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.

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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.

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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!

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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. 

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

A Week Of Natural Wonders

deer photo2

Early one morning this past week, Wes came into the bedroom and said . . . “All 4 deer are in the backyard, right off the back porch“. So as you can imagine, I got right up and walked quietly into the dining room where I stood peering out the sliding glass doors, and saw the deer grazing. I slowly sat in a chair, making sure not to scare them with any sudden moves, since they were so close to the house. It was so peaceful sitting there watching them, as the sun slowly rose higher into the clear blue sky, penetrating the forest with beams of light. All of a sudden, one started jumping up and down, bucking and kicking its legs up high into the air, and before I knew it all 3 of them were frolicking and playing, whilst running in circles, turning the backyard into their own personal playground! 

deer photo3

And I loved every second of it, their exuberant zest and joy for life making me wish I could be out there with them, joining in on this exercise of sheer delight!

deer photo4

They continued with periods of play like this for 15 minutes or more, and I was mesmerized and unable to take my eyes off of them! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I noticed a Phoebe fly up and land on the ground near them. It seemed to be content hunting insects that the deer were obviously staring up, when all of a sudden it flew up and landed on the deer’s back! The deer didn’t seem to mind too much and after looking at the bird for a few moments, put her head back down and commenced grazing once more. Occasionally the bird would fly off for a few seconds, only to return and land on the deer’s back once again. I felt so very blessed having been afforded a glimpse into the lives like this!

deer photo5

After some time, they slowly made their way over to the side yard, where they grazed on small shrubby plants, surrounded by a sea of autumn color, and it was truly a gorgeous sight! I’m delighted to say they played like this in the backyard three mornings in a row, then we didn’t see them for a couple of days. I missed them greatly and was thrilled when Wes woke me up early again this morning saying . . . “The deer are in the backyard“. Well, you know what happened next 🙂

deer photo

Other than watching the deer, it has been a week of working in our yard and building the greenhouse. However, one beautiful morning we decided to take a break and go hiking nearby to see a waterfall, which of course thrilled me! It was a splendid day, with clear azure blue skies, and lots of autumn color still clinging to the trees as we started up the trail.

nature photography by rachelle siegrist

After hiking for a while through a canopy of reds, yellows and oranges, we made our way into a forest comprised of shorter trees and abundant Mountain Laurel, which lead us to a steep, narrow section of the trail. Before long we came to a spot where the trail lead straight down the mountainside, and offered a cable to hold onto while carefully scrambling down.

hiking to a waterfall

Adrenaline junkie me exclaimed “Oh, I love this part of the trail!” telling Wes how I want to go back and do that part with my GoPro on my head!

rahelle siergsit

By this time we could hear the sound of falling water, lots of it, and my pulse quickened with excitement! As we rounded a corner in the trail, there it was, with red and yellow leaves concealing part of the watery surprise.

wes siegrist

A few steps more and with the trees now behind me, I could see the entire falls, and it was truly a magnificent site to behold! I stood there for quite sometime, taking it all in, the beauty, the sound and the scent!

waterfall photo2

I moved a little closer, stopping to admire it from this angle for a while, deciding then and there, that this would become a new favorite lunch site for me in the future!

waterfall photo

I was over the moon to find out the loop trail lead behind the falls, and I stood there whilst absorbing the abundant supply of negative ions this giant waterfall was filling the air with.

waterfall photo3

I must admit that as with all waterfalls, I was sad to leave it, already anticipating my next visit! The rest of the trail was as beautiful as the part leading to the falls, as we wound our way alongside the high, rock-cliff walls. Wes deemed this tree pictured below a “widow maker” for sure, as it appeared to be barely holding on by a thread of a root, and the trail leads directly beneath it! It was truly a wonderful morning and I enjoyed every second of it 🙂

nature photography by rachelle siegrist2

See our miniatures in person this week

Wes and I are thrilled to announce that a new venue has just been added to our Exquisite Miniatures Tour curated by David J. Wagner! The Lyman Allyn Art Museum, located in New London, CT will be the 43rd museum for this historical tour! Exquisite Miniatures will be on display there October 26, 2024 – January 26, 2025.

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