Thursday, January 15, 2009

New French doors into the garden

Lows here in Montgomery County, Maryland, are predicted to be around 10° above zero F both tomorrow morning and Saturday morning. Several of my gardening friends have commented on this, as if it were something unusual. But that temperature is right on the line between USDA zones 7 and 8. Has everyone here forgotten those scary winter episodes when the wind howls, the trees snap, the house creaks and the temperature drops to zero F or even a bit below? When a weather front like that comes through at night, I don't sleep.

The protected cold frame was covered with a double ply tarp the day before yesterday, and the tarp won't be removed until Sunday at earliest. The overnight lows are only a part of the picture. This week the day time temperature is not expected to rise above the freezing point all day today and tomorrow.

New doors, French doors, were installed in the fireplace room the day before yesterday - just in time for this very cold weather. These French doors replace old, single-pane sliding doors which, over the years, had become warped, difficult if not impossible to close with a tight seal. And then a tiny hole in the glass (probably from a stray bullet or BB - several neighborhood boys had and used BB guns back in those days) began to expand into a major crack in the glass of one of the two doors. Soon a big piece of glass nearly two square feet in area was just barely hanging on.

Negotiations for these new doors began back in October; I was beginning to wonder if we were going to have to endure the winter with the cracked glass pane. The old door with the cracked pane will go to the dump. The other door already has a job assigned to it: it's about to begin a new life as a cold frame light.

Now that the new doors are in place, the fireplace room is once again an agreeable part of the house's living space. Even at night it's comfortable down there: it's a great place for reading. And best of all, these new doors give a fetching view of the garden.

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