Fences Make ME a Better Neighbor
Wow zow! Our fence project has really come along. Click here to see a short video tour of our progress.
A morning out in yard produced some great results today. While I worked on moving bricks and mapping out an area around our gooseberries and apricot trees we will fill with pea gravel, Dave worked on finishing the two single gates.
He also needed to add some more screws to the pickets near the end of the line. We ran out of battery power and hadn’t finished them last weekend. He also set a 4×4 in place at the end and constructed the two gates.
“Do you want me to install a handle on the alley side of things?” he asked and I told him no. I want nothing but smooth fence on that side.
Next spring I will order a bunch of rosebushes to plant on the alley side of things. They will grow up and produce plenty of colorful blooms and hopefully dissuade taggers from spraying the fence with graffiti and they will remind folks to admire our fence at a distance, thanks to their sharp thorns!
We have two more weekends of work ahead of us. Next weekend we will construct the double gate and begin adding a third 2×4 support to the fence. We originally started it with only two 2×4’s – one at the top and one at the bottom. A contractor we have working for us looked at it and said, “Add a third 2×4 to the middle and you will have less warping.”
I figure that adding those 2×4’s, some fifteen of them, will take us into the second weekend since we will need to attach all of the pickets in the middle as well. But then the back fence will be done, done, DONE!
I am so looking forward to that. It is a wave of relief to look out and see that fence there. Finally, it will feel like the yard belongs to us. It is rather disconcerting to be strolling through your yard and have someone just walk on through it without even asking if it is okay. I guess I’ve spent too many years in the suburbs.
Next year we will build the front fence. We had considered outsourcing it, but honestly, I think we can do it and for far less money. And when you consider that we are outsourcing a good deal of the renovation work on The Cottages, we could use a break in cost.
We are still planning on using the metal panels and wood posts. One of my clients had one installed around their parking lot across from their loft in Columbus Park. I think it looks gorgeous and it would provide semi-privacy, be rather inaccessible to those not respectful of fence lines and be visually appealing as well.
Well, Hello There, My Darling Asian Pear!
I think we planted our two Asian pears and two heirloom apple trees in our mini-orchard in 2014, the year after we moved here. And despite the havoc being caused by the damn Japanese beetles, we are starting to see some results!
Em noticed that there was plenty of fruit weighing down one of the trees and picked some treats for all of us. They are small and still have a ways to go to be perfectly ripe, but this was a lovely treat to have on Saturday night.
Asian pears are ridiculously expensive in the grocery store. They grow so well here in Missouri that, if you have the room, I highly recommend buying on and planting it in your yard.
We bought ours at Fedco Trees. Order in the fall for spring delivery. Their catalog comes out in September or October, and you will want to place your order quickly to ensure they don’t run out.
Fedco Trees is also where we purchased a bunch of our rose bushes that we planted on the inside of our back fence. I’ll plant a ton more on the outside, just in case folks are inclined to try and decorate with spray paint or break into our nice tall fence.
As our regular contributions to savings and 401k have increased with my husband’s new job, I’m also working on us keeping our accounts “in the black.”
I recently read an article that claimed that millions of Americans are one paycheck away from the street. Often one bad health situation will leave you tens of thousands of dollars in debt (if not more). And let’s face it, as we age, our bodies begin to fail us.
Now, thankfully, we all have medical insurance now and that is a big relief, let me tell you! But I want to make sure we not only have a decent amount of emergency savings in the bank, but also have our ducks in a row in our main checking account.
Nearly 100% of our purchases are made on credit cards. We use them for their cash back bonuses and pay the amount owed in full each month.
However, that means that I’m spending money I don’t have for a month and then paying it off the next month. I realized I wanted the ability to spend the money I DO have, and have the ability to pay for it immediately upon receiving the bill, if not sooner.
To do that, I’ve set into place a series of incremental goals:
- Goal #1 – Pay all bills at least ten days before their due date (95% there – occasionally I have to pay a bill 4-5 days before its due date)
- Goal #2 – Pay all bills at least 15 days before their due date
- Goal #3 – Pay all bills immediately upon receiving them
- Goal #4 – Have one month’s worth of funds in the bank (in advance of any bills)
This protects us from what I call the “oh shit” factor. And let’s face it, the “oh shit” factor happens far more often than you might be willing to accept. To me, it is like having the level pay plan with your electric or gas company. No need to futz with the month-to-month ups and downs, if you know what your costs are, you can and should plan for that, plus a little extra.
And with that, I’m off to plot our future front fence, with all of its intricacies…