My nephew Nick and his friend Jacob hand dug the "basement" for the greenhouse. They started in January, thankfully it had been a warm winter and they weren't fighting with frozen ground. The greenhouse was pretty good size, too, about 18' x 24' (guessing, can't remember the exact measurements). Talk about messy, hard work... those poor guys were wading in mud. Everything was a muddy mess outside and inside the house as well. They put the removed mud in buckets and took it farther down the trail. It's hard digging anything in Southeast; sometimes its just a little soil material over the rock, sometimes it's a lot. It took them about 2 weeks to dig the entire thing. Then Zeek showed up and put in the wood foundation that you see below. The earthen floor was covered with a thick layer of visqueen and then a heavy layer of gravel. We had to have all this ready by the time BBC showed up to begin filming.
This is the floor of the greenhouse as gravel is being brought in for fill.
I think this ended up being a 6" layer of gravel all told.
Zeek with Aegis checking his work. See all the lumber to the right.
The thing about the gravel itself is how it arrived at the build site. The gravel was shoveled into 5 gallon buckets from nearby beaches. The buckets were dumped into a boat. The boat was taken to the dock that leads to the house. The gravel was shoveled back into 5 gallon buckets and loaded on the 4-wheeler and a trailer on the back. At the end of our boardwalk the buckets had to be carried 100 feet to the greenhouse site and dumped. Repeat. 500+ buckets of gravel in total for the greenhouse structure including the raised inside beds.
We had long days of filming for the duck barn and the greenhouse. We were starting filming early, like 7:00 a.m., but I had to be up by 5:00 to take care of the ducks and the goats. I cooked breakfast for most of the crew and the film crew--poor people--mainly breakfast burritos. We would break for lunch and I would make, haha, every damn day, salmon salad sandwiches for the work crew. By the time I sat down, everyone else was getting ready to go back to work. At the end of the day it was time to take care of goats and ducks again and then I would just fall into bed. Everyone was exhausted. It was a lot of physical labor and a lot of coordination between neighbors and friends. It was intense. But look at what we turned out! To accomplish construction of large buildings (especially in our location at the end of the boardwalk) in Port Protection is usually a long, long process. Materials are expensive and hard to acquire. And the things you forget or got the wrong piece or it broke, or they don't ship to Alaska. All the things that go wrong. Who thinks about hauling gravel the way we had to do it? That duck barn and the greenhouse are really pretty amazing. Thanks to everyone who helped, we got 'er done.