State of the Greenhouse – May 16, 2021

Greenhouse Walk-Through
Looking into the greenhouse from the deck

So we’ve made some significant progress on the TSL Homestead greenhouse. We’re not finished by a long shot but the space is now completely enclosed and mostly draft proof. As you can see in the photo above we’ve got the outside trimmed in weathered shiplap siding that was gifted to us by some friends a few years ago when we were building the Pub Shack (thanks Mike & Wanda)! The siding didn’t match the cedar siding we were using on the Shack so I kept it back to use in a future project and, TADAAAA, we used it!

The planting tables have been installed

We installed planting tables along the front wall at two different heights. The longer run, about 10 feet, is lower and a good height for working at if seated and it’s also an advantage if you are just sitting in the space and looking out into the yard. The Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy have spent more than a few evenings since we got the roof on sitting in the greenhouse, discussing modifications, changes to our yard and just enjoying the space. The higher table on the West end is 36 inches high, a good height for standing and working, and about 6 feet long.

The planking for the interior walls and the table tops are recycled cedar pickets from old garden fence that we used to have up when we had more of the garden blocked off.

Inside looking West

The greenhouse is close to one of our outside spigots so we put a splitter on the outlet and ran a short hose behind the greenhouse and through the back wall, giving us water inside the greenhouse without having to drag a hose around. A 25 foot hose with a wand attachment was the perfect length to allow us to water anything inside and not have to deal with a lot of excess hose.

You can see our existing cold frames in the background but we’re going to be moving those to allow for easier access along the path to the greenhouse door.

Looking out into the vegetable garden. It’s fenced in because Sasha likes brassicas, especially Brussel Sprouts.
Inside looking South out into the yard

We haven’t had too much sun yet this year but we have already been super happy that most of the windows open.

It’s a nice space to sit in when the weather outside is damp and dreary

The Mad Farmer really wasn’t happy with the way I originally framed the East door leading into the greenhouse from the deck. The original plan for the East wall looked a lot different and when we ended up making it symmetrical and using slightly larger windows it narrowed the door frame. We were using an older screen door so that we could raise and lower the window but the opening became too narrow for the stock door so ended up initially framing the door on the outside of the greenhouse, opening onto the deck. After walking through it a few days I just didn’t like it.

So, because screws are a Farmer’s best friend, I was able to deconstruct the door and re-purpose most of the frame. I cut notches into the edges of the door frames using a table saw. You lower the blade down to the height you want to cut to and then run your wood through multiple times, widening the table guide a little each time to make the notch wider. You can do the same thing better with a router but I need to replace my router so sometimes you do the best you can with what you have.

After notching the rails I cut them in half, placed the glass from the door into the custom notches and screwed the top halves back on. I’m sure there are better ways to do it, and it’s possible down the road I might replace it, but it works fine, fits with the look of the greenhouse and I will eventually build a screen door in a similar manner that will open onto the deck so we can have the door open and still keep the bugs out.

The greenhouse dimensions are about 16 feet long by 8 feet wide – a nice space to move around in without feeling cramped.
The steps lead up to the deck where Sasha likes to keep watch for squirrels and Sasquatch

We made the steps leading down into the greenhouse off the deck wider and shallower than a normal step, to make it easier to step down if you are carrying something. The distance between the deck and the ground is only about 15-16 inches, so they didn’t have to be steep and it’s easier on both the dog and the people – important as you get older. Sasha is nine now and while she thinks like a puppy she doesn’t move that well anymore.

We are going to be insulating the wall spaces and covering the interior walls that are open but the good news is that we have some time before winter so we can start looking for some additional salvaged lumber to fit the look. We the price of new lumber at the moment if we decide to go that route we’ll have to decide which child to sell. Father Day’s coming up kids, so would be a good time to make some points with the old man before that decision takes place…

TSL Homestead Cocktail of the Month – Blue Hawaii April 2021

This month we are celebrating our 10th anniversary with a drink that reflects our honeymoon to Hawaii – the Blue Hawaii. Hard to believe we are rounding the corner to 10 years. What a fun journey it has been!

This cocktail was created in 1957 by Harry Yee, while he was working at the Village Hotel in Waikiki. Mr. Yee was approached by a representative of Bols (a Dutch distiller) and asked to create a drink using their liquor, Blue Curacao – and so the Blue Hawaii was born.

Blue Curacao uses the peel of the Laraha citrus fruit for the taste (think orange-ish) and color is added to make it blue. Here’s a fun video about how to pronounce Curacao

The liquor we used was Combier Le Bleu. They have been making Curacao for 180 years. Their recipe was created by J.B. Combier while serving time in prison in the French village of Nantes (Combierusa.com).

There is another blue cocktail called the Blue Hawaiian, which is a blended drink and has Creme de Coconut in it. That may be for a different show…

The recipe we used came from Imbibemagazine.com and their recipe is from The Pink Squirrel:

3/4 oz white rum – we used Barcardi

3/4 oz vodka – we used Tito’s

3/4 oz blue curacao – we used Combier Le Bleu

3 oz of fresh pinapple juice – we used Knudson’s

1 oz fresh sour mix (recipe below)

Sour mix

1 C water

1 C granulated sugar

Heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature then add:

1 C fresh lemon juice

1/2 C fresh lime juice

This stores in the fridge up to a week. I think I am going to try it in margaritas…

Mix in a shaker and strain into a glass with ice – if you have a hurricane glass, use that. Enjoy!

TSL Greenhouse 2021 – West Wall

Using ripped Cedar pickets to frame in the windows

The Farmer does a lot of things with Cedar pickets – I just like the look, it’s easy to work with and since it’s usually used for fencing it’s not super expensive. On all the inside window frames the pickets have been ripped down to 1″ wide (that way there are five strips to a standard picket). Then cut to 45 degree angles on the ends, cut to the appropriate length and screwed into the 2×4’s I’m using to frame the window openings. Smells great when you’re cutting them as an added bonus.

West Wall Framed and looking towards the Garden – Original framing

In the above picture you can see we originally had the big window going in the top and were planning to add shelving to the lower left wall.

We ended up finding that some of the frame on the larger window we were going to put on top of the West wall had some wood rot and we could either remove the glass and build a new frame or change the plan up some. One of the reasons the Farmer likes working with wood (and the main reason I use screws) is that when a plan changes it’s relatively easy to adjust. In this case the West wall was re-framed to add in the two smaller windows on top that open horizontally and the larger window was framed in as a non-opening window on the bottom.

Clamps of various types are a Farmer’s best friend (besides Miss Mercy).

When we changed the window framing plan on the wall I had to remove the existing window frames I had already built, move a vertical stud over a couple of inches and then create new frame spaces for change in window layout. It’s always super handy to have a variety of clamps in various sizes and types around to hold things when you are missing that third hand. In the picture above I’m using a C-Clamp and an adjustable frame clamp to hold a new spacing stud in place while I screw it in. Way easier than trying to hold it with one hand and run a drill with the other.

West Wall modified framing with Windows in place

Miss Mercy liked the way it turned out and was willing to lose the planned shelf space we were going to build in on the lower side of the wall. With a lower shelf planned for under the sixteen foot planting table we are building against the South wall we probably won’t miss the few feet of shelves and we gained a pretty cool look for the wall with more glass than originally planned.

All four walls framed in and windows in place – starting to come together.

Overall, a pretty productive couple of days, even with the change in plan. That’s why they call it a project…