At the old homestead, in Proctor, we had a fence. It ran, on the east, from the front corner of house – parallel to the front face of the house – to the property line. A ninety-degree angle at the property line, and the fence ran up hill to the edge of the driveway. A similar configuration of fence was on the westerly side of the property and house. The fence was constructed of eight-feet long sections of lumber; the rails and stiles of each panel came together into a butt joint. We stretched and stapled welded wire to the wood frame.
In back of the yard, directly in from of the driveway and from garage to the property line, we had a wood slat privacy fence; we also had a solid wood set of gates.
Our neighbor, across the alley from us, was a cantankerous curmudgeon. There is nothing wrong with being a curmudgeon, there is nothing wrong with being a cantankerous curmudgeon, but he also happened to be a busybody.
I often thought of him as Jimmy Stewart’s character in Hitchcock’s Rear Window. He was always sitting in his window; he was constantly aware of any motion or activity outside his window. He would comment after the fact about the comings and goings of our house. “I see you brought home some groceries two nights ago – about 6:00 pm; where do you go shopping?”
When it became apparent to him that we were putting up a privacy fence, albeit a short privacy fence across the back of the yard in front of the driveway, he got decidedly cranky. “You know, Alex, a neighbor might take it the wrong way, you know, with you walling off your yard and all.”
I asked him if he had ever read North of Boston by Robert Frost. I went on to say that there was a poem in this book called, “Mending Wall”, with the line “Good fences make good neighbors.” Neighbor gave an half-annoyed, half-inquisitive “Who?”
The privacy fence went up, and the prickliness of the neighbor eventually subsided to his everyday-normal-baseline prickliness.
It worked very well. It limited the snooping of those behind our yard, and helped block our view of our vehicles and whatever other random heaps of stuff we may have had in the driveway.
Now, in St. Paul, we have a bit more space. In Proctor, we fenced off half of our little-under a quarter-acre and that included a house in that footprint, as well. At the new place, we have over an acre. The main yard area goes from the road in the front, past the house and a couple hundred feet (~ 60 meters) back where it meets the wooded area of our property. From the edge of this yard-clearing, to the property line is another hundred feet (~ 30 meters). This area is heavily wooded and has a diverse collections of flora and fauna.
After returning from Boston, at the beginning of October, we started to sink fence posts. Work, fleeting day late and school got in the way of working on the fence during the week, so, each weekend, weather depending, we put in time.
Two sets of weekends, and the posts were in the ground. We would start on fence panels.
The constructions of the panels was identical to those we used at the old place. The only exception would be size; the panels are a foot and a half taller. Melissa eventual plans for a coonhound; coonhounds like to climb.
A weekend here, a single Saturday there, the panels went together. Hugging the slope of the ground where needed; we put a pair of five feet wide gates at the front of the yard to drive a vehicle into the yard. The gates are set at a 5° slope to match the ground.
A third of the way through the fence project, it snowed and briefly became cold. We were almost certain the remainder of the fence would have to wait until spring. Luckily, the weather turned nice, and we were back in action.
With the help of Melissa’s dad (throughout the project, actually), a really nice Saturday, and some extra long electrical extension cords to reach the back of the property from the house, we finished up the fence. The hounds were released and ran and ran and ran for the remainder of the afternoon after we finished.
During the construction of the fence, we got to know our neighbors a little better; they came to see the fence and chat. Very nice people, but we will need time to find out if our good, new fence will result in good neighbors.