Our front deck is 35 years old. It’s been rained on often enough over the years to penetrate the paint and sealant and cause rot. We considered how to repair and replace it, and talked with local carpenters over the past two years. Now that we are raising guide dog puppies, it would be useful to have an enclosed front yard so they can run and play and get exercise. After choosing a duo of guys whose manner and designs we liked, we decided to combine the deck and fence project.
Maintaining proper boundaries isn’t just for relationships between humans. Because I want to continue to have interactions with wild animals in the neighborhood, I had a number of requirements for the fence design. There’s a large juniper bush that forms the front border of our yard. It’s home to bunnies, and a family of quail. They leave the bush and seek food in the front and back yard each day at dawn and dusk. I wanted a fence that would keep dogs in the yard, but allow small animals to pass through.
Our front yard slopes down to the street, and also down with the street toward the left. The fence would need to be terraced to follow these contours, so as not to block the amazing water-trees-mountains view.
I know the design is meeting with the approval of the animals. Over the past two weeks since it’s been under construction, they’ve been coming out to inspect the changes in the yard. TEN quail lined up along the partly completed fence panels! They practiced going under and through to the bush, and ran along the top like little gymnasts. The bunnies prefer to go under. And the deer came through the open gates, one at a time, sniffing the wood, checking things out before continuing to the back yard, where their main buffet grows.
Spice, our puppy-in-training, is old enough to be allowed off leash inside the house now. She’s also big enough to look out the front windows, and she’s been quite absorbed watching the men build the fence and new deck portions. It’s good experience for her to hear the sounds of hammering and power saws. She continues to display a calm temperament, and she earns praise for not barking or moving toward the cats when they pass near her. I so hope she succeeds with the rest of training. If she does, she’s going to be a wonderful companion and guide. Mary has begun referring to her in conversation as “Saint Spice”. I believe she’s a Franciscan.