We are building a greenhouse….

…while not having a clue.  This is our chosen way of doing things as you know except this time we are free-building – without even the how-to library books for guidance.  We are jus’ kinda wingin’ it.

I blame my father-in-law. He was going to throw out some large double pane windows at a time when I was in a materials-gathering mode. It’s a state not unlike shopping at Save-On while hungry.  Not always sensible.  I came home with a bunch o’ windows. Then, we were site-sitting at a mansion under renovation and they were gonna break up a bunch of double pane windows and that just seemed so wrong….so we came home with more windows. So, now we have a pile o’ windows – none of which are the same dimensions as the others – and Sal doesn’t like mess and well, that means I have to do something with them.

“I’m gonna build a greenhouse!”  

“Good.  I am not helping.”

“What do you mean you are not helping?  We are partners.  We like greens.  You hate mess.  I am old and stupid.  I need you.  Otherwise, we just have a pile o’ windows.”

“Fine.  I’ll help.  But quilting comes first, OK?”

“No.  Actually foundation comes first.  Then pony walls and then glass. Even I know that much.”  

Building a concrete foundation is just not ‘done’ much on the Westcoast.  Cement is heavy to buy, heavier to transport, and even heavier yet to mix and the ground is always uneven and, really, we are already ten years into the thirty year rule (meaning we are now building to the 20 year rule) and so I really didn’t want to build using any concrete.  So much work. So little energy.  But Sal hates mess and I had a few already-hard bags of Reddi-mix that, if I beat the crap out them, would likely serve us in their designed capacity if I added some extra Portland cement.  So, I beat the crap outta them with sledges and came up with some mixable material.  Not enough.  But some.

“I need more Reddi-mix.”

“Never gonna happen.”

“Only about six more bags.”


I understand her being so adamant. She thinks if we get more bags, there will simply be a larger pile hardening under the deck.  I have to use up what I have before having that conversation again.  I hate to admit that she is right so I just submit quietly to her will.

Any other husband out there ever felt like that?

So, my greenhouse foundation concrete footing wall is only a few inches wide and a few inches deep.  Just enough, really, to get the pony-wall frames off the ground.  And, the pony walls are to be built from two-by-fours because greenhouses do not need heavy construction.

That’s the easy part.

The harder part is going to be welding a steel cage-like frame in which the windows will be placed.  I have to make a frame from 1″ angle iron in just the right way to accommodate about thirty large windows only four of which at any one gathering are even close to similar to each other.  I am trying to figure out a pattern that allows 3′ by 5′ windows to mix with 2′ by 4′ windows with the frequent inclusion of 30″ by 72″ windows for visual interest. Plus a bunch of small square ones of differing dimensions.  Got a couple of rhomboids too. Not the same size, of course.  This is literally a greenhouse puzzle.

I mention this because the lower funicular is just waiting on a motor controller and it will be done.  Chore number two is the greenhouse and, as you can tell, it is underway.  Kinda. Chore number three which is the guest bathroom will have to wait til next year.


I seem to be on a bit of a roll, after all.

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