another greenhouse roof

Wednesday, February 19th
Green Flamingo Organics
Oak Hill, FL

Cleo does her morning yoga
Cleo does her morning yoga

Three chickens had died in the “POW” coop, one at a time, over several days. They had food and water, the other chickens seemed healthy – as had the ones that died, up until they turned up dead.

We had been thinking maybe there was some kind of toxic weed that certain hens had ingested when we moved the coop, but Meredith had a different theory – a venomous snake, sleeping in the warmth of the nesting boxes. It made sense of many aspects of the mystery, so we armed ourselves with snake killing implements, donned high boots, and headed down to the coop to examine the hay of the nesting boxes.




However, when we cleared out the hay, ready to kill the baby rattlesnake or whatever other slithering culprit we might uncover, there was nothing there.  I still think the poisonous snake theory is a winner though – and while we didn’t find a snake, it’s been warmer at night since then, and no more chickens have died, so perhaps the snake has moved on …

For the second time on our honeymoon, we were tapped to re-plastic a greenhouse roof. Last time had been at Chastain Farms in Alabama, where we’d added a second layer of 5mil plastic over the top of the existing, holey layer of plastic.


This greenhouse again had a layer of shredded plastic, but this time we would be ripping that out and replacing it with sturdy sheets of corrugated clear PVC.


We added some 2×4 bracing to screw the panels on the northern side of the greenhouse and got it all up pretty quickly, but ran into complications on the southern half. We needed to add two sections of 8 foot crossbeams, and we’d exhausted the meager scrap lumber pile. Worse, the 8 foot long panels were too short to cover from peak to low end – even without the drip eave we wanted to include, and without the overhang we’d planned on including on the peak, over the top lip of the northern slope.

Fortunately, there was some steel roofing material left over from the outdoor kitchen they’d recently built. So we cut it down to the right length, and folded it into a peak to go over the top of the greenhouse, providing the extra length we needed to roof the southern slope as well as a flap to cover the top lip of the northern slope.



Halfway through the project, the landowner (Liz rented her corner of the land from an orange grove farmer) drove up in his tractor to ask if we wanted the wild pig he’d just shot. He brought it over minutes later and left it in the shade of a live oak, to await Liz’s return from her morning errands.




It was a HOT day, and we had no shade to work in, so we were getting good and toasted working on the roof. The dogs hid out inside the greenhouse in the shade while we sweated and swore through the second half of the project.

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Finally, we were done – everything lined up, supported, secured, and looking awesome. We picked up the tools and posed for a victory photo with the finished project.


The other WWOOFers were still working in the garden when we finished, but we’d put in our hours for the day and were sun-roasted, sweaty, and on the verge of getting cranky.

So we threw together our bags, threw the dogs in the van, and rolled out to go back to our beach on the Saint John river, driving well over the speed limit down the open road, westbound through the wildlife refuge, watching the sun and the temps heading downward.


We made it just in time to enjoy a solid hour of hot sunshine and swimming in the river – floating along with the languid current, awed by the strange beauty of swaying Spanish moss and clusters of cypress knees.

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We hit the Frosty King again on the way back, and got back in time to help make dinner for the crew, along with the GIANT SPIDER in the sink.


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