Sunday, April 11, 2010

Haygrove, Season #2

This week saw us accomplishing a major project: the Haygrove got its skin put on! This is a very stressful project that almost completely relies on two things to be in line before we even begin to think of it happening: Firstly, you need a crew of willing workers - about 7 will do. Next, you need no wind. We can do this project in 3-5 mph winds, but no wind is really ideal. We set our sights on Wednesday, and began the familiar vigil at the computer, looking at and the hour-by-hour forecast, with particular interest in the wind speeds. We were watching and hoping the weather would be calm and beautiful like last year - anything more than 5 mph winds was a definite no-go for the project. For farmers, horror can come in many disguises: hail, too much rain, not enough rain, vandalism, and wind. For us, our fears are usually placed squarely on wind and hail. Picture a piece of plastic 25'x300' turning into a HUGE kite when the slightest wind kicks up... not a fun prospect, and a real mood dampener when really all you'd like is for the project to go off without a hitch, like a well-oiled machine.
Well, it really did go very well on Wednesday, that is until the winds kicked up from 5 to 7 to 10 mph winds! The plastic was blown off, and gingerly replaced by our intrepid crew of Half Pint Farm helpers. Needless to say, we didn't get too many pictures (stressed out as we were), but our friend Becky DID get some shots over her shoulder now and then during the process. Thank you, Becky! We decided to call it a day (due to being super stressed out after the wind episode), and tried to charm everyone back on Thursday to finish the job - luring people with hot coffee and donuts... ah well, if only locally made breakfast pastries were available at 6am, that could have been the lure! At any rate, we were able to secure our amazing crew once again, and we succeeded in getting the other two bays skinned - even though it was around 10
mph winds! Our trick was to thread the tension ropes AS we were tightening the plastic - this worked like a charm and we were able to send everyone home 2.5 hours after starting! I am proud of us to have the courage to continue on, even though the prospect was not good - windy, very windy. What a major success for this modern barn raising - not possible without the kindness of friends and colleagues; getting up at dawn to face frozen fingers, sore muscles, and a feeling of accomplishment... all for the sincere thanks and undying gratitude of a couple of urban farmers and...oh yeah, a couple of donuts and some coffee, too. We cannot thank you enough - and now our season is off to a rocking start thanks to you! We will be transplanting out our first succession of favas, carrots, lettuce heads, salad mix, spinach, arugula and radishes this very week - a full week earlier than last year! Here's to many hands (Alyssa, Jess, Josh, Chris, Bill, Becky, Aly, Nick, Kris & Linus) conquering the wind - let the season truly begin!

Mara helping to guide the tape to secure the end.

And now on the other side...

Alyssa and Mara holding the tension of the plastic while Spencer secures the top with tape and clips.

Securing the tops.

The doors get put on once all of the tension ropes are in place.

Tension ropes in place.

The doors are on, and we're in business!

The field looking like its old self. The only things missing now are the crops!

From the entrance. Next up - transplanting!


Teresa said...

What an impressive job. Now I feel really wimpy for not tilling the garden in our 15-20 mph winds.

Marissa Z said...

Nice info here. Keep us these great posts!