For the past couple weeks, Tasha and I have been working on site prep and assembly of our greenhouse. After Bob the exacavator dug out our site, I dug 12 footings 6 1/2 feet apart for our 13' x 26' greenhouse. I thought I did a pretty good job laying out the site, levelling the sonotubes, measuring, staking out string lines, etc, etc, but I sort of forgot to check for square on the layout. D'oh!

Actually, I didn't have a long enough tape measure, so I tried to do it with the 25 -foot one I have using a marker in the middle and screwed up royally. After going to Lowe's and buying a 100-foot tape measure and compulsively measuring things for what seemed like hours, I had to move seven of the 12 footings and re-level the sonotubes. This was after humping 24 80-pound bags of concrete up the hill Saturday morning. But I digress, For the rest of the day, Tasha and I mixed the concrete and poured the footings..

Sunday I dug trenches between the footings to hold a few inches of gravel, so our sill plates wouldn't be lying directly on dirt. Monday and Tuesday we had torrential rains, so the back footings that face into the slope of the hill were covered in mud.

This proved a timely reminder that it would be a good idea to build a small retaining wall and French drain on the upslope side of the greenhouse. That I did today and yesterday. I also cut the sill plates and again checked nominal dimensions and square. So far, so good...

A Week Later...

So, we built ourselves a greenhouse!

It only took two and a half days and a whole lot of cursing, and that's not counting the site prep and foundation work.

To document the process, I set up a still camera on a tripod and periodically snapped a shot. We ended up with this pseudo-whimsical animated GIF, when I could bother to stop working and click the button... Anyway, I'm almost never in frame, so it looks like Tasha did all the work, but I'm there...toiling away, behind the scenes.


Also, the camera doesn't nearly do justice to the epic, 30 MPH gusts of wind we had this weekend. Granted, it is very windy where we live, but this was extraordinary, and made for exciting (!) times erecting a greenhouse. On more than one occasion, I adopted the time honored and heroic stance of bellowing at the firmament. I think I understand now how in Switzerland the Foens (strong winds) can be considered mitigating circumstances in capital crimes.

The weekend involved the obligatory trip to the local Lowe's, where I'm spending increasing amounts of time and money, to buy an angle grinder and more expansion bolts, owing to the fact that the greenhouse had a system of interior buttresses, conveniently spaced every 6 1/2 feet, just where my footings anchored to the sill plate.

Of course, this wasn't the ony surprise. We had missing screws, parts with no name, names with no parts, and broken or mis-assembled parts. We managed to get the whole thing constructed only to find that two of the four doors had hinges riveted on four inches too high to fit the corresponding hinges...ooops!

After all that, we finally have a greenhouse on an absolutely bomb-proof foundation. I may have gotten a little carried away with the multiple nests of 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch anchors driven into each footing, but I'll take my chances on that. The winds here, as previously stated, are murderous. Throw in the odd derecho front or wayward hurricane, and I think anything less just wouldn't be prudent...