…I spent a lot of time staring out the front window at the yard. What was wrong with it ? Why didn’t it look right ? I particularly hated the contorted chainlink fence that faced the factory side. The Northern Catalpa tree had bent the top rail, and was growing right through the chainlink.

The area on the other side of the chainlink had been a real trouble spot last summer, between the dumping of stolen items, people hanging out there while their pal went to buy drugs across from the gas station, and day drinkers sitting in the shade. With the Virginia Creeper growing on the chainlink, this provided a feeling of privacy and seclusion. This was also perfect for urinating males, and the occasional piss bottle dump. In the fall I installed a solar motion light, that sort of looks like a camera, stuck high in the tree to see if this would help it to appear less private.

I remembered the headaches I had when I just needed to get two posts set, for the driveway gate. Plus the importance of locates. And this portion of the cement curbed planter might actually belong to the factory, not me…

I felt nervous approaching the management to ask if I could take down the bad chainlink. When I did, they said “Sure !” and said the actual owner of the property would never notice it was gone. This was better than REALLY caring.

Rumination ensued. Then the person I previously had borrowed a chop saw from didn’t have it anymore. Luckily a different neighbour generously offered to loan me his, with a greater faith in my skills than my own.

Two of the dilemmas were that this area of the parking lot side had a pretty steep grade. The cement planter curb was mostly level – except where it had been pushed up by a tree. The ground was also higher than the rest of the yard, due to the planter thing. If I followed the grade of the ground, the fence would look sea-sick compared to the rest of the previously existing fence. I had about 50% of the pickets I needed, left over from before, but I would need to cut them shorter, though I wasn’t exactly sure how to calculate this.

Getting the old chainlink down was another battle. I didn’t exactly have the right tools or much experience. I used nippers to cut the ingrown chainlink off the tree. Then I forgot to put it out on garbage night, but the same day a guy rang my doorbell. He was very excited because he only needed a small amount for a repair, and didn’t want to have to buy a large roll. He took it away for free and we were both happy.

It looked instantly better with the crooked chainlink gone. I felt vulnerable with no fence on that side, even though if anyone wanted to come in my yard before, they could just open the gate ! The Northern Catalpa tree was in bloom, so the beautiful fragrance was a pleasant companion.

I made everything as level as I could using the level and a string. I cut the pickets I had down to size, after marking them one by one. I made new pickets in a shorter length, but felt fretful about correct fitting. There was also a curved area of the curb that I wondered about dealing with.

I cut short sections and used hinges to make it curve to fit. I know no “decent” carpenter would do that, but I knew of no better solution. Some of the rails were attached to the former chainlink posts (cut shorter, then sprayed black) with pipe brackets, and some of the rails were attached to the tree with angle brackets…

The fence was completed as the mulberries started to fall from the tree next door. My feet and tools suffered through messy purple mush.

I felt better when it was done. While it is the same height as the rest of the fence, the pickets on this section were about 10 – 14″ shorter. It offered no security to prevent anyone from entering my yard. However, the chainlink was kind of a false barrier – taller but nearly invisible without any vines.

I hoped the new fence section offered a psychological barrier, which might also deter the creepery happening in that corner since they would feel more exposed ? The small picket fence was more “there” than the chainlink, too.

How will my summer suffering go ?

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