This post is wordy, but needs to be here so that we may look back and appreciate the hardships we encountered along the way.
May 29, 2010 Howard purchased lumber and more hardware to construct three 16 foot tall poles for our test row of hops plants. The local lumber yard did not carry beams this long, so the beams were constructed in 2 sections, bolted together. The poles needed to be sunk into the ground to a depth of at least 3 ft., so the total lengths of the poles are 19 ft.
A shorter beam was attached horizontally to the top of each pole to allow two separate cables to run the length of the hops plot. There would be strings extending from these cables to the ground next to each hops hill. This would allow for the adequate aeration of the vines during the growing season.
May 30, 2010 Howard completed construction of the poles at our farm yard. Having access to electricity and cold beverages helped expedite this task. Especially since it was 90 degree weather!
May 31, 2010 Upon transporting the poles back to the plot to be erected, Howard encountered a mysterious visitor. A very large turtle (at least a foot long shell) had planted itself in a hole close to our Hallertauer hops. We were wondering what kind of creature was making strange "hole like" tracks in our strip of worked up soil. It seems the turtle was appreciative of the loose dry soil as a place to lay its eggs. We had no idea that turtles this big resided on our farm. We are continuously amazed at the endless variety of animal species who choose to make their homes on our farm.
Anyways, this was the beginning of a very frustrating day.
After finally getting our old Deutz tractor started and fixing its flat tire, Howard managed to hitch up the old post hole digger and head out to the hops plot to dig the holes for the mighty poles. I drove out ahead of him and waited. When he finally arrived, he had a funny look on his face and stated, "the bridge made a strange sound as I drove over it". I shrugged my shoulders and said, "let's get going here"
The three holes were dug with ease with the big old equipment. Thank goodness we didn't have to dig these holes by hand. One foot beneath the topsoil, rested the purest clay I have seen since visiting a pottery studio. I made a couple of clay marbles just for fun.
It was time to go up to the house for lunch. I left ahead of Howard and drove around the apple tree to the bridge and stopped the truck dead in its tracks. The tired old bridge was no longer horizontal. It rested at at least a 20 degree angle in front of me. Perhaps if I floored the accelerator I would cross the bridge and launch the truck 10 ft into the air.
Howard was able to straighten the bridge back out with some beams he had stored at his nearby deer camp settlement and the truck barely crossed the unstable bridge. The tractor was definitely marooned back on the meadow for now.
The gracious neighbor behind our farm allowed Howard to drive the tractor over his land to the next road south (Hansen) of our farm. It was then a three mile drive via roads to get the tractor back to its shed.
That was enough hops farming for one weekend. We watered our baby hops plants, mulched them and bid them farewell for the week.