When we bought our house, an old house, a small and beautiful place, I needed a lot of work. It still does. But it’s a sweet yellow house with a red barn in the back and a stream on the side. An infinite field behind the barn gives space for children to run, and the house has the original blown glass windows, wide plank floors and the strange low door to bang your head.
At the beginning, I had as many items on my to-do list as there were. Replace the basement bathroom. Install the stairs to reach the attic, which was practically inaccessible. Paint all the Buick mauve and blue ornaments. Weatherproof windows. Spread the mulch. Remove the bathroom floor upstairs. Find out what kind of insects live in the stable. Repair the shower faucet with leaks. Build a fence.
The latter continued to climb to the top. The house, although picturesque, is somewhat close to a moderately busy road. And the only thing between the house and the street was a pathetic row of scruffy badgers, half eaten by the deer that wandered in this part of the planet in incredible numbers. Our city is largely a commuter city, so in the morning, when everyone runs to the train station, and at night, when everyone runs home for dinner, people tend to fly. We have two young children constantly chasing each other around the courtyard and I thought that a fence would create a border that they would not cross. Instead of “Don’t go the way!” My wife and I could say “Don’t go over the fence!”
The fence I planned was simple: a fifty-foot cedar stake with a swing door in the middle. A classic look that fits the house, built in 1854. That’s what I did.
My first step, over the course of several weekends, was to stay in the garden, rubbing my chin, looking at hypothetical and non-existent fences. I measured: how far the road should be, how long it should be, where a corner could turn. A lot of walk to measure. Richard, my neighbor, who, when I got this job a couple of years later, would become a frequent contributor to this magazine, often saw me wandering the courtyard and even taking a tour.
In the end, I settled in a straight line parallel to the facade of the house (unlike the street), about six feet from the street (to allow parking between the fence and the street), starting with the property line that I share with Richard. and extends through the courtyard to a point right next to the driveway. With a space in the middle for a door. I marked the line with metal poles.
2. BUY MATERIALS
I wanted the cedar, because it resists putrefaction and splinters. You don’t even have to try it, even though I planned to paint it white. I bought the fence and posts at Ring’s End, a Connecticut-based chain of high-quality hardware and hardware stores. The fence is made of Gothic cedar peg, one and a half meters high, available in eight-foot long panels. I used poles of five square inches, which are more resistant and, I think, more beautiful than four inches, which in comparison seem thin. I bought federal cedar caps for the top of each post and, since I had not yet purchased my F-150, I collected everything with Richard’s truck, to avoid delivery costs. Even though I gave the truck gasoline, it was like sixty dollars.
3. DIG THE HOLES
My plan was to dig each hole, place the pole, then measure eight feet (the length of each fence panel) from the center of the pole and dig the next hole. The measurements had to be exact; If the poles had been turned off even a few centimeters, the lengths of the fence would have hung.
The books I had read, including the porches, covers and fences of Time-Life (six dollars in a used book store) and common sense told me that the places had to be dug so that their bases fell below the ice line, otherwise the stakes may rise and fall in winter. Where I live, this means at least thirty two inches. And with the amount of rocks in our soil, I knew that a well seeker would not be enough. I drove to Home Depot to rent a two person auger for $ 100. An auger of this size is essentially a five foot steel corkscrew with a 160 cc engine on top that turns it with tremendous force, pushing it towards the while two men hold it in place, trying not to be thrown on the ground or to tear their arms.
Fortunately, I had two guys who helped me that day, both of Esquire’s colleagues, where I was working at the time. They had heard me about the fence project in the office and had really asked if they could help. Both gave the same reason: they felt relaxed in the city apartments. They wanted hard work. I know, crazy, but both have appeared.
It was like that. Sometimes you run away. Sometimes you hit seventeen stones that block the cochlea every ten seconds.
It was hot. A boy had to leave after lunch: his girlfriend’s parents were having a barbecue or something. So this left us two. Now, when the auger got stuck, one of us had to kneel down and clear the rock. We were soaked with sweat. My hands were sweating in my gloves.
Sixth hole: tree root. Giant root A python The auger continued to stop abruptly, pulling its arms out of the basins every time. I grabbed the chainsaw from the barn and, probably against the advice of the instruction manual, I pointed the bar towards the half-dug hole and cut the root.
4. SET THE POSTS
The most important tool for configuring publications is a level. I used a four-foot level and, for greater leveling power, a fifteen-dollar Stanley pole level, which fits around a square pole and tells you if it tilts forward or backward or sideways. Excellent tool
The bottom of the pile should rest on a couple of centimeters of gravel for drainage. (See “How to set up a publication”, page 102). So I had to decide whether to set up specific publications. With all the roots and rocks that we have removed from the holes, many of them have really disturbed the ground. In some places the ground was surprisingly weak and sandy. In others, it was like granite. We opted for concrete.
In a wheelbarrow we mix the packed concrete with the shovel and pack it around the bottom of each pole. I probed the poles and used the waste wood to hold them while the cement had hardened. We wrote eight posts in about ten hours and we almost died but we didn’t. Eventually we went swimming in the stream and ate steaks.
5. INSTALL A GATE
He had left a four-foot space between two of the posts for a door, aligned with an existing path of slabs. One day I was rubbing my chin, trying to design a door, when Richard came over. I drank a beer for myself. “What are you doing?” churches.
I told him I was trying to come up with some sort of plan for a door. He rubbed his chin. “Wait a minute,” he said, walking away again. “I could …”
Five minutes later, he reappeared with a beautiful wooden door, a sturdy frame with hand-cut vertical axes to form a curved peak, echoing the pegs. I also had some nice hinges. I could not have imagined a better door for me.
He looked at me without understanding. I blinked
“I did it … God years ago,” he said. “Fifteen years?”
“It’s perfect,” I said.
He took it to the hole. He slipped among the publications as if it had been created for the space. An incredible fit. It looked fantastic.
“Fantastic,” he said. “I’ll take some screws.”
I just looked at it.
He turned and said, “What?”
This is having a neighbor like Richard.
6. HANG THE FENCE
For a few days, or about two months, the poles remained straight in the courtyard, without fences. Friends in town started asking things like “So, right?”
I finally bought the fence and screwed the ends of each horizontal back to the poles with three-inch self-tapping wood screws. The screws were expensive, partly because they are large, but also because they are treated with a corrosion resistant coating. You want that coating, otherwise, the fasteners can rust and their fence can sink and crumble, rust spots dripping on the sharp painted face.
My wife and I stain everything with the external white spot Benjamin Moore Premium, which was recommended by the boy in my local paint shop. In front of me was a professional painter who bought paint, always a good sign. Some hardware stores only sell one brand, but this place has all kinds of paint, so I was confident of receiving an honest recommendation.