Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Crossing the Picket Line

It's all Colton's fault. Last year for Mother's Day our oldest son gifted me with a hand crafted gate for my kitchen garden. he apparently was listening when he heard me say-about a millions times- that I wanted a white picket fence for that space, one day. So he got me started with the gate. I have greatly enjoyed going in and out of it this past year. The rest of that garden spot was enclosed with a hodge-podge of wire hog panels and chicken wire. it wasn't attractive but it get critters out of that space and it was what we could afford at the time.




Several weeks ago I turned 60. It was a grand day altogether. My sister and daughter organized a surprise party at Destihl Restaurant in Normal, Il and we had a great time. Then my friend Jay asked me to come out to the parking lot so he could give me my gift, which was taking up space in the back of his truck. Voila! It was the remainder of the fencing I coveted. Several eight foot sections of Gothic Style Picket fencing. Eighteen sections to be exact. He also promised to help us install it and thats what he did, alongside Keith, this past weekend. 



Prior to his coming though, I had serious work to do, get the fencing painted. Of course Jay's gift came with paint and brushes so in the hottest week we've had so far this summer, I got to work like Tom Sawyer. Well, harder than Tom because there was no Becky around for me to pawn off the work.

I set up in the barn out of the sun with an old box fan to simulate a breeze, and a radio to simulate company.  I painted and painted and painted. I also sweated profusely. What a pain it was to cover all those surface edges! But what a joy it was to see my dream coming true. 



Then, as planned, Jay showed up this past Friday ready to work AND with a hydraulic post hole digger. Happy day. Although Keith has dug hundreds of post holes over the years with his manual post hole digger, he wasn't looking forward to it with the projected high heats. And criminy, did it get hot on Saturday when the guys did the bulk of the work. 97 degrees with a heat index of 110. 

And what did I do while those two die hards were putting in the fence posts? Well I painted and painted and painted some more. Keith had built a second gate a couple weeks ago to match the one Colton had made and it needed painting too. Of course Keith built it out of scrap lumber pieces which shined up nicely with a couple coats of Behrs Wood and Fence Stain in Tintable White. That product was amazing!



I also kept the fellows well supplied in cold drinks. By 9 pm that evening we were all sound asleep, exhausted.  Even with the hydraulic post hole digger, the work was strenuous taking both the guys and many muscles to hold the machine in place and or repositioning it when it hit heavy clay or rock. Most definitely a two man job. 



By Sunday am most of the posts were in place with only five more to go. They had that done by 10 am and started with the fun part of attaching the fence sections. We ran into a bit of a snag around the old well tiles I had filled with zinnias. They needed to come forward about two inches. At first the guys thought they might be able to just push the tiles (filled with soil and flowers) forward , but they quickly discovered they were too heavy. That's Jay below, trying to pull with his  legs parallel to the ground, while Keith is laying behind them, trying to push. Didn't work. 




 They then wrapped some chains around the bottom of the tiles and used the tractor to scoot them forward. It worked well, even though I was concerned the tiles might break. A few petunias were sacrificed as were several other flower plants during the whole fence installation, but I had expected that. In fact I was impressed with how many border flowers were saved overall. 






By 1 pm Sunday 75 % of the fence was up. The last section on the south side still had to be painted and installed, and the gate nearest the grain bin had to be hung but we were all ready to call it quits. The heat had worn us down. Keith and I will finish the rest of the fence this week, it's supposed to be much cooler,  and then I can get busy weeding that garden spot of ours. Below is the view out our second story window. Makes me so happy to have a white picket fence after decades of wanting one!! I am so grateful to my dear hubbie and dear friend for making this a reality. Happy 60th to me. 








32 comments:

  1. Happy birthday! I love the fence! It looks fantastic. Such a nice touch for your yard. What a great birthday present.

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    1. The whole fence was so extremely generous both in material costs and personal time. I am so blessed by my family and friends.

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  2. Well a belated Happy Birthday !
    What a beautiful and functional gift, it's perfect for keeping gardens inside and critters outside.
    We lucked out when we bought our picket fence panels, all thirty of them from an old homestead, and virtually free.
    Enjoy ;)
    Hugs,
    ~Jo

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    1. What a score for you! I'll have to peruse your blog for fence pics.Love any excuse to look at your blog anyway.

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  3. What a gorgeous fence!! How wonderful to see it all up (almost all)enclosing your garden. Happy Day!

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    1. It gives me great hope that one day our entire farm will be so aesthetically pleasing.

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  4. oh donna! it's gorgeous! late happy birthday! you must be thrilled!!!

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  5. What a wonderful birthday present. Congratulations!

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    1. I really like being 60. My da died at age 63, my ma at 67, there's a good chance I'll break their records!

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    2. OK so for the record there is NO
      Concerns. U r living till Aunt Bernie’s Age!!!
      Love u seester

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  6. I is gorgeous . . . that's from one picket lover to another . . . I am so happy for you. Happy Birthday!!!

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  7. Happy Birthday and what a fabulous present!

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  8. Although Frost said, "Good fences make good neighbors." I think, in your case good "Neighbors" make good fences! Happy birthday!

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    1. Since our fence only covers about 1/30th of our property I'm not sure what our neighbors think, especially since our nearest neighbor is a 1/2 mile away, but many folks have been slowing as they drive by to check out our new picket.

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  9. What a fabulous present; it puts mine to shame. I really must fix mine, it's falling to bits.

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    Replies
    1. But the down side is now all our other buildings look even shabbier, and they feel jealous.

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  10. Happy Birthday Donna!!! :)
    The fence looks AWESOME, what a great gift, but the best part of the gift is the installation!!! :)

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  11. DAAAAAMMNNN!!!!! I am jealous! That is BEAUTIFUL!! OK, now I know, our garden HAS to have a white picket fence around it someday. Here and now. From this moment forward. I want that gorgeous look! Congrats and happiest of birthdays!

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    1. I'll see what Jays schedule is the rest of this summer and send him your way. He loves Texas!

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  12. OMG I love it. I have a picket fence obsession. I have a white picket fence in my front and back yards. I never tire of seeing them. I always do a double take, when I see them on a property.

    Your place is looking so nice. It's a pleasure to see all the work that you've done to it, since you first moved there. Fun!

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    1. Oh thanks so much, when you're in the midst of it you get focused on what else must be done and forget to take time to appreciate all you've ALREADY done.

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  13. Belated Happy Birthday, Donna. That's a nice looking fence. years ago we also had one at the VA house and I also liked it. Somehow, it made the yard look so nice. Ours did not have the great paint job that you did. Kudos to you and Keith and Coulton!

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    Replies
    1. The paint was Behrs Wood Fence Stain in "Tintable White" It comes with a 10 year warranty. The clock is ticking.

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  14. Those lads must think you're an alright lassy, to give such a beautiful birthday gift. It fits that's space and style of garden, perfectly. A terrific view too. Just in time to re-live your 40's. Isn't that what they're saying now: 60 is the new 40?

    I don't know, 40 is meant to be the new 30, and I'm still not feeling it, LOL. Must be all the hard work we do. Anyway, happy birthday to you. :)

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    1. Actually this birthday has me feeling better than I have in 20 years. I plan to blog about the reasons for that soon. And yes, I am so blessed that these two guys did this for me.

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    2. Good to hear, you're doing so well, Donna. :)

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  15. Wow! What a difference and what a fantastic birthday present!

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