Monday, April 11, 2011

A Fence for Riley—Part One

I have come to realize that dog training is not as easy as Cesar Milan makes it look. 

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“Say what?!”

Hmm… that revelation was bound to happen sooner or later.  In my dreams in which I am portrayed as the dog trainer, our new puppy Riley is well behaved and never leaves the yard.  Then I wake up.  And find Riley across the street in the neighbors’ yard.  :)  Okay, granted it’s really not that hard to take the dog out and make her stay in our yard, but it’s waaaaaay easier to just let her out into a fenced yard and not worry about her wandering off.  So, project number one on our to-do list lately has been A Fence for Riley. 

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“I shall go OFF LEASH?! Wheeeee!”

We decided to fence in the entire backyard which runs into a wooded area at the back property line.  After investigating many different kinds of fences, we settled on a picket fence.  Here is my inspiration photo:

But this is not your average picket fence, this one has its special features designed by me (with a bit of help from the internet.) :)  My picket fence design has 4’ tall pickets and 4’6” tall posts with copper post points.  The posts are 6’ apart.  That is the design; in reality, the slope of our yard created a few areas with taller sections just to unify the appearance of the fence as a whole.  You’ll see what that means later in part two.

Lucky for me, I have a handy Papa to help me build my fence.  He and my brother John came a couple weeks ago to start the process.  Here is a quick tour of the backyard—future site of Riley’s fence.

The view coming down the driveway (special appearance by John and random piece of carpet). :)

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The side leading to Riley’s favorite neighbor’s yard.  (Note the many possible routes for puppy escape!)

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The other side leading to prime cat chasing area.  (More open routes of escape).

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The side yard leading around the deck is a quick means of escape around the house for the doggy who refuses to come back inside.

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See my problem? ;)  Well, we have a plan to control all of these areas!  First things first, the fence builders started out digging holes and setting the posts in the ground.  Basically you start with a post that is two feet longer than the part that will stick out of the ground; in our case that means 6’ post (4’ tall plus 2’ underground).  Then you dig a hole with your post hole diggers that is two feet deep, trying to avoid cables and obvious tree roots.  Then you stick your post in the hole and making sure the post is level and not leaning all wonky, you slowly fill in the dirt, tamping it with a “tamp stick” as you go so it is nice and tight against the post and the edges of the hole.  That way when you get the hole filled up to the top, your post will not fall over.  This is what I learned about setting posts.  We do not subscribe to the practice of concrete-filled holes for setting posts.  We are old school. :)  Yes, I am a master of fence building.  That is why I got my father and brother to do it for me.angel smiley

Here is John demonstrating how to dig a hole with post hole diggers. 

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He got lots of practice digging holes.  Even with a bum knee. :(

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The string is tied between the first post and the last post so you make sure that all your posts in between keep the same slope.  Or some such thing. :)

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Next they added the rails in between the posts.  This is highly technical, I know. :)  These were fastened with screws into little rail-shaped cut outs on the back of each post (called dados—pronounced ‘day-dough’.  We are learning so many new things today!).  That was all in my special fence design so that when the pickets were added on top of the rails, they would be slightly recessed from the level of the post on the front.  The posts are very important in my design, I want them to be the star of the show, not merely fading into the background and letting the pickets steal the limelight.  You will learn about this in part two—pickets! 

The section below leads into cat-chasing territory and also the front yard.  It is left open on the right for a removable section to be added later.  The 8’ wide removable section allows for easy access for vehicles, mowers, wheelbarrows and the like, that won’t easily fit through the small gate that goes on the left.

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This section of fence goes into the woods for a bit and then stops.  It will join up to a perimeter of woven wire field fencing that will complete the loop back to the other side of the yard.  This allows us to have a large section fenced in affordably.  Plus, once the trees leaf out, you won’t be able to see the fence in the woods anyway.

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The fence along the other side of the yard joins up to the corner of the house with a second gate.

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Riley examines the construction for weak spots in the defensive network. 

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Ta da!  Part one of A Fence for Riley.  :)  I’ll be back to show you the pickets and later on, how to run wire fencing in parts two and three of the fence saga.  Come back soon!

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1 comments:

Nick said...

Nick & I would like to know what you would do if you didn't have Papa & John! ;-)