Switching Gears

This past week Alvin had Randy use his trac-hoe to trench for supplying each of our greenhouses with irrigation water, electricity and hot water lines so we can heat them using a wood boiler. Randy was amazing at running the trac-hoe and was able to trench right up to our greenhouse frames without touching the frame thus saving us a ton of work digging with a shovel!

Alvin's Trac-Hoe used by Randy to dig trenches for electricity, irrigation water and hot water from the wood boiler.

The farm looks disastrous right now with all these trenches, so the wood shed project is now on hold, and we have our work cut out for us laying water and conduit and pulling wire through the conduit to supply our greenhouse with electricity before the trenches can be filled in and HOPEFULLY we can fill the trenches before our next rainfall.

The farm looks disastrous with all these trenches!  It is very difficult to harvest from the greenhouses and one must be careful hopping across the trench with boxes of produce!

So while Randy was trenching, we ran into another underground spring, which means we need to fix a few drain lines that were installed by our forefathers. Alvin tells stories of the entire flats of Spring Creek being a “swamp” until our forefathers hand dug trenches and used pine trees and rocks to route water away from the fields and into the many branches of water that the Appalachians are blessed with. Once trees are buried they petrify and are just as good as the plastic drain pipes we are using today.
We have found a few wood trenches in the gazillion farm projects we have undertaken since farming this land and have replaced a few with 4 inch plastic perforated drain pipe.Once we have the water routed out of our trenches, we will then run our electric wire in conduit, then we will place a foot of dirt over the conduit, after which we will run our irrigation lines from our well house. You might notice from the photograph that our trenches are 3 feet deep which meets code in our area for burying electricity.

We will be using 1” PVC water lines to supply each greenhouse with water for irrigation. Currently we are using a hose that runs from our well house to the greenhouse which freezes and provides a great chew toy for the rodents so it will be nice having PVC running to each greenhouse! Once the PVC is glued, we will put another foot of dirt in the trench so that we can then place the hot water lines from the wood boiler so that they are a half foot deep.

Power running from our equipment barn to our wood shed.  From the wood shed, we have a run of electricity to each greenhouse

We are excited about the wood boiler because that means we might have fresh greens the entire winter and hope to extend our CSA season by 2 weeks in the spring and 4 weeks in the fall! We normally are able to eat from the greens in our unheated greenhouse until January before it is just too cold for things to grow. We hope to provide our neighbor Patty with greens all winter because she has a cancer and is juicing kale and swiss chard as part of her “raw foods” treatment. We know of several folks who have had cancer tumors with their tumor shrinking considerably after adopting a mostly raw foods and organic diet. I do believe in the power of food for keeping people healthy! (Several folks we know had been given a life expectancy of a few months and that was a couple years ago – their Dr. is amazed and not sure why – GO ORGANIC!)

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