When it was built near the beginning of the last century it was probably surrounded by open fields. Today there is a 60-foot white pine tree on its east side and several large spruces to the west. It is almost always in the shade.
If we have the time this summer we will probably take it down. We hope to build a screened porch on it’s full knee-wall foundation. The attached shed – probably built before the greenhouse – will remain. We may even salvage some of the glass and framework to build a tiny greenhouse in front of the porch. This area gets some sun February through March.
The greenhouse has been a most interesting, albeit dangerous, place to explore. In its innards we have found everything from a large hand-carved wooden propeller to a collection of turtle shells, and a large container of DDT. It is bursting at the seams with the same rusty, dusty stuff it had when we bought the property from the Millers twenty two years ago.
There remains much of what had been a well-run greenhouse. The oil heater used a pump system that incorporated the radiator from a 1920’s-era car or truck to circulate hot water throughout. A series of thermometers wired to an alarm system alerted those in both the house and the garage (the portion that is now my studio) when the temperature dipped below a set temperature.
I always think of Mr. Miller and his farm as I walk past the greenhouse on my way to my studio. We’ve taken the DDT to a hazardous waste facility for disposal but the propellar, the radiator, tools, various thermometers and gauges, and hundreds of clay pots remain. And I’ll bet we could find those turtle shells if we looked.