart melt.

So many people who have battled cancer that I connect with everyday as a business owner reached out. Their stories they shared with me were amazing & a beautiful blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me.

If you haven’t read the blog post, Waiting, I would love for you to click back and give it a read. We all go through periods of waiting in life. Waiting on test results, waiting for changes in a career path, or just waiting patiently on God to show you a pathway.

All paths in life are not clearly defined… many times we wait for clarification and direction

As I said before, my experience was not unique, but I chose to share it because I felt it would create common ground experience for many ladies who have walked in the path of waiting for test results OR seeking answers to any type of situation/problem.

Writing is a dynamic way to connect with others. As a blogger, that influence extends across our community & even across the globe.

Storytelling goes well back into history. In the days before novels & books, stories were shared orally, musically or artistically and passed down through the generations. Stories help us to keep our past history alive, & keep us linked together.

Philadelphia, full of historical stories

I had a professor in college who was a gifted storyteller. US History was revealed to me as a story of events & the people behind it.

As an educator, the most powerful thing you can do is to connect your content to the student. Once the student gets the practical connections, the path learning is much easier.

Often as a hardware store owner, we are privy to a portion of a person’s story. The struggle of a DIY, pool ownership (the good, bad, & the ugly 😂) and even the success of a beautiful garden.

All are welcome

The longer Richard & I have been in downtown North Wilkesboro, the more folks we have had the opportunity to meet & get to know a small portion of their story.

Many stories are told around this wood stove

This week we met a gentleman who came by for a few keys, & he stayed to visit for a while. His story began to unravel. He told humorous stories which all made us laugh. He also revealed that his wife died this summer, she had a serious form of blood cancer.

My heart hurt for him. It was obvious he missed her tremendously. Once he told us his story, we understood more about him, his needs and empathized with his current situation.

So how do we share our unique life experiences in 2021??? We are all not bloggers, writers, gifted musicians, artists, or storytellers.

Do you look at Instagram stories???? OR Facebook stories, Snapchat, or even Tik Tok??

In the world of social media, we now have these little bits of video & images on our profile page called stories. The intent of those images is to give the viewer a quick glimpse of what is going on the “inside”of the life of that specific social media page.

After 24 hours those stories disappear and you must continue to add more of your own images in order to keep your story going.

Stories give us a way to stay connected to friends and family. A way to share triumphs, celebrations, fun times, sweet moments & even sad events in our lives. All are a significant part of living our lives.

Many of us are not public speakers who go across the country sharing their stories with others creating change. You may not be gifted storyteller OR even post out Facebook/IG stories everyday.

Your personal story & experiences create change just by sharing!!! Do you journal everyday? Share your family stories with younger generations???

We all share our life experiences with others… how are you sharing your story???

Our life stories cause us to adjust, change, & can create empathy for others who have faced similar experiences.

What I have learned as a blogger is that you should not be afraid to share your story. Your personal story creates bridges to others… connectedness. If you don’t tell your own story now, someone else will later…

Our personal story is why we are here. Your experiences could become a survival guide for someone else who is struggling with the same thing.

My wish for you… find a creative outlet for your unique personal story.

Go tell your story, inspire & encourage others.