It’s Not That Bad

The plastic was on the hoop house for a day, draped loosely, and then the storm hit.  We couldn’t anchor it at the base until we tested it with water.  Nature obliged.  Buckets of water began to pool between the support strings and the Bearded One ran out to gently poke the stretching pockets of water from inside the hoop house with a broom to empty them.  Then he came back in and we watched the torrential rain and wind from the window as new pockets filled.  The Bearded One was morose and mused, “No spine.  It wants absolute rigidity to solve its problem.”  I said, “That’s what he said.”  Neither of us laughed.  We ended up taking off the plastic as dusk was going dark.  It’s heavy.  Three inches of rain fell that night.

The next morning, the Bearded One was in a dark mood and called his cedar arch hoop house design a debacle.  He hated the look of the “clear” (milky white translucent…) hoop house plastic; he likened it to looking at a propane tank straight out our back window.  “Butt ugly,” he said. 

I wouldn’t say that, but I was surprised and a bit disappointed at the opaqueness.  We had both dealt successfully with the idea of the plastic, but not the reality.  Hoop houses should be out of sight.  We just don’t have another sunny place.  Our older Twenty Something daughter happened to be here on the single day the plastic was up.  “It’s not that bad,” she said.

It's not that bad.

It’s amazing to me that I had never heard of a hoop house three months ago.  We went to the dentist early this week and on the way I saw at least fifteen hoop houses.  At the dentist, I overheard another patient talking about his huge tomato hoop houses.  They’re springing up everywhere all of a sudden — a strange, huge mushroom crop — because all of last year we had only 15 days of 80 degrees or higher.  It’s starting out that way again this year.  The hygienist said she’d noticed them.  She was curious, diplomatic.  She didn’t use the word eye-sore, but I could hear it in her voice.

Our veterinarian was also here on that single plastic day.  She is a rural doc who comes out to the house in her minivan, like the vet in the book All Creatures Great and Small.  She taught us how to immobilize a cat for treatment — grab its neck skin confidently like its mama once did and with your other hand hold the back legs together.  The cat instantly succumbs and it is an amazing thing to watch.

The Bearded One did the honors and both animals got their overdue vaccinations.  Ruby got a Leptospirosis shot, which is for a specific bacteria that killed a dog, Honey Girl, on our road last month.  They get it from drinking standing water and it shuts down their kidneys.  It’s apparently a bad year for it.  Ruby will lie down and roll over to the command “Medicine,” which always cracks up the vet.

The vet's box on the kitchen floor next to the kitchen table where she administered Garfield's vaccinations

The vet has said that she will teach us the vaccination and worming protocols for the goats when we get them, and that Ruby’s teeth had too much tartar.  We need to brush them or give her a nyla-bone (Ruby won’t touch them) or there could be trouble.  As she left, she didn’t comment on the hoop house, and it was right there.  Well, the edge of it is visible from the driveway.  Was she politely ignoring it?

The bright side in all this hoop house business is the inside, we both agree.  The hoop house with the plastic on is wonderfully light and still and warm inside, exactly what I’d hoped for.  The plastic is thick and sturdy feeling, and the Bearded One has rigged a rigidity solution.

Ten 16-foot cedar boards brings the hoop house total cost close to $600.

Lengths of cedar decking tied to the arches the full 30 feet of the hoop house will SURELY solve the problem. 

The next step.

“Some projects eat you up,” says the Bearded One, and I kiss him.  Our daughter is right.  It’s not that bad.


5 responses to “It’s Not That Bad

  1. kathie prater

    Eyesore?….I think not….eyesores are acres of garbage filling landfills, spilling over and producing odiferous smells. This, my Dear, is good old fashioned American ingenuity at it’s finest! Good for the environment, good for the future, and good for you! Eating local, and home grown food is the BEST thing you can do! I’m all for it! You will be feasting on your home grown vegetables, eating honey from bees that you raised, and eating goat cheese on your salads…sounds like paradise to me, and as any Spiritual person can and will tell you….paradise is NOT an eyesore! All you need now, is a few grape arbors, and you’ll be dring wine! I love you! Give my love to all at the farmlet, human, animal, vegetable and mineral, and to the children who will be coming home for the summer as well! I think it’s wonderful how you and Keith are carving out you own little personal heaven. Mother Christi, Father Keith, and the Holy Goat!!!! Birds and bees…flowers and spring water…lovely paradise indeed!

  2. Annie Killien

    Its not about what anyone else thinks, its weather you can live with it and you and beard boy don’t mind looking at it all the time cause you will be the ones looking at it the most. If it really bothers you guys, I’m sure you could find another spot for it. Behind the goat barn? Over between the berries and fruit trees? Or maybe right where it is:) Love you both, see you very very soon!

  3. Christine Widman

    Hi Christi,
    I agree completely with Kathie. American ingenuity & SKILL at its finest.
    I like the Hoop House. It says cozy and warm to the plants. It says growing things despite the rain to the earth…and to you. That’s all that matters.
    We had rain yesterday – about 1/100th of an inch. It rained for 25 seconds. It was absolutely thrilling.
    Flagstaff had snow!!! An actual accumulation of snow – all day – temps in the 30s. Our oldest daughter called worried about the tomato plants she had put in the ground several days ago in weather watching confidence that all was now – in mid-May – warm and well. My grand-daughter hollered over the phone, “Grammy, Mommy and I put little coats on the tomatoes and now ALL the tomatoes have WHITE CAPS on them.” She’d love the hoop house – probably deciding fairies played inside it at night.
    I think fairies probably do play at your farmlette – since it is a magical place.
    Sending joy,

  4. It’s great. Our backyards don’t need to be livingrooms to show off our sense of style. Neither do they need to pretend to be the forest. If we want all of the beauty of “unspoiled” nature we can go hiking in the actual forest. Meanwhile, our yards help support us and provide food. I’m sure that’s why you built the hoophouse. No need for regrets. Its practicality and simplicity is beautiful. It’s beautiful you are growing your own food.
    I had the same feelings when we began to use our yard for raising chickens, drying clothes on a line, vegetable gardens with hoophouses etc. I just let go of the idea that the yard was there to demonstrate my sense of style and taste. It was hard at first. But consider this: is it better to have a little plastic in the yard or continue with a life that is fully dependent on discrete, tastefully hidden but ubiquitous plastics and other fossil fuel-dependent acoutrements? Home-grown lettuce or packaged baby greens grown with near-slave labor in Chile with a plastic bag that gets tossed out and who knows how much oil burned to get the baby greens to the USA?
    Your doing the right thing!!

    • Thanks, Mike! You put it well. And we have embraced the hoophouse for, as you say, its practicality and simplicity. It works! I grew tomatoes that actually RIPENED for the first time ever in it. All the best to you, fellow farmer.:)

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