My new hoop house is almost complete! The construction phase is nearing it's end. The frame is up and gleaming, all of the bolts are tight, the wire lock is secure. All that is left is the plastic.
It's amazing how much easier it has been this time around. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise. They have a whole saying about this: "it's easier the second time" (or something like that). But, it's so comforting to actually have that bear out in farming. It makes me almost hopeful that next year could follow the same maxim... is that possible? Could farming not only be fulfilling, rewarding, and the most delightful way to pass the time, but also not kill me? Is that a thing? Eeek I hope so!
But seriously, building the new hoop house has been a lot easier, and as a result a lot more fun. A few reasons why:
1. This house is smaller. It's narrower—only 26ft wide instead of 30ft. It's also shorter. The site for this house is a bit sloped, so to compensate we had to drive in most of the ground posts much further, bringing the total hight of the building down a few feet. It's not much, but when you're teetering on top of a ladder it makes a difference.
2. I'm a lot stronger. This whole farming thing seems to be paying off. The physical demands of the construction have been a lot less taxing this time around. Also, there is something particularly satisfying about the act of swinging a sledgehammer when your muscles are strong enough to not only drive the post, but to also be able to focus on the accuracy of each swing. It's like threading a needle. Eventually anyone can get a string through a hole if one works at it for long enough; but one has to have the skill and precision which comes with practice to get it through every time (or at least most every time :).
3. The directions finally make sense! (At least sort of). Building a hoop house is like putting together a massive IKEA set. All of these pipes and boxes come in a pile on a tractor trailer and each piece has it's own set of bolts and clamps. So the game is to try to decipher the obscure pictures in the large white binder and figure out which steel pipe goes with which tiny bolt. The first time around it was like swimming through a fog of metal—it's so humbling to feel entirely incapable of reading instructions. The second time around you barely even need to look at the pictures. Ahh the satisfaction of experience.
Of course, it's dangerous to write this before the plastic is on. That is the final and most important step. And it is possible that there will be so much wind over the next two weeks that I will have to postpone my long awaited vacation in order to get this house finished. But, I'm hopeful that the good holiday cheer will be with us and that the final step will follow the rest of the building and be satisfyingly easy to complete. Please! Let's all cross fingers and think happy thoughts... All I want for Christmas is a hoop house!