Go to where we are now>>>

Part 1: Decisions
Part 2: The Footing
Part 3: The Walls
Part 4: The Sunroom
Part 5: The Shop Outside Almost Done
Part 6: Inhibitors, Mistakes, and Detours
Part 7: Detour: Black Wednesday/Purple Tuesday"
Part 8: Sidewalk, Sun Porch and Shop"

Part 9: Enjoying the sun porch.
Part 10: Restoring sanity
Part 11: Progress: Grass and lab walls
Part 12: Finish prep for the greenhouse
Part 13: Overview of possible work
Part 14: The lower frame
Part 15: Shop Sidewalks and Gables
Part 16: The Ridgepoles

I would first invite you to visit the Taj Mahal Greenhouse web site of Margaret Simpson at SweetBriar College. This project is modeled after that effort. To quote her, but with a few of my own words inserted in bold italic:

"As a long-time gardener, I had lusted after a greenhouse for many years. But having some idea of the work involved in maintaining a greenhouse, I firmly resisted the temptation by promising myself a greenhouse as a retirement present. This (2008/2009) being my last year of work, I have at last launched the great enterprise, and this site chronicles my adventures, in the corn belt region of Northern Indiana."

"I started out thinking in terms of a small unit, say 10' x 10', but decided to do it right and upped the size to a grand 10' x 12'. But once I dived into serious research about greenhouses last spring, I very quickly discovered that the first recommendation everyone gives is, "Build it larger than whatever you're planning, because we guarantee you will wish you had." So over the months my horizon gradually expanded to 12' x 14,' and then to 12' x 16,' which I thought would certainly be as large as I'd ever need."

"A month or two into my research, I talked to one of the local master gardeners about greenhouses, and visited his. When I walked into it, I thought, "Oh, this is a nice size, just about what I'd like," and was dismayed to discover that it was 10' x 30' (exactly 10' x 30'), considerably larger than my largest dream. Since I had decided on polycarbonate glazing (expensive), there was no way I could afford anything that large, but finally took the plunge and stretched my budget to accommodate a 12' x 20' greenhouse."

Now you may have noticed that not many words had to be changed. And if you compare this web site to hers you will notice that I changed the logo to that of the Uraniborg Castle, not as big or elaborate as the Taj Mahal but every bit as risky and expensive. Hidden in the description "The Taj Mahal" is a notable hunk of risk. At the very least this could prove too costly and have to be aborted. And I should add that while a commercial greenhouse kit would yield a 30' x 60' greenhouse for about the same or less cost, there were features about such a greenhouse that made it less desirable: higher heating cost, shorter growing season, frequent replacement of the polyethylene, less control of the environmental variables, the limits of old age (mine), high potential for wind damage, and the deal breaker, appearance. I doubt if Uraniborg's resale value was ever a question but the project also needed to increase the sale value of our house. In addition, I really wanted a small carpentry and electrical shop. And if you have ever worked in a greenhouse you also need a wet lab and a place for retreat. Heat, humidity, deer flies, etc. do not make for a happy worker as he/she splices two hundred plum trees or measures out 20 chemicals to make a growth medium. Looking down the road I could see the shop being used as a platform for solar power, as a source of working capital, and I have a daughter whose local storage shed is costing me 70$/month. Three years of storage would pay for the storage area plus part of the shop.

Hence, the project grew to include a workshop, a wet lab, a possible location for a solar array, a storage extension to the workshop, a sink and electric power, and garden proximity. The spectrophotometer, scales, tables, chemicals, etc. having already been ebayed against such a possibility, it might happen that actual tree cuttings and studies on improved plum trees or antigravity might yet grow in this structure. But since as I write, no actual shop or greenhouse actually exists (Ahemmm, there could be giant purple greenhouse meanies lurking here. Ask my wife and she will tell you I have cast the cement footer for a greenhouse three times before only to move out of each house shortly thereafter.) it seems unlikely that some magical antigravity platform will whisk my wife or I off for a stroll around Europa and almost equally unlikely that a single enhanced plum tree or native citrus will ever grow here.

So, why Uraniborg Castle? I would love to believe that Kepler, and Copernicus and Tycho Brahe started this way but I know better. They were not trying to reach the stars on their retirement income. There was no black Friday or 401K meltdown. Indeed, they had the financial holdings of all of Denmark at their disposal. Never mind they were under penalty of death, being pursued by the Catholic Church, and that their failure could mean an abandonment of science, a return to the dark ages, and the execution of the entire research team as well as the disgrace and death of the King of Denmark!!.

My version is less extensive, less well funded, less thought out, less likely to cause people to kill me. But it is the financial equivalent of sledding down a hill on a piece of cardboard after an ice storm. I believe it can be done. I am optimistic. I have carefully measured my limits....however!! Worst case scenario, one death, one wasted slab of concrete, and/or maybe one sad old guy with flagging ambitions, one smilingly tiny disgrace.

Fantasy: "Einstein described a magnetic field as the bow shock wave of an electron. Tesla using this analogy suggested that gravity might be the bow shock wave of matter, neutrons and protons, in relative motion. And if so, like electromagnetic repulsion where at "magic frequencies" you get self induction, and magnetic repulsion in accordance with Lenz Law, a magic frequency might be also found for matter oscillations that could trigger antigravity, a sort of phase shift, dog chasing its own tail, sort of thing. Tesla looked at very low frequencies for energy absorption and was (except for some broken windows) unsuccessful. Energy and theoretical calculations put such frequencies at far above x-ray frequencies and energies of billions of electron volts. Strangely, such frequencies also might induce nuclei to simply fall apart, to disintegrate entirely into nothing but energy and subatomic particles. However, using nuclear geometry as a basis for resonance, one might be able to tease a less exciting use either to store energy or to create partial antigravity. Nuclear isomers, for example,might be teased into giving up their massive energies by using RF induced magnetic fields to stretch their nuclear bonds so that isomeric transitions could be more easily triggered at lower energies, a sort of catalyst to lower the boundary potential. If the block also happened to float, well that would be even nicer!! Going to Pluto would be a snap, infinite energy plus antigravity, wow. Virgin Airlines would buy me out in a heartbeat."

Reality: "An old guy gets to grow a few veggies and finish a few old boat models in his shop while taking a few dollars off his electric bill, similar to Ed Begley. He goes broke but he builds a nice house and enough income so his wife doesn't divorce him. Plus the earth is not turned into a giant cinder because the nuclear isomer, the block of lead that he chose to work on that day, did not contain 6.02x10^23 photons at 90K electron volts but 9000KV, talk about your exponent and significant digits errors! "

"Uraniborg was an extremely expensive project. It is estimated that it cost about 1%
of the entire state budget of Denmark during construction..."

A really green beginning!!


This page created by Edward A. Kimble
Last modified 10/22/2008