work-to-wow ratio

Years ago I worked in the engineering department of a manufacturing company. This department was relatively large -- it took up the entire second floor of the building -- but I spent a couple of years on a secret project that required a small team of us to stay sequestered in a small room. Being somewhat isolated from the rest of the department we went through a period where each of us discovered and told jokes to the rest of the team each day (informally -- we didn't setup a stage with stool and microphone or anything like that). We heard good ones and terrible ones in out limited time to interact each day, and with my brain in full engineer mode during those years I came up with what I called the "length-to-laugh" ratio. If your joke was a long one it better be hilarious, but if you had a one or two-liner it could be so-so and still end up with a good length-to-laugh rating.

What's the point of me telling you this? I've found that garden projects are similar, in that long projects really need to make a huge impact to be worthwhile, but quick jobs don't need to pack the same punch in order to make a difference. Today I have one of these short ones that rates really high on the "work-to-wow" ratio at least for me.


The lower branches on this black locust have been bothering me for a year -- probably since I planted this bamboo here. They're blocking the view of the bamboo, and creating a little more shade in this area than I want.

This still-small tree may go one of these years, but for now it's a necessary part of the garden. Robins nested in it last year, and hummingbirds use it as a look-out post to guard the nearby feeders.

As it turns out, there was a single branch that was causing the trouble, so I got out the pruning saw and spent the 15 seconds to remove it.

Here's a before and after as viewed from the deck:

So much nicer! (The view into my neighbor's fenced veggie garden will be obscured once the new bamboo culms branch out over the next month or so.)

Work-to-wow ratio: very high!

That's the ideal ratio for all projects, don't you agree?


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Steve Lau  – (May 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM)  

Looks like your atrovaginata is starting to take off for you. This species tends to upsize quickly to a point, but after 1 inch it seems to be kind of resistant to put on any more size.

M  – (May 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM)  

Of topic, but your neighbors vegetable garden looks impressive. Any chance we'll see a post about it?


Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 27, 2012 at 11:41 AM)  

Amazing! It's as if you removed the branch with Photoshop, not with a saw, LOL.

Bom  – (May 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM)  

I absolutely agree. Minimum effort with maximum output (as my wife puts it) is always more impressive. Wonderful view now of both your tree and bamboos.

Mary Pellerito  – (May 28, 2012 at 6:14 AM)  

I like your approach. I'm spending lots of time lately in the vegetable garden, which I hope will mean lots of good food.

Alan  – (May 28, 2012 at 8:57 AM)  

M: I'll post about my neighbor's garden once it really gets going. He's got much more room than I do, but also a woodchuck, so it's been interesting for him so far.

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