20 May 2007


I've been working on a fence for my back yard. The two adjacent sides are already fenced, but the side facing the alley has been open since I bought the house. Not too long after moving in, my dad helped me pick out materials to make a fence back there, with the plan that we'd put it up in the summer. The summer came...and went. Another summer came...and went. And the stuff's been sitting in my garage nearly ever since. A lot of it got pulled out last fall when they were putting in my new garage door.

On Friday (I think) Thursday, I dug the first post hole using a standard shovel. The digging wasn't difficult, but it seemed like an awful waste to dig a two foot wide hole for a four-inch square post. I went looking for a post-hole digger, but before I bought one, my mom asked her friend Markie if she had one. She did. That works out nicely, since Markie and her family have been using my tablesaw. Which had been sitting forlornly unassembled in my garage...because I hadn't gotten around to buying a ratchet to get it put together. The trade-off was that Markie's husband would put it together in exchange for them getting to use it for a while.

Anyway, the post-hole digger is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier. Getting started is just a trifle harder, and each separate motion is slightly harder than just digging, but overall it saved me a lot of time and effort. I've got all the major posts in place now. I want to put a gate in one spot. Depending on its construction, I may need to put in a few more posts (both for the gate and to finish off the fence to it). The gate is so that it's still possible to make deliveries right to the back door of my house. This is very handy for stuff that goes in the basement, since it's then only a half-flight of stairs down. The gate will also be directly facing a parking area that I'm leaving/making. My current plan is to rototill through the area, cover it with black plastic for most of the summer, dig out any excess dirt, and then get a load or two of gravel. My mom got this horrified look on her face when I mentioned the gravel. I told her I'd see how much extra it would be to have them deliver it. If it's a lot more, I'll do it myself without telling her, since she'd feel obligated to help otherwise. *shrugs*

Back to the fence. Now I need to put in some intermediate posts. These can be hammered into the ground. I suspect I'll need to pick up a few more of them before I can finish. Then I have to figure out the best way of attaching the wire fence to the posts. For the metal intermediaries, I'll probably just use wire. I'm thinking that for the wood posts, I might try to find some hammerable staples.

There's one more place I'd like to put a fence: between my yard and my southern neighbor's driveway. They have a tendency to drive off of it onto my lawn, and park partially on my lawn, and that makes it ruddy hard to water and/or mow. If I could think of a legal way to puncture tires that drove off the driveway into my lawn, I would set it up. Vindictive? Me? Nah... But that first post off of the street is going to be sturdy steel and well-set in concrete. The fence doesn't need to be tall. 3-4 feet would be plenty. It just needs to be extremely sturdy and stable.

UPDATE: Methinks my post-digger wielding technique could use improvement. My left wrist is not happy at the moment. So long as I keep it in fair maiden's wrist (i.e. straight with my forearm), it's fine. Bend it more than a few degrees...and yowch. Random factoid: Fair maiden's wrist is one of the most obvious visual differences between the Cheng man Ching form and the older Yang long form. Supposedly Cheng man Ching went on a retreat in the mountains, where he met a mystic lady (often said to be one of the 8 Immortals) who taught him "Fair Maiden's Boxing." He had to change the name, because no one wanted to learn a "fair maiden" fighting style.

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