A stitch in time saves nine, but sometimes we just have to learn the hard way!

In building the research farm, there have been so many times that I have straight up said “Thank God for the internet!” Unfortunately, there are many times where there are no clear answers and we just have to forge out and try things ourselves.

One of those situations has been getting water with a sandpoint well. Please do not look at this article for well digging advice as we still have not conquered that challenge. However, this article may save you time/energy/money if you ever need a wind/rain/sun shelter.

It all started with the arrival of the research station (read: old trailer.) Once we had a place to work and sleep, we realized that mice would be a problem. So we resolved to only eat/make food outside. Of course, the wind and rain would continuously whip food and utensils from the table and into the sand below.

Our solution, we spent hours attaching a tarp to the trailer and securing it to the ground. Bubble gum and matchsticks – but it seemed to do the trick. Until the wind ripped the tarp in half and sent it across the land like a kite.

So of course, we went looking for a much more sturdy tarp configuration and happened upon these lovely creations.

If you haven’t used a pop up canopy, let me tell you they are pretty awesome. They go up in minutes (a huge boon to us after spending hours creating the bubblegum duct tape tarp disaster) and they look fantastic. They block the sun and rain and make everything a little easier. Well – ours did for a week or two before the wind grabbed it (yes, we had staked it to the ground -in our sandy, sandy soil) and mangled it beyond repair.

You know what happens next, don’t you? Yes, we went out and bought another pop up canopy. You just can’t beat the quality for the price and the ease of installation. We were smarter this time…..We staked the bottoms AND put cinder blocks over the stakes. Take that wind!

Well, the wind did take that. And once again threw the canopy across the land – mangling the metal beyond repair and ripping a huge hole in the tarp.

Stop the madness!!!

We were already out over $200 and many, many hours at this point. We had finally learned our lesson and decided to build a more permanent structure.

Here it is from start to finish:

We even installed a gutter on the structure so we could collect rain for the trees. This stirs up ideas of what we can do in the orchard/apiary area to not only protect the bees but maybe gather water too!

Then we got to building a big curtain for our barn – a bug screen if you will. It was a beast and tore through our old sewing machine. So we upgraded to a singer heavy duty sewing machine 4452 and that project was done in no time.

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