November 20, 2011

The Return of Privacy

So, as promised, here is the long-awaited update of our fence-rebuilding project! As of yesterday morning, this is what our fence (and our giant pile of dismantled-shed/fence/trash) looked like...

As you can see, we had three posts up and set in concrete, as well as four panels in place. Since we knew that we had a busy day ahead of us, we got up early and dove right into working to get the rest of those posts up. In no time at all, we had that fourth post set, but since we needed one more to finish our line, off to Home Depot we went-- where we accidentally bought a too-short post. Which we didn't find out until we put it up temporarily to measure the spacing and (in the words of Homer), "DOH!"

See? 10' post...10' post...8' post. Fail.

So back to the Depot we went to buy the right one. We exchanged the 8-footer, but were barely able to get it into the ground and concreted (is that a verb? oh, well-- it is now!) before we had to leave the house. Thus ended our fence-building for the day.

Today was another early morning, not to mention a freakin' cold one! Seriously, when we got up this morning to continue working on the fence, the ground was frozen solid, the panels were covered in tiny ice crystals, and my body instantly began arguing with my mind, telling me that this was just plain stupid and we should go back to bed immediately. Luckily, though, was able to ignore those words (of wisdom) and I dove right in to helping Denny, who'd already been up for a half hour and was busy loading up our borrowed trailer with shed and fence debris. 

After a couple of trips to the transfer station, our pile went from unwieldy and hideous to manageable and...well, still kind of hideous, but on a much smaller scale. :) In fact, it was so manageable that we were able to pop up another panel before I even had a chance to take an "after" picture of the mess. Aaah! To be rid of that garbage!

So our next step on this Odyssey-of-a-project was to finish that last little gap at the end. Now, this may seem like no big deal, but let me just say this: 1) the gap was an odd length (not an even 8 feet, but closer to 10 feet long), 2) we had no desire to shorten the line of fence (it would have put it at odd angles with the line of the house), and 3) they don't make 2 foot fence panels. All of this combined to make A Challenge To Overcome. Our solution (by which I mean, Denny's creative and utterly-genius solution) was to buy a small "gate" panel and to modify it to fit the gap between our last full-size panel and the final post. We elected not to put in another post between the full-size and the modified panel since they're super sturdy and were going to go on level ground, next to a large, solid end-post anyway.

First, Denny took some very precise measurements, and then to be safe, he measured again. And then one more time.

Next, he made some initial cuts at the structural points, then flipped it and repeated the cuts (since the circular saw wouldn't go all the way through the first time), then he finished the rest of the line and popped the gate panel into two pieces. In order to finish off the newly-cut side, we simply took a matching piece of red cedar 2"x4" and screwed it to the side, then cut the extra length off. Easy as pie.

After a few minor adjustments, we put up the full-size panel and then fit the modified one into place.

As you can see, the daylight was fading fast (thanks, stupid winter hours...) but we managed to get it in. Voila! The gap is gone. We officially have Privacy. 

Of course, there's still a bit left to do. Those posts? Yeah, they're not always going to be that tall. And they still need "hats," as Denny calls them. We also still need to fill in the holes around the fence posts with dirt and tamp them. But at least until then, we won't have to look at the houses across the street the whole time and they won't have to look at our pile of whatever-else-we-decide-on-a-whim-to-demolish. Like I said, good fences = good neighbors.

PS: Yeah, I know there aren't any pictures of the full-length, semi-completed fence. What can I say? It got dark fast. So, the third (and hopefully final) installment of this story will just have to wait until I can get some daylight hours for picture-taking. Say...Wednesday? Alright, it's a date! See you then! -Ash


  1. @Amanda - We're just happy to have so much to do these days! It's nice to always have a project you could be working on...even if you decide to watch football instead. ;) Overall, homeownership = happy!