About a month and a half before Dave left for his survival trip he and I began constructing a greenhouse in my yard. This was something he really wanted to do. He said he would lay out all of the money if I would provide the space and help him build it. It was expensive and I didn’t understand why he was willing to spend all that time, money and effort for such a thing. Dave was always thinking of ways to be more self-sufficient. He wanted more then anything to make my house solar-powered, but considering it was over 30,000 dollars, it wasn’t going to happen. He wanted to buy a car that would run on bio-diesel. Dave didn’t want to have to rely on anyone or anything but himself. The greenhouse was the first step in that direction.
It was a greenhouse that could produce vegetables all year around. Solar-powered fans, underground soil heaters and a 500 gallon water tank to regulate humidity. It was the last weekend in May 2006 when Dave and I along with our cousin, Mike, his son, Danny, and our friend, Todd, began building. It was the first project of its kind for all of us so needless to say there was a lot of trial and error. (I have to say the one thing I do regret is not taking pictures that day. We brought a camera outside to document from start to finish but we were all so busy we never took a single picture.)
We got a lot done that day, but there was a lot left to do. Dave and I continued to work on it every weekend up until he left. Those were some of the best days we spent together just talking, laughing and really just enjoying being roommates again. Dave had just moved in 2 months earlier after being away overseas for awhile. It never mattered how long he was away for because whenever he came home we just picked up where we left off. Building the greenhouse gave us that time to catch up before he left for his last trip. Those nights sitting around the fire drinking a beer and laughing about our construction mishaps are memories that will never be forgotten.
Just before he left for survival school we spoke about the next phase of construction and what we needed to do when he got back. A few days later Dave died and all that changed. All of our lives were turned upside down and there was no time or energy for anything. The greenhouse sat unfinished for another 10 months. It drove me crazy every time I went up to the house and saw it unfinished. Finally in May 2007 one year after we started it I began working on it again. It was really bittersweet. Sometimes I felt as close as I could be to him while working on it, but other times were tough.
Other family and friends would come up and help on occasion. My other cousin, Chris, came up to help insulate the ground around the greenhouse. My brother-in-law, Ara, helped me install a solar powered watering system to keep everything watered while I was away. My Uncle Bob came up to treat the soil and make sure it was just right for planting and finally my mother came up to plant everything inside. It was such a nice feeling knowing that it was finally completed and that so many people that Dave loved helped with the project.
When we decided to spread Dave’s ashes in all of his favorite places there was no doubt that the greenhouse was at the top of the list. Because I know Dave would have wanted to conserve space inside the greenhouse, I built a small mausoleum tucked in-between some bushes directly across and facing the front door of the greenhouse.
It’s a beautiful little area that created a lot of great memories. He has a place in my home forever!