Sunday, September 12, 2010
September 12, 2010
This was the view stepping onto the deck outside our old office on Beacon Hill in Boston. This is where we conceived of Roofscape Magazine, this was the inspiration, looking out over the roofscape of the city. The building, sadly, was later sold. It was a fun place.
Our garden in the Fenway is still very productive. We're picking tomatoes (still loads), eggplant, zucchini, collard greens, kale, sorrel, basil, tarragon, dill and thyme. Cleaning out the beds and starting to replant with cool weather crops - arugula, broccoli raab, lettuce, mustard and turnip greens, plus more kale and collards.
Rebuilding the sunroom, expanding it somewhat and super-insulating the walls. So far it's produced a maximum solar gain of around 45°. This means that if it's freezing out, 32°, your sitting quite comfortably in the high 70's, 77°. The gain depends on the cloud cover and time of day of course, but on cloudless days, in the late morning and early afternoon, the winter sun in the south is always very strong and, low in the sky, slants straight into the sunroom with real power.
I'm going to move both composters and their contents to flank the sunroom on the east and west sides to provide additional protection. This will cover the closet window on the we west side, but that's all torn apart and never did much anyway. Then I'll insulate the backside of the closet, which backs up to the closet of Chy-chy's sunroom facing to the west. That will steal some, or maybe all, of her closet space, but it isn't really being used anyway.
Then I'll keep insulating the top of the walls and over the closet. Finally the canopy, a new double layer of heavy translucent plastic sheeting over metal garden fencing. Need to find a new beam to support it, spanning between the walls, anchored to the fence posts at the back of the walls, something long and strong. Then infill inside with insulation and at the back outside where it rests on the walls.
Cutting down the fern brake to stuff the walls. They're all sunblasted, dry and withered, ideal insulation. This will also let me (try to) dig out the tenacious multiflora rose again, which springs eternal, trying to take over the bed once more. And maybe get rid of some bindweed and other noxious invaders.
It will be good to have the sunroom back. Sat in it yesterday and it felt wonderful. It's a simple passive solar technology that allows the garden to be experienced and enjoyed year around. It's the perfect place to write and read with lots of light. You feel enveloped in warmth, even with snow on the ground and the north wind raging. The insulating and non-infiltrating of air also make it a comfortable place in many cloudy or partly cloudy conditions - the walls are 18" thick with layers of plastic sheeting between the insulating materials.
The floor is made of wood chips. The walls all used to be chips too, but the supply has disappeared. Hence using ferns, grape vines and partly broken down compost in the main section and compost materials in all stages in the two wings, which will now be the garden's composters in fact.
The closet is a nice feature and it's proven to be fairly weatherproof. It holds all sorts of conveniences - blankets, jackets, changes of clothing, books, water bottles and waterproof seed storage cans. The closet door is the serves as the backboard, so it's open when in use which is why I want the closet better insulated. It's nice to have all this stuff on hand when needed and not get caught out or have to lug it all back and forth (my commute is now around 45 minutes - and that's in good weather).
Radio Roofscape reached 1,000 listeners overnight with a poetry set leading off with Dylan Thomas wonderfully reading his poem Fern Hill.
Continuing to read The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr, from which the entry below excerpts Letter from Birmingham Jail. It's such an inspiring work, and especially Letter. I carry it with me all the time, giving it a slow, close and careful read through. Of course it's completely marked up.
Freddie was picking vegetables in the garden yesterday afternoon when I arrived in the garden after work. Biking over to see Charles today and get some of my tools back, then continue downtown.
Image ... Roof deck. Beaver Place, Boston.