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Hoop houses are budget-friendly and versatile structures that can be extremely useful on the homestead. Whether you are wanting to provide protection for your plants to extend your growing season, build a temporary animal shelter, or keep your hay or firewood dry, these affordable shelters could be just what you’re looking for.

What is a Hoop House?

A hoop house can be as simple, or as fancy, as you choose to make it. Basically, a hoop house consists of a series of large hoops made from plastic or metal and then covered with a tarp or greenhouse plastic, depending on the purpose of the hoop house. They can be placed over your raised garden beds, or you can build a wooden frame to attach your hoops too. They can be built very cheaply, for as little as a couple hundred dollars, or you can build a large hoop house (or high tunnel) for a few thousand. Keep in mind that the plastic components of a hoop house will most likely get brittle and need to be replaced periodically, depending on your climate, so some maintenance will be required if you want to use the structure long term.

Uses for a Hoop House


A hoop house makes a great season extender in the garden. Not only will it protect your plants from early or late frosts, but it will also help the soil to warm faster in the spring, so you can start planting earlier. If you build a hoop house greenhouse, you can grow vegetable and herbs for your family all year long. You will probably have to stick to cold hardy varieties if you live in a colder climate, though.

Animal Shelter

I’ve used hoop houses as animal shelters for pigs, chickens, and goats over the years, but they would work for other animals, too. They make a great temporary shelter and can even be a year-round shelter in warmer climates. They can also be put out in the pasture to give your animals a place to get out of the wind and rain. They’re also great as a portable shelter that can be moved around your property. I love to use them in conjunction with portable electric net fencing to rotate grazing areas.


Hoop houses are great for storing things like hay and firewood that needs to be kept dry. We even kept our riding lawnmower in one for a couple of years. Just remember that, while things will stay dry in a hoop, they are not rodent proof. If you want to keep rodents out of your stored items, additional protection will be required. For example, if you want to store grain in the hoop house, put it inside a metal trash can with a lid.

How to Construct a Hoop House

When constructing your hoop house, be sure to keep the corners square and cover the hoops with plastic on a day that’s not windy. There are a few ways to construct a hoop house, so choose the method that best suits your needs. The sizes listed below can all be adjusted to suit the size of your project, but the basic technique will remain the same.

  • Probably the easiest way to construct a hoop house over a garden bed is to drive metal stakes (rebar) into the ground at equal intervals along both sides of your garden bed. Remember to keep everything square and even, to make the next step easier. Next, you’re going to take 6-foot lengths of PVC pipe and bend them across the bed, sticking the ends over your metal stakes to form the hoops. Stretch plastic over the hoops and use bricks, rocks, or dirt to hold the sides down.


  • To build a small hoop house that can be moved around your property, construct a 4-foot by 6-foot rectangle with two by fours. Decide how tall you want your structure to be and cut your PVC accordingly. Bend your PVC over the frame and attach it with PVC clamps right to your wooden frame to form the hoops. Cover your hoops with plastic or a tarp and attach it securely to the wood with staples. If you want to be able to ventilate the hoop house on hot days, you can use clamps to hold the plastic so that it can be rolled up to allow air to flow through.


  • If you want a taller hoop house that’s sturdier for housing animals or keeping hay and firewood dry, follow the same general technique as above, but use a cattle panel to form the hoops. Bend your cattle panel over the wooden frame, attach it securely with staples and then cover it with plastic. You can adjust the length of the frame and the number of cattle panels you use to suit the needs for your project.


  • This same general technique can be used to build a 7 and a half foot tall, 165 square foot hoop house greenhouse to grow food for your family year-round. You will need to build a frame that’s 11 feet wide and 15 feet long. If you prefer, you can use metal stakes to hold your hoops in place, just like in the first example. You will need six PVC pipes that are 20 feet long to construct your hoops. Strips of wood will need to be attached every few feet on the inside of your hoop house arches to add strength and wind resistance. The braces can be screwed into place or attached with zip ties. If you’re handy, you can even build a frame on the end to hold a door. You may want to add a couple of 2 x 4 props on the inside if you get a lot of heavy snow where you live.

I’m sure this article has given you lots of ideas for how a hoop house could be useful on your homestead. Do a quick search online, and you’ll find lots more ideas and detailed building instructions to go along with them. There’s really no limit to the possibilities!

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Face

Your face is the most expressive and sensitive part of your body, and generally reflects your health and wellbeing. Mostly we just take it from granted that we have facial features, skin, and facial expressions, but the interesting thing is the science behind the different parts of your face.


We have all experienced blushing at one point of another. Our cheeks flush red when we feel embarrassed. But did you know that the amount you blush differs for each person and is dependent on the sensitivity of the autonomic system, which uses smooth muscle fibers to control the blood vessels. These muscles widen to release more blood and this is when our face reddens. Blushing is actually a very intricate biological response to emotional situations.


Our eyebrows are not there just to look pretty. Their primary role is to protect the eyes. They prevent sweat from the forehead dripping into the eyes and they cast a shadow over your eyes which help to protect them from harsh sunlight. When women pluck their eyebrows, they are minimizing this shadow which makes the face appear brighter and more open. Eyebrows also contribute quite considerably to our facial expressions.


Our skin is made up of three layers. The outermost layer is called the epidermis and is comprised of about 5 sub-layers. As disturbing as it sounds, the top two layers are made up of dead skin cells, which are held together by a mixture of oils, water, peptides, and acids. Together, these outer layers provide a barrier against the environment.


We all know that we have to exercise our body to maintain our health, but it is a little known fact that our facial muscles need to be exercised too. Doing so can slow down the signs of aging, reduce tension in your head and neck, and liven up your complexion by encouraging oxygen to flow to your face. Facial exercises are simple and involve working each area of your face for a few seconds each day. For example, practice wide smiles, frowning, flicking your eyes upwards, and pouting your lips.


You should always wash your face thoroughly each morning and night. Nevertheless, did you know that your skin cleans itself while you sleep? As you sleep, your body is working to expel toxins from your body. One of the ways it does this is to push toxins out through your skin. This can cleanse your face from the inside out, but can leave you with a substance build-up on the surface of your face so it is crucial to wash your face when you wake up.

The Skin/Hair Relationship

Did you know that the link between skin and hair is very close? The sebaceous gland (which secretes oil) grows out of the hair follicle. The type of hair we have on each part of our body is directly associated with the size of the oil gland in these areas. Our oil glands are larger on our face so the hair here is finer, whereas the oil glands on our heads and legs are much smaller which results in thicker hair.

Health Clues

We know that the appearance of our face can be a clue to our overall health; for example, bright, clear skin signifies health, but dull, blemished skin does not. However, each specific area of our face is actually associated with different parts of our body. The face can be used as a diagnostic tool to point out which areas of your body’s health you need to work on. For example, the area underneath your eyes is associated with your kidneys, your nose is associated with your heart, and your bottom lip is associated with your intestines. Problems in these areas might indicate specific health concerns.


Melanomas are malignant moles that might be cancerous. We should all be checking for these on a regular basis. However, these spots are not always darker than your normal skin tone. Sometimes they are flesh-colored and other times they are reddish or whitish. Be sure to check thoroughly as they do not always look the way you expect. Pay special attention to any moles that are itchy or painful, or any mole that grows.

Skin Type

Your skin type is determined by how active your sebaceous (oil) glands are. If you have oily skin then your oil glands are over-active. Another factor at play is how well your skin seals in moisture (using fatty lipids). Dry skin is usually caused when this second function is deficient, along with under-active oil glands.


Finally, let’s talk about spots. Your skin contains two kinds of pores; the first are for excreting perspiration and the second are for excreting sebum. When sebum production is high, pores can become clogged up and bacteria can be trapped. This can easily result in the development of spots. Inflammation occurs when white blood cells flood towards the infected area

Our face is not as a straightforward as we assume it is. It can signify specific health problems in specific areas of our body, it self-cleanses and excretes toxins as we sleep, and our eyebrows have important protective functions. Blushing, spots, and skin type are all determined by a complex series of biological responses. Be aware that cancerous moles can sometimes be flesh-colored and require you to look closer to spot them.

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