Building the House of Green

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The greenhouse was listed among the goals in my six-year homesteading plan. My original thought was to create this structure using old farmhouse windows which I’d already purchased. But the more I studied plans and viewed pictures, I came to the conclusion that old windows would probably not create an energy efficient building for growing plants.

Farmhouse windows are lovely, but maybe not a fit for my greenhouse

Farmhouse windows are lovely, but maybe not a fit for my greenhouse

So, my next task was to find a place to purchase a greenhouse kit or find a company to build one for me. The result – no local builders for such a project and no local company selling greenhouse kits. Now what? Google, of course! I found a company that specializes in all things greenhouse but, now I had to decide what kind of materials to use. Should the covering be polycarbonate, polyethylene plastic film, fiberglass, glass, acrylic or vinyl? What kind of frame? Aluminum, plastic, wood, PVC or steel? And what should I set it on? Cement blocks, pour a concrete foundation or set it directly on the ground? After much deliberation, I chose all glass on a coated aluminum frame erected on a concrete foundation. Once ordered, I was told I had six weeks to get the foundation poured. Luckily, my brother-in-law had used a reputable company and they made short work of getting the job done. 

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What set me into panic mode was the fact that I was told the greenhouse would be shipped in crates weighing a total of 1200 pounds to be delivered by a semi-truck. When I informed them I lived on a narrow, country road bordered by a creek, they told me that I would have to find another way to get it to my home. Frantic, I called moving companies, rent-a-truck businesses and family and friends that owned trailers and trucks only to discover none of these possibilities would work. Here I had purchased a beautiful greenhouse with no way to bring it to it’s final resting place! Two anxious months later and numerous delays, someone called me from the delivery dock to let me know it had arrived and would not be coming on a semi-truck after all. However, they suggested I have several strong individuals to help bring it off the truck since the driver would not be responsible for anything other than getting it to its destination. The following day I fixed a large meal to feed my willing helpers and waited in anticipation (and no small amount of anxiety) for its arrival. To my dismay, the driver showed up hours before my helpers were to arrive…and he was driving a semi-truck that could not get up my driveway!

There’s my greenhouse - sitting on a truck that can’t get up my driveway!  So close, but not home yet!

There’s my greenhouse - sitting on a truck that can’t get up my driveway! So close, but not home yet!

My husband and I walked down to meet the driver and discuss how we might move the mammoth crates from the road up to its new home. That’s when we met Frederick. This was his last delivery of the day and he was eager to be on his way. Lucky for us, he was a weightlifting, compassionate man, ready to put his daily workouts to the test. While he pulled, my husband and I pushed hundreds of pounds up our very long, uphill driveway! Frederick seemed pleased about his significant part in this feat, and our helpers arrived hours later to feast without having to lift more than a fork to their mouths.

One of three crates.  Thanks Frederick and Randy!

One of three crates. Thanks Frederick and Randy!

There the greenhouse remained in its crates until May awaiting the arrival of the master builder that was going to help me assemble it. Well, I should say, I was going to help him build it!

Waiting for Andy to arrive

Waiting for Andy to arrive

Andy is one of those rare friends that volunteers to use his vacation days to fly across the country to build projects for me, refusing anything more than room, board, and our friendship! The morning after his late night flight, we started early. We first laid out all the pieces, making sure nothing was missing and then Andy poured over the mammoth book of instructions.

Making sure all the pieces are there.

Making sure all the pieces are there.

Andy - the Master Builder

Andy - the Master Builder

So armed with a drill, I became the chief gofer and assembled whatever pieces Andy instructed me to put together. With very few setbacks, the greenhouse was finished in two days! 

Frame going up

Frame going up

Ready for glass

Ready for glass

Chief assistant and gofer

Chief assistant and gofer

We were both relieved that we got hundreds of pounds of glass in place without a break!

We were both relieved that we got hundreds of pounds of glass in place without a break!

Standing back to view our accomplishment, I believe it was the first time I had exhaled since I’d placed my order.  But in my head, I could already see all those seeds planted in rows of pots lining the shelves – the magical beginning of a house of green!

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Karen ShawComment