Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Emerson Farm Extreme Makeover

An enormous thank you to EWS parents Beck Kasimov and Zumrad Ahmedjanova for inviting the Outrageous NC 135 Leadership team from the Legacy Center course they were taking to come and fix up Emerson Farm.  Because of their interest in the farm, people came in from all over the country to work at the farm.  Amazingly dedicated and skilled members of our EWS and local Chapel Hill area community also worked into the night, down in the muck and in the pouring down rain to get the job done.  Below are just a few before and after pictures from this past weekend.  I'm hoping to have more pictures of the work in progress to post next week.  It was quite an event.  Thank you a thousand times to everyone who made these amazing changes possible!

This is our irrigation system before.  The pipes laid on top of the ground and were arranged in a crazy, piecemeal fashion.  They were constantly being tripped over and broken.  They were also an annoying obstacle for wheelbarrows and the weed whacker.
OK so the fact that there isn't much to see here is actually good.  The pipes are now laid out in a logical and organized fashion, thanks to the thinkwork of Bradley Dokter, which means that water pressure will be even across the entire garden.  Each spigot is at knee level so it is no longer a tripping hazard and the pipes themselves are nowhere to be seen!

High school teacher Strouse Campbell with the aid of EWS parent Zumrad Ahmedjanova (Kathleen's nursery) led a team of volunteers in building this beautiful chicken coop and run out of reclaimed wood and roofing from the various buildings that we tore down.  Pictured here is the back side of the coop from which we will be gathering eggs.  Chickens will be arriving soon.

This is what the greenhouse used to look like from the outside.  It's actually a real treasure, this greenhouse, as it is built into an earth berm which makes it more able to maintain an even temperature than the average greenhouse.  It's hard to really tell from this picture just how badly the building needed help...

This picture does a better job of showing how bad things were.  Here is a group of high school students clearing out the last of our things before demolition began.  You can't see it very well, but there is a hole in the roof on the right that is about 6" across and the cedar support pillars are rotted halfway through.  The building was still safe this year, but we weren't too sure about next year.

Here is the outside of the finished greenhouse.  All of the wood on the south side of the building (the side you can see in the picture) had to be replaced.  The old sheet plastic was replaced with clear plastic roofing which will last much, much longer and will do a far better job of protecting the wood beneath it.  The back side is now roofed with tin instead of rolled tar and there is a roof vent at the top to let out the excess heat in the summer.  Inside, they replaced the two cedar posts with 6"X6" posts set in concrete.  They even dug up along the base of the building and put in flowers!

This is a picture of our former storage shed.  I don't think I need to say much about why it had to go.  I think  "inefficient eyesore"  just about sums it up.

Though they worked around the clock to get all the paperwork sorted out for the building permit for the shed, the amazing NC 135 Leadership team was unable to get it quite quickly enough.  Because the permit didn't come through in time, they wanted to replace the old shed with two prefab sheds, but Keith Bartholomew (3rd grade parent and professional contractor) offered to build us something beautiful and more suited to our specific needs later if we could only wait.  So we decided to wait.  Here is the space left behind by the old shed.  If you didn't get a chance to help out with the big event this past weekend and feel like you missed out on all the fun, never fear...  We'll be having another work weekend to put up our new shed soon!

Stay Tuned
More pictures will be coming as they are shared with me.  Not pictured yet are an amazing portable trellis system, a 350 gallon rainwater catchment system, beautiful new signs directing people to the farm and more beautiful new signs to announce market day.

We'll also be doing at least two more big (but not quite sooo big) work days/weekends soon.  One to build a fence so that our beekeepers can move their bees to a dryer location, and one for the new shed once the permits and supplies come in.

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