I've been watching this site for a long while now and I truly believe it is as good a business resource as there is on the entire world wide web, for any industry. I've read nearly every thread on this site posted in the last several months. And my enthusiasm for what I learn from so many good and generous business men and women is sometimes tempered by frustration at the prevalence of the so many utterly negative posts this site seems to also generate. I'm not talking about the constuctive criticism or cautionary tales, which are invaluable. I'm talking about the nearly belligerent posts that seem to have no purpose other than discouragment Before I rant to much, I certainly would like to reiterate my thanks to all of the good people here who are kind enough to share their expertise, ideas, and encouragement to us "newbies." There is no reason for you to do that except that you are good people who want others to succeed as you have. And all of us who are berated by so many here for not spending 20 years as some kind of a weedeater apprentice for a bonifide LCO before daring to venture out there ourselves, we are very thankful for what you do here. I'm sure more than most of you realize. But, I hope you will permit me a small rant... Those of you who say time and again something like, "keep your job, don't get into the biz", that it's terrible for this reason or that... why do you even do this kind of work??? Really? Perhaps you can extend some of us the benifit of the doubt that we are sufficiently introspective to determine whether we want to try this or not. I never see the question, "should I try this business?" But I often see the questions, "how can I make this work? How can I get started?" Why are there so many responses that say in varying ways "don't even try", that we are not ready, that we don't have what it takes, that we don't know what it takes, that it sucks to work in the heat and we'll all quit by June, that we're just idiots who have been laid off from "regular" jobs and think we can magically ride our way to paradise on a $100 used snapper, etc? Another question: why all the defensiveness about the trade? Is there some sort of insecurity about the legitimacy of the profession? From some the overzealous comments, I surmise that there is. I think we all realize that there is a wealth of knowledge to be gained in this field. And I think we all know that most anyone can mow a lawn. The preceding two statements are not mutually exclusive. I can mow a lawn. And some people, many who visit this site, can make it into an art. My dad was a golf course superintendent for a major course, and a bit of a botany afficianado. From him I have been astonished to learn how much there is to know about groing grass and about managing it. Does it take that level of expertise to keep a yard nice? No. Do you need it to begin a small business? No. Does that knowledge have value? Yes! Will it help one manage turf better? Will it help create a better business? Absolutely! In short, we novices all know how little we know and how much we have to learn (that's why we come here). You don't have to beat us over the head with it when we ask a question that you deem elementary. And, really...sorry, but why is it that the most vehiment criticisms come barely legible? I mean, typos and misspellings are common to all of us, but you could at least use complete sentences when criticizing us. We're all in a hurry, but a period at the end of a sentence or two should not be hard to manage, especially when you are lecturing us about our professionalism or our ability succeed in the business world. Anyway, after my ranting I understand the irony and perhaps hypocrisy of the following request, but...Perhaps we can tone down the hosility just a bit. And please don't tell me that I am going to be eaten alive "out there" if I can't stand the criticism here. I can stand it just fine. I just have a response to offer it. I am sure this post will make me unpopular and I do regret that part of it. To those of you who have responded constructively to my many questions, I thank you again. And, as always, good luck to all of you this coming season! The Hippo rests.