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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hoophouse Time!

I don't care what the groundhogs around here predicted about spring coming late, I say they are wrong and my proof is the 4 buzzards (black turkey vultures) I saw soaring just north of Hueston Woods State Park on Saturday afternoon. The tulips and lilies coming up in about every yard that has them planted (though I have yet to see any crocuses). And the fact that today we started hauling out the hoophouse equipment so we can start putting up hoophouses in the next few days for lettuce and the strawberry plants that will arrive March 15th, or there abouts.

It was a fine day. Not a cloud in the sky (except the occasional chem trail). It started out chilly with a heavy frost and tufts of snow still hanging out on the north side of the hills, trees and grassy knolls. But by noon most of the snow was gone, the pond was about half melted and Eugene was busy opening up another bed (which makes 27 of 'em). After lunch we decided to start getting the hoophouse stuff together. We started with taking 3 100' x 25' rolls of greenhouse plastic out to where they will be used. They were heavy and smelled like cat pee (the last 3 years we have had several neutered male cats who would hold pissing matches against the hoophouses). Good thing they will be used outside. Next we opened the container that holds the hoops and rebar stakes for the skeleton of the structures and found we had to move several long (500') pieces of landscape fabric that we use for mulching crops. So we hauled those out to the field and laid them out. The plan is to cut them into 50' pieces so they fit our beds tomorrow. Would have done it today but no one had a knife nor wanted to go find one.

Finally we could get at the hoops and rebar and started piling rebar on the cart so I could pull them out to the area where they will be needed. I got them where they needed to be and found myself out of breath. I started tossing them off the cart onto the ground but was stopped by eugene after I was half done. I was told we needed to put them on something like a skid. Eugene than told me there might be a skid in the barn and I asked why we couldn't use the skid we uncovered earlier this morning that was along the west fence (which is about 200' away vs about 1/4 mile to the barn which may or may not have a skid that could be used). he grumbled something and than went and got the thing and dumped the rebar stakes onto it. On the way back to get more we loaded the cart with an old gas tank and hauled that to the ever growing display of farm art we have for sale. Got back and loaded the cart up again with rebar stakes and took the second load out to the garden beds and though the load seemed heavier than the first. Going back with an empty cart was quit hard and it felt like it was loaded down big time. The problem was mud had encased the wheels and was rubbing against the supports causing a great amount of drag. Cleaned off the wheels and took the last load out and than decided it was time to make dinner.

Dinner will be a small pastured chicken we raised last year. I think we will be eating "Gimpy" the runt of the litter last year. He somehow broke a wing early on in his life which did nothing for his growth. The bird I am roasting is missing a wing and is under 3 pounds so it must be him. I will make delicata squash and probably kale that we did not grow but had to buy at Kroger's. It is no where near as good as our kale but it is better than no greens at all. And since we are not growing any greens this winter beggars cannot be choosers, though I would really like some chard and no one around here (other than us) sells the stuff. C'est la vie


Frank said...

My greenhouse smells like cat pee, too.
They get in through a small hole in the northeast corner. They don't cause too much trouble, just put their footprints in a tray every once in a while. Everytime I'm about to seal up the hole, I hear about someone losing a thousand or so plants to mice, and I end up leaving the hole. It's just that smell ....
Thank you so much for your kind comments about VirtualCSA. They mean a lot to me, coming from a fellow grower.
We do hard work, and if I may say so, we do serious work. We feed people. We need to stay deligent because of threats we seem to face from so many areas: the gov't watering down the standards, industries that see no problem at all with GMOs, supermarket chains willing to offer substandard food, consumers who grew up with picture perfect food available twelve months a year, etc.
I don't think you can stay in this business unless you're willing to confront all of these things on a regular basis. Some of the people I admire most I've met through farming and food activism circles.
But we need a sense of humor, too. All movements - agriculture, women's, anti-war - can founder and burn-out if they don't laugh at themselves every once in a while, and use a bit of humor to keep themselves in check. And then giggle and then get back to work.
When I came up with VirtualCSA, I worried that other farmers would not be able to see the site as constructive satire. I thought farmers might think I was poking fun at them, rather than poking fun at much broader societal trends. The feedback I've recieved thus far has been positive, and, of course, that makes me feel good.
Thank you once again for taking the time to view the site and send a comment.

Angie said...

Hi Lucy - could you put up a link to the virtual csa that is talked about above? I would be interested in checking it out.

Also, don't know if you saw my comment awhile back, but would really be interested in any information you could give about the hoophouses you and your husband build. We are looking for an inexpensive alternative to a kit for our first hoop.

Any information you could give would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks. Angie

Lucy said...

Angie there is a link in the side bar under "Foodie Links"

And yes I saw you rerquest and when I get my photos together I will remake the how to make a hoophouse page that used to posted on a now defunct website

When this will happen I don't know as I am getting busier and busier with farming.

Lucy said...

Update on having Gimpy for dinner.I thought I would have a problem eating something I had named but I did not. He was small but tasty. bubbed him down with our home made garlic powder, some kosher salt and a bit of wasabi powder and than roasted him in a 300F oven for a couple of hours.

Last nigh we finished him off in quesadeas. Flour tortilla shells, white cheddar cheese, a mix of sweet peppers, celery and yellow onion sauteed together. I put all ingredients onto the shells, folded the shells and popped them into a moderate over for 15 minutes. Topped with cilantro, salsa and sour cream. Yum.