Propellers and DDT


Having a large greenhouse should be a tremendous advantage for a gardener. Sadly, ours is in hard shape. REALLY hard shape. _wkp7008

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._wkp05892

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  1. jesse May 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    another thought about the greenhouse… a natural light photo studio? …with a few plants in the corners. then fixing it up is a tax deduction as well

  2. bill May 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    Well, I like your thinking on this, Jesse…especially the tax deduction and all. Actually a photographer-friend of mine suggested the same thing a few years ago.

    I think regulating the temperature would be a challenge. Maybe a combination of screens and glass could work. I assume you are thinking of a two-season studio rather than a year- round one.

  3. jesse May 14, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    well i hadn’t actually thought about seasons, but of course you are right. i guess i was mostly thinking about the early photo studios before the electric lights that would have various removable panels to direct the light. i’ve always wanted to build something like that.

  4. bill May 18, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    The lighting could be a little different each day which would be pretty cool. It would be a good reason to pull out the old 4×5 too.

  5. jesse May 18, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    and maybe some wet plate collodion?

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