I have a new room on my house. Almost a year ago, Himself came home one night and told me, over dinner, that he thought, maybe, we could repurpose these door/window combinations he was replacing on a job and make the greenhouse I’ve always wanted. We noodled around with designs for a while, and came up with this one, where each unit (a door flanked by two windows) forms a side. It’s a 10 x 10 room off the back of the house, and so far, it looks like we got the roof angle right. We didn’t want a clear roof, because true greenhouses get too hot for too much of the year. This summer, it was hot in here, even with the industrial fan running, but there was shade on summer afternoons where previously it had been too hot even to sit on this side of the house. As fall has arrived and the sun has dropped lower in the sky, the afternoon sun shines directly into the room, raising temps into the mid-80s. There’s a floor made from inexpensive pavers, which thus far has held enough heat to keep it from freezing overnight, and the windows are filled with shelves, which are in turn, filled with plants — geraniums and unripe peppers mostly. There is a big rosemary plant in here, and still a lot of basil, and some marjoram. There are two pots of Lemon Gem marigolds, plants I bought on sale and stuck in pots until I decided what to do with them. Months later, here they are, flanking a geranium, still blooming. It smells lovely in here, like herbs and geraniums and today, like wet dog.
Although it was intended as a greenhouse, what’s happened is that this has become my writing room. I repurposed two lamps from the basement, and a few strings of Christmas lights. There’s an old Ikea kilm on the floor, and two dog beds. I’m sitting in a wicker armchair I pulled off the front porch, and I set up a folding table when I need a desk-like workspace.
I love it out here. I’m sitting here now watching it snow/rain outside, looking at the garden beds I cleared out this afternoon, then filled to the brim with rich chicken shit/apple/horseshit/straw compost. The rosebushes are both still blooming, and turning red. The apple tree leaves have not yet turned yellow, but it’s snowing on them. I have a wee space heater, to warm the place up, and my talismans tucked among the potted plants, and there is light, and space to think. The only thing left to do is cut the door through into the house, which Himself will probably do in the next couple of weeks as he puts in the woodstove (it’s been a lot of home improvement this year).
The best thing though is that I’m writing again. The new book, the one that you all, my twelve faithful readers, already know the story of, is coming into shape. About love and grief and living small. About a garden that can save a life. About borrowed children and lost siblings. About love found late in life. About how all these years after I thought hope was lost, I find myself in the perfect room, writing while the beans simmer on the stove inside, looking at the season change outside my big windows and waiting for someone to come home for dinner, and the Red Sox on TV.