With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chapter Eighteen: The Crew Builds an EcoGreenHouse

     "So one day they walked around the land, built themselves an EcoGreenHouse on the local commune..."

With the days getting colder, the construction crew of Sal, Dan, Luna, and Viv were spending most of their time building hoop houses and cold frames and, on this particular day, they were working very hard to finish the EcoGreenHouse that Luna had designed with help from Sal and Dan.

It had taken them a couple of weeks just to get the design of the EcoGreenHouse right.  Now they were in the final stages of actually putting it up.  They were nearly done.  They had the frame up and the windows in and had just put in vegetation so they could see what it would look like when it was completed.  They had all stopped working to admire the affect.

"This is going to be just like one of those solar-powered shelters that they used to have down by the ocean at the New Chemistry Institute," Luna said.  "I've studied lots of picture to figure out how they did it.  It'll be yet another triumph for reverse engineering."

"It looks great," Sal said.

It was a sunny day and the plants and plastic and clear tubs of water gleamed.  It looked as if there were things growing everywhere. Plants were hanging in all the corners, lying in long sunlit beds, and sprouting on top of the water.  If it wasn't for the fact that the whole structure leaned slightly to the left, it would have been perfect.

"There must be some way of propping it up so it's a bit straighter," said Viv.

"I don't know," said Sal.  "Maybe we could just call it the leaning tower of greenery and we could leave it at that."

"Yeah, I agree.  I think we should call it a night," was Dan's contribution.

"It's only four o'clock," said Luna, "and I'm sure there must be something that we can do to make it stand straighter."

"It's four o'clock on a December afternoon," Dan said. "It's going to be dark real soon.  Let's deal with this tomorrow."

"Give me a few more minutes."

Dan, Sal, and Viv started packing up their stuff while Luna stared at the structure, trying to figure out a way to make it work out.

At five-thirty, Dan came out with a flashlight and found Luna still looking at the building.

"C'mon," he said, grabbing Luna's hand.  "We can make another try in the morning."  He practically dragged her into the main building for dinner.

After dinner she staggered to bed, still trying to figure out where they had gone wrong.  She kept Dan up half the night with her tossing and turning.

    "Hit young Luna in her mind.  Luna really liked that.  She said, 'We're gonna get it right.'..."

Luna said, "The foundation!"  It was a middle of the night revelation.  "We need to check how solid the foundation is.  If we don't have a solid foundation on both sides of the greenhouse, that could be why it's leaning over."

The crew was out there with Luna right after breakfast.

"I think you may be right," said Sal.  "You can see where it's pulling off the ground over here."  She pointed to a corner where the frame lifted slightly.

"Yeah," said Viv.  "And I can see where it's digging into the ground on this side.  We need to balance it some way or other."

Dan got down on the ground, eye to where the frame was lifting.  "It's not lifting much.  We just need to add something to anchor it down on this side."

In the end they used a bunch of large rocks that they had dug up for extra weight.  With the weight of the rocks holding it down, the EcoGreenHouse slowly settled upright.

"The tilt is gone!" Sal said.

"It looks good," said Viv.

"Okay," said Luna.  "Now let's finish the job."

They worked together for another two hours and then broke for lunch.  When they came back, the crew focused on the final details.

After about another hour, they were wrapping up.  Luna ran back and forth and back and forth looking at the building from every angle that she could think of.  She even went into the nearest house with a pair of binoculars so she could look at it from the top.

"I think it's okay," she said when she returned.  "I could have seen it better if that tree wasn't blocking my view."

"Hey," Viv said to Dan. "Would you give me a boost?  I'm pretty good at climbing trees.  I can see what it looks like from up there."  She pointed far up in the tree.

Viv climbed fairly high up on the tree and looked down at the EcoGreenHouse.  Then she climbed back down and jumped from the lowest branch.  Dan and Sal caught her.

"What do you think?" Luna asked after Viv caught her breath.

An oddly familiar male voice answered her. "I think you need to have a permit from the town to build something like this.  I'm going to put in a petition to have it torn down."

Cecil Nixon was standing a short distance away.  He waved at the building. "I gave you a chance to clean up your act with the pet permit.  Now I'm going to show you that I mean business."

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