My 3rd week at the ranch started with a pretty cold, dreary day. Unfortunately I tweaked my back earlier in the week and the drive up irritated my back even more, so I was a bit immobile. I started the day working with Dawn’s son Collin cleaning the gutters for the irrigation system in the germination unit. We also worked on finding gutters of the appropriate size. Each row needed a 35 foot gutter with a spout on one end. After measuring several pieces we decided it would be best to start installing and then cut some gutter pieces if need be. This process took most of the day, but the finished product looked great and the germination unit finally started to look the part. Unfortunately I was not able to come back to the ranch for my second day due to back pains.

Rock Bottom Ranch

My 4th week started with some more electrical work. Ben found a bunch of 4 foot light hoods that each took two 8T fluorescent bulbs. Nelson and I made sure that the bulbs and hoods were still functioning, and surprisingly most of them were. We installed the lights in the germination unit, approximately 10 hoods per row of trays. We staggered the lights and overlapped them to maximize light coverage.

Since it was Nelson’s birthday, Dawn was kind enough to bring a cake and we all celebrated and enjoyed some cake at lunch. After lunch, Ben and I continued to work on the lights and I learned how to connect cut wires using wire nuts. All this new electrical knowledge is an unexpected bonus! We were short about 30 lights so we looked around the ranch for some more, but were unable to find any and called it a day once the wind started kicking up.

On Thursday we began the day watering the seed trays. Some sprouts appeared! Because the previously installed watering system was too forceful and did not cover enough area, we watered by hand. Ben showed me proper watering technique making sure the whole tray gets covered evenly without disturbing the soil. We checked the temperature of the unit (70 degrees F) and the humidity (60%). We also figured out our light schedule, 16 hours of light, and 8 hours dark.

– Carly Maher

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