Saturday, May 5, 2012
Greenhouse in the home stretch...
A week off work, a fortunate run of fair weather and the hard working hands of my dad and a good friend made this past week possible, as well as the hugely significant progress we made towards the completion of the greenhouse.
Since my father tore his shoulder earlier this spring, we've only had three good arms between the two of us. Certain remaining tasks, like the process of installing twelve foot long polycarbonate panels along the steep angle of roofing rafters were likely to be extremely difficult or impossible without the help of another set of hands.
Enter Scott: my friend since college, former U.S. Marine, intelligence expert, bearded gentleman, and soon to be NYC resident and Columbia student can now add "greenhouse construction expert" to his resume.
The learning curve on polycarbonate panel installation proved somewhat steep... we got off to slow progress despite pulling long hours the first few days. Not helpful in the least was the building itself and the rafter structure onto which we needed to affix the panels... the pressure treated lumber we used to construct the rafters before winter set in had shifted and warped somewhat despite our best efforts. Every single panel we installed required the rafters to be hammered sideways, levered with clamps and pulled with come-alongs so that the poly panels could fit straight along them.
Installing plywood panels along the north side of the building as underlayment support for the roof also proved challenging. Our previous treatments to the rafters on the south side to accomodate the poly panels meant many of the rafters were at a very slight angle, preventing us from being able to lay down a straight and manageable grid of 4'x8' sheets. What we ended up with was a lot of very subtle trapezoids that fit together in fun and challenging ways. Fortunately we were able to custom cut them so that the final effect is very much square, even if the panels themselves aren't, exactly.
While the rain kept off during work hours, the week was comprised mainly of a lot hot hours in the sun, lifting things up and down on ladders. We overcame a seemingly endless parade of engineering setbacks and material failures, and by the end of the week we were all very sunburned, sore, underslept and worn down (Scott notably remarked on Thursday morning that he was primarily running on "black coffee and rage").
But we did get it done, and we are now just a few working weekends away from having the greenhouse fit for inspection (and hopefully, approval) by the county.
Tremendous thanks goes out to Scott and my father, who worked themselves raw, and put up with me besides. I doubt Gatorade and pizza make up for the time put in... but if one of my new chicks grows an awesome beard, I'll name it in Scott's honor.