Beating the heat

By Michael Harrell: PNT Staff

Landscapers are some of the busiest day laborers during the summer months.

Loren Chatterton and Chris Hernandez work for Garden Source Nursery and Landscaping. Recently, they have been assigned to work out in the spring heat laying pavers for a new patio outside of a Portales restaurant.

Chatterton, who has been working for Garden Source for the past two years, says the main thing he does to keep refreshed in the heat is drinking water. Every workday this summer he has been laboring under the sun. Another good idea is to avoid wearing dark clothing, he added.

The employees said everything they’ve worked on this summer has been done outdoors.

“We do a lot of fences,” Chatterton said.

Another popular job they do in the area is Xeriscape, maintaining a water-efficient landscape with rock, gravel and desert plants.

The patio, which will be used as an outdoor dining spot for the restaurant, will be completed by Monday if everything goes right, Chatterton said.
— Michael Harrell

Bill Davis, an Eastern New Mexico University graduate student, is working on outdoor campus upkeep. He said trying to wear sunblock and drink water are the hardest, but most important things to keep up.

“It isn’t always easy,” said Davis. The water bottle he keeps with him during the day usually gets too hot to even want to drink, he said.

“We do the simple stuff that is really important,” he said. Edging the sidewalks and whipping the weeds are a few of the jobs he does during the day.
The workers get two breaks throughout the day where they usually migrate to the air-conditioned grounds shop on campus and drink the cool water offered there.

The construction of a new skate park in Portales is under way, and the people building it are scorching themselves doing so.

As the laborers worked hard laying down the concrete, Ernie Cordova, the supervisor of the project, oversaw from the shade of his tractor.

“To beat the heat we start working early and leave in the afternoon,” he said. He and the crew begin their shift at 5:30 a.m. so that they can be done for the day by 2 p.m. They take their breaks across the street under the shade of Rotary Park, according to Cordova.

The skate park is located in the parking lot of the recreation center in Portales.

— Michael Harrell