11Jan2008

Haygrove Hurdle #1

This is our field on Tuesday, January 8th. We walked down to see if the ground was soggy or frozen to determine if it could support the weight of an 18 wheel tractor trailer and a 40 foot shipping container. The delivery of our much anticipated Haygrove hightunnel was scheduled for Thursday, January 10th, and we needed to get together a 6-man team, a place where we could unload a ton of pipes, and allow enough room for a tractor trailer to turn around! We decided that the field was not the place, as forecast for Wednesday was rain all day, which would melt the snow as well as create a muddy mess. So, we gathered some friends, devised a plan, and got up early on Thursday to receive our shipment! I must say, it was a really exciting day that went smoothly, and we had better weather than we could have asked for! So, with that, on to the pictures!

We got down to the Intervale at 8:30 am to get ready for the 10 am delivery. We decided that we’d unload all the pipes onto the hayricks so that we could move them down to our field at our convenience. We got an extra wagon ready just in case we needed more space.

The trucker arrived at 10:30 am – delayed at the border (our container arrived in Quebec) – he was masterful at tight turns and backing up, and was able to pull into our unloading place just fine.

Great place to unload a container!

We opened the container with bolt cutters, and the contents were revealed! It was quite a relief to see that it wasn’t packed floor to ceiling with pipes! At this point, the clock starts ticking – we get two hours free for unloading the container, then it’s $250 for each extra hour the driver has to wait!

So, we backed up the first hayrick, undid a bundle of pipes, and started loading!

This actually worked really well, and in no time, we had unloaded all the pipes!

This is one heavy hayrick!

The next batch of pipes and fittings is revealed, and loaded onto the other hayrick.

Then, the most unwieldy piece of the hoophouse is revealed – the 2500# roll of poly plastic that will make the house a house. The adept guys at Intervale Compost gracefully came over with their Bobcat and moved it with relative ease!

This was perhaps the most stress-inducing part of the project to think about beforehand. We honestly couldn’t really picture how this roll of plastic was going to come out of the container, but all it takes is having the proper tool to do the job! Now, we’ll have to get him to take it all the way down to the field!

We swept out the container, posed for the camera, and helped our trucker maneuver his way out. We did this part in record time! This part of the process just took us 1 hour and 30 minutes! We took a break for a few minutes to have some coffee and donuts, and then we were approached by a local guy that had gotten his truck stuck in a farm field while “muddin” aka 4-wheelin’, and could we please help to tow him out? While this guy shouldn’t have been back in farm fields in his truck anyway, Spencer’s good nature got the better of him, and we went and pulled his truck out of a cover-cropped field belonging to Intervale Community Farm.

I can’t believe we helped this guy!

We hauled him out of the mud, and in the process got quite dirty.

Kevin points out the appropriate bumper sticker that reads, “There’s no such thing as too much ammo.” Our sentiments exactly!

We decide to see if we can get down to our field since the snow is gone, and it doesn’t seem too soggy on the roads.

Once down there, we decide to save unloading time, and pull the pipes off halfway, then Spencer drove forward and all the pipes came tumbling out! A great plan!

All the pipes waiting for bending in a neat-ish pile.

We decide to go ahead and unload the other hayrick, too, and just be done with the day.

Our friend Kevin sticks with us until we’re completely unloaded.

Spencer is happy and ready to be done for this phase of the project!

Our field on Thursday, January 10th, 2008. How can there be no snow? It was around 40 degrees with the sun shining all day! We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weather day, for a project like this. Now, if only we get similarly nice days for the hoopbending, house erecting and plastic stretching days!

Here’s a photo from another farm that purchased the same Haygrove hightunnel that we did. This is to give you a sense of how huge this thing is going to be. Ours is 3 bays (not 6 like in this photo), also 300′ long. Each bay is 24′. This will cover a little over a half acre of our farm, and we expect it to revolutionize the way we do many things, not to mention getting a jump on the early season!

The unloading of the shipping container took us 4 hours total. We are now awaiting final approval from all sorts of powers that be to allow us to actually erect the structure. We are anticipating getting it up in late February or early March (depending on thaw), and skinning it with the plastic before April. Now, because of the great help we had from all our friends, we have successfully gotten over the first hurdle of this major project at Half Pint Farm! Many thanks to Kevin, Josh, Eric, Becky and Dave. We really appreciate your help!

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