May 29, 2010

Tunnel Raising

It's a fun endeavor. We get the crew together and move through the fields putting these up. The prep work is slow-going, but once the skeleton comes together, it starts to look like something. The tunnels require a few good, tilled beds to span and dozens of pipes driven alongside them. The girls get the job of burying the corkscrew stakes that will hold the ropes, and the guys get to use some muscle hammering the pipes.

Whatever we use to form the ribs scares me. Ted says that he's never had one break, but I get nervous as I shimmy down them and they bend to get in place. Then, comes the plastic. It's usually windy on Windflower, so there's certainly resistance, but it is so much fun. Looks and feels like tying down the sails of a ship, especially when a storm moves in and all the plastic needs to be ties down. We run around like rats on a ship deck and secure everything while the rain and wind comes down.

Years ago, tunnels were a novel idea and messy to deal with. Weeds grew just as happily around them as the plants we put in them and if we bordered them with black plastic, it was terrible to clean up that fall. Back then, the crew was half what it is now, so it wasn't uncommon to be one of the only people disassembling the caterpillars. This year, we used some straw and a biodegradable plastic that disappears in one winter.

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