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Re-use, Repair, Re-purpose, Recycle… that’s what we do.

I would say that farmers are better at this than anyone else… Re-use, Repair, Re-purpose, Recycle.

Re-use: If it’s a container or a box that had anything but something toxic, it gets re-used. Yes, we slap a new label on it, so we know for sure what’s in it. We re-use store-bought milk bottles for many things, from our own milk (we don’t sell it), to using as a water bottle to fill a small animal waterer.

Cottage cheese containers are used for leftovers, as well as for seed collecting. Again, labels are needed.

This morning we had some leftover granola cups. Those make great “mis-en-place” containers for pre-measuring ingredients in a recipe.

Repair: We repair anything we can at least once if not forever (well, as long as it’s useful). Fences are probably repaired more times and for longer than anything else we own.

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Posted in Around the farm, Do it yourself time
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Hoop House: Details of the construction

I’ve been asked to share the details of our hoop house construction in a blog post, so here goes…

After many hours (really weeks) of research, we chose to do business with Grower’s Solution of Tennessee. They actually design, test, and construct their own hoop houses.  Their prices (even with shipping) were as competitive as anyone. They also guarantee their covers for four years, which was a major requirement for complying with our EQIP High Tunnel grant terms.

We ordered the framework for the two hoop houses together to save on the motor freight costs. We received 15 bundles and one box containing all the extras, like all the screws we needed (except for the ones to attach the base boards), the connectors, etc.

We personally felt there could have been more clarity and more diagrams in the instructions. We spent a lot of time reading and re-reading to be certain we were correct in our construction.

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Posted in Do it yourself time, High Tunnel
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Seeing the “end of the beginning”

We’ve reached that point in the hoop house project where we can now see the end of the beginning.

The end in that the power company has now switched our power to the new service panel, and we’re within a couple minor tasks of being ready to install the double covers. That signals the “end of the project” and we can get paid.

So here’s how the past several days have gone.

I pretty much finished my part of the trench just before my right shoulder said “that’s enough out of you for a while”. I’ve dug to a point that is 4 ft away from the outgoing lines. Now we’ll wait for the power company.

We had a couple of neighbors over last Sunday to assist us with finishing the “overhead” stuff, like securing the bow sections with self-tapping screws, and helping install a couple of the frames on the ends. 

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Posted in Do it yourself time, High Tunnel
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Back to hoop house construction

Hoping for no further distractions, we’ve now turned most of our attention to the hoop house construction. We’re two weeks later than we’d like to be, but had to solve the water/electric service issues to make this whole project work correctly.

I know, it’s pretty obvious why we needed the water. That’s so we could create our drip system, and later, the auxiliary overhead spray system (to be used when we have cover crops down).

The electricity is a necessity, as our hoop houses are being modified from the usual single-skin type. Here on the desert, where the wind blows really hard, we’ve found that only double-skinned, inflated hoop houses survive more than a couple of years. And yes, we’re putting our own money into that part of the project.

Basically, with a double skin, you add an inflation fan and blow air between the two layers.

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Posted in Do it yourself time, High Tunnel
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The water line from hell…

There’s this water line on our property that we’ve now dubbed the “water line from hell”. We installed it about five years ago with the help of our neighbor. He brought his backhoe over and dug a 60 foot trench from the chicken house to the sheep/cow pens. I can remember as he was digging, the trench kept collapsing. That should have been our first clue that we would grow to hate this project.

And so begins the story…

Shortly after we built the chicken coop, we were removing a leaky frost-free hydrant. I remember we began by hand-digging a very large hole. Seems the frost-free hydrant has begun leaking and needed to be replaced. Simple project… dig it up, disconnect it, replace it, put the dirt back into the hole.

No… it wasn’t that simple.

We began by following our neighbor,

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Posted in Do it yourself time, Farm Tales, High Tunnel
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  • Goats helping photographer
    Hey, we'd love to help you take your pictures.
  • Coco's little calf born July 30, 2014
    Coco's little calf born July 30, 2014.
  • Cindy feeding Chaffhaye
  • working in the kitchen
    Bev recording milk weights, Shari stirring the Cajeta
  • The first two little doelings.
    The first two little doelings.
  • Mom with Thor
    Mom is cuddling our new buckling, Thor.
  • cargo trailer
    Our Farmer's Market cargo trailer.
  • Hand digging trench
    Shari pitches in and digs up broken water line.

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