Barn Boards onto the Barn

The workmen have been feverishly working away.  On Thursday I counted 17 men and women pounding away at: installing the post and beam porch, nailing up barnboard roofers, staining the white cedar trim, laying out a fire suppression system, running electric services, digging water trenches to service the greenhouse, reinstalling the pump in the well; and through it all Jim Glavin coordinating it all like a conductor with his baton.  The timing and staging of materials and workmen is a staggering workload, thank you Jim!

Thursday evening Daniel and I set up a couple of work lights at night to back light the new white oak post and beam frame. I captured this image that night, I hope a few passersby found it as beautiful as I did.

Morning Glory Farm

Jim Athearn nailing up a little pitch pine for the last rafter.

jim athearn with the pitch pine for the last rafter


Here is the Easterly view of the new store, looking from the Meshacket road.

morning glory farm

The first boards to go onto the roof.  This is island cut white pine cut by the fisherman and sawyer Tom Turner from Katama.  We ordered nearly 8,000 board feet of lumber from him this winter to sheath the store and for the pitch pine floorboards.  These are nice clear boards that we ‘kiln’ dried in our greenhouse over the winter months, let’s hope they don’t shrink much more once they are on the roof!

locally cut lumber

mgf store

inside morning glory

daniel and simon athean

clara athearn

The post and beam frame all covered up.  The upper sidewalls will get a cedar shingle treatment and the lower sidewalls will be board and batten.  All of these boards will show from inside the store.

morning glory farm

Next step, the insulated panel company comes Wednesday to lay their panels on top of the skin we put on, and then we can start to shingle.  Our family friend Jonas Cavallo and his company Workshops and Sons will be doing the shingling with Dan and I working alongside.

Thanks for checking in on the progress, soon I will be able to share some pictures of our early crops they start to hit the ground this week.  We already have filled a greenhouse with vegetable transplants and hopefully by the end of the week we will have three greenhouses full of plants!  happy spring

Post and Beam going up!

Hardwick Post and Beam arrived this week and got right to work.  All the oak framing was pre-cut in their mill in Hardwick MA and it should go together like a puzzle from here.  With the use of the Tashmoo Crane they lift it all into place and pound the pegs into place to lock it up.


The lumber arrives at our farm!


These are the ‘Bents’ the roof trusses all in order to go up.


The first frame went up Tuesday morning March 23rd.





Notice the scarph joint on the right, they then pound a square peg in to the notch in the center of the joint and it drives them tighter together, should be as tight as a single piece of lumber by the end.


The view from Meshacket Road



As the rainy, snowy, and windy weather moved in the team called it a week and will return Tuesday to finish up.  We then will start to nail up the barn boards.  It finally feels like the barn we have been building for the last 3 months!  Woo hoo!  Stay tuned for more updates on the progress at Morning Glory Farm.

Jim and Daniel Figur’in

I just liked this pic of Dad and Dan working out a carpentry problem.

You can see the lumber Tom Turner cut locally for the building drying in the greenhouse.  Also behind Dan is our newest addition to our tractors, a 1971 Ford 3600, 35 hp diesel, little utility tractor, we have been using it mostly as a bed forming and cultivation tractor, but here it has on the rear mechanical pallet forks.  Purchased from Alan Norton in late 2008.

morning glory farm

Work Continues at Morning Glory

Deca’s carpenters and masons continue to ready the building to receive the post and beam frame we expect soon.

morning glory farm

The ‘Deck’ as they call it, the sub floor of the final store.  In front is the concrete floor of the cooler area and forward is the new farm sales area.

sonnor tubes

These are sonar tubes being placed and poured.  They will make the footings for the wrap around porch.  The soil is so sandy and loose that we needed to put a footing below them at 12 foot deep then run this tube up and fill it with concrete and the anchor bolt for the porch.  This should make sure we can fill up the porch with displays, rocking chairs, people, bands, cooking demonstrations; and whatever else we or you may feel like, and not have the porch sink or become cooked like so many Edgartown porches are.

sweet corn room

This is the ‘corn room’, I am standing in the salad bar area to take this picture of the old seed room stairs.  The floor will be raised up a foot and meet the rest of the building, with the stairs on the other side (outside the store floor).  I think this picture is kinda wild to look at having traveled those stairs so many times.

morning glory farm basement

The masons are pouring us a nice level and huge floor, that will constitute our dry storage area.  It’s huge I love it!

morning glory farm

The south east view, the wood frame structure will hold our new walk in cooler.  A new energy efficient machine that will also act as a dehumidifier and basement climate control unit by some smart engineering by our friends at Alexander and Dyke Refidgeration.  A office will be above this area.

Wish us luck finishing by Memorial day when we hope to open, could be hard.  Come by and check out the progress, we hope to see Hardwick Post & Beam on Monday!

The Greenhouse gets its skin

We finally received the skin for the greenhouse we have been building and are ready to put it up.  It comes as 2-  36′ x 100′ sheets and we lay them both over the house attach them at the sides and end walls and blow a bubble of air between them to improve insulation.

Here is a few pics of the covering I thought I would share, thanks for visiting www.morninggloryfarm.com


Here is Dan and I (Simon) laying out the roll along the ridge, major arm burner up there.




Dad (Jim) Securing the end wall, and praying for not a gust of wind to rip it off before its attached.


Meeghan Athearn attaching the bottom rail clips.


They always look so big empty then you fill it up and it feels so crowded.
This house is just less than 2000 square feet.


Mom and Zeb come to inspect the progress, she will be wanting to plant seeds in here soon, too soon yikes!


Always  place your decorative horseshoes with the back (open part) facing up to catch your good fortunes.

Moving the greenhouse

morning glory farm

Here is the greenhouse pre-move.  We have already moved this house once to this location 1984.  Onto what was then a herb garden, involved were Jim and Debbie Athearn and Cody Jephcote .  Now it gets to move again to help us expand our parking and ease the traffic flow both off Meshacket Road and inside the lot.  This is the greenhouse many of you are used to buying plants in the spring, it is also were we have done all of our seeding and transplanting for sixteen years.

morning glory farm

Jim and Daniel pounding the first pipes for the house in its new location behind the other greenhouses and near our composting area.  Using this site does eat away at one of our production fields, we sacrificed about 1000 square feet of outdoors to make it indoors!

morning glory farm

A perspective shot of the location of the new house and of the great job Daniel did grading and scraping it with the loader.

morning glory farm

After the pipes were in the ground we just moved it piece by piece, keeping the bows together and just carrying them over.   Here Chloe Nelson and Heather Jardin are steadying the south wall as Daniel gently moves it toward the site.

morning glory farm

Heather Jardin or “Heather J’ has spent 14 years working with us and knows the farm in and out, literally.  She personally has spent many early spring days in the greenhouse seeding the summers crops.

morning glory farm

Here is Chloe Nelson and Cheryl Harary moving the North wall with Dan in the CAT.

morning glory farm

Heather J refitting all the hundreds and hundreds of bolts we removed.  Cold fingers that day, yikes windy.

morning glory farm

Chloe, Dan, and Cheryl re-drilling and bolting on the baseboards.

morning glory farm

Cheryl slowly thawing and trenching a shallow trench for the baseboard to sit.

morning glory farm

The framework all in place and ready to accept the skin.  The skin is actually two layers, one with UV resistance and one without, a bubble of air blown between the two creates a warm light transmitting blanket over the house.   We just received the plastics and hope to cover the house this week, if we can find a sunny and calm enough day.   The sun relaxes the plastic and it is much easier to get a tight fit with the sun shinning.

morning glory farm

Here is the old greenhouse site that will become space for additional parking  to ease that summer crush in the lot.

A calf born in the storm by Meg Athearn

bethhaven  morning glory farm

snow-day-ranger-005     bobbie-and-violet

On Monday and Tuesday evening as Dan and I were falling asleep we heard uncharacteristic mooing from the upper pasture. We were not too concerned, knowing the cows had water and hay, but both nights we fell asleep wondering… To Dan’s surprise on Wednesday morning our oldest cow Bobby Sue had calved in the night. Bobby Sue will be 17 this  spring,  and had not calved last summer. She has been a mild mannered faithful cow, and we were hoping that she would calve this spring. To our surprise, Bobby Sue had a calf in February right before a big snow storm! As Dan fed out the morning hay for our herd, the new calf bolted down into the lower part of the pasture. After feeding the herd, Dan went to search for the calf. It is common for a calf to go off on its own and then reunite with its mother when it becomes hungry. However the cold conditions and snow had Daniel worried.

During the day on Wednesday I was home with our children Clara and Zeb. In the blustery snow it was not possible for me to really look for the new babe. As the day wore on I became increasingly worried. Dan being the calm voice of reason that he is, assured me that he would be home soon to find the calf. We also called on our close friends Nick and Tracy (major animal lovers) to come and help search in the storm. After looking all around the pasture for about an hour Dan decided to look outside of the fence. Calves are so small that they often squeeze through the fence. In the summer we often have a little team of trouble maker calves that like to break out to eat our fresh lawn. Sure enough Dan found her laying down about 20 feet outside the fence. She was cold and wet, and not making a swift move as he approached. Tracy and Nick arrived just in time for Dan to lift the new girl over the fence into Nicks arms. They reunited Bobby Sue and her new baby Violet(Tracy named her) in the protection of the corral. They are spending a few days there separate from the herd to have shelter and bond. The tale ends well, accept for the fact that our dear friends Tracy and Nick crashed there truck as they rushed over to help us. No one was hurt except the old violet ford ranger, but emotions were certainly heightened and we owe our friends a lot of beer, babysitting, and gratitude. Violet and her mom are doing very well.

Booby Sue and Violet

Bobby Sue and Violet

nursing calf

nursing calf



The Foundation is Laid

Cold weather, snow and delayed concrete aside the masons poured the foundation this week and it looks great!

concrete forms all laid out

There are two general areas, the square closest to the camera is the area for root cellar in the basement and a walk in cooler on the floor level with two small offices on the second floor.  The area shaped like a rectangle further from the camera is the new store area on the first floor and wonderful dry storage in the basement.   This wall is an astonishing 12 feet high; although after adding a concrete floor and setting the floor joists there will be less than 10 foot head room.

pumping the concrete

We hired a concrete pump from the mainland to come over and pump the nearly 80 yards of material into the forms. It was a bright clear day, and only about 28 degrees.  Jim said concrete rules are the same as fishing for scallops 28 degrees and rising at dawn and they will make concrete.  Seven truckloads from Goodale’s came and unloaded into the pump truck and on into our new basement.

fair and square concrete forms

What it looks like after taking the forms off and painting the exterior walls with waterproofing.

morning glory farm

Backfilling around the foundation.

morning glory farm

DECA at work on morning glory farm store

DECA got right to work preparing for the post and beam company.  They have to build a floor (deck) across the foundation and here John is welding the first piece of steel beam into place.

Masons working feverishly

Over the weekend and early this week the masons have been working feverishly to complete the concrete forms so they can pour the concrete before the cold spell hits on Friday, let hope they can.  Anthony Bartok  and his team from Fair and Square Concrete have really been earning their meals down in the hole.  I was pleased to see such an all Island boy crew working the forms; Anthony Bartok, Dylan Estrella, Greg Belcher,  and Damien  Childs were all pounding away on the forms.  It is a 12 foot high foundation wall that should leave us with an ample 10 feet of head room in the finished area.

Complications to the foundation are many but being over come, the ‘sugarly’ sand that makes up our subsoil crumbles easy and with the freeze thaw and that heavy rain the pit is collapsing a bit.   The new floor will be about 4 feet lower than the floor it abuts so a retaining and support wall must be built.   The walk-in cooler area needs floor insulation and additional supports.  The large fir posts that will hold the new store up need a concrete footing created underneath the existing basement floor.   The biggest threat to the foundation is that the only concrete company on the island is unable to pour on Thursday when we are ready; and on Friday we expect it to be too cold and stay that way for a while.  Fair and Square are trying hard to get a pour in on Wednesday to beat the anticipated cold, wish us luck!

before the dig

This is the morning before DECA began to dig the foundation, you can see the existing ‘middle room basement’  and the corn/salad bar room.

daniel athearn on the saw

Daniel Athearn cutting up the wood from the trees that were removed.

Pitch pine used as flooring

Here Daniel felled a rather large Pitch Pine in the area the #3 greenhouse will be moved to (to make more parking up front).
We sent the largest parts of the trunk out to Katama and Tom Turner’s sawmill (yes the fisherman Tom is also a sawyer) where it will be cut into flooring for the new store.
Tom has been cutting pitch pine for us to lay on the floor but he also has been cutting white pine out of the State Forest to use as our roof, ceiling, and walls.
Tom works with the state on selective cutting, and we very much like his finished products and have been building with them for years.

tomato geenhouse firewood

The wood that was too small for the sawmill gets seasoned and will be used in 2011 as fuel to heat our tomato greenhouse in the early spring.
We find it easy enough to find oddball cuttings from around the farm, clearing field edges etc to get plenty of wood to keep a fire going in each of the two tomato greenhouses.  This will add to that supply, and by the way a off season greenhouse is a great way to dry and season firewood!

morning glory farm new store

Just finishing the excavation and the masons are digging footings for the foundation walls.

fair and square laying footings

Here the masons are pouring the footings, pretty sandy soil eh?

Forms going into place

These guys work fast!  The footings are in and the re-rod is being lattice worked together and form being erected around it, soon we will fill up the forms with concrete.

Addition update, store on the move

design by DECA and Laurie Miller

We hope to get to here in the next 4 months, the greenhouse will be next winter


Day 2


Preparing the greenhouse for moving


This is the greenhouse that set on the south side of the farmstand and was used for plant sales and this year acted as a stopgap register checkout area.

I am the lucky recipient of this old greenhouse, I am moving it to my house (simon talking) where I will grow veggies for my self and do some experiments of new crops, such as figs and tioba this season.






The store crossing the herb garden headed up toward the blueberry field.



almost to it’s new home


This is where our store will sit until we lightly renovate it for affordable housing of farm employees.


A strange view of the back half of the store about to be moved.


We had to roll the building off its foundation and onto solid ground using rollers (pipes) where we could get the trailer under it to carry it away.


These parts of the building will remain and be connected to the new area.  What a strange view, it has been bittersweet for us watching this unfold.   We are fully behind the idea and the need but sad to see the old building go.  Built by us 31 years ago and cared for, loved and well used all that time.  It softens the impact of the move that we get to make the old farmstand into new housing for our farmers.

Keep checking back for more updated photo’s or just drop by, we will all be there nearly every day and are quite willing to share our ideas and plans and accept suggestions.

P.S.  Still looking for some one (preference to island farmers) to take our 12 x 16 walk in cooler, good shape, comes with or with out the cooler shed for outdoor use.  Can load or possibly deliver.