My oldest son is a pack rat. When he lived at home he was constantly bringing stuff home from work. Working as a carpenter, that included plenty of construction waste. At one time he had a part-time job working for a tear-down contractor. That job resulted in many piles of old barn wood and windows on the place.
We always tried to put his salvages to good use. Our chicken house/barn is built entirely out of construction waste. His forge building was built mostly from recycled materials. However, when he got married and started his own homestead, I looked forward to cleaning up our place. I once even took his then-fiance for a tour of the place and pointed out all the piles she would inherit. I'm not sure she was thrilled.
Since we almost eliminated the last of the stuff, imagine my surprise the afternoon he called and said, "Hey mom. Guess what I've got for you!" Driving down the highway, he could barely contain his excitement. He was stopping at our place on his way home to bring me "almost brand new" shower doors.
"But Son," I replied, "I don't like the shower doors we have. In fact, I want to tear them out and have a shower curtain."
"But mom," he tried to persuade, "You will love them. They look so much nicer than the ones you have. I'll be there in 30 minutes."
Sigh. These shower doors were not "almost brand new." In fact, they weren't even the same size. But my husband had said, "Don't hurt his feelings." So I graciously stashed them on the back patio.
Then, a week later, as the sun glared off those doors, blinding me as I was trying to listen to my husband speak to me, making me angry that they were even there in the first place, I had the idea--the garden. Why could I not construct cold frames using these doors?
After consulting some diagrams I showed them out of a couple books on my shelf, my husband and 16 year old got to work. Using only recycled wood and those shower doors from my pack rat eldest, I now have one huge cold frame with three more to come.
Because the glass on a shower door is so much thicker than window glass, I am not afraid of a baseball breaking them, either. What do you think?
I'm not just going to use them to start seeds. A farmer friend told me I could grow greens in them all year long in our zone. Now I'm dreaming of salads in January and fresh broccoli, too.