Friday, July 20, 2012

Hoop house saga

In the fall of 2002, a hoop house was erected on my farm.  My brother and dad put it up. The neighbors came to help get the cover over the top of the frame, akin to an Amish barn raising.

For almost 10 years, the hoop house has been an ideal place to house my sheep and store feed and equipment. A few days ago, the seam at the top of the hoop house ripped and the hoop house began to peel open. To quote my brother, it now has a "sun roof."

Not a welcome site

The hoop house is mostly open along the top. The cover remains over about 30 percent of the frame and the sides are still mostly covered. I ordered a new fabric today. It will take a few weeks to get and make a deep dent in my bank account, unless insurance agrees to cover the loss.

In the meantime, if it rains, it will rain through the center of the hoop house. Severe weather, like the winds that broke it open, could cause more damage. I've got quite a few lambs in the hoop house. I have moved their hay racks closer to the sides. Some grain feeders remain in the center, exposed to the rain, but that just means I can't feed them when it is raining. They are hand-fed, so no grain is left in the feeders to get soiled. Rain will just wash the feeders out. The hay is in a corner that is mostly protected.

"Natural" ventilation

So far, we've had a dry summer (what's new?). Of course with my hoop house peeled open like a fish, we are bound to get gobs and gobs of rain, even in Clear Spring. Last night, we got an inch of rain, moisture that was definitely needed for the crops in our area. Fortunately, the storm didn't do much more damage to the hoop house.

The hoop house will be as good as new (better) in a few weeks. In the meantime, I hope I can keep the hay protected and the feeding areas under cover.  I suppose if things get worse, we can throw some big tarps over the top.

In better times

The new hoop house will be white (instead of gray). That should make it brighter and cooler.  I've also ordered some new fabric to make a roll-up door. The old door worked well, but is on its last leg.

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