Building A Greenhouse

building a greenhouse

The pressure treated base, with two of the walls built and held temporarily by 2 angled boards.

The greenhouse is finally finished, and we are delighted with how it turned out! It all began a couple of months ago when Wes placed an order for a greenhouse kit, thinking this time around we’d “cheat” making it a little easier to build. Then after waiting for quite sometime and not hearing anything from the company, we inquired about the possible arrival date for the shipment. They emailed back saying they had canceled the order, stating they were sold out.

So we did what we’ve always done before, and built it ourselves from scratch. Wes drew up plans for it, we purchased the needed wood and after a bit of research, he decided to go with twin wall polycarbonate panels, since they last a long time, are very sturdy, and according to reviews, work great! Once they arrived, we began the project, starting with digging out the footers for it, and filling them with gravel. Atop that we used pressure treated 4×6’s as the base that were treated with log oil that prevents termites.  They say it’s okay for greenhouses, but we won’t be planting in the dirt just to be safe, plus it’s more convenient to use containers.

building a greenhouse2

All walls and roof trusses are now built and we’re installing the panels on the roof

The base is 12’ long and 7 ½’ wide and about 7′ tall at the peak.  We used the same panels on the sides and roof and they are mounted to the outside of the 2×4’s which aren’t pressure treated, using roofing screws with washers. Only the wood on the base and base plate was pressure treated, the rest of the wood isn’t.

building a greenhouse3

Then it was time to put the panels onto the sides

And before we knew it, they were all up! The next thing on the agenda was building a door, which we did using mainly 2×4’s and the polycarbonate panels. The bottom of all the panels were then buried so most of the time the sections stay steamed up. Thus far, we’ve noticed zero moisture inside on the wood, even with rain.  It does have condensation that drips when we open and close the tight fitting door. We consider this a “pre-planned, perfectly designed self-watering system” vs. a happy accident . . . Ha! It’s really not enough to water anything and we intend to install an air intake and fan next spring.

building a greenhouse5

All panels have been added and we built and installed a door using the same panels and mostly 2x4s

We added a roof vent, that works really great! It operates using a hinged opener that has an oil piston it, which opens and closes automatically as the temperature changes inside the greenhouse. As it gets warm inside and the oil heats up, thus expanding, which in turn opens the vent. Then as it cools down inside, it closes. It’s kinda fun to be peering out at the greenhouse at just the right time, when all of a sudden like magic, the roof vent slowly opens up!

building a greenhouse7

I love that it works without any electric!

Then we could finally move our remaining garden plants inside, since the temperatures were getting very cold at night. At this point however, we still had to dig out the floor inside. 

building a greenhouse4

Happy plants!

After researching geothermal properties, Wes decided it would be good to dig the dirt out, thus dropping the floor level about two foot inside. It was a lot of work and it felt like we were digging for days, but I must admit I really enjoyed working inside of there, where it was nice and toasty!

building a greenhouse6

Making progress!

I also love our earthen step just inside the door! It reminds me a little of the amazing cliff dwellings that I hope to see in person someday. Plus it was free, which makes it even better!

building a greenhouse11

The two garbage cans are buried even deeper and have water in them, creating natural warming inside

Finally a couple of days ago, we got the last shovel full of dirt removed from the inside! The sides were lined with food grade plastic bins and filled with dirt from a wonderful pile of composted chipped wood located beside the top of our driveway. Wes drove the van up there (since it’s a fairly long distance) loaded washtubs and buckets with the free black gold, drove it back and we unloaded and filled the planting bins with it. Then the veggies, herbs and flowers were planted into the divine dirt, and appear to be very happy in their lovely winter resort!

building a greenhouse10

The happy farmer

For the past few weeks, we have been raking and mulching leaves and using them to fill the container, on the left of the greenhouse, which was constructed out of old chicken wire. This, along with dirt mounded up at the bottom on all sides, adds a tremendous amount of insulation to it, and you can see the wonderful condensation from steam built up on the inside of the walls in the photo below. Wes even figured out the correct positioning and placement for the greenhouse, to absorb as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. So, I must admit that we’re both quite pleased with our new little greenhouse and have enjoyed eating ice cream inside of it in the afternoons, when it’s nice and toasty inside and like an escape to a Caribbean island!

building a greenhouse9

The leaf compost is almost as tall as Wes!

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Wes and I each have a painting in this exhibition currently at the  The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, located in Oradell, NJ, November 20, 2021 – January 16, 2022

 Exquisite Miniatures 

is currently at the beautiful Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL, where it will be on display until December 15th.

Society of Animal Artists The Kingdom Show
November 26, 2021 – January 16, 2022 at  The Midland Center for the Arts, located in Midland, MI. Wes and I each have a painting in this exhibition

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Surrounded By Blue Birds

fall wreath

Happy Fall Ya’ll! Wow . . . It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is nearly upon us! But here it is the 21st of November already. I guess time flies when you’re having fun or working on a lot of projects! Either way, I seem to be having a hard time keeping up with what day of the week or the month it is here. It’s like we’re living in the twilight zone, in a good way, here in Grandview! 

We finished treating the cabin with log oil, a job we’re both very thankful to be done with indeed! It looks happier and in much better shape now though and that makes us feel good. We also finished building the greenhouse this past week. We’re digging the floor out in it, about two feet down, adding nice geothermal insulation properties to it. We’ve also managed to fill the leaf compost on the left of it, using a minuscule fraction of the leaves our numerous trees have shed this past week. That being said, we have raked and blown leaves multiple times and since most have come down now, I’m thinking we’ll be doing a little less of this activity this next week.

building a greenhouse

Here’s a look inside the greenhouse, with our few plants brought along from our garden in Townsend, and they seem to be very happy in their new warm home! About half of the floor has yet to be dug out, and once we’re finished I’ll be sharing a step-by-step of the building process on a blog post, in case you’re curious to see how it was built.

greehouse

One of my projects this past week was to create the stone patio entrance to the front deck. We had already moved the rocks there and had them scattered about. I spent the entire day carefully moving them around and arranging them, before digging out some of the gravel and dirt beneath, to seat them in place. It was like putting together a giant, heavy puzzle, one piece at a time, making adjustments as needed, to make it fit together just right. 

making a stone sidewalk

I was quite pleased with how it turned out, and thought it kind like creating a large abstract! I’ll be adding onto the patio later on, as we’re planning to build both a pizza oven and rocket stove in that area, to enjoy cooking on, and of course for free! We’ll be building a roof on part of the front deck as well later on, so you’ll see those changes as they happen.

stone patio ideas

Another fun wood working project we did yesterday, was build several birdhouses and put them all about the yard. We used wood we had and the old metal poles the previous owner left from his above ground pool he once had. We just had to put two poles together to make each one tall enough, and voila’… we had the perfect birdhouse pole! The day before we built these, I had walked out to dump the compost in the compost bed, and suddenly stopped dead in my tracks, as a beautiful male bluebird flew up, landing atop a birdhouse mere feet in front of me! I was thrilled to say the least, and even more so when I realized that I was surrounded by bluebirds! There were a dozen of them everywhere I looked, atop several houses, on the greenhouse, the clothesline and even the table saw! It was absolutely amazing, and I stood there very still, feeling as if I was a part of this beautiful bright blue flock! Talk about immediate rewards for your work, that was certainly the case yesterday! Of course, we placed them so that we can see a box out of every window in the house 🙂

bird houses

Wes has spent some time in the crawl space underneath the house, putting foam insulation on all the water pipes. Definitely a job I don’t envy him of at all! I did get down and peer into the nicer space, which is actually inside what was once part of the garage, hence this photo. Another job he will be very happy to be done with!

wes siegrist

We take daily walks together along the multiple trails we have made through our woods, and I usually take several trips around them each day when possible. Walking in the woods is certainly one of my favorite pastimes, and I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy doing just that daily now. I love collecting beautiful leaves, or acorns or other interesting natural objects I find, and I created this lovely autumn bouquet using those things. I still had the carnation and few little rust-colored daisies from the arrangement I was given by a friend a couple of weeks ago, which I added to it.

autumn flower arrangement

If we’re out walking late enough in the evening, we get to watch “Batty”, our resident bat who comes out many evenings performing stunning aeronautical ballets as it eats bugs. It’s great fun to watch and at times it quickly dips down, zipping along just above my head. Amazingly it can change directions instantly in mid-air, a feat that doesn’t look possible, but for Batty it is and comes with great ease! Our mail lady kindly dropped off a few oversized packages for us one evening, since she only lives a couple of properties down from us, and we were on her way home. When Wes stepped out to help her, he stuck his head back in the door, telling me to come look at the moon. I stepped out with camera in hand, and it was truly amazing! Although my photo doesn’t do it justice in the least, it was huge, and bright orange, looking more like the sun rising than the moon! Even though it was quite frigid out, I had to stand there admiring it, and watching as it slowly went higher into the sky. 

moonrise photo

The deer have been back a couple of mornings this week, and we see them walking the trails we’ve made. This delights me, and I love seeing fresh tracks and scat many days, knowing that we have made them happy with these trails leading through our woods. We still have one more loop to add to the existing trails, and will probably do that sometime soon, then I hope to add fun little trailhead signs. Once completed I’ll take you along on a walk in the woods with me through photos and stories.

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Wes and I each have a painting in this wonderful exhibition currently at the  The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, located in Oradell, NJ, November 20, 2021 – January 16, 2022

 Exquisite Miniatures 

is currently at the beautiful Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL, where it will be on display until December 15th.

We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

New Paintings And A Greenhouse!

New Paintings And A Greenhouse

By Rachelle Siegrist

Wes and rachelle Siegrist up close and personal!

I don’t know, maybe we just spent way too much time in the studio this past week . . . or we just wanted to see what one of our miniatures feels like being observed under a magnifying glass . . . or perhaps even just for fun.  Nonetheless, for whatever reason we took this crazy selfie of ourselves under the magnifying glass, we thought it was pretty funny!  We have also spent some time this past week building a greenhouse for our garden.  Much of it is being built from recycled materials we had on hand, saving money and making it more environmentally friendly.  In this photo, the bottom part is in place.

wes siegrist building a greehouse

Having finished the bottom sections, the top part which is being constructed out of PVC, will be covered with plastic, save the couple of recycled windows that it will have on the front, and around the bottom on three sides.  This way it can be taken down fairly easily if needed.

wes siegrist buidling the greenhouse 2

We’re hoping to be able to grow lots of kale, spinach, lettuce and help our peppers produce longer, as well as move all of our herbs and deck plants into it for the winter.  I personally am hoping that it will be warm enough on some of those cold winter days, to be able to enjoy siting at a little table and perhaps eat lunch while being surrounded by green growing things!

It has been a very productive time here in the studio this week as well.  Wes has been painting on a turkey painting, which will be one of our Tandem Treasure paintings, which I’ll be painting on this week too.  It is for a  special event taking place during the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival in Thomasville, GA this November. Excitedly, I started painting a miniature landscape of an older gentleman fishing the Flint River.  We saw this stunningly peaceful setting while kayaking the river with artist friend David Lanier recently.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to paint it and of course I’m having loads of fun with it thus far!

fishing the flint river painting - 1

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~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~

I put the finishing touches this past week, on two miniature paintings I had been working on as well.  “Patterns of Light” featuring a gorgeous Great White Egret was painted from a photo I took while in Corkscrew Swamp this past May.  He was fishing one of the few remaining “gator holes”, or very small areas of water which are crated by alligators digging them out with their bodies, to trap and catch fish in dry seasons.

Great White Egret painting by_Rachelle_Siegrist
“Patterns of Light”

“Snowy at the Beach” was painted from a photo taken at Lovers Key State Park, while we were there in the Ft. Myers, FL area this past May.  I absolutely love the lighting in both of these paintings, making them delightfully interesting to paint!

Snowy Egret Painting snowy egret on the beach painting by rachelle siegrist
“Snowy at the Beach”

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Until next time . . .

Rachelle