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good fences

Even though it's still wintery cold—by our standards, at least—spring is on its way and it won't be long before we're planting in the garden. And there's already things going on: garlic, asparagus, and strawberries are getting started, and we're eating chives and spring onions. So I started to notice that we don't really have a fence right now. Fences are always a work in progress, but this spring is especially bad since in the fall I took down one segment as I was building the new deck and another to forward plans of expanding garden a little further around the back of the house. So we had some work to do!

The most important thing at this stage is to keep the chickens out of the garden. In the winter I don't mind if they're in there—I'm glad, in fact!—but once things start coming up they're just trouble. This year I didn't notice they were scratching in the strawberry row until they had pulled up probably half of the new plants I had put in at the end of the summer. That's pretty much taken care of now, with a reinforced fence between the lawn and the garden and a new chicken-proof railing along the deck. But of course they can still fly over the fence into the street and come around the other side of the house, so there's still more fence needed!

That's about half-done now, and in putting it up I had one of the finest moments in my (not very illustrious) carpentry career. I've made lots of gates and doors as our need for fences and sheds evolves, and most of them are pretty half-assed. These days I'm trying to commit a little more ass to things, so I took the time to measure and actually think the whole thing through, and I'm proud to report that the gate I created works very well indeed.

a new gate in a new fence

a great gate

It doesn't really show in the picture, since it melds with the rest of the fence so seamlessly; you'll have to trust me when I tell you that it fits perfectly, opens with the touch of a finger, and swings closed on its own. A masterpiece. The only bad thing is that I've set myself a high bar not only for future gates but for the whole rest of the fence. More work tomorrow!

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