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Fur, Feathers and Fins Agricultural Petting Zoo

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High Winds in Richmond

Last Saturday, we were invited to take the petting zoo to the Richmond branch of the Toronto Dominion Bank. We had a great time, but learned a few new things about how to secure our equipment in high winds. Basically, the concept is to use all available resources.

See, Friday night was windy here, very windy. By morning, the wind had died down, but as a precaution, I put some concrete blocks in the trailer before we left Saturday morning.

Boy, am I ever glad I did. When we arrived, the winds were incredible. I have been in winds before, but never when it was so bad we could hardly hold on to the tent tarps. It took us well over an hour to set up, because every time we stuck the second two Velcro corners of the tarps to the canopy frame, the first two would blow off. In between gusts of wind, we managed to get the first tent set up, and tied down to our galvanized gates. We always do this if we are expecting any wind.

A gust of wind at a fair a couple of years ago, caused our second tent to have an unfortunate meet-up with a chainlink fence, so it has a cracked corner that has to be held together as the tent is raised. In good weather, it’s no problem, but holding this corner while trying to keep the tent from taking off like a parachute is another thing.

We managed to get the second tent set up, and decided to tie it to the first one. I’m the type of person who carries all sorts of junk in my truck. It drives my family crazy because I have to plan ahead if someone is going to ride in my backseat, because there are so many odds and ends that have to be moved. This type of vehicle hoarding does come in handy though, I carry a vast assortment of tie-down and ratchet straps (and snacks! Snacks always come in handy!). Turned out, that tying the tents down required the use of every single one of my straps, two concrete blocks, our trailer, and a light pole that was confidently located beside our display. You'll notice in the below photo that there is even a strap running from the canopy frame to one of our lawn chairs ...

Before we could unload the animals, we needed to tarp the sides of the tents so they’d have a windbreak. Animals generally don’t mind cold, but wind is hard on them if they don’t have shelter. Animal happiness is a top priority for us, so we ensure they are protected.

I’ll admit that I love a new tarp. One that is crisp and crinkly and still has the lines from where it was folded in the package. I have a few of these, and often find myself buying another ‘when they’re on sale’. You can never really have too many tarps. When I’m done using a tarp, I want it immediately folded up with crisp, neat corners. Nothing is more annoying than a tarp that is just thrown in a heap somewhere. Anyhow, I digress.

We use zip-ties for almost everything in our displays. They hold the pens together, hang the signs, and in inclement weather, hold the eyelets of our tarps to our tents. Besides our fuel cost, zip-ties are our biggest operating expense! Though of course there is the cost of feeding and housing the animals day to day too. I used the extra long zip-ties to hold the sides of the tarp to the tent. Usually, we use the short ones, but the long tied were able to go around the tent legs and the pen to add even more security.

It was a relief to have everything set up, secured, and the animals unloaded, and fed and watered. The wind didn’t really die down, but thankfully, the set up lasted the entire day. We even managed to get our rabbit jumps set up for a little hopping demo. The only unfortunate part was that it was too windy to fold the tarps nicely, and they are actually still in a pile in the trailer... :(

Previously, we have set up in heavy rain, and extreme temperatures. Now we can say we can weather high winds too.

Despite the weather, we met a lot of wonderful people in Richmond and would like to thank the TD Bank for having us! (oh, and thanks for the hotdogs too!).

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