Some places have two seasons – the rainy season and the dry season. Most everyplace else has four seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Kansas has five seasons, and we’re in that fifth season right now. Kansas’ fifth season comes squarely between Winter and Spring. The nights are still cold enough to freeze everything solid, but in the daytime the 40-something temperature is just warm enough to turn the ground into a thick, soupy mess. You guessed it, the fifth season is Mud Season. This year’s mud season is especially muddy, due to the larger than usual amounts of snow we received this year. A walk through the garden makes ankle-deep footprints that immediately fill with water, and leaves a person wondering if their boots will be left behind with the next step. It is in this type of mud that we were out yesterday, trying to set up a new high tunnel that we got at Christmas.
Martin had a great idea on how to line up the poles that get pounded into the ground – he got a 20-foot long 2x4, and drilled four holes in it at the appropriate spacing, figuring that once we get the first four posts pounded in through the holes, we move the board down two spaces and pound in the next two poles. A brilliant idea, I thought, and so I suggested that we skip the usual batter boards and string, and just get started pounding poles in using his 2x4 alignment tool. Our son came over to help, and our daughter’s boyfriend did too, and we were making pretty good time, and got all 17 poles on one side pounded in. Then we looked back down the row of poles and realized that instead of a straight line, they drew an arc in the mud. Apparently the 2x4 had warped when it got wet, and the holes were no longer aligned. So, we put up our batter boards and string, and figured out which poles needed to be pulled out and moved. If there’s any blessing in the mud, it’s that the poles were fairly easy to pull out and move. We ended up getting only the 17 poles on one side done that day, plus the corner poles for the other side.
A day wiser, Martin and I set out this afternoon to get a few poles installed on the other side, and to get a few of the bows up, so it would at least look like we were making some progress. It turned out the 2x4 tool still worked well to get our spacing, as long as we used the string for alignment. Four done, 13 more to go! Then we just have to add the top purlin, bracing along the sides, the end walls, the plastic, etc…. I hope we’re done in time to start planting!
Keep your socks dry,