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20 Cucumbers in the Trash Why We Are Just Not Gardening People
Between the lawn-mowing business I had during my childhood and the fact that my wife hails from Iowa, you’d think one of us would have a green thumb. The truth is we can’t produce a good crop to save our lives. And I really, really don’t like yard work. More often than not, it’s too exhausting for what little return we get. When I was growing up, neither of my parents were gardeners. I would often mow our lawn and have to listen to my father lecture me on the patches I missed in the yard. From junior high school to college, I would mow neighbors’ lawns for cash, earning a pretty nice income. Meanwhile, my wife grew up with farmers in Iowa. Her grandparents had an entire empty lot where they grew vegetables and fruits. Sadly, people would sneak into the garden and steal from them. It’s ironic because Keri’s grandfather was the type of man who would give away his crops to anyone who asked. Regardless, Keri never gained a green thumb. (So much for the Midwestern farmer’s daughter that the Beach Boys sang about.) Every year, we try to plant a crop or two in our garden box, and every year, we gain little for our efforts. Even the plants we were gifted aren’t producing anything! Our tomato plants offered a semblance of fruit, my blueberry bush has only provided two handfuls of blueberries, and our strawberries went to hell this year — much to the delighted squirrels who got a snack out of our misery. The only vegetable or fruit that we’ve had luck with are cucumbers, which is great. I love cucumbers! But the reason we were picking bushels of cucumbers was that unbeknownst to my wife and I, our daughter was fertilizing with Miracle-Gro every day. Essentially, she was
beefing up our garden operation with steroids, and we suddenly had more cucumbers than a family of non-gardeners knew what to do with. Bewildered by the output, it was the talk of the family. It was only then we discovered what she had been doing! When you’re expecting your yield to be terrible each year, it’s easy to get frazzled when one year you have cucumbers coming out the wazoo. There’s only so many things you can do with cucumbers, and we can’t preserve anything. Plus, everyone is growing cucumbers. Giving away our massive yield was nearly impossible. Despite our terrible luck with gardening and yard work, there is one crop that I will always spend a few hours tending to: huckleberries. I’m a fiend when it comes to huckleberries; I can’t get enough. One of my favorite meals is huckleberries with buckwheat pancakes. I will always put in the effort to find huckleberries if it means I get buckwheat pancakes. Every year, our family treks over near Cascade, Idaho, to pick huckleberries. It’s a very public patch, and it’s not a place that was passed down to us or anything like that. (We know how Idahoans get with their huckleberry spots.) But we get a sizable harvest each year out of the slow tedious process that is picking huckleberries. When our kids were younger, they were excited to go, and every year we get a solid 30–40 minutes of work out of them before they’re bored. But I’m there for the pancakes; I’ll keep working for that meal. It’s not like I have a booming garden to get back to at home. Might as well get something out of this harvest season, amiright?
LET THE ROBOTS DO IT Automation Has Come to Small Business
Running a small business means wearing many hats. More often than not, CEOs find themselves moonlighting as marketers, customer service specialists, human resources representatives, project managers, and just about any other job that needs doing. That’s why more and more entrepreneurs are exploring automation to free up their time and focus on growing their business rather than just keeping it afloat.
of a project manager have been automated thanks to applications like Apptivo. With features to track tasks and submit timesheets, this scalable tool allows everyone to stay up to date on the logistics of business and make coordination a breeze. Response Time Is Everything Many small businesses hesitate to bring “bots” into customer-facing operations because they don’t want to lose their human touch. But humans are busy, and an unanswered request for a quote or a delayed response to a question will quickly give current and potential customers a bad impression. That’s why software like Keap exists. Keap allows you to send automated email responses at the first point of contact. This message can be as simple as an acknowledgement that their message was received and will be answered soon. The important part is that your customers are reassured that they are being heard.
Automation on Your Level In the past, automated systems were solely within the purview of big
businesses. Applications for organization were either too expensive or too wide in scope to fit the needs of smaller companies, but those days are over. Plenty of tools have been developed to help you and your team reduce workloads and run more efficiently, no matter your company’s size. Reducing the Chaos Unless your business is large enough for several project managers, chances are that every employee is responsible for their own organization. This quickly leads to miscommunication, conflicting schedules, and roadblocked projects. Thankfully, many basic functions
Far from making your business more robotic, automated tools allow your team to focus on what they do best. That means more time for thoughtful customer service emails, personalized interactions with customers, and well- executed projects. That’s something you and your clients will appreciate.
See What Our Customers Are Saying
At MicroTech Systems, our mission to provide 5-star IT service wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated employees. Whether they have been with us for years or weeks, we appreciate their commitment. We would like to recognize the following employees on their workiversaries! Sam, 2 years as of Sept. 16 Matt, 2 years as of Sept. 16 We would also like to wish Scott a very happy birthday this September! Cheers to many more years, guys!
“Our company has been using MicroTech’s services for years. They have supported our practice through many changes and growth, all the while maintaining professionalism and eagerness to help. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.” -Michelle Ashley
Have Tech, Will Travel
KEEP YOUR TECHNOLOGY SAFE WHILE YOU TRAVEL WITH THESE TIPS
Whether traveling takes you to the beach or the boardroom, the advent of technology has made traveling easier than ever. Waiting out airport delays or sitting in traffic isn’t so bad when you can listen to your favorite podcast or catch up on “Game of Thrones,” but traveling can leave your technology’s defenses down. Use these tips to stay protected while you jet off on new adventures.
defenses and must rely on public Wi-Fi, don’t spend hours surfing the web or scrolling through websites you must log into. Keep it quick and vague. Charging Conundrum Airports, bus terminals, train depots, and even hotel business centers have responded to the technology increase by installing charging stations and USB-friendly charging options. But be cautious before happily plugging in for
Weird Wi-Fi The biggest travel trap you can fall into is logging into public Wi-Fi. Whether you’re in an airport, conference center, coffee shop, or hotel, using public Wi-Fi leaves your device susceptible to hackers and viruses. There is extremely low security on these networks, which increases your technology’s risk. Instead, opt to use your phone as a hotspot, or if you do a lot of traveling, invest in a personal Wi-Fi device. This creates a personal and private network that will provide a greater defense against malicious activity. If you must use public Wi-Fi, utilize your personal or company-wide virtual private network (VPN). The VPN gives you an added layer of security like you would have at home or in the office. If you have none of these
extra juice. There have been several reports that indicate USB charging stations can be, and have been, hacked to gather the data on your device. Regular wall outlets are usually fine, but we suggest purchasing charging packs. These are inexpensive, and they are a private alternative, much like your phone’s hotspot or a portable Wi-Fi device. At MicroTech Systems, we’re experts at keeping your home or office technology secure and safe, and we know the need for security doesn’t stop when you get up from your desk. Learn more about protecting yourself on the road or at home by visiting MicroTechBoise.com or call (208) 345-0054.
Have a Laugh!
Cacio e Pepe
Italian for “cheese and pepper,” cacio e pepe is like a refined version of mac and cheese. It’s crowd-pleasing enough to satisfy the pickiest eaters and refined enough to sate the foodies.
6 oz pasta, ideally spaghetti or bucatini 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and divided 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, ideally Parmigiano- Reggiano 1/3 cup finely grated pecorino cheese Kosher salt, for pasta water and to taste
1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stopping 2 minutes short of desired doneness. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. 2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add pepper and cook until toasted and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer.
3. Transfer pasta and remaining butter to pan and reduce heat to low. Add Parmesan cheese and cook until melted, tossing pasta throughout. Remove pan from heat and add pecorino, continuing to toss until cheese is melted and sauce coats pasta.
4. Transfer to bowls and serve.
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Our Gardening Curse
Automation Has Come to Small Business
Travel Tips for Your Tech
Cacio e Pepe
A Reading List for Real Success
Build a Millionaire’s Library Book Recommendations From the Ultra Successful
What does every successful person have in common? They read. Avid reading is a key characteristic of the ultra successful because, through great ideas, you can learn how to achieve your full potential. If you want to be more successful in business and in life, you should definitely add these great books to your reading list. ‘Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street’ by John Brooks Who read it? Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Famously loaned to Bill Gates by Warren Buffett himself, “Business Adventures” was written and originally published shortly after the stock market crash of 1962. In this book, John Brooks recorded the successes and failures of 12 major companies of the era, including Ford, Xerox, and General Electric.
we should never underestimate our own artistic spirit.
‘It’s Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles From a Life at Starbucks’ by Howard Behar Who read it? Katrina Lake, founder and CEO of Stitch Fix
Starbucks is known for its quick coffee and seasonally controversial cups, but that’s not what turned the company into a world-conquering success. In “It’s Not About the Coffee,” Howard Behar highlights the importance of company culture and the role business leaders play in helping their team members reach their full potential. ‘Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration’ by Ed Catmull With Amy Wallace Who read it? Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, is responsible for some of the most successful animated movies in the history of cinema. “Creativity, Inc.” explores the creative process behind such films and how this process can be replicated in any industry. Forbes has suggested that Catmull’s book “just might be the best business book ever written.”
‘Letters to a Young Poet’ by Rainer Maria Rilke Who read it? Jen Rubio, co-founder and president of Away
From 1903–1908, renowned German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote letters to a young, aspiring poet. These candid thoughts from one of the greatest artistic minds offer insights on life, love, and how to fully experience the world we live in. Each letter is a valuable reminder that
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