An Inclusive Border

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 grounds are also a food and shelter source for deer.  We needed three gates to be included, so the yard would remain open for passage when not in active use by puppies.

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.

Finally, we have a minimal hint of Asian style, to remind us to be present and meditative, and to live in respect and harmony with our natural surroundings.

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.


Filed under animal communication, photos, symbolism

11 responses to “An Inclusive Border

  1. hiya Mikey. Ithought the fence looked Japanese and its really pretty. What a precious pup too.Sorry I havent been around. Lots of stuff going on. I write this on my cellphone from my very own apartment in wilmington nc. Yay.! I dont mind you micro managing as i always value what you say. Great post as always

    • Lisa! Lots of stuff? How cool! You have your OWN APARTMENT?? Yay, indeed. I’m SO happy for you!!!!! *DING* 🙂

      (And for those of you wondering, no, I’m not drunk or stoned. Lisa has never lived on her own before. Sometimes I’ve inappropriately nagged her, because I have faith in her ability to make a better life for herself despite the challenges of OCD. I can be stupid and pushy sometimes. But getting your own place when you’ve never had one before, it’s something to celebrate. That news made my day!)

  2. How cool is this! I appreciate all the care, kindness, thought you put into this project. We’re in the midst of creating some of our own designs and your approach is a wonderful inspiration.

    • Oh, good. I’m so glad. I’ve never taken the approach to projects that I have at this house. Before, I always just tried to keep the appliances and circuits working, and the grounds and house features in repair. You can change things to reflect your own personality and values though. Women often seem to know this already. I didn’t get that before. Becoming less of a workaholic means I get to think about things more carefully.

  3. Hi Mikey
    I’m impressed with the fence design and like the oriental appearance of the gate. Like you we determined to share out property with wildlife who came before us.

    On the perimeter of this acreage we used field and farm fencing. It’s graduated wire squares and allows smaller animals of different sizes to pass through. In the inferior we have split rail cedar fencing that keeps our dogs safe and sound. It’s not a barrier to the deer and wild turkeys that soar over it, nor is it a barrier to small animals who pass between the rails.

    The top split rail is a runway for the cheeky chattering squirrels who run back and forth to the black oil sunflower bird feeder. It’s a favorite sunbathing spot for the cat who has plenty of other places to sunbathe but prefers this position right above “dog-land”.

    Fences and boundaries can be torn down and they can be rebuilt. They can be minimized or extended but prior to adjustment they must be established. Boundaries in relationships work the same way and from to time time they need to be adjusted too.

    This summer I realized that it was long past time to establish a boundary between myself and a family member. Constructing it, determining where to place the gate, who to provide keys to, and under what circumstances the keys could be used were all part of a painful process. There will be future adjustments but I’m currently safe and sound behind my see-through fencing while I’m admiring yours.

  4. Pretty damn impressive. I can catergorically say that there’s no fence like that here in Nigeria. I want one for when I have my own private backyard now *sigh*

    • Thank you, jollof. It wouldn’t be very effective as a means of protection, like we might need if we lived in or near a big city. There’s very little danger here, so I can choose to be decorative and put up something just solid enough to encourage the highly cooperative dogs to stay at home. The wood also smells good!

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