Skip to content

Some Days Things Just Don’t Work Out

November 17, 2010

Well, folks, we finally had our first act of random vandalism on our farm.  Someone attempted to burn down the hoophouse.  But, you know, some days things just don’t work out so well.  Nobody told these arsonists that plastic isn’t very combustible.  After setting the fires at the base of the hoophouse, making sure the draft was good by opening the front doors and the upper vent, and running away so as not to be seen, it must have been very disappointing to watch as the plastic merely melted away and nothing caught on fire.  Hoop houses made of wet 2X4’s, metal tubing, and plastic wrap don’t make dramatic conflagrations.

Nothing was damaged inside the hoophouse, nothing stolen, no veggies trampled.  The only damage was melted plastic and a slight charring of some of the 2X4’s.  Mark is planning on patching the plastic today.  Hopefully, it will hold together over the winter.

The unpredictability of (human) nature is a constant challenge to the farmer.

Giving Thanks for all our Blessings,



13 Comments leave one →
  1. Bev permalink
    November 17, 2010 3:46 pm

    That’s horrible! And totally stupid.

  2. Valerie permalink
    November 17, 2010 4:44 pm

    Good luck. You’re doing a great thing on the East Side.

  3. Renee permalink
    November 17, 2010 9:46 pm

    How ridiculous! Good luck!

  4. November 17, 2010 10:28 pm

    That is too bad. I am glad it didn’t work for them.

  5. Chris Arbo permalink
    November 19, 2010 5:35 pm

    I am so very sorry that happened. Sounds like something young, stupid kids would do.

    You Stevens’ are the first farmers in about a century to meet the challenges of more than just the soil on the east side, and you are doing fine. That looks like a winter-sturdy repair job.

    Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone.

    • wilsonstreeturbanfarm permalink
      November 19, 2010 6:14 pm

      Thanks, Chris. Have a great Thanksgiving, too!

  6. saracenas permalink
    December 2, 2010 1:37 pm

    These who did that deserve the hands to be cut. Hope the crime is under investigation.
    Fit a movement sensor light at least.

    Have a Merry Christmas!!!

    Warm regards.

    • wilsonstreeturbanfarm permalink
      December 4, 2010 6:01 pm

      Thanks for your concern. We have endeavored to make the Wilson Street Farm inviting to the neighborhood and passersby. That also leaves it open to the few who would do ill. We continue to believe that fences and surveillance are not the answer, nor is revenge. We believe in a God who is love and full of compassion and forgiveness. Our goal is to live accordingly.


  7. Timothy Hippert permalink
    December 3, 2010 11:06 pm

    I live in the neighborhood. I was talking with another person in the neighborhood one day about a month or two ago. She complained about more rats in the area, saying that the bales of hay harbored the rats (she said they nest under them). Just thought I’d let you know when my daughter told me of the vandalism. Keep fighting the good fight.

    • wilsonstreeturbanfarm permalink
      December 4, 2010 5:52 pm

      Thanks Tim for this question. It is interesting that some complain about gardening attracting rats, but quickly forget what the Wilson Street area was like before we started growing food there. We never counted up the bags of garbage that we cleaned off these lots, but it was generally a dumping ground. And wherever people see trash, they assume it is an invitation to drop more. In the first year I continued to find regular drops of garbage bags ( not fun to clean up as they usually burst open to display their contents), but as we have cleaned up the site and used it, the deposits have been very few. So any mention of rats should compare the situation before urban ag use and after.

      Rats live in the city and will always be here. The question is one of control, keeping them to a minimum. Every yard that has dogs and doesn’t promptly clean up the “dog dirt” is attracting rats. Every bag of garbage not contained in totes, every vacant building, every unmowed field, every restaurant, every factory . . . basically every human activity attracts rats. Rats are here whether we are here or not.

      We seek in our gardening practices to be clean and neat. It is to our benefit to minimize the rat population. We believe we have (I don’t see any dead rats on Wilson St. like I did when we moved here) and we will continue to do so. The best antidote to any urban blight situation, whether rats or crime, is neighborhoods working together. We are very approachable, so if anyone has suggestions on how we can improve our operation, feel free to stop by and talk.


  8. Chris Arbo permalink
    December 14, 2010 12:57 pm

    Rats, mice, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons and wood chucks (which are making their presence known more and more in the city and immediate suburbs)may be back in their regenerating mode–which has nothing to do with a small-by-farming-standards, clean, well-kept urban farm.

    Rodents will and do nest everywhere within all cities, suburbs and rural areas whether its a hay bundle or overgrown bushes or a pile of dead leaves left to rot or even a rotting carpet or mattress or clothing left on vacant lots and uncared for yards where critters can have comfy nests. Heck, I bet rats like old tossed away shoes best!

    Rodents CANNOT be completely eliminated. What’s important is to keep their numbers downnnnnn.

    It is important to understand that rodents will nest in great numbers where they find a DEDICATED FOOD SUPPLY–rodents don’t EAT their nests–rodents stay in their nests and roam an area looking for food to BRING TO THEIR NESTS! And yes, they do eat pet poop-heck-its probably a delicacy to rats, mice, and all the above-mentioned creatures.

    Rodents reside in rural, suburban and city areas–they actually are everywhere, but, within city and suburban limits rodents live in tooo close proximity to where humans live.

    Also, unlike our winter birds who can’t find food when we have a snowstorm, rodents move UNDER the snow and find that old pet poop or buried black bag. And, rodents love birdseed and tossed bread too!

    A few years back, at taxpayers’ expense, Buffalo purchased trash containers that DO work. The containers consist of a plastic rodents can’t chew with lids rodents can’t open. Those containers worked well for a while and suburbs are beginning to purchase them for their own rodent problems. But, I say that those containers worked well ‘for a while’ because, for a while, people ACTUALLY MADE SURE THE LIDS WERE CLOSED.

    Check out all of those workable containers nowadays, put out for trash pickup that are often put out too early and are overfull with the lids left open. Rats and mice are high jumpers. Then there are squirrels. Heck squirrels don’t even have a problem reaching roofs!

    There is also the topic of landlords’ and tenants’ blackbag storage sites…

    Rodents appreciate human carelessness.

  9. Timothy Hippert permalink
    December 14, 2010 3:45 pm

    I was glad to hear all of the information and I hope that I was not perceived as lodging a complaint myself. In general, most everything said so far is not new to me. What I meant to do was to apprise the Stevens and all others who visit this sight about the perception of some neighbors and a possible connection between it and recent vandalism. This way, corrective diplomatic actions might be taken to deal with this mistaken perception.

    As I stated from the outset, I live in the area and have been doing extensive gardening about four years now. I appreciate the great community work that the Stevens are doing and hope it catches on. Maybe our neighborhood could become something much better than what some folks look back on wistfully.

    According to conventional wisdom, the neighborhood will never be anything close to what it was in the past. I prefer to stand with kindhearted, courageous people like the Stevens who dare to dream that it can be even better. Please join us in my prayer of thanksgiving for “what is not as if it were.”

    I reluctantly moved into the neighborhood with my parents in 1982. We fixed up a house that was about to be condemned and they lived in it ever since. In 1999-2000 after living abroad for 20 years, I returned to visit my parents. While here, I walked around the neighborhood and prayed, thanking God for rebuilding our community, eliminating all things bad and bringing in all things good. I returned to live here again in 2003.

    Since then I have seen the Stevens move in. Recently, the Hope Center was inaugurated. A lot of work is being done around the Main Terminal. Several churches, mosques and temples have sprung up. Many people of eastern cultures have arrived and are setting down roots here as a community. Some young people are working in the area and, together with others, they are buying properties and doing something positive with them. Parts of an area that was ostensibly in decline or dead are being revived and resurrected.

    I have no claims to being a righteous person, so others must have already joined in this prayer because it is written that …”the effectual prayer of a righteous [individual] avails much.” I have seen a great affirmative response to this prayer and am hopeful to see much more. The way things are going, a few rats and some vandalism are just trifles. Thank you all for doing your share to make this a better community. Let’s hang in there and keep the faith because the best is yet to come.

    Gratefully yours,

    Tim at 95 Detroit…


  1. Someone tried to burn down the hoophouse! | Broadway Fillmore Alive

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: