It happens to all of us… that moment when we realize that our carefully thought-out plans aren’t going to pan out. Such was the case when working on the center aisle of the greenhouse. For months we had a stack of 3 x 12 planks stored in the decrepit carport (which patiently awaits its own drastic transformation) in anticipation of the glorious day when they could be installed along the sides of the greenhouse aisle.

Finally the day arrived. However, we failed to note that the endgrains of most were severely damaged; the planks would have to be shortened. The new length would not be enough to run the entire length of the aisle. Fortunately, this would-be disaster turned out to be an advantage. Photos will follow but first, let’s take a look at the nearly-completed chicken coop:

Painted and trimmed out with casings and corner boards! The white window sashes still have primer on them. Because Jim wants to leave the original door unpainted, I’m going to paint the window sash a matching color… something like driftwood.

Note that the door hardware is installed backwards… a rim lock should never be subjected to the weather. However, that’s how this door came through time and we decided to leave it that way — just because. I argued for a while for correcting the situation, but Jim would have none of it. So, because the original lock had rusted and was no longer operable, we found a similar lock to replace it with. It, too, will stop working eventually. Maybe I’ll win then!


This is the tiny door on the side of the coop which will connect with the chicken’s outside run (still in progress). This door was not here originally, and I couldn’t resist giving the opening a Craftsman-style header to match the other casings!


Let’s go in and take a look around!


To the right of the entry is an area to store feed and supplies. Sorry I didn’t do any house cleaning before inviting you in!


The main room has an insulated roof and north wall to help a tiny bit with heat retention in the winter. The varnished Luan plywood helps to brighten the space and will be easier to clean than the stud walls. It and the subfloor are the only materials used here which are not salvage of some type.

These horizontal bars are for roosting. See the attached rope?


The rope connects to a huge old window weight which hangs in the center of the window wall. When pulled down as seen here, the roosting bars can be raised to allow for cleaning and greater floor space.


Here the roosting bars are raised to the ceiling.


Jim made the nesting boxes out of former kitchen cabinet shelves. Some of them are painted, some are varnished and some have 1970’s-era shelf paper… the end result is that each nesting box will have a slightly different decor! Here the door to the chicken run is open; it, too, is operated by a rope on a pulley.


Let’s go back outside and head over to the greenhouse…


I finally got the center aisle dug out. Fortunately, I had lots of beer handy to help with the tedium.

These pieces of rebar were set into the wall when we poured it (two years ago!) as a way to stabilize the plank sidewalls lining the center aisle.


The first plank goes in! Leila inspects it, of course… she inspects all of our work constantly! Originally I had planned to have the aisle extend all the way to the end of the greenhouse… I’ll need to be able to reach the future windows to open and close them. The solution to the too-short planks (partly inspired by the flattened Gothic arch over the entry), turned out to be beautiful. It not only will allow me to reach the window wall but also adds a few more square feet of garden space! Win-win!

Prior to their installation here, these planks had served for a century as part of a cattle pen.


Angle cuts are bolstered with custom straps to tie the joints together.


The aisle is just so much more visually interesting now than it would have been if this space just terminated in a flat dead-end. Jim calls it the “vanishing point” which I rather like. It does seem to extend the space. Now I’ll have to come up with a new window layout for the end wall which will tie into this new geometry… more work but also more fun!


The apex.


I finally painted the hideous white vinyl basement window. I also added a window well because new soil for planting will be added to the current grade. The floor will also be raised 4″ when gravel is poured over the dirt. When done, it will create a comfortable height for old folks to work at (gotta plan ahead)!


That’s all for now!
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