Monday, November 11, 2013

Barn Raising

The call came at noon. Could we be at our neighbor's Wild Carrot Farm at 2 p.m. for a barn raising, oops, make that a cold-frame raising? With temperatures expected to drop into the 20s tomorrow night, our neighbor needed to get the roof on his new cold frame asap. And he couldn't do it single-handedly.

Ken, our neighbor, recruited his wife, two daughters, sister, three young nieces, dad, another friend and his two sons, Ed and me. It took all of us working side-by-side to raise the plastic roof covering over the metal frame.

Ken had the process all worked out. He just needed some extra hands to pull it off. Every 10-feet or so along the edge of a long roll of plastic we wrapped the edge of the plastic around tennis balls and secured them with rope. The idea was that the tennis balls would provide a way to fasten the rope without putting holes in it. Ken had already slung the other end of the ropes up and over the top of the structure.

With five people on each side, the order was given to pull. Up we pulled the ropes from one side, across the apex, and then down to eye-level on the far side. That was the easy part.

The hard part was holding the rope tight enough to keep the wind from billowing the plastic up, up and away. It wanted to get away from us in even the slightest wind – but we held on, and prevailed.

Ken was up on a ladder most of the afternoon – adjusting the plastic, smoothing out wrinkles...

...and then applying wiggle wire to hold the plastic snuggly in the frame. 

Here's a view from inside the cold frame once the roof was fastened down. 

Our payment for our labor was a bushel of apples that we picked from two very-heavy laden trees up by the farm house. While the apples didn't look like the perfect ones from the store, they were organic, tastey and crunchy.  I've got plans to turn them into apple butter. 

It was a fun afternoon, a pleasure for us to participate. I think Ken was glad we came and enjoyed the work. He's got second cold frame to erect and he's going to need experienced workers. Sign us up.

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