This will be My Love’s fourth year gardening. The first year was a total experiment but he took to it right away and we have enjoyed the fresh produce more than I can say. Last year he decided to build a greenhouse but with yet another busy fall, he didn’t get to it before snow was a-flying. I’m actually really glad he didn’t get it done last year because we changed our minds on where it should be located in the yard.
I’ll explain further for my own amusement, feel free to skip ahead if you wish. We have a spot right behind the garage that is fenced in. We call it the “enclosure” for lack of a better term. In it, we store bikes with a tarp over them in the winter, a random pile of bricks, and other yard paraphernalia that doesn’t have a home. We planned on replacing the fence with re-purposed windows and building a roof to enclose the greenhouse.
Once this very early, very lovely spring hit, we went outside to plan it out. The windows and the existing fence posts didn’t work together very well so we discussed options. This area is also right next to the playset and I was concerned about kids playing near so many glass windows. We thought of a few options to deal with that but it was starting to sound all cobbled together and hodgepodge.
Hodgepodge was not the look we were going for. The greenhouse was to be built using re-purposed materials but we still wanted it to look nice. My Love scoured Pinterest and the internet and found some really great looks that he wanted to replicate.
One of us asked if there was anywhere else in the yard it could be built so we started looking around. There is another corner of our yard that isn’t used for much. We kind of had it labelled as the fire pit area. It’s the back corner, where our side, picket fence meets our back, tall fence. This is why I’m glad we waited until spring had sprung to figure this out. In the spring when he’ll be growing the seeds, this corner of the yard actually gets a lot of sun because the nearby trees don’t have leaves yet. Come summer and fall, it’s quite shaded. We would have immediately discounted this spot as being too shady had we not seen it in the correct season.
So, site chosen and materials ready, My Love set to work. He started it the weekend my parents were in town so my dad helped him out a bit. As did Little Love #4.
And Little Love #2.
My Love worked on it steadily over the next two weeks. He came home from work and worked on the greenhouse until dark. He had to rip down quite a few boards to use materials he already had and that took some time. The greenhouse was built out of 24 windows that needed trim pieces cut to size on all four sides, both inside and out. That means that My Love had to individually measure, cut, and nail 192 pieces of wood to secure the windows in place. He also used caulk and foam insulation to close up little gaps.
And the painting! He primed and painted the structure before the windows went in, then we taped off all the windows (106 panes of glass) on the inside and the outside, and he primed and painted once more.
While I was taping the inside panes, Eleanor came up, tapped on the glass, and said, “Moooommmmyyyy, you missed a spot!”
All in all, he thinks he put about 80 hours into it. It was a lot more work than expected.
Isn’t that everything in life that’s worth while? Much more work than expected but, oh, so much more perfect and satisfying than we ever could have imagined at the beginning.
On one side, My Love built a bench with a slatted top and a shelf for holding the plants while they grow. On the other side are supply shelves and a sink for potting. He’s working on getting a water barrel, too.
All the kids helped at one point or another but these two were fairly constant companions.
They all love helping My Love in the garden so they’re pretty excited about the greenhouse, too.
My Love comes from a long line of people who make things with their hands. My Love’s grandfather made many things out of metal and tin. He made the little white windmill in these photos. He also made his grandchildren brightly colored tin signs with their last names spelled out in rivets.
Is this sign special to us? Yes! It makes me smile and think of the kind grandfather who called on each and every birthday and anniversary to say he was thinking of us, just as he did with all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. So sweet.
Is the sign anything I would normally hang . . . anywhere? As much as I hate admit it, no. The signs had become a running joke among the cousins. We all loved the signs because Grandpa made them. Everyone kept them.
But they kept them . . hidden.
It hasn’t been quite a year since Grandpa’s death. We remember him fondly and I think often of the treasured picture we have of him, my father-in-law, My Love, and Little Love #1 when he was 3 months old. Generational pictures never cease to make me tear up.
My Love and I were in the greenhouse, looking around and admiring his handiwork when he looked up and pointed out the 2×10 up above the front windows.
“You know what would look great there? Grandpa’s sign.”
And he’s right.