A cold, wet nose nudging my warm, bare underarm awoke me at 4:30 this morning. Eddie wanted out. Who was I to say, “no?”
One of the attractions to this place, for me, was the lack of fences. I grew up fenced in on various Air Force bases around the world, then fenced in with postage stamp yards in Southern California, but there is a problem if you have no fence, a dog that needs out, and it is 4:30 in the morning. It is especially a problem in the winter.
Last summer, a friend of ours brought over pieces of what had been a large dog kennel made with six foot high chain link fencing. Mike and I spent part of a day erecting the kennel in a horseshoe around the front door just so Eddie could be let out without having to put on winter clothing, coats, hats, gloves, and boots. It worked well, even if it did look a bit institutional. Mike did not like it initially. His “comment” (if you can call it that) was a nasal rendition of “Dueling Banjos.” It was a bit too ‘country’ for his tastes.
Winter is pretty well over now, though, and I am ready to remove the fence that Mike now seems to love…especially at 4:30 in the morning. As it starts to get daylight earlier and the weather warms, I prefer to take Eddie for his romp around the garden and take delight in his explorations. He is still very puppy-like, after spending the majority of his life fenced in at the animal shelter. But his joy and exuberance is not convincing Mike to remove the kennel we built last fall.To Mike’s mind it is functional (if ugly), so why change a good thing?
There has to be a compromise we can afford.
I first began looking for fencing at Lowe’s. “Ooooo, decorative metal fencing! That would look good!” I nearly screamed in excitement when I saw the tickler ad on their website. It was a bargain at about $40 per six foot section, not including posts, installation hardware, or labor. I only need about 150 feet of it. Do the math…150 divided by 6, 25 times 40…yeah, more than I want to spend right now.
I looked at vinyl and wood and none were priced at what I was willing to pay, not even the old stand-by American picket fence which at $23 per section (not counting posts) still came to over $500. That is a LOT of dog walking.
Time to look for some alternatives. I want function, but also something that meets my city-girl notions. Rule out wire fencing, unless it is absolutely necessary.
I teased Mike that I wanted the fencing that surrounds an old family cemetery on the farm. It is picket fencing, of a sort, but decorative metal, and at least a hundred years old. Unfortunately for me, there is not 150 feet of it, not to mention the feeling of desecration in removing it from the old cemetery. The mention of it did not phase him, though. His father has a ton of that style of old fencing in his barn and he would probably give it to me. Cool! When can we get it? Turns out, Mike was only trying to address the ease of availability of the fence material, not the actual fence. “Do you know how HEAVY that stuff is?” Okay, so ya got my hopes up for nothin’, Mike. Back to the drawing board!
Think! What is cheap or free, can be installed by a woman almost by herself, and there is plenty of it on the farm. Tobbacco sticks! If I can get Mike to set the posts, I can put 2X4 between them and using my handy-dandy nail gun attach the tobacco sticks as pickets. Are there enough? Will the nail go through them? I will have to ask Mike when he gets up.
Otherwise, I came up with an alternative I could have to construct with thorny locust branches. There are plenty of those and I kind of like it. And maybe I can make an arbor out of the twisted branches too. I have a sample to copy.
Uh-huh…all that so I can let a dog out at 4:30 in the morning.
Maybe I should just ignore him.