Greenhouse Update: Putting our Ladies to Work

Sunday Jun 27, 2010

Hi there,

I just got back from Montevideo, where we were working on our greenhouse. We were very lucky to have our good friend Anna as an extra helper this weekend and we had no qualms about putting her to work. We’re glad to have her help as temperatures in the greenhouse hovered around 100 degrees F. What we were working on was the beginning of insulating our walls, which is starting to look daunting as I can only imagine the temperatures increasing as we add insulation. Our ventilation has been minimal up until now, but soon we’re going to have to get the proper fans installed to making working in there tolerable. It was a bright sunny day, and I can imagine how nice it will be to be in there on a cold sunny winter day.

First we stuffed the gaps with insulation. We used two layers of R-11 insulation which is meant for 2×4 studs. This is a bit of a no-no as you loose some insulation value when you overstuff the insulation, but we have a bunch of it laying around thanks to my Grandfather, and it makes to much sense to just use it anyway. We covered it with vapor barrier (plastic sheets) and sealed all the seams with some Tyvek tape we had laying around. Then we cut some 3/8” plywood to fit the space, which takes some patience, because our concrete pad isn’t perfectly level. Anna and Michelle really went to town on this and did most of the work. It was really nice having the separate drill and driver as Anna could predrill a small hole and Michelle could follow right behind and drive the screw in. Predrilling really seems to make it easier. You only have to drill a really shallow hole to give the screw something to bite into. Another thing which makes life easier is Torx head screws and bits. They just work. The only issue I had is that after a day of work, the regular grade bits we were using ended up twisting under the torque of the impact driver (see picture below). I ordered a 25 pack of the Milwaukee Shockwave bits (T25) which are designed for impact driver use and we’ll see if they hold up better. If not at least, I’ll have a bunch of replacements.

Given the heat inside the greenhouse, we could only spend so much time in there, so we also got some external work done. I put in some framing for where our ventilation is going to go. Michelle and I put some screws into our external siding to help hold it in place better. Anna used a grinder and ground down some bolts in the concrete that used to be used for some fencing, but now are just in the way. My Mom put some primer on the siding. The thing I’m most happy with (besides the wall we finished) is that we (my grandfather and I) solidified our plan for finishing the end walls. I was putting off doing the walls for a while because I didn’t understand how it all was going to fit together at the top where the insulated portion of the wall intersects the glazing, but we hashed out a plan. Knowing where we are going really helps the process along as a lot of our time is spent figuring out how to do everything, but once we get going we can move at a brisker pace. I feel like I’m learning an incredible amount of stuff about construction that I never would have gotten had we not undertaken this project and for that I’m very grateful.

Update on Reese

Another thing I’m very grateful for is that my boxer Reese has been making incredible strides lately. We got Reese a year and a half ago as a rescue from Minnesota Boxer Rescue and he came with some issues such as fear of men and some weird form of dog aggression that was in-between overaggresive playing and fear based aggression that would often end in a fight. A month or two ago, Reese and Honey (my sister Nikole’s dog) became friends. This past Thursday, we went over to my friend John’s house and he played with Hilde. This weekend, Reese successfully coexisted with my mom’s dogs, Cody and Sadie, both of whom have been very defensive around Reese. While, I wouldn’t say they played together, they definitely were in each other’s company without having to be on leashes and with out constant supervision. I’m really grateful for this.

We’ve been very conscious in our actions heading in this direction. Here are some things that we’ve found have helped. First, it’s important to know your dog’s limits and only put them in situations where they will most likely succeed. Secondly, be patient and kind with them, even when they fail. Lastly, we’ve found that loading Reese up with his doggy backpack helps weigh him down and slow him down significantly and that helps other dogs accept him when his high energy and over-exuberance would put them on the defensive otherwise.

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