SPARTA, NJ- A Sparta man has been making his corner of the community look beautiful for the past few years. Russ McCarrick has been planting flowers along both sides of the road at his end of West Mountain Road.
It is a labor of love. He starts by putting down some topsoil, then some potting soil then he gets to work.
“I could get it done in one day but now I just plant one section and take a break,” McCarrick said. It has been taking about three days.
After getting all the plants in the ground the toughest part is adding the mulch, McCarrick said.
He spent about $2,300 in plants this year he said. Two other neighbors get the “McCarrick treatment” as well with a few flats of flowers in their yards.
McCarrick is assisted by his neighbor he calls “the weed eater” who pulls the weeds and grasses that invade the mounds of color. McCarrick said the Weed Eater seems to enjoy pulling weeds and he barters some firewood for the services.
The inside of the home on the lake has also been beautified over the years out of desire and necessity. After a kitchen remodel was completed, a car crashed through the front of the house and the kitchen was done again. So, why not do the bathroom too…
He recalled an incident when a visitor came down the chimney and caused mayhem. After calling his son, a Sparta Police Officer, they confirmed he was not being robbed. It was a squirrel. The destruction created by the fluffy tailed monster required some additional remodeling.
McCarrick’s sons, "both hard workers," live in Sparta and work for the town one for the Department of Public Works the other for Sparta Police Department. His two daughters live out of town with their families in New York state and North Carolina.
His sons have also left their mark on McCarrick’s home. Proud dad points out the windows added, the side patio rebuilt and the new Japanese maple he got for Father’s Day – a replacement for a flowering pear tree lost to a storm.
Polka loving McCarrick said he will continue to plant the flowers with plans to expand “up the road a bit,” funds permitting.