Last month Garth wrote about our manageable “catastrophe” when the plastic sheet over our pig hoop structure ripped during a 50 mph wind gust. I quickly ordered a heavier duty grade of cover (reinforced billboard tarp material). Two weeks later we had a warm Saturday with temps in the 40s. The new cover arrived just in time to pull into position - we rigged it up and over the rafters more safely than when we worked with the lighter plastic, so I was happy all the way through the construction process. We had to race against the clock because the next day had even stronger winds than the bluster that tore the original cover. Luckily we did a solid enough job battening it down that it came through the storm with no ill effects.
I owe my friend Dave Perozzi over at Wrong Direction Farm a shout out for the technique we used to cinch the open ends of the tarp over the terminal bents. In the photo above you can see the nice clean line the tarp follows along the A of the frame. This is thanks to a piece of poly pipe threaded inside the pocket on the edge of the tarp and then ratcheted into place under tension with hi-tensile wire inside the pipe.
Even though all the pigs currently housed in this structure are plenty big enough to withstand winter cold and I gave them extra bedding to get through the exposure, I still carried some low-grade stress about their house until we pulled the cover into place. Someday perhaps I’ll get better about spending the money necessary to avoid this type of situation in the first place, but as a start-up farm we’ve tried every which way under the sun to not spend extra dollars… Sometimes we squeak by, other times we have to implement plan B when the cheap version fails.
And here's a picture of Garth feeling happy things too. Yes, this is Garth feeling excited... he's a low-key kind of guy!