Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Greenhouse

For all my adult years, I've wanted a greenhouse. Although I am an avid gardener and have spent a significant portion of the last quarter-century growing most of my own food, it seemed like an unnecessary indulgence. I had a son to raise and livestock to feed. There was always something higher on my priority list. 

About a year ago, I began to seriously consider a greenhouse, and, for the first time, I began to pray about a greenhouse. I found exactly what I wanted. I'm ashamed to tell you how expensive it was. "Lord, I could feed a village in Africa for a long time. I can't buy that," I prayed. I just couldn't justify that kind of expense. 

A few days after Christmas 2013, I found a sale paper from a "man store".  They had a greenhouse kit that was just about the size I wanted, with the doors I wanted, and at a price much less than I was willing to pay. I was pretty surprised, but I went to look. It was my greenhouse. I pulled out my debit card and they rang it up. I was a greenhouse owner!

The problem was that I was the owner of a greenhouse kit, not an assembled greenhouse. Not to be deterred, I pulled out the instructions and prepared to build a greenhouse. The first step said to dig a hole a little larger than 10 x 10 feet and 5 inches deep, then fill it with gravel. You may not be surprised to hear that I got my shovel out, convinced my son (home on Christmas break) to help, and started digging. We had a fair-sized hole before we finally admitted defeat and called for heavy machinery. 

Andrew had just the equipment I needed and was happy to handle the hole. We arranged a time, and he said three words I did not want to hear. "Unless it rains."  Of course, at the appointed time, it was raining like crazy. I called Andrew anyway. "Miss Leanna, I can't dig that hole with it raining. It's just gonna fill in and I'm gonna make a bad mess in your yard.  You don't really want me to do it now."  Really, I did. We agreed that he would come when it dried up. But it didn't. Next, the ground froze solid, thanks to the single-digit temperatures. Andrew kept promising me he would dig my foundation and the weather kept messing me up. I despaired of having a greenhouse. 

At last, the weather cleared, the foundation was laid, and we began assembling the greenhouse. It was more tedious than I expected, and required a bit more height than I have. I enlisted Bill the Magnificent to help. He much prefers cows and scooping pooh to building greenhouses, but he tried hard to help. At last, the end was in sight, but the front of my greenhouse wasn't square. 

That didn't matter at first. I had no idea what was wrong, but there was plenty to do. I finally reached the end of what I could do without help from a tall man. Since my nephew is well over six feet tall, I recruited him. For four hours, we worked side by side. He assembled the vent windows, installed the roof, and worked on the front. He fretted about the "square" problrm the entire time. 

Not being square didn't matter too much until time to insert the front wall panels and assemble and hang the doors. Then, it was a disaster. We tried hanging the doors. I can't even described how lopsided those doors were hanging. We didn't know what to do, so I started praying. "Lord, I've waited a long time for a greenhouse, and this isn't really the greenhouse I wanted, but I can be happy with it. In fact, thank you for this greenhouse. I believe I can be happy with these messed up doors, too."  Just about the time I got up the part about being happy with my messed up doors, Sam said, "I see it!"  

It turned out that, in the early stages, Bill and I had put one bolt on each side in the wrong place. It had everything off kilter. Sam rearranged the bolts and the entire front of the greenhouse instantly squared up. I was amazed that one mistake early on could make such a mess in the end, but it did. I shouldn't have been surprised, I've had that problem in life more than once. It just goes to show... Every little thing really does matter. 

I'm a greenhouse owner at last.  As I looked at my newly finished greenhouse with its square front and the perfectly hung doors, one verse came to mind. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope." ( Jer 29:11) it turns out, a calamitous greenhouse wasn't in the plan at all! 

This is Sam, my nephew who saved the day and finished the greenhouse.