Tuesday, October 7, 2014

what the farmer sees

This photo, of Zinnia and Tony's daughter, was posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.

So many likes. Such a cutie pie, holding a bunch of colorful flowers with a look of pure joy on her face.

At first glance that is what I saw. Her parents tell us she now will eat the entire egg, not just the white, after trying our eggs. Happiness!

Behind her is a structure exposed to the outdoors. The plastic covering on our hoophouse has reached the end of its lifetime. Or beyond. Its a 4 year cover in its 5th year. The small slits and tears in it earlier this year were easily repaired by tape. Not anymore.

What the farmer sees? A cute girl who has a true, deep love for farm, food, flowers, eggs, chicks and everything else at Sunnyside Farm.

Also? A ton of work. The giant single (OK, used to be single, now shredding into multiple) piece of plastic needs to be removed. You struggle with folding the bottom sheet? Multiply by 100.

First, wiggle wire must be removed at each end. And side. Then the entire piece/s must be removed, keeping as much intact as possible. We have other uses on farm for this.

Then the new cover is carried in place, then secured so it does not blow away. We need a perfectly still day, wind free so we and this giant piece of plastic don't end up in Nebraska.

After the new cover is slid in place (with no rips, tears or weak spots we hope) every inch must be secured. 

Through the course of the year we get a couple days where the wind really rips. We always say it must be 100mph, reality is that it is about half that. A huge cover like this waits for a windy, icy, snowy day to collapse, unhinge, sail away or just turn to shreds. 

We must gently and firmly secure every inch of the perimeter. So that when a night of true stress happens this structure will shrug off high winds, heavy snow, pelting hail and protect what we grow in there year round.

We are in the midst of converting what is growing in here. Tender summer vegetables were stripped from the plants all of Saturday. Fresh plantings of winter hardy vegetables are going in.

And the roof is needed. This photo? A sweet girl. And a ton of fiddly, critical work behind her.

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