Fences, Elderberries, and a Migraine

Migraines Suck

Have I mentioned my amazing husband recently? Or my amazing daughter?

If not, then let me take a moment to tell you about them.

Today I was felled by a stress-induced migraine. I get them so very rarely now – a handful a year, or even less. I credit this to marrying well.

I’m not kidding.

In fact, when I discussed my migraines and how often I use to have them people ask me, But you don’t have them now? How did you get rid of them?”

I tell them, “I got divorced and my headaches went away!” My first husband was a migraine.

Honestly though, my husband (my third and FINAL husband) is great. He went outside and worked on the fence today, which included disassembling part of the gate we had just constructed the day before and fixing it so that it closed properly. Then he went on to add a third, middle 2 x 4 to most of the fence panels for added support. Next weekend we will finish that project.

Meanwhile, I lay in bed clutching my aching head. And Em, was kind enough to go downstairs and handle preparing breakfast for her grandfather and foster sister.

I did manage to get up later, wobble downstairs and fix myself an egg, clean the dishes and kitchen, and begin to process the elderberries.

Elderberry Processing

Last weekend we gathered around 20 pounds of elderberries from our bushes in the backyard. The easiest way to collect elderberries Is to cut the bracts with the berries off and place them in a bag in the freezer. After the berries are frozen it is easier to remove them from the bracts.

And after cleaning the dishes and clearing the sink, I pulled out the smaller bag of elderberries and began to do just that. I was still feeling rather under the weather, so I only managed to empty about half of the bag. It was an enormous container full of the berries. I figure I’ve processed about one quarter of them. Back into the freezer they go until we are ready to run them through the juicer.

I plan on using the elderberries for some cough syrup and more importantly, my husband will be making elderberry mead. Mead is made by fermenting honey and often fruit juice. We have made elderberry mead before in the past and it was very strong. I want to say that it was either 11 or 13% alcohol. We called it Respect Your Elders. And at that strong of a percentage, you’d better!

The backyard of Cottage East. The future parking area for tenants is on the right and the alley dead-ends behind it.

One More Gate

The other morning, while writing, I could hear two people arguing behind the house. I went out to look, and watched as they proceeded down the  alley all along the length of the finished fence, while continuing to argue. They then cut through the opening at the back of Cottage East, and walked through that backyard and up to 10th St.

I realized then that we had one more gate to build in order to completely seal off the back portion of our properties. So next weekend, we will be building one more gate.

Something like this…

Front Fence-Panel by Panel

Building a fence can be a very intimidating project, especially when your property is approximately 200 feet wide. I am overjoyed that we have finally finished the back fence. In fact, as my husband worked today on the last details of the back fence, a gentleman asked if he could walk through the open gate. My husband explained that we would prefer he did not. He was kind, but firm. After five years, with people barging through, stealing property and high on drugs, we were done.

But a back fence doesn’t stop people completely. Especially when the entire 200 foot width of our property is open in the front.

“What if we began to build the fence panel by panel instead of trying to do it all at once?” I asked. “We could set in one or two 4 x 4’s, install a panel or two, and take it a little bit at a time. What do you think?”

Looking towards the front of our property. As you can see, it’s wide open.

My husband liked the idea. “As long as we aren’t putting in 4 to 6 panels in a day,” he said.

“That sounds great to me!”

We have yet to find the source for the metal panels that I want. We have a few leads, and we will begin tracking those down in the next couple of weeks. Because we don’t have a truck, transporting the panels can be problematic. I’m not sure if we will need to rent a truck. If we do, hopefully we can move 6 to 8 at a time in order to conserve on cost.

I dream of the day when our fences are all in place. Doing it ourselves will save a load of money, improve our property, reduce theft, and help create the sanctuary we so enjoy having outside.

My internet trawling for pictures of metal fences yielded this – a moon gate – and now, of course, I want one.

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