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Leah Sattler
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does anyone have personal experience with one of these? I was flipping through the newly aquired catalog and was wondering how well they really hold up, especially the exterior fabric coverings.
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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I just recently received one of their catalogs, too.

I drive through the warehouse/mfg areas of Seattle all the time, and there seem to be a LOT of these things in use.  I am assuming you mean the hoop-type buildings with the silver tarplike coverings?

It seems a lot of businesses have invested quite a bit of money in them, and have quite a few set up, so I am thinking that they wouldn't if they had a bad rep 'in the neighborhood'.

I just looked at the catalog, and on page 3 of the last catalog:

"The potential for these buildings is limited only by your imagination...  Premium silver/grey 12.5 oz, 24 mil cover reflects light, keeping the building cool i summer, warm in winter, and comes with a 15 year warranty."

Of course, I would keep the warranty and receipt available.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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thats good to hear. I haven't seen any in use around here. I need to read the wind load, maybe thats why. those pesky tornadadic storms
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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i just got their catalog this week too. I've never bought anything from them but they do seem to have good prices
 
                                
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Location: Massachusetts
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Hi. I am an east coast person, becky.  I have been raising rabbits in a building similar to the farmtek buildings made by Cover-It http://www.sheltersofnewengland.com ; I bought mine from a local dealer.  I have a 12' X 20' one in the "house" style.  The covering I bought it with was "greenhouse clear," which is translucent.  Way to much sun/heat for the rabbits in spring until the trees under which I set it up leaved out. I bought a large reflective tarp and covered it with that until leaves big.  Very nice place to hang out in the winter.  I live about a block from the ocean and we got pretty good wind here.  Each fall I go around and check and tighten the ropes - they do stretch a bit with time as does the cover.  The greenhouse cover lasted about 2 years before beginning to leak.  It was still useful as a tarp for other things.  I bought a new cover - heavy duty 24 ml.thick, 14.5 oz/sq.meter.  I have not been keeping track but I guess it is about 3 or 4 years old.  It leaks a little, not much, but still appears sound.  The frame is rugged and shows no signs of wear.  I have 4 spiral anchors holding it down.  The soil here is loamy to the depth that the anchors go.  No problem with wind or snow.  We don't get a ton of snow here - we got 6 inches today.  I do worry if there is snow on top and it rains but usually the snow slips off pretty quickly.  So far no problems with that.

As far as keeping rabbits in one...it would not be my first choice - too hot in summer, not enough air..  but with tweaking it works.  Even in winter I never have it really tightly shut.  Right now this is due to the fact that I am still running the original door end on it which does not have a working zipper.  I have a tarp hanging over the door part which keeps blasts of air out but is certainly not tight.  In the summer I ventilate it from the sides.  The bottom of the sides is meant to be laced to a frame pole running along the ground.  I have instead laced mine to PVC pipe.  In the winter it is lashed to the bottom of the frame but in the summer I pull the pipes up and out to the side a bit so it is open to the air for a foot or so but no rain can get in.  If the sun strikes it at all once the outdoor temp is 55 - 60ish it really gets too hot for my rabbits - they are all angoras.  A silver tarp over the top and a well placed fan works for me.  The trees I set it up under have a grown a great deal and I don't use a tarp any more at all.

I have 4' rigid fencing all around the building just inside of the covering to protect the rabbits from coyotes.  We have fisher cats around here too but for some reason they have not been a problem.

OK probably more than you want to know about the rabbit end of the deal but these are my experiences with a similar type of building.

Becky
 
Leah Sattler
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no becky that is not more info than I wanted! it is great to hear your experiences with similiar buildings. so it sounds like there can be quite abit of variation in the covers. is the new 24ml thick one also clear?

how long have you been raising rabbits? do you just raise the rabbits or do you also work with the fiber? what all is involved with that? (sorry that is a super broad question but I know little to nothing about rabbits especially angoras, our little pet rabbit "cheeto" is about the extent of my experience )
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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Leah, I just today received a sale email from FarmTek.  They say they're have a ton of stuff on sale ("Closeouts and specials", including those shelters.  Of course, what THEY call a sale might not be what WE would call a sale, but just in case, here is the link:  http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/TopCategoriesDisplay?catalogId=11551&mediacode=FW0902

Sue
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have my eye on the greenhouse that is attached to the house..like a 1/2 building with just the two ends and a door in one end..i have a deck on my east side of the house at myLaundry room door, that  would fit that one, and as I have enclosed porches at my other two doors (plexi and glass in front and plexi and glass in back right now) i've been thinking that it would really be smart to do the same with this last door, off of our laundry room. This is our first year of having the front totally enclosed, we had it partially enclosed the winter before, but we finished the enclosure last summer with 1/4" plexi on the 2 8' sidewalls and 8' across the front, and then bought a 15 light door to close off the opening and used a scrap of plexi over that..haven't totally got all the cracks sealed off yet, but it is always at least 10 degrees warmer in there than outside here in the frigid north. Started enclosing a huge deck at our rear slider doors last year..we salvaged two sets of slidiing glass doors, one was apart so we just attached those as walls and one set works..they are on the east..we have 2 pieces of 4x8 plexi on two of the 4' x 8' walls..and then we weren't able to get the north walls and north door finished so we put plastic up on one area, one area is still open..the change in our house from having those areas at least partially finished was just amazing..so getting them done this year is top priority, but also that last door is definately in the plan if we can afford it..we also have a very small greenhouse that is now not attached to the house that we want to move and attach to our wood boiler building.so it has winter heat..and easier winter access..opening the door now sends in a gush of cold air
 
Leah Sattler
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I am hoping to someday attacha greenhouse to the back door of our new place so I grow stuff right through the winter and especially so I can grow figs and mangos. (I could probably do figs now but I know that if I put it into the garage I will forget to check it an kill it, I need a good visible, walk through everyday place for one in the winter).

sue, that sets off an idea.....I notice they have remnants...maybe i can scrounge enough stuff to build my own and jsut buy the fabric to cover it. for that matter I might be able to find one used I suppose!
 
Susan Monroe
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Leah, let me know when you get moved and want some fig cuttings.  I hear they start easily.

Sue
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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farmtek is a large corporation.Its buildings are toxic to produce.Please dont support this company!Im not trying to pick on anyone here.Its just a tragedy that this company gets any play at all on a permaculture website.The amount of energy(calories)it takes to extract the oil and metal,manufacture these products,and distibute them is more then you will ever recover using them.However in the land of cheap oil,it can look like a good deal.The economy is tanking and people want to be more self sufficient but the model most permaculture sites offer involves buying more crap.
 
Leah Sattler
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of course I think its probably obvious  by my posts that  I don't subscribe to the most extreme permaculture views, I'm a bit more moderate. for me one of main ideas within permaculture I do subscribe to is reducing food miles. so to me something that could help me produce more food locally has potential to be a good thing. something that I often differ from others who are interested in permaculture ideas is that I am not automatically anti business.  I also think that to some extent people are using the "enviromentalist" torch as a front for other agendas and that there is alot of misinformation on that side as well as the "big oil" side. yes, I pick and choose things that make sense based on the information I have (and that I believe to be true) and on what is achievable in my situation. a farmtek type building seems alot more enviromentally freindly then a traditionally built large building, with all the equipment and manpower required to construct it as well as the loads and loads of lumber and sheathing it would use. it seems that alot less overall material and energy goes into one of these in comparison to a traditional building on the actual jobsite at least.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Mt.goat,

My impression is that permaculture is about saying "here is what I think is a better way."

Perhaps what you meant to do was to explore the problem space and offer solutions that are cheaper and more eco friendly?

Personally, I would invite folks to explore Oehler's greenhouse book

You can probably get something standing in a fraction of the time, for one tenth the cost and it will work 10 times better.  Plus, the materials will have a far lighter eco footprint.  Maybe by a factor of 100.

Further, I think any time somebody says "stop your wicked ways" that strikes me as not permaculture.  Sure, sure, I know there are folks that insist that that is permaculture - I guess I'm saying that that isn't my idea of permaculture. 

Further (again) I'm kinda keen on the idea that some folks are at eco level 2 with a desire to go to eco level 3.  And those folks think that people at eco level 8 are damn crazy.  I think the world could us a bit of help.  I think that saying "stop your nastiness!" isn't gonna help.  I think that sharing a bit of info can often help a person get from level 2 to level 3.  And when they are at level 6, the stuff at level 8 doesn't look so crazy. 

But ... maybe that's just me ....
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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Practically everything is toxic to produce, including the way some natural things are processed, like cotton.  I think I read that more pesticides are poured on cotton than any other crop of any kind.

Plastic tends to be a pain, but who can afford a glass greenhouse?  How ecologically sound is modern glassmaking, anyway? 

Returning to the olde dayes of hunter-gatherer with homes of hide might be better, but how realistic is that?

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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paul wheaton wrote:


Further (again) I'm kinda keen on the idea that some folks are at eco level 2 with a desire to go to eco level 3.  



that is part of what makes this forum so great and often different then others. and I really do appreciate being accomodated here even though I am quite admitedly on about level 2 with an end goal of about 5 on a scale from 1-10. due to my own circumstances and choices I will likely never go farther than that, and I am ok with that and I of course want others to be accepting of it and I still value the input of those on level 10 and would like to use their knowledge. around here in the er...well..shall we say...less progressive areas of the country...I am the freak just because I don't chug diet coke, insisted on breastfeeding my child and actually seek out and grow organic food. oh how silly I am considered for not assuming that the governmental entities are protecting us from anything harmful in our food or damaging to the enviroment.
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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I really wasnt trying to make a morality judgment here.If a person wants to make their food production dependent on fossil fuels while simultaniusly poisoning the planet and supporting large corporations,thats not 'wrong' or 'evil' in my mind.It just is what it is.lol
  we are all buisy creating the word we want to see and so I'm just trying to inform potential readers of this thread about about,what I see,as,some MAJOR drawbacks to PURCHACING a greenhouse or plastic 'barn' from this company.
  The barn debate reminds me of the lightbulb debate.Compact florecent light bulbs have mercury so you are saving energy but poisoning the planet in a different way.Trade offs with no winner in my mind.So IF a person needs a barn then yea,its going to have a huge impact on the enviroment.People in indigenous cultures here in N America didnt use barns and people with domestic animals in less consumptive cultures around the world often live with the animals in some way.So from my re-wilding perspective,I guess I just think"why do we need barns"(and for that matter why do we need electric lights).And of course in my daily life it plays out in my general avoidence of domestic animal products.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22488
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Mt.goat,

It is clear that you are passionate about the way you choose to live. 

Do you wish for more people to live the way you do?  Or less?

Consider for a moment ...  there is a woman with 10 miles of where you live.  Let's call her "Mary".  Mary works as a nurse in a hospital.  She has a mortgage and she has $15,000 in other debts.  She eats fast food several times a week and generally shops at Safeway.  She doesn't vote - politics is just too icky.  She watches at least three hours of television every day. 

I choose to label Mary as "eco level 0" - meaning that she is far more concerned about her current artificial hair color than what kind of light bulb she uses.

Myself and a couple of people here understand your work with perennials and annuals that reseed themselves in our climate.  And your work with a variety of things on your land.  And we are gradually taking several of those lessons and working them into our lives.  As time passes, many of us will live a life closer to the life you live now (some aspects more than others). 

But to Mary ...  You're a lunatic and should probably be institutionalized for your own safety and maybe the safety of others.  Therefore, she is pretty certain that she should do the opposite of anything you suggest.  And will refuse to consider anything you have to say on any topic. 

This is my point. 

Further, there are more people in the US living at eco level 0 than all of the other levels combined.  And there are more people at eco level 1 than all of the eco levels 2 and greater, combined.  And there are far more people at eco level 2 than at levels 3 and beyond, combined.  Etc.

So there you are, at level 11 or so.  I might be at level 8.  And most of the folks coming here are at level 2 to 5.  A few lower and a few higher.  A few higher than me.

So when somebody wants to talk about something and I wish to convey my opinion on the topic, I choose to assume that the folks reading it would be of level 2 or higher.  I can make a few assumptions, but there are some things I'm convinced of that would just seem downright crazy to somebody at level 2.  So I try to come up with something that I think is accurate, yet more like level 5 or 6.  Because to somebody at level 2, level 5 seems cool and level 8 seems crazy (but not "lock you up" crazy).

Further, there are others at level 11 that live in a completely different way than you.  They have a different reduced footprint for a different set of reasons. 

And I have more concerns.  Lots more. 

In a feeble attempt to express myself, I wish to shamelessly rewrite your last post.  I hope to convey much of the same intent, but phrase it in a different way ....




For my own consumption, I have concerns about the use of fossil fuels and my philosophies on what poisons the planet.

I think I have some ideas that could save you thousands of dollars and maybe a hundred hours in time.  But first, I would like to understand:  what is the driving need to have the structure?  If I knew that, I might be able to suggest something that can meet your needs faster and for less money.

Myself, I'm trying to think "why do I not have something like that?  If I had something like that, what would I do with it?  Why does somebody else want something like that and I don't?"  Maybe it's tied to my current choices to avoid the use of domestic animal stuff?


This, to me, is a core part of permaculture.  Less protesting, more nurturing. 

I wish to help folks on their eco path.  I even want to help the folks at eco level zero. 

I suspect that you wish your message to reach the brains of thousands of people rather than six people.  And, I think a slight shift in how your phrase your position might help you reach that goal. 

And, of course, I could be wrong about .... everything.

I've walked onto some thin ice (in possibly offending you) in an attempt to (in my obnoxious opinion) help your message reach more minds.

 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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thanks for the advise paul.Cant say I really care  about changing people.I'm more interested in protecting myself from a toxic planet.I dont have to try to coax people from an eco2 to an eco3 because if tshf and nature takes over then it will decide which eco level we are going to be living at.The lower your eco level the more chance your going to die.I'm also here to warn people about their dependence on temporary things.If someone digs their heels in because of how I present the info and then end up dieing,whos fault is that?In the meantime reality is what you can get away with for most people.
    Also the way you refrased my statement was not fanatical but totally pc.Thats great that you want to be encouraging though.Its just not interesting to me to read stuff like that.Here on the west coast,"eco"livers are a dime a dozen.The problem is that most of what they do is just a feel good rationalization for not actually changing anything fundamental and not calling them on their bs is just more validation.So anyway I'm just posting in a way that I would find interesting to read.Steeped in controversy!
 
              
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Location: West Iowa
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I've thought about having a greenhouse before.  It would be neat to spend alot of time in it during the winter, when cabin fever is at its highest.  Also, I could have tropical fruits   But then I thought of the logistics for my area, and I see no point to buying one of those setups because of the heating costs it would take.  Also, I am tired of growing crap in pots.  Too much work!! 

Last winter, I had way too many plants in the basement, and this winter its a little better.  Alot of it is bamboo that I wanted to gain some root size before transplanting out.  But I notice they do better outside, even though they die to the ground each winter.  Because the soil gets sucked of its nutrients and I guess I suppose to be fertilizing the plants tons just so they grow could in a little pot of soil. 

I do have a fig that bears fruit that'll keep getting brought into the basement year after year.  Anyways,  I might still do some setup, maybe more cold frame or something where I can grow cold tolerant leafy greens in the winter to supply some food for me.  I'm thinking of building something in south side of a hill would work good.  I haven't really thought too much about that idea either, but I am aiming for something that won't take any heat to keep above freezing. 
 
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