I’ve been fantasizing about building a greenhouse, so I started collecting old windows. I got four off Craigslist for free; a friend brought me two brand-new windows left from a construction project; I broke my personal “freegan” code and paid five dollars for a small window at an estate sale; then my neighbor pulled some windows out of his house and gave me about 16. So if you’re keeping track, I have about 23 windows, in various states of disrepair, sitting on my porch.
In an uncharacteristic burst of OCD diligence, I’ve been scraping the old paint and recaulking the glass panes, in preparation for ultimately installing the reconditioned windows in my fantasy greenhouse. This is painstaking but meditative work, so my mind wanders across the quarter-acre of my property, cataloging possible locations where I could build the putative garden folly of my dreams, as well as the obvious reasons not to do so.
(I’ve been through this exercise before, with other unconsummated fantasy projects, including my urban dovecote and Ping Pong pergola.)
The best place to erect my fantasy greenhouse is on the wall beside the garage; however, that is a north-facing wall with approximately 13 minutes of sun per week. Not exactly the place to foster a winter garden.
An alternative is at the back of the driveway, near the chicken coop, but that patch of grass lies in the blast zone of the basketball goal, so I fear my fantasy greenhouse would soon be fodder for the cover of a Billy Joel album.
My latest plan is to build a glass dog-run between the house and the garage, which would require only two walls of glass, but I am still struggling with how to attach the greenhouse to the Hardie siding on the existing structures, as well as how to attach the greenhouse to the ground.
I’m taking my time, watching lots of YouTube videos and pacing the yard with my tape measure. Meanwhile, my poor husband studies the growing inventory of weather-beaten architectural spolia on the back porch, knowing better than to ask questions.
My kids want a greenhouse, and they want it now. (Little do they know it will not be their clubhouse, but rather an incubator for arugula and a winter haven for gardenias.) And unlike their father, they are not afraid to ask questions — questions like “Mom, when are you ever gonna get around to building a greenhouse?” and the question from my youngest, which cut like a shard of broken glass: “Mom, is the greenhouse gonna be like those other fantasy projects you have that never get built?”
I take his point. Poor guy is still waiting for his flock of doves and an outdoor Ping Pong stadium. But in my defense, we are making great strides on our Little Free Library, which will be getting its shingle roof in the coming week. So stay tuned for the Little Free ribbon-cutting.