When we bought the farm in 2000, we knew a couple of things to be true…1) We wanted to become self-sufficient, 2) We knew that social security would not be there for us by the time we retire (which is a very sad thing-but that is for another “soapbox” story about how screwed up our government has become) even though we have paid into it for over 30+ years, 3) If we were going to survive after retirement, we were going to have to create our own business – something that everyone would need.
Then it came to us – a greenhouse! Not some dinky backyard, just for yourself size, but a big one! But we still wanted something different, something that was unique and would feed us, our family and friends, and still provide enough to sell and earn and income for our retirement. We also wanted something to pass on to my daughter – a farm life better than what we had as kids (and that was going to be pretty hard to beat).
I used to get the Mother Earth News magazine back in the 70’s and 80’s. It started out as a great magazine, but in the 80’s something happened, it went too commercial. Then I found out about Countryside magazine and that was where our greenhouse ideas came from. We were going to grow in the ground in the greenhouse. We didn’t want above ground on tables like the big commercial growers do, and we didn’t want to just sell plants. We wanted to sell food – good food – healthy food.
So, the original idea was to have a large place where we could grow enough food for our family and still have lots to sell and produce an income – great idea right! We had enough escrow from the sale of our homes in Denver to buy an 84’x30’ greenhouse kit. Kit is the operative word here and we were in for a shocker! The whole thing took months to deliver and was in boxes, crates and metal pipes that all came in separate shipments from several different places. We thought we were purchasing from a company right here in Colorado – surprise, not! The “hub” is here in Colorado, but they actually purchase parts from all over the country (ahhh the things you learn when you’re not paying close attention).
We paid roughly $17,000 for the thing, which was supposed to include shipping. Then, in the course of things, they wanted more money for more shipping? Well it wasn’t our fault so many parts came to us damaged (P.S. people – make sure you check every shipment!) and was returned for replacements. This was our future so we wanted to get it right the first time.
Well, happen as things will, by the time we finally got all of our parts and pieces life kicked in again. We had no time or money left to actually build the darn thing – so it sat. And it sat. And it sat! For 10+ years it all sat and/or was shuffled around the farm. We even thought about taking it to the auction to try to sell at one point, but dreaded the thought of trying to load all the separate crates, pieces and pipes. So it did nothing for over 10 years.