Territorial markings

It wasn’t our fault. I want to state that emphatically up front.

Our mission in our little mill neighborhood has been to free homes from urban blight and fill them with good neighbors. And we’ve been pretty successful.

But interior work on our latest project — the krakhaus — has stopped while we recharge our nearly depleted renovation coffers. And all the damned rain had prevented us from doing anything on the outside since before we went on our big trip out West. I don’t need to tell anyone what lots of rain and no lawn maintenance does, but when it also involves a house with a yard that hadn’t really been weeded, de-vined or even mowed for probably a decade before that, it’s even worse.

Gah! Look what happened with just two months of neglect:

All your house is belong to us!
All your house is belong to us!

Horrible, eh? It was all vine and no Hollywood. Dare I say it?: We needed to release the krakhaus.

That's better!
That’s better!

We gave it about 5 hours of love last weekend, and it ended up in a much better place.

It also inspired me to get started on putting a picket fence in the back, which is a common alley divvied up among four or five houses. We surveyed the land after we closed on the place, so we know exactly where our property lines are. We’re not drawing the whole “backyard” (i.e., gravel) with fence. You might say that’s because we don’t want to make it too tough for the other residents to get their vehicles behind their houses. Or you might say we don’t want them tagging our forthcoming fence with their cars in the dark. Either way.


Anyway, all the rain made digging post holes surprisingly easy, once I hammered my way through the top layer of gravel and about 6 inches of clay that was so dry that it was like concrete. You non-Georgians don’t know how easy you’ve got it.

For the endposts, I used two 4-by-4’s that I salvaged from the fence at the wee homestead, since I had a few extra when I replaced some fence with the Best Shed of All Time last year. I set the posts, mixed concrete to split between the holes, leveled the posts, then braced them with 2-by-4’s. I’ll leave that bracing for a couple of days so the concrete is good and dry. Twenty-four hours is enough, really.

Next up: I’ll run a string between the posts and measure out the fenceline for additional posts, 8 feet apart. No need for concrete on those middle posts, so it should go easier from here, as long as I don’t find any (more) sewer lines up under there.

People say "Radio Free Europe" is the best song on here. But it's really "Shaking Through."
People say “Radio Free Europe” is the best song on here. But it’s really “Shaking Through.”

(Which reminds me: I’m digging by hand, with a post-hole digger. If you rent one of those gas-powered augers — which are a waste of time in the hard clay, trust me — make sure you have underground gas, electric, phone and cable lines located. It’s usually free. In Georgia, you can just call 811 and tell them the address.

So there you go. From R.E.M. album cover to downright respectable in two weekends. And next chance I get, there’ll be something actually charming and resembling a fence adorning this poor, ol’ house.

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