Well, we had a small disaster at The Havens yesterday.
We store the cold frames and their glass lids on the back wall of the vegetable garden fence. This is a very convenient place for them; it eliminates the necessity of hauling them into the barn and then tripping over them there all summer. For several years they have spent their summers stored on the fence with no ill effects. You can see them in their place in the following photograph.
Our bow to safety was to use tempered glass for the glazing. We acquired a whole pile of around 30 pieces of tempered glass patio door blanks that were rejects at the factory because they were uneven in thickness or some such thing. They were exactly right for the cold frames, and we have planned to build a greenhouse using them, someday.
Even tempered glass will break. Sometime in the past week or so a rock came in contact with the glass at a high enough rate of speed that it shattered the whole pane. It is unclear whether this was an artifact of the weed eating process, or that I managed to throw a perfect strike with a small rock that I found in the pond during the pond cleaning operations, or a malicious rabbit or squirrel’s vandalism. Whatever the source or cause, Jim noticed the fact that the pane was broken during his weed eating chores yesterday. Focused completely on the task at hand and the area right under the head of the tool, he immediately noticed the pile of broken glass pieces that had fallen out of the pane of glass.
Most of the pane had remained in the frame, and so he stopped what he was doing and began to clean up the glass that was on the ground. I noticed that the weed eater had ceased running, and curious to know why he was kneeling in apparent worship at the back fence of the vegetable garden, approached the scene. I watched the process of painstaking removal of glass for a moment, and then commented, “I don’t know, but if I had to do that job I might try using the shop vac.”
Well, there wasn’t that much glass left to pick up, so he demurred from breaking out the heavy sucking equipment, and persisted until all the little bits of glass had been cleaned up.
Then we tried to move the frame to a place where we could remove the rest of the glass and clean up afterwards rather more easily. We chose the car port for this activity. A tarp was deployed beneath the broken pane, and we gingerly lowered the whole mess to the tarp. So far, so good; the glass remained within the frame. We thought we were home free until we started to gather up the tarp to contain the whole mess during removal. Alas, the tarp was not quite wide enough to completely surround the frame, but we thought that it went up far enough that if the glass gave way it would all fall down into the tarp.
Ha ha! We thought wrong. As soon as we began to lift the frame, the gentle twisting of the operation caused the entire pane of glass to fall into all its thousands of little component bits. While, indeed, the vast majority of them did land in the tarp, there was quite a lot distributed over the ground and in the grass where the disintegration occurred, because they did not choose to fall straight down, but kind of exploded out in all directions at once. What a mess.
And so, we did indeed break out the shop vacuum. If anyone had happened by they would have been quite amused and possibly confuzzled by the picture we made, carefully and systematically vacuuming the dirt under the fence and the lawn just south of it.
It puts a whole new complexion on the idea of de-thatching the lawn.