Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finishing Up Some Projects

The other day my community garden friend M asked me where I've been the last two months.  The answer: building a fence!  Thankfully, that very afternoon we finished putting the pickets on this last stretch of fence, and late last week N took most of a day off of work to build the three gates.  Here's what it looks like from the outside:

And from the inside:

We built the fence ourselves, because we are crazy, masochistic, overly picky optimists, and we had no idea how much extra time and suffering it would cause.  The fence is about 250 feet long and encloses our entire backyard.  It is clearly custom-built, with the rails cut into the posts (okay, okay, joined) and many of the pickets cut to length to fit in place with just the right amount of gap beneath them. 

Pros to doing it ourselves:
  1. custom features
  2. lower cost?
  3. no contractors traipsing through our yard and our neighbors' yards
  4. met some neighbors
  5. hung out with some friends
  6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Cons to doing it ourselves:
  1. hospital bills
  2. lost work time
  3. too many take-out meals
  4. sunburns
  5. poison ivy scars (yes! scars!)
  6.  visits to the county and city permits offices
 All in all, I'm glad we built it, and I think I'm glad we did it ourselves.  The fence has some unexpected benefits.  It actually makes our yard look a lot bigger.  Also, the ability to access the back 40, the slope behind the back of the yard which I previously had to walk all the way around the block to mow. And the appreciation of some community members who (it turns out) have to drive by the back 40 every day and didn't really appreciate our old see-no-evil attitude of benign neglect.

And of course, there are the expected benefits: letting my kids play in the yard without watching who's watching them, being able to hang up my laundry without the neighbors "people-watching" me, and of course...

These little ladies got to leave my bathtub and see the outside world.  (And now you see why N was willing to take a day off work to get the gates finished!)  I ordered 18 of them and they arrived the day after Columbus Day.  Shortly after I moved them outside I sold 8 to a family in Gaithersburg, and the remaining ten are in the coop/run.  We have quite a variety: Red Stars, Delawares (?), Black Australorps, a Turkens, a Golden Campine, and some other black variety that I can't identify.  I ordered a mixed-breed lot of brown egg-layers.  The Campine is very pretty, but it is also the only one that might be a male, so I'm trying not to get too attached. 

"A" cannot wait to let them out in the yard, but I still a little nervous about that.  For one thing, there are a lot of them and I worry I will spend all afternoon catching them and putting them away.  And what if I lost one?  Also, I've been feeding a stray cat off of our back steps (Manly, who I originally named Mandy but...well, she has testes!) and I worry that if they were loose he might attack one.  I have heard that cats rarely attack full-grown chickens but will sometimes go after young ones.

1 comment:

  1. You should send this post to the Star Trek Group. I bet they'd love to see some pictures, after hearing so much about it.