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 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 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.
Lengths of cedar decking tied to the arches the full 30 feet of the hoop house will SURELY solve the problem.
“Some projects eat you up,” says the Bearded One, and I kiss him. Our daughter is right. It’s not that bad.