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An Excuse to Set Up Shop

By Rick Gush, Urban Farm contributor

Friday, January 14, 2011


Photo by Rick Gush

Rainy weather has kept me out of the garden, but I've spent that time arranging my new workshop.

Well, I’d love to be writing about all the exciting developments in the garden, but unfortunately, there aren’t any. We’ve had rainy and cold weather for a long time, now, and I’ve only paid a few brief visits to the garden in the last several months. 

I miss spending time in the garden, but I’ve been so busy with the new shop/office during the day that I haven’t thought much about the garden lately. The broccoli plants are growing nicely, but it’s mostly my wife who has been harvesting. It’s too wet to do anything anyway, so I’ll just have to be patient a while longer.

I’ve spent the dreary weather indoors, getting my new workshop ready. It’s in pretty good shape now, and I’ve been using it as I start working on the other rooms. The space is nice and large, and I can work with whole sheets of plywood and long pieces of lumber. The new space has more shelving and bench space than the old quarters, and it’s a nice luxury to have ample space for all the tools to be stored separately, instead of using a lot of mixed boxes like I did in the old place.

More than half of the windows were broken when I rented the place and the landlord sent out a window guy to replace them. To prepare for this, I took out all the glass, saved all the reusable pieces, and then primed and painted the metal window frames. When the window guy came, I told him to just patch old pieces together to fill in the shop windows, so the result is a hodgepodge of dirty old window pieces in that room. He put in all new glass in the other windows, so in the future office room I have a set of sparkling clean big windows that looks out on an attractive green forest view. 

In the shop, I’ve added some faux-stained glass effects with spray paint, and the colored patterns distracts from the funkiness of the old glass pieces. It’s a shop, anyway, and it somehow seems appropriate that the windows should be old and dirty. I saved my landlord a few hundred bucks with this strategy, as I like to be a thoughtful tenant.
The future office room still has a leak in the ceiling, so the installation of the wood plank floor was stalled, but yesterday I put up a sub-ceiling of corrugated plastic and connecting pipes and so the floor is now protected from overhead drips. The windows in this room had been collecting a bunch of condensation, but apparently the sub ceiling changed the air flow in the room and for the first time, this morning the windows were all dry and clear. Cool!

Although I haven’t been working in the garden I have been reading garden catalogs at night, getting myself psyched up for the upcoming spring. And, my favorite event of the year, the Chiavari Winter Farm Fair, is coming up next weekend. I’ve made planting space for a few new fruit trees again this year, so I’ll get to go shopping with all the other scruffy contadini that come down out of the hills for the event.

Read more of Rick's Favorite Crops »

Give us your opinion on An Excuse to Set Up Shop.
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Nice shop.
Carl, Livermore, CA
Posted: 1/30/2012 10:36:26 AM
It does sound like working on setting up your new shop space has indeed kept you busy. I'm a little confused about where your garden is. Is it near where you live? Is your shop not close to where you live? Do they have community garden plots in Italy?

Have a great Italian day.
David, Omaha, NE
Posted: 1/15/2011 3:52:10 PM

About the Blogger

Rick Gush

Rick Gush
Rick Gush has long been a staunch organic gardener. While a student at the University of California at Davis he worked at local tomato and sugar beet farms and continued in the agricultural and horticultural industries for many years. A career move in the 1990s led him to design computer games, but no matter how much of a techie he’s become, gardening and farming remain his principal passions.

In 2000, Rick moved to Italy, where he writes to you about his cliff garden and other experiences in Italian urban agriculture.

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