High tunnel: Part One


Our high tunnel arrived this past week! This picture shows some of the pieces, set up on the porch of Jeff’s shed. Ben stopped by the Gear Shed on Wednesday, and there it was – all on pallets after a long journey from Iowa. He’s been working double-time getting the watering system in place for both the tunnel & the upper house. There is a new 4,000 gallon cistern that is, as of today’s rain, collecting run-off water from the sauna roof. During the past 2 weeks or so I’ve come home from a day of sitting in front of a computer to see Ben, in a ditch. Sun shining, blue skies, dogs playing merrily….I said more than once – I WANT TO BE A DITCH DIGGER! Screw this ‘computer workin’ stuff. I need to be OUTSIDE. Although this may be ultimately true, I have learned that ditch digging is Hard. From the cistern, Ben has dug (with a little of my help, and a little help from a ridiculously tiny excavator) a trench that rounds the driveway, heads down the current garden (with a stop-off for a water spigot there), and then down straight into the east end of the high tunnel. YEAH! It’s not entirely done yet – there’s a little bit left to dig, but probably 80% of the water line is in.

IMG_4374 Notice the mini-excavator. IMG_4380 IMG_4381

So that was my Friday and part-of-Saturday. Susie, Ben’s mom, showed up Saturday mid-morning and we began the high tunnel assembly! It’s a long process that involves a lot of mud, shoveling, leveling, re-leveling, pounding, shoveling, etc etc. And did I mention mud? We are blessed with a foundation of clay here at 602 Shellfish. And while the topsoil is fantastically rich and dark and fertile, everything below it is….heavy. Clay. Muddy, slippery, heavy clay.

The tunnel, 30’ x 72’, is made of steel bents that are set into ground posts every 4’. On Saturday, Susie, Mike, Ben, and I set & leveled all of the ground posts, put together all of the bents, and then while Ben bulldozed some soil around I shoveled some more clay.


The site – Saturday morning prior to starting assembly.

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19 bents, assembled, screwed together, and ready to go. After Ben finished cleaning out the tracks on the bulldozer we headed off to Starvin’ Marvin’s for dinner. Wicked classy joint – reminds me just a little of the York House of Pizza back home.

On Sunday morning, Ben went to pick up cedar for the ground boards and I headed out to do more digging in the clay. Steve, Susie, and Mikey joined in the fun and we started putting up the bents.

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IMG_4411 Our job site is not OSHA-approved. Thankfully the ground is VERY soft. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so muddy.


IMG_4421 Back to the office job for me tomorrow, but we’ll continue working through the week and hopefully get ‘er all up by next weekend. And then…setting up beds!