The weather forecast for Tuesday was below freezing temperatures and a chance for snow. That has been the mantra for the last couple of weeks. What was different was the forecast for a calm wind. Now that was news and I prepared to try again to cover the high tunnel with 6 mil plastic.
We had left the plastic lying on the ground along the tunnel. The sudden influx of wind cut our last effort short a week ago. Since then the Blue Grass Valley had endured another blizzard and eight inches of snow. The snow helped to keeep the plastic from blowing away. So first order of business was to clear the 104 foot long plastic of the ice and snow from the last blizzard. Then the decision was made to try and pull the plastic up on the framework. Some ropes were tied to bunched plastic every 20 or feet along the length of the plastic. Since the window for calm wind was short, I decided to attempt to pull the plastic up before my high school help arrived after school. The three person job had just morphed into a more compact crew, namely me myself and I.
So here is how it looked as I started pulling the plastic up one rope at a time.
You can see I used ropes to pull the plastic up as high as I could before moving down the line to get some of the plastic up along the entire length of the tunnel. I felt pretty good about things so I stopped to take a few pictures.
As I resumed the pulling, a small breath of wind came and soon the plastic started to slip back down the side of the tunnel. I had decided not to tie the plastic off on each rope because the wind was calm. You would think I would be a tad more cautious. My sense of calm vanished with the soft and gentle puff of the mountain zephyr. (I can wax poetic now, but at the time I was bit more earthy in my assessment of the situation). I vowed not to take any more pictures until I got the plastic secured down. After a few minutes I was able to regain my advantage and had the plastic up and over with some more pulling and sliding down the bows with ropes in hand.
Following the advice of my high tunnel supplier, Ed Person of Ledgewood Farms, I doubled my end board screws as well as attaching my roll up side rails prior to securing the plastic to the hip boards. Finally I used straps to go up and over the tunnel to take out some of the slack as well as securing the side walls and roll up sides. The snow started to fall as I was finishing up and with the snow came the wind again. Hello old friend. I’m ready for you now.
I picked up the camera again once I was confidant the tunnel plastic was staying put. The tunnel design sheds the snow fairly well and as I finished up I was greeted with the sound of snow slooshing down the plastic and a thump as it hit the ground. Inside the house was pretty neat too.
The sounds inside were the flicks of snow hitting the roof and some soft flapping of plastic against the metal bows. Now all we need is the sun to come out and melt the snow inside, dry it up enough for me to bring the tractor in and start the process of preparing the beds for their seed.
Its a new day.