Hoophouse in Bad Weather

I wrote about building our hoophouse for hay storage last fall as we prepared to move all of our hay into a new location. The hoophouse is 30' with 24' PVC hoops. It could comfortably hold 180-200 square bales at a time. 

Erecting such a structure in Tennessee is a bit risky given the high wind speeds and frequency of tornadoes. Every time the winds pick up above 40 or 50 mph I get a little nervous and half-expect to see a giant white ball of shattered PVC and torn white plastic tumbling across the fields.

Last night's storm was a great test with wind speeds reaching a reported 105 mph only 15 minutes north of us. I don't think it got that bad where we are, but there were some mighty gusts that had us up from about 3am to 4:30am watching for tornadoes and monitoring the radar.This morning the hoop house was fine, however. It held steady and kept the hay dry.

Our animals also love the structure. Sometimes our LGD Sheba will climb the fence and find a nice place to nap inside. Our cat, Levon, also finds solace atop the hay bales. Nevat, the LGD puppy, can't terrorize him up there.

Nevat 'playing' with Levon while we reloaded our hay stash


New hay bales loaded; Levon happily perched above the puppy's reach


Sheba rents one of Levon's hay bales for the night

Thus far it's held up well, keeping our fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Levon, The Yard Tiger Special, and An Outdoor Cat is Born

Levon, exhaustedThe other day I asked on our Facebook page what people wanted us to write about. I like to ramble about electric fencing, guinea fowl, and so forth, but I have to imagine our readers would rather hear about something else. So my loving sister suggested I write an update about Levon, our lone feline friend (as opposed to our feline enemies, the bobcats).

Levon, as you may recall, is our house-cat. Or shall I say, our barn-cat. He's really a house-cat, converted to barn-cat, converted back to house-cat, converted back to barn-cat.

Originally, he came to us as a house-cat. But we didn't want a house-cat. We wanted a barn-cat. So we put him in the barn. Then one of our dogs chased him up a tree and almost killed him, so he reverted back to house-cat status. A few months ago he brought fleas into the house and was exiled. Back to barn-cat, dogs be damned. Luckily, he thrived in the outdoors and now he is a permanent barn-cat, and that’s not changing.

Upon his most recent disbarment from indoor privileges, he developed great skills in hunting, pouncing, prowling, and big white dog evasion. He is quite stealth and he loves to climb. He doesn’t like other animals (besides me), so he doesn’t waste any time socializing. If he’s not napping, it’s all business (I relate to Levon on many levels). I believe some of his skills came from the time he sat on the arm of the couch and wathced Braveheart with us. Thus, he briefly became known as "Levon Wallace"

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And He Shall Be A House Cat

After our disappointing foray into owning a cat we decided to get another one. We were determined to have a barn cat. In fact, I’d still like to have a barn cat. It just won’t be Levon. Levon shall be a house cat. And he shall be a family cat. And he shall be a Levon. A hysterical indoor cat.

A few days after burying BG under a big maple tree and planting some wildflowers around her area we decided to give cats another shot. Sweetbreads found a great looking male cat, very healthy, neutered, loves to climb, and fully clawed. We thought he could stick up for himself, get away if necessary and generally make it as a barn cat.

So we put him in a dog crate in the barn to get him acclimated to his new home, the barn. The dogs, goats and chickens were all around and they all took turns getting familiar with their feline friend. Sophie came and sniffed him, the big girls came and sniffed him, the goats got a little too close and realized they don’t really need to be curious about cats. And that was pretty much it. We let them live together for almost a week just to be sure they all knew that Levon was our cat and he was ok. Don’t eat Levon.

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