Sunseed Farm hoop-house 2

img_64351It was a rainy start to our second hoop build of the spring, but we were ready.  At least it was warm, and there was a good chance of sun for later in the day.  It was the mud that really was the challenge. But, hey, you all know by now that a little mud won’t get in our way! We’ve got Jedi volunteers who make the best of what ever Mother Nature sends our way.

Sure, the hoop house site isn’t an urban setting with all the amenities like a full kitchen and inside bathrooms with running water.  But, really, running water is overrated when you’ve got a hoop house to build.  An outhouse works just fine.  And we did have a cool tent with a living room and stove at our disposal thanks to the creativity of the Sunseed Farm crew, some of whom live on site much of the time.

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We started with the site marked off, corner posts squared, and bow supports in place, ready and waiting for the volunteer crew to arrive.

Sunseed Farm's 1st hoop is to the left.

Sunseed Farm's 1st hoop is to the left.

our early crew

our early crew

Notice the tall muck boots on most of the crew.  These folks had the right idea. Notice the coffee cups filled with Roos Roast too.  And, of course the Washtenaw Dairy donuts. We know what’s important on a work site.

our stuff, mostly protected from the rain

our stuff, mostly protected from the rain

mrs. selma & mrs. sunseed feeling the joy.

mrs. selma & mrs. sunseed feeling the joy.

more volunteers making their way in through the mud and rain.

more volunteers making their way in through the mud and rain.

the tractor was one vehicle that could make it through the mud

the tractor was one vehicle that could make it through the mud

the coffee seems to be working for Jeff

the roos roast blend seems to be working for Jeff

On to the site, and the day unfolding.

ground posts being installed

more ground post work

standing on wood planks to keep from sinking into the mud.

standing on wood planks to keep from sinking into the mud.

putting together the bows

putting together the bows

using the jig to make the bows all the same size and shape

using the jig to make the bows all the same size and shape

the first bow goes up

the first bow goes up

lining up the bows

lining up the bows

big team work

big team work

the sun came out as the bow installation continued.

the sun came out as the bow installation continued.

and the mud got thicker, the more we were in it.

and the mud got deeper, the more we were in it.

and more mud.

like this.

yep, like that.

yep, this too.

this kind of says it all, doesn't it?

this kind of says it all, doesn't it?

we heart heavy equipment

we heart heavy equipment

For a full-on 360 degree experience of how we worked with the muddy conditions check out this little video, shot by Trilby Becker.

bows up, just in time for lunch

bows up, just in time for lunch

We work hard, and we take well deserved breaks to eat and rest.  Feeding our volunteers delicious, hearty, healthy and locally sourced meals is a huge priority.  For this build, the Ann Arbor People’s Food Co-op helped us out big time by donating ingredients to make the sandwiches and other dishes that Tilby, I, and a group of volunteers put together.   Thank you so much PFC!  Trilby and I also send out huge thanks to the food prep volunteers who helped prepare the delicious lunch and dinner  for our on-site volunteers:  Elizabeth Beers, Rachel Chadderdon, Nancy Welker, and Jennifer Jensen spent their Saturday in our kitchen, putting together muffaletta sandwiches with variations to satisfy every dietary need, as well as making potato salad, hard boiling eggs, and packing up all the supplies to bring out to Sunseed Farm.  Milagros Paredes donated a chorizo and bean soup that big-time wowed the ominvores, as well as cooking up a richly flavored spicy lentil soup for the vegetarians.  Rachel Chadderdon made some luscious rhubarb cookie bars, and Siri Gottlieb donated a big tray of buttery and jam filled short bread bars.  Does anyone remember who made the batch of vegan cookies, and the very chocolate-y brownies?  Those were gone in a quick minute!

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another group shot before end wall construction

end walls put together, and ready to move 'em into place

end walls put together, and ready to move 'em into place

getting the end walls to the hoop

getting the end wall to the hoop

and up it goes

and up it goes

connecting end walls to the hoop structure

connecting an end wall to the hoop structure

with end walls up, nearing the end of the work day

with end walls up, nearing the end of the work day

a good days work, just in time for dinner

a good days work, just in time for dinner

getting ready for our feast. bbq chicken, marinated tofu, lots o' hotdogs a keg of Original Gravity amber ale, and s'mores for dessert.

getting ready for our feast. bbq chicken, marinated tofu, lots o' hotdogs, a huge tub of hoop house greens thanks to Sunseed Farm's first hoop, a keg of Original Gravity amber ale, and s'mores for dessert.

digging in.

digging in.

celebrating Nevon's 20th birthday with his favorite--apple pie

celebrating Nevon's 20th birthday with his favorite--apple pie

relaxing after a full day of satisfying work

relaxing after a full day of satisfying work

one more group shot of our smiling crew

one more group shot of our smiling crew

view to the west with a happy jessa enjoying herself.

view to the west with a happy jessa enjoying herself.

grateful for the rp&f volunteer juice, bathed by the setting sun glowing up the first sunseed farm hoop

grateful for the rp&f volunteer juice, bathed by the setting sun glowing up the first sunseed farm hoop

the evening turned to night, with a bonfire & a beautiful sky

the evening turned to night, with a bonfire & a beautiful sky

By the end of the day, we had nearly 50 people who had come out to help us raise this 2nd hoop house for Sunseed Farm.  The words thank-you just don’t seem to be enough.  How about profound appreciation? Deep gratitude, massive gratefulness, huge love? Or some combination of words that will capture how much joy there is in coming together as a community with our volunteers. Tomm and Trilby Becker, Jeff and I say Thankadore You to:  Megan Zlatos, Jeff Holden, Nic Parton, Dan Carroll, Nevon Clark, Lizzie Olenzek, Tom and Nancy Welker, Sean Kehoe, Jennifer Jensen, Helen Harding, Kyle Rhodes, Rob Naussbaumer, Mike and Rose Pitsch, Marty Weid, Brian Allnutt, Anne West, Misa Cady, Ian Daum-Bost, Courtney Peterson, Joel Panozzo, Heidi Perry, Morgan Nichols, Mike Sietkes, Lisa Dugdale, Sara Schlotterbeck, Hillary Bisnett, Dick Dyer, John, Marcy, Noah, Caleb and Will Veit, Melissa Cooper, Patrick Carmody, Edward Weymouth, Noah Miller, Andrea Bloom, Dale Finkelson, Howard Gold, Heidi Kumao, Kari Blouin, Walter Prettyman, Kate Long, Becky Otto and Beth Tarini and Kendal Kuneman.  Next time you see any of these folks, be sure to show them some love for their efforts.  Did I forget someone? Email me and I’ll get their name added pronto.

After enjoying  the bonfire into the wee hours,  all of us eased our way home.  We were tired, sweaty and covered in mud, and  we shared a feeling of camaraderie, a sense of measurable accomplishment, and a strong urge to fall into bed.

Sunday dawned clear, warm & still. Great conditions for the plastic pull.

Sunday dawned clear, warm & still. Great conditions for the plastic pull.

We had just the right number of people who showed up to help pull the plastic Sunday afternoon with Tomm, Trilby and Jeff.  Thank you to Nic Parton, Lizzie Olenzek, Kevin and Rachel Spall, Mike, and Jody Bogumil for spending the afternoon with us making the magic happen.

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Yesterday, Jeff and I drove up to Sunseed Farm to capture a few more photos of the hoop with the cover in place, and the side wall roll up mechanisms installed.  Finishing the end wall with plastic will happen soon.

view of the sister hoops from the west

view of the sister hoops from the west

view with the sides rolled up.

view with the sides rolled up.

inside looking out.

inside looking out.

looking west from the end wall.

looking west from the end wall.

img_6593I couldn’t pass up this last photo of the flower bed Tomm and Trilby invited their wedding guests to plant for them at their Sunseed Farm wedding last September.  These iris, in full bloom, are exceptionally lovely. Did you know that this beautiful flower has a history dating back thousands of years?  The word Iris comes from the Greek word for rainbow, and it is named for the Greek goddess Iris, who, among other things was a link between heaven and earth.  Whether your belief system includes heaven or not, I thoroughly enjoy the thought that these flowers, planted by the family and friends of Tomm and Trilby to grace their love for each other,  also represent the love for their farm, and  for the local food community to whom they have a passionate commitment to feed.

If this looks like fun to you, and you’d like to be part of this growing community of hoop house builders, sign up here for our next hoop build on June 5, at Needlelane Farm.

Thank you once again to all,
~Lisa

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