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Saturday, July 18, 2009

We think it will do

It's not necessary to be a great carpenter to run a homestead; learn a few basics and then improvise. Here we're drilling a scrap cedar 2X4 in order to attach it to two t-posts that serve as the polytunnel door frame; it will be the door sill and the attachment will be simple bits of baling wire pushed through the holes at the ends and "twistied" onto the posts. We get older tools at yard sales or as hand-you-downs; they tend to last longer than those of recent manufacture. This drill, for example, is from the late 1940s and while it shows signs of slowing down, it may last another decade, by which time, if I'm alive, I'll be seventy.

The door is a leftover piece of 3/8" plywood cut to 32" wide and a suitable height, drilled along one side in three places to take door hinges also of baling wire, which will be sufficient for the purpose.

A door handle of some kind is wanted, both on the inside and outside of the polytunnel, so a scrounge in an odds-and-ends bucket having turned up two cabinet door knobs and a screw that fits them, here we are grinding off the head of the screw to make it double-ended and attach both knobs to the same place on either side of the door. The grinder is over fifty years old as well, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Here, we are setting up to pound in two t-posts to make a door frame and also stiffen the polytunnel structure a bit against the anticipated winter winds. A little effort has been expended Country Women: A Handbook for the New Farmeron proper placement of the hoops and posts, but not too much. In this heat, sweat keeps pouring into my eyes, and the numbers on the measuring tape are a salty blur, so I tend to improvise techniques that offer a little forgiveness around the edges. The idea, after all, is to grow food, not praise. We think it will do.

It's too hot to do more in the out-of-doors till evening, so I think I will start on the burlap shades for the fall planting in the polytunnel beds.

For more on these kinds of skills, see Country Women : A Handbook for the New Farmer, Tetrault and Thomas, 1976. We bought ours new, way back when. Oldie but goodie.

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