A Fence


Fences have always been problems for me because I have animals. In San Diego we had a falling down wood fence we had to rip down and rebuild when we got our first dogs. The boys in the hood and my ex-husband did the work. I think that fence is still standing. It needed only one repair and my across-the-street-neighbor’s son-in-law, then out of work, was only too happy for the job.

Then, there was the morning I woke up (early!) to find my neighbor to the north had ripped down the six foot wood fence between our yards. I was absolutely totally furious. Naturally. He was an icky man (shudder), and he’s one of the reasons I moved away from a house I liked and had been happy in for 17 years. He wanted to put up a chain link fence. I said, “That may be, but this is MY fence. You had no right to pull it down without talking to me. I want privacy, and I don’t want MY dogs barking at everything they see through a chain link fence.” I immediately hired a fencing company to build me a new fence — a LONG fence, easily 100 feet, somewhat inside my property line. Pricey but it was fast. Two days later I had a brand new, six-food wood fence.

Last year I hired a guy to put up a fence that would give me some privacy, and it has turned out to be a great place to grow a little flower bed in the front yard. I have iris, yarrow, petunias, snap dragons, nasturtiums, cornflowers, cosmos salvia and raspberries as well as spring bulb plants. There’s a nest of finches in the blue bird house (darn! but finches are cool).


At this very moment, I need someone to come and help me put up fifty feet of pig-wire fencing along my lilac hedge so Bear can go in all my yard and I can get a doggy door for them (and me 🙂 ). I have the posts. I have the fencing. I don’t have the help. A guy came by about a month or so ago and said he’d done a lot of the work inside my house. He was very proud of his work, and it is beautiful,  but there are places where he messed up, mostly in the paint he used. I care, especially where it’s peeling off the stucco, and I don’t understand why anyone would lay vinyl tiles with grout so they look like ceramic tiles; the tiles “give” and the grout pops out, so I will be contending with these things, but I was still happy when he said he’d help with the fence.

He hasn’t been back.

Just a few days over a two years ago, while I was “staging” my house in CA in preparation to selling it, I fired my handy man. I had never fired anyone before. I hated doing it because I really liked the guy and his mom was my friend, but I’d made the mistake of not getting estimates and contracts and all those things. When the next guys showed up (vastly better and more professional AND they brought me a FRESH tuna steak) we did paper work. They did all the work in a matter of a week. My former handyman had spent MONTHS on one or two tasks…

Still, the experience of getting a house ready to go on the market was somewhat traumatizing and I’m not crazy about looking for people to help me with home repairs. I wish I were Murphy Brown with a glamorous job, a lot of money and a handyman with vision.



14 thoughts on “A Fence

  1. I very much like the fence you have in your garden: it is very natural and suits the wonderful iris you have. I have been following your iris photos on FB and they are very pretty. Here the iris season is now already finished and the roses are flowering. For the time being I am here again, am still waiting for details to be clarified to go to London. You have some interesting facts about your fence problems. In Switzerland it is difficult to just put up a fence if it might be something completely different.

    • I think the Swiss system would vastly simplify life here… And I like Swiss garden fences. Our growing season in this valley is very short because we’re so high — 2200 meters, so roses and iris often bloom together. I have a strange old climbing rose in my front yard — it’s deadly with millions of thorns and it spreads. I am thinking of taking one of its “children” and putting it by the front fence when the rose goes dormant. It’s covered with very pretty yellow flowers. I love it, but it’s mean.

      My experience with the death of people I love has been a lot of hurry up and wait. It makes it so much harder. 😦

      • The highest point in our Kanton Solothurn is the Hasenmatt with 2,200 meters, on the first range of the Jura, visible from where I live. We are only at about 5-600 meters.

  2. I once had a guy who wanted to be paid in full before he even started the job so he could buy the ‘supplies’ he needed to do my work. I sent him packing in a heartbeat.
    My house is very old and the original owners had a chain link fence but, combined with the huge trees and the flower/shrubs I planted when we first moved here, you cannot even see the fence.

    • That’s good. I want to find a nice vine to cover my chainlink in the front yard which is pretty ugly and makes mowing more difficult. But that front fence is VERY useful and one reason I bought the house. I’m hoping if the pig wire fence gets put up it will soon be covered by the lilac hedge.

      • It’s already there — Bear discovered in winter, though, when she could see through it that she could DIVE through it. She doesn’t go anywhere. She waits in the alley for me or dives through the front hedge and goes to the front door, but still. There’s a busy highway in front of my house. 😦

      • I thought of you on Friday. I was in a home good store and the most lovely dog was sitting at his owner’s feet. Of course, I had to pet him! It was a Bernese Mountain Dog–a 12-week old puppy with huge paws. It’s name was Bear! The softest fur I have ever felt. Just adorable but I hope it lasts in our Florida heat.

      • I love those dogs. They are smart, sweet, fierce — mountain dogs like Bear. If I’d been going to a breeder to pick a dog I’d have gone to find a Bernese Mountain Dog. Bear is such a common name for a dog — I’ve met four in the last month! But Bear’s name is Polar Bear but I only call her that when she’s in trouble 😉

  3. In this case a fence would be perfect. Unfortunately, it costs. We have a new fence. It’s 6 ft. tall with a metal band above that. The plus is, it helps defray some of the noise and no one can see into the back yard as we’re 5 or 6 feet above their base. Literally all we see are roof tops lol. so hmm. where once a forest of 100 to 160 year old trees once stood. sigh.

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