Monday, April 28, 2008

We are almost there !!!

We had a small turnout Saturday , but got a lot done .. Four of the guys were in Raleigh helping Judge the NHA competition and a few others had prior commitments.

Don , Steve, Derick and William helped to plant the rest of the varieties for us, and mulched them as well. As it was so hot we also watered all the plants to keep them from withering. We do seem to have a bug or two that are enjoying new shoots, but all plants are pushing out multiple shoots that I am not too worried yet, Marigolds do seem to be working where they are already in place - I guess I need to plant a bunch more soon. The only disappointment so far has been the Chinooks , only three rhizomes have shown us some green , and they are now planted out, I keep hoping the others will shoot soon. There are only three other rhizomes that have not sprouted yet, so viability has been pretty good.

Not enough people for poles Saturday and Johnathan had been tasked by his dad to do another task at the same time , but we did get the auger working and dug all 8 holes successfully. This was Hard work and Don did a great job of making sure the holes were vertical, the old tractor had it quirks and I had to learn each one as I worked , the PTO drive did not like being engaged with full clutch in, had to lift it up a bit, and if you know tractors- the clutch is for guys with BIG thighs , we also did not have a pin on the PTO shaft, so each time the auger came up the drive shaft would fall off - grrrrrrrrrrr, but we got it all done.

Don shared a super beer at the end too, we all needed a pint working in that heat. I ducked at 5 and the rest carried on working till about 6pm in the end as Johnathan arrived just after I left.... It was suggested that we try again Sunday to get poles in place.

So after a 7:30am tennis match and a full morning deck building out at Bulamanzie Farm, I came back just in time to start at 3pm with poles. Of course the regulation black clouds started to form just after we started work. Jason, Dan , Derick, Sam , Mark and I were all out there and Johnathan arrived very soon after that to work the excavator to raise the poles. We decided to try and deepen each hole a bit and used a longer albeit thinner auger blade to get another foot or so, so all 8 holes had to be reworked , that old tractor worked me solidly. Dan's young daughter Caitlin (sp) was the official photographer for us till the rain started.

We got the first two poles up and vertical when a light rain started , the guys tamped down the earth in layers and Dan, Johnathan and I got to it with the other poles. The rain steadily got stronger and unfortunately the dry soil turned to red clay mud very quickly, we decided there was no point in tamping the poles as the mud would not pack correctly, using an alu ladder to remove the chains we were using to raise the poles was a bit hairy as lightning flashed overhead..
but we did continue to raise all but the last pole into their holes, so we have 7 out of 8 happily vertical , with two permanently in place ,..... as I write this Monday midday it is still raining steadily with about 2" since it started. Good for hops and farmers, no good for soil needed for pole tamping.

The afternoon was ended as it so often does , in the garage quaffing a cold one. We were all too muddy and dirty to go inside yet again for the third work party weekend in a row.

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