Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I've been framed!

I can hardly believe we actually finished the coldframe for my garden! And boy is it beautiful. Even my dad noted the sleek design and superior craftsmanship when he came by to pick me up for Thanksgiving. This meticulously crafted work of art will allow me to grow goodies in my garden through the snowy winter months. Or cold months, anyway -- one never knows about wintery precipitation here in the District.

It all started with my friend Jen dropping off her gorgeous, solid oak bedframe this past July, prior to her move back home to California. (I was sad for the departure of one of my favorite yoga teachers, but was somewhat comforted by the great second life I would be offering her heavy, wooden possession.) There we were, my new friend Jeff and I, with a pile of oak planks, a few bags of tools, and lots of hairbrained ideas about recycled materials and butterfly hinges and interchangeable screens. It seems like so long ago. Actually, I guess it was: nearly four months from start to finish. Look, there are spindly tomato plants still growing in the background as Jeff was getting started on the base boards.

Slowly, slowly, the pieces came together amid our other respective projects around town. Every week or two Jeff would stop by with his trunkful of tools (my favorite being the countersink attachment on the drill), the occasional homemade quiche (as he is aware of my food obsession and has himself begun tinkering with recipes), and additional pieces to integrate into our coldframe project (bits of wood, plexiglass, wood glue).

Here he is working on the top flaps during one of the warm spells earlier this autumn. Note the protective eyewear. And that cutting technique -- that seemingly precarious balancing act is a practiced, efficient, surefooted method used by those in the trade.

Things were moving along. By early November it was time for some hinges...

...and some braces... (Well, no sense in having snow-laden, hinged coldframe flaps falling on my head when I'm harvesting spinach in mid-February.)

He does nice work, eh? Not your usual old, termite-eaten window frames for this fancy coldframe.

I learned a ton in the process, and in spite of my constant harassment about using safety goggles and a dogmatic insistence on periodic snack breaks Jeff assured me that he also enjoyed the creative project immensely. If you ask him, my friend will most likely attempt to assign me a good deal of the kudos, but in truth this most humble carpentering friend of mine deserves all of the credit (and probably a good amount of spinach, come February) for the coldframe. I am merely The Carpenter's Apprentice.

1 comment:

  1. That's fabulous! Ecolocity ran a cold frame workshop a couple of years ago, but I still haven't gotten around to putting one together. As many of my seedlings died because of my lack of hardening-off, I really should construct one over the winter so that it's ready for next spring.


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