layout: page title: “Fence Projects” subtitle: Closing in our property —
Fencing in Chenango
Two sections in here
With the decision on 2004 to build a barn, we also needed to build a fence to hold the horses. We decided that we’d fence most or all of the west side of our property. The type of fence isn’t really a decision, it has to be a split rail, 3 rail according to the HOA, so we’re stuck with that.
Our decisions are basically where to fence. Our initial submission to the HOA was 15 ft off the road for the easment and 10ft off each property line, using the existing HOA fence structures as a guide and down to the house and up along the existing rear fence.
We got approved, somewhat. The horse area close to the barn needs another 10 feet of inset from the road and some shrubs or bushes planted. I guess they are concerned about the dirt areas from some other horse pastures and it doesn’t look good. No big deal.
So now the work begins. Building the fence. Our neighbor built his and said that it was hard to drill down with his small front loader and auger. He had to get some weights to make it work. I checked on a gas powered auger at Home Depot, running around $400, but it could be worth it if we’re going to dig a few at a time. I bought stakes and paint and we need to lay it out.
February 18. 2003
We’re talking with the barn guys and ask them for an estimate on the fencing. Tia and I walk around with a 200’ tape measure and toughly get an 800ft measurement for the fence. We should get an estimate soon.
I’d rather do some ourselves, partially to save money and partly just to do it. However the hoel drilling has me concerned. That could eat up tons of time. We need to give one a try and see. The barn guys said that part of the trench was easy to dig and part hard.
Repairing the Old Fence
So a few of the posts on the old fence around the backyard are loose. Like almost ready to fall down. So I decided to tackle the corner post by the playset first.
March 14, 2004
I went out Sunday morning with a shovel to get started. I pulled the rails loose and let them hit the ground. Something that I’m not sure I could do if the post wasn’t loose, so that’s a learning experience for the larger fence building project.
The next step was to move some rocks away and pull back the landscaping fabric. I made a mistake here in that I pulled back about a foot around the post and I really needed to pull back about 2-3 feet to dig out the concrete. Lesson learned for post 2. From here I started digging around and hit concrete pretty quick, about a foot down. I worked my way around it, trying to expose the sides and slowly dig deeper. Not the easiest thing to do with a normal shovel and here’s where I had to widen my hole.
As I expose it, I got the idea that the sledge hammer may help, so I got it and whacked the concrete a few times. One large collar is hard to get out since:
- it’s heavy
- you have to expose basically the whole thing
- and you may have post below the collar (I did) that won’t come out
Well I didn’t have the last problem because the post basically split in this collar. A couple sledge hammer whacks, however, were good because they break the concrete into a few pieces which are easier to pull out. As I got about half of them out, the post had splintered here and it came out. After about 30 minutes of working with it, I had the collar out, and could start digging down to the post base.
As I got down there, another collar appeared, this one more of a complete circle and tight around the post. Since the hole was shrinking, it was hard to hit the post, but I did work the dirt loose around it, wiggle it, careful not to break the shovel handle, and did get a couple hits and got the collar to break in two pieces. I got them out and quit for the day.
Total removal time: ~90minutes.
March 19, 2004
I left work early since it was nearly 80F and I wanted to get some cement. I ran by the local hardware store and they had what I needed. I knew that there were actually 4, maybe 5 posts that were bad, plus I was thinking of a gate, so I bought 5 posts, 5 bags of cement and went home. I set the first corner post, nailed a board to hold it and realigned the rails in there. I’m not sure how you repair a split rail fence, since without the post moving as much as it did, I wouldn’t have gotten the rails in. Still I got them in, dumped in some cement and water and mixed it with a hand shovel in the hole.
I know that you are supposed to mix first, but that’s a pain and I was trying to hurry. So I just mixed it in there.
Now the hole was big, mainly because I’d dug it with a shovel, so I got a piece of cardboard and shaped it around the post, leaving about 4” or so on each side and then backfilling with dirt. I poured the concrete inside this and mixed it. The whole bag ended about 3-4” below the surface, which makes sense given this was like 32” down. I did let it dry a little and then slope the concrete away from the post.
While I was waiting, I dug out two more posts, again thinking I only got the rails loose because the posts were so wiggly. As I dug them down, they were definitely broken and I had them break pretty quickly, leaving me to dig out the concrete collars by hand (2 again each post). I worked them out, tried to round out the hole around each post and fill with concrete mixing in the hole. I did one completely this night and dug out the second. The second hole was on a slope and was a real pain with lots of clay that I had to work loose. The collar on the third post also hadn’t cracked, so I helped it along with the sledgehammer to get it in pieces that I could more easily remove.
Total time: about 90 minutes
March 21, 2004 Backfilled the third hole with dirt, cleaned up the rocks around all the holes over the landscaping fabric, which was very torn, but I didn’t care.
Total time: about 20 minutes
I still have 2 bags of concrete and two posts to do, so I’m not completely done, but here is the rough cost:
|Concrete (Quickcrete, 5000lb, yellow bag)
|Split Rail, 65” corner post (2 rail)
|Split Rail, 65” line post (2 rail)
Time: 3h 20min Total: $59.20
The west side has 2 existing sections of split rail that define the bridal trail. The plan at first is to connect these two sections (160’ apart) with fencing and then work from there. The house is on the left side, the driveway below it. A street borders the north side (bottom) and the existing yard is marked as a large rectangle behind the house. The two curves show the existing driveway and the barn will sit just off that.
Here are some project phases as I work on this. They are mostly split by the length of the entries for each page rather than any specific part of the job.
|Where we are
|Cost This Time
|March 21, 2004
|Digging holes on the west side
|March 22-26, 2004
|First posts and rails
|March 27-29, 2004
|More holes and some progress
|March 30-May 3, 2004
|May 6- ??, 2004
|The North Side
The first day of really working on the new fence. I decided to start laying it out and seeing how hard it is to dig in this soil. Given my experience with the old fence, I didn’t think it would be that bad. So I got up and went to the hardware store to get a few things. Tia was encouraging me to get a section of two and let’s get going.
I got to Lowes and they had split rail fencing, but only 2 rails. So I went to Home Depot and they didn’t even carry split rail.
Well, I wanted something, so I got a post hole digger and a few misc things and headed home. I’ve been using the kids’ plastic wagon to tote stuff around, so I put the shovel, post hole digger, and most of the rest of the tools and headed for the north west corner of the yard.
When I got there, I decided to string off the fence. I tied to the top of the existing section of split tail, getting the string in the center of the top hole and walked it south to the other end of the property and got ready to tie it off on that section. Then I thought about it.
My plan was to use a piece of string and the screwdriver as a plumb bob and find the exact part. I realized that having the string closer to the ground would be better, so I tied off at the lowest rail, having the string be on the outside (west) of the posts. I then went back and retied the other side at the same height (about knee height).
Tia then came out and we measure each 10’, placing a piece of tape at this point. I kept the north side of the tape at the 10’ mark at each point to be consistent. From here, we put stakes in the ground at this point, the string just brushing the top of each stake.
Now the digging. First with the shovel to loosen the dirt and go down about 5-6”. From here I started with the post hole digger. Oh boy was that fun.
If you’ve never done it, I got to about 12” and we realized this was a large project. I mean a long, all summer long project. Slow going, probably 15 minutes to get down 12”. A friend had called and offered to help auger, so I called him back and knocked off.
Another trip to home depot, renting an auger (2 man gas) for 4 hours. My plan was to hopefully get 8-10 holes dug.
One word of advice when transporting these, take a box or something to brace it and prevent a tip. Also put a tarp down, which I did, because some gas leaked on the tarp when it tilted. Fortuneately I did that or Tia would have killed me for getting has in the car.
I got back and Tia and I tried to get started. We cranked it up and it barely ran. There were no instructions, just a throttle like a motorcycle, a pull cord and a little metal thing with a diagram that was supposedly the choke, but was confusing. We pulled it out at first and started and the thing barely turned. After a few minutes, we were thinking we might only get 2 holes dug.
Fortunately Tia experiments and I’d forgotten the choke, thinking it was an on/off has lever. She pushed it in and the auger cranked up. We pushed down and got down to about 18”, though we didn’t realize it. Kyle and I walked to the second hole while Tia cleaned the first one out and measured.
It wasn’t looking good, though Tia and I got a couple holes down to 20” before Brian showed up.
Tia went to entertain kids and Brian and I got started. We sat on the handles, pushed down, everything we could and with both of us, got the first few holes down to 22-24”.
We got better and kept at it and had gotten 5 holes done at the 1 hour mark. Continuing on, we got 10 holes done at around the 2 hours mark and then things got tough. The soil toughened and we could feel the bit grinding on the clay down there. The last five holes took about another hour and a few we only got to 20-21”. The bit was smoking hot and we couldn’t see dirt or clay coming up the bit. We knocked off and called it a day, the entire west side, 15 holes, basically done.
A few things about the auger. When we started, the topsoil is heavy, so I kicked it loose as the bit dug down to keep the weight down. If I didn’t the bit would hang and we’d lift the thing and spray the dirt off. Also, sometimes as it got lower it would hang and we’d do the same thing. Not sure the weight matters, but clearing it off periodically seems to help. We also sat on opposite handles to get more weight. More weight helps, but it can bind the bit, so keep watch and lift if it binds. Also wiggle the entire auger sometimes to make the hole slightly wider and give some room.
- Shovel (pointed end)
- Post Hole Digger
- Tape Measure
- String (1000’ ft)
- Electrical Tape
- 2 person gas auger
|Post Hole Digger (wood handles)
|Gas Auger rental
Another trip to home depot. Cement is cheaper there (I checked when returning the auger.). I got 5 bags and then swung by the building supply place near the house foe 3 rails and 9 posts. This was at lunch, so I dropped everything at home and took off.
March 24, 2004
Got 3 posts in the holes. Tried putting in the first 3 rails from the existing section to the new post, but they don’t quite match up that well for the top hole. The old line post isn’t drilled all the way through.
March 25, 2004
Nothing done. Walked out there, but kids, getting dark, a waste.
March 26, 2004
Finally some time. I got out with a chisel and hammer and clean out the top hole in the existing post and get the rails in. A couple small 2x4s are nailed to brace the new post and I get it set upright.
It’s at this point I don’t want to make any mistakes, so I walk around and check different angles. Before cement is the time to actually figure out if you’re in the right place. So I go to all sides, look at the heights, look at the alignment. I’ll get some pictures up, but I actually have one existing section on each end, so 2 posts and 3 rails at the north edge and another set at the south edge, 160’ away that I can look at. The problem is the northernmost pole isn’t really in line with the other 3, so I have to squint and guess where the post should be. Here’s a shot of what things look like before cement:
Later I realize the split rail isn’t a German fence, meaning it isn’t meant to be engineered precisely. But for now I do the best I can getting it inline. I also nail braces to the other 2 posts and get 3 more rails, so 2 sections inline before I do anything. Time to set.
I have a little tub of platic for mixing, a small trowel and a few gallons of water. I drop a bag in there, cut it open with the trowel and pull out the paper. Now I add water, slowly mixing and then scoop it into the hole. You want to get about 1 gallon per bag and mix it slowly, adding some water, mixing, adding more, etc. It should be a thick mud consistency. You don’t have to hurry, but take 2-3 minutes to mix it and then get it in there. Work steady and don’t take a break once you start until you’ve got the concrete in there. You could take 20 minutes if you had to, but it starts to cure and it would be a pain and why bother. Work one bag at a time. Here’s a shot of my prep.
(image lost) I scoop it out each side about 1/2 way up the hole, then I take a 2x4 or 1x2 and tap down all sides so it’s packed. I didn’t put gravel down since it seemed the sites and info I got was split between doing this and not. Plus in Colorado I figured down there it’s all clay, so it doesn’t drain away very quickly anyway. Not sure gravel helps. Anyway, I made my decision and went for it.
A couple things I did do. I looked at other fence posts and saw concrete above the ground level, so I filled about an inch or two above ground and then used the trowel to slope the concrete from the ground to the post. It’s worth taking a couple minutes to work the concrete around the get a slope on each side. It will get covered in dirt, but it will still help drain away water.
Three holes, 3 posts, 3 bags of cement, about 30 minutes to do the concrete, about 10-15 minutes prep for the first post.
- Tape Measure
- Scrap 2x4s, each about 2 feet long for braces.
45min + about 30 minutes in travel for materials.
Saturday. The day to move on and the weather is horrible. I go out and push some dirt around the posts. They’re solid and that’s a good feeling, but it doesn’t look like we can go forward. I check the mixing tub, which I just scraped out with the trowel and then flipped over and there’s a little cement dried in it, but it scrapes out easily into the next hole.
I’m not thrilled with the day or project, but Tia is upbeat and as it slowly clears we decide to proceed. We have her father watching the kids, so we get ready for a rental and I call the building supply place for a delivery.
@#@$@##%$$#. But Tia’s cooler and says call someone else. I already know the home centers don’t carry the stuff, but I call another guy in Parker. He’s open, he has supplies. When do you need them, today? I say if he can and he can, $25 delivery. I think quick and order 30 sections (posts + x3 rails, 90). Tia gets her Dad and we go to Home Depot to rent the auger again. It’s sunny and we might as well make some progress.
We get back and there’s a big pile of wood in the yard. We tie more string along the south side. I start tying off electrical tape every 10ft with Delaney helping. Tia comes out and we start to drill.
Or auger, that is. I notice right away that this is harder with her. Her upper body strength isn’t the same and we struggle a bit lifting the bit and aligning it. However the dirt is much softer down here and we bang out 3 holes in about 15 minutes.
Then we get stuck and have to work a bit, but since we only measured about 5 holes, we stop when we reach the end, measure 2-3 more, drill more, repeat. We get 12 holes done in about 75 minutes. Almost twice as quick as last weekend, but the soil is much softer.
Tia took a break to feed horses and while she did I pulled posts from the pile and drop them in holes, getting the entire west side done. It’s starting to look good.
We get everything drilled and I go down to do more cement. I get 2 more done before we knock off for the night.
March 28, 2004
It’s not sunny, but I go out and get started. First I check yesterday’s posts and they look good. Next I learned that I don’t want to be banging and moving the posts in wet cement as I work on the next one, so I try to get 3-4 sections lined up and braced ahead of the cement. I get a few setup and then get to work.
I have my stuff down there and mix cement, set another post. It starts to snow. Just little flurries. Tia says don’t worry it will blow over in 5 minutes, but I’m not so sure. I dump the rest of the cement ( a very little, like 2 cups) in the next hole and we knock off to go look at the neighbor’s barn. Fortunately we cover the wet cement with plastic before we go. It’s a good thing because we have a small blizzard coming down in 30 minutes.
March 29, 2004
Sunny after work. A little cold, but I brace a few more sections and set 3 more posts. Up to like 8 sections done, 1/2way down the west side.
|Gas Auger rental
|4 hours $60.18
|Rails (supplier 2)
Minute by minute, day by day, I work my way down. Here’s a fairly typical routine:
Get home, change clothes. Walk outside and grab the wagon, the kids plastic wagon, but hey, it’s better than carrying things. Especially 80lb bags of cement. I load up 2 bags, the wagon’s limit, on there, add post hole digger, saw, shovel, hammer, and two gallons of water. I’m using old milk jugs, which are a gallon and easy to carry. I usually have one or two from the day before out by the fence, but I keep carrying them over. Now I head up to the street and down to the fence, pulling the heavy wagon.
I usually go down to the end of the fence and check out the previous day’s posts. Be sure they’re tight and use the hammer to knock off the braces. Next I move the braces down to the next 3-4 poles. I try to stay 2-3 sections ahead of where I’m cementing with braced posts and rails setup. This allows me to push and hammer the next section without affecting the newly cemented ones. So I’ll ensure I’ve got 4-5 braced, cement 2, then brace another 2 before cementing the next two. I’ve got this to about 30 minutes for 2 posts. If I don’t have to cut.
Here’s a shot of how I brace the posts.
I also mix up the cement in my little tub and scoop it in with my trowel. I work one bag at a time as I said, pouring the cement (dry) in the tub, then adding water and mixing for a couple minutes with the trowel. I could mix more, but since I never know when I’ll have to break, I take it slow and do one at a time.
Once the cement sets, it looks like these two shots:
Note how the cement slopes away from the post. Most times a bag will come up to ground level, so you use the trowel to go around and around to be sure it’s a sloped surface for water to drain away. A few didn’t get quite up to the ground level, but I reach down into the hole and still be sure the cement is sloped. Not that it will drain super fast, but we want to prevent it pooling there for a long time. Not that it happens in Colorado, but hey, don’t take chances. Today I went down after work, set two posts and had some extra cement. These were 2 of the last 3 posts and I also had to cut them down since the holes weren’t as deep. I also had to widen one of the holes because our margin of error in the 10 foot markings caught up to me around hole 13. The posts were leaning to the South (I’m working North to South) because the hole was too close to the previous one. Not a big deal, I get the shovel out and try to shave the side. Doens’t work. The post hole digger is much better and I slam it down a few times and get the hole wider. I then measure the last cemented post with a pole, measure post 13 and 14 and figure out where to cut them off. About 3 inches on one, 2 on the second and trim from the BOTTOM. You need to trim the bottom to be sure the rails line up. Set them up, brace them, walk back and be sure it looks ok. Not that is has to be perfect, but you don’t want it way off from the side, the end, or leaning. So I check all 3 angles before I cement. Actually I’ll usually take a couple minutes and double check, add a second brace if I have any doubt.
I’ve also had a bit more cement left after each hole as they’ve gotten ever so slightly shallower. By hole 14, I had almost a whole bag left, like 3/4, so I dropped it in the first hole on the south side. The reason I haven’t finished hole 15? I’m thinking a gate will go there and I may double post it, so I don’t want to cement until we decide.
April 4, 2004 Not feeling good, neck hurts, so Tia aligned up like 6 posts on the South side and set the rails. She also used her Durango to move a bunch of rails from the pile down to the fence. Not as satisfying to me, but she was a whole lot quicker.
Then she went to feed the kids and I had to undo a bunch of rails since they weren’t lining up and I had to move posts, which is hard when you have 6 sections down. Also a few of the rails have a larger cut or the posts have a smaller opening, so before she left, we had to replace them with others to get them in tightly. I then cemented another 3 posts, including adding a bit of cement to the first one I’d done on Thursday. Fortunately everything lined up well.
April 5, 2004 Looks like rain, so no cement, but I did remove the braces and move them down to the next 3 posts. Got 3 more sections set and ready, but the last one needs the hole shaved (it’s too close to the previous one), so I stopped on that one. Will shave, maybe Wed night?
April 17, 2004 Took a day off from work since I spent the week in CA. Started working on more posts, got 3 set in cement and then a neighbor came by, which always slows things. We talked a bit and another neighbor showed up. He wants to fence his yard and so wants his boys to come by and help with the North side so they get an idea how to do it. Agreed and knocked off.
April 20, 2004 Rain in the forecast, but things look ok for now. I go out there and it’s windy as hell. Still, I’m a trooper and so I buy 6 more bags of cement and then head back. I set up three posts, but find that the middle one is too close to the previous one. Like by about 5 inches. Not even close. I measure the next one and it’s 10 feet away. Hmmm, somewhere we slipped on the tape measure. No big deal, but I’m about to get a lesson in shaving a rail. Three in fact.
The first thing is to mark where I need to shave them. I could measure it, but simple is better. I put the rail up and make a mark where it would hit the next post. It’s not exact because the sides of the posts aren’t square. In fact they’re angled every which way, but I guess. I then rough out the length (total) which is about 2 1/2 inches more than the mark where it meets the post. This is where it fits in the slot, so I use the existing part that sticks out and mark parallel to the rail back to my length mark. This tells me where I have to shave down to. To make this less sawing, I mark the 2 1/2 inch mark, which is where I’ll cut off the edge.
I start with the hand saw, but this proves to be a slow things. Much worse than shaving off the end of a post. So I get 6 extension cords and get power out to this place, which fortunately is like 100’ closer than the furthest post. Nice because I need it. With a circular saw, I make some rough cuts, most of them part way through except for the sawing the end off. Then I use these cuts as a guide and finish with the hand saw. This is very rough, no real marking with a pencil like I should, but it’s a rough fence. I must be getting good because I only have to reshave one rail to make it fit. It takes awhile to get three done, and I set them in place and cement the holes. I had a little extra cement, but I’d measured the 4th post (for the day) and it was a little low. Actually just slightly low, but with the 3rd post slightly high, it looks like a lot. I dump the extra cement in this hole, tamp it down with the post and then pull the post out, letting it dry.
May 3, 2004 Leaving for CA tomorrow, but there’s a couple things I want to do. I get the last three holes on the South side set with posts in them and rails up. Now it’s cement time. It’s going quicker now that I know what I want to do, so I mix up two batches and get them set. With rain threatening and only one hole left, I bail on the last one.
May 7, 2004 Back from CA and back to work. Skipping work, so it’s fence time. Tia and I talked and decided not to worry about a gate down at the south west corner, so I drag three boards down there. The space is about 10 inches too short, so I have to cut each one down. I make a mark with the saw and cut them short first. Then I notch the sides with a hand saw and cut in from the ends to form the mortise that fits in the fence. It’s a pain on the ground, so I get the Black and Decker Workmate, which helps somewhat. Doing this all by eye, it goes fairly quickly. Only one is too long after I cut it and needs to be shaved. None of the mortises are a problem.
The biggest problem here is getting them in place. They’re longer than the space so they fit in there and I can only wiggle the post so much. With some elbow grease, I get them in, mix cement and Shazam! The entire west and most of the South are done!
I get some string and start to layout the next parts. Probably order another 35 posts, a couple corners to finish along with rails. I’ve got 5 left, but they’ll go quick. I also run by and see about the metal gates. Expecting $100s of dollars, I’m nicely surprised when the 14 foot one is $87 on down to a 4ft one at $45 or so.
May 7, 2004
Delaney is helping, so we go to Home Depot and get more stakes. That’s all we really need at this point. We get a bunch and then reuse the string from the west side. It’s still good and while it’s a pain to gather up and untangle and walk it around, it’s workable.
We get it stretched out and tie it to the northwest post. I’m going to replace these, but for now, I’m using it as an anchor. We stretch it out and tie the end to a stake and pound it in. Now for measurements. It has to be the same distance from the road on both ends. So I measure the first side with D’s help. 15feet. That’s fun trying to explain the feet and inch measurements to a five year old, but he figures it out and helps. At the other end we see it’s in the ground at 16+ ft, so we move it and have string stretched. From there we go back to the original post and Delaney hepls me measure every 10 feet and put in a stake.
16 in there, and it’s not quite enough, but we’ve run out of string. Also, apparently the string wasn’t tight enough because the line of stakes has a slight curve to it. We’ll fix that before drilling.
May 23, 2004
We decide it’s time to get out there again and do some work. After hockey, Tia and I rent an auger and go out there to dig. She thinks it’s going to be tough, clay, etc. I’m not thinking that it will that bad since the oringinal holes went in easy at first.
I’m right. Within half an hour we have 8 dug. We’re both tired from the weekend, but it’s going well. Even the one right through an anthill was no problem. Kendall needs some attention so we take a break. Then back at it and hit the 15th hole by 90 minutes after the rental. Another break for horses and we measure out the remainder of the side. Another 4 posts, so 20 total. All completed by 2 hours into the rental Very nice.
May 25, 2004
I swing by Parker building supply to order fence posts and they’re going out of business. Damn! They only have 17 through posts, but everything else I need. So I order all that and then need to figure out what to do about the rest. At least I should be able to get the North side completely done with this order, then onesy twosey the rest.
May 28, 2004
Delivery Day. The Parker guy comes by and drops a load of posts and rails at the house. Hurray! Now I can get started.
May 29, 2004
Tia goes running and on the way back she wiggles and pulls loose one of the two existing posts by the street that define the bridal trail. So we decide to go ahead and do the North side now since it appears the existing posts are just in dirt. I go out there, dug out a small bit of post, and then dig out a little and wiggle the second one loose. Now I’m ready to tie into the existing fence.
I get two posts in the ground, one a corner. I have to shave out the hole with the corner in it to get things to fit properly. It’s a little challenge, but the soil is soft, so I use the post hold digger to chip away at the North side of the hole. Then I get the posts and rails in and braced with my 2x4 braces.
Before cementing, however, I decide to get another 3 sections in place along the road. I put the posts in, add the rails, and brace them. The ground slopes quite a bit here, so I pound some wooden stakes in to keep the braces from moving. 6 posts and it’s cloudy, threatening rain, but it’s Colorado, so I proceed.
I cement the last post on the West side, the corner, and 2 other posts before it starts to rain. Big drops, coming down. Kendall is walking across the yard and freaks, so I throw everything in the truck, Tia’s hanging out the back, and I reverse down the yard to get Kendall before going home. Then it’s back out in the rain with a few boards that were laying around, some plastic bags, and I try to cover the wet cement so it doesn’t get too wet. It’s covered and there’s nothing I can do, so I give up for today.
May 30, 2004
Day 2 of the long weekend. I go out there and check my holes. The cement looks ok, not as smooth as it was, a little pocked from the rain, but it’s hard. A quick trip to Home Depot to load up on 6 more bags of cement. The kids come and we load up before going home. Tia’s helping and she digs out a bunch of holes ahead of me and I move on setting posts, bracing them with a nailed 2x4 and a stake to hold that, checking the end and side views from the street. It’s ok, a little up and down, but I’m getting things done. Once I get 5 posts in, it’s getting late and no more holes are dug out. Plus I’m out of stakes and don’t feel like making more. It’s a chore today, so I move a post next to each remaining hole to see how many we have and then knock off.
May 31, 2004
Monday. The last day before back to work. I go out, remove all the braces and get ready for more fencing. Tia wants to stop at 16 posts along the North side until we’re HOA approved, so I’ve only got like 7 to do today. Kendall is helping and after a quick Home Depot trip for 6 more bags and a tool belt (grunt, grunt), we get started. She watches me mix cement, helping a little, and slightly annoying me when she flings cement dust, but overall it’s nice. We dig out a few holes, put posts and rails up, then start cementing. I try to have all the posts up before I cement so I’m not bangin, pushing and moving posts down the line as I add more.
A few holes aren’t deep enough, so I have to trim the posts. I measure a rough amount, within an inch is fine for this style fence, and then cut off the bottom of the post, usually 2-3”. Then place it in the hole, add a rail or two and check the height.
We’re 4 posts in (of 7 to do) when my neighbor comes by in his mighty machine, a front loader with an auger attachment, and offers to help drill. We marked some of the East and South sides, so he goes to it.
He backs up to each one, I pull the stake, and center the auger bit and he drops it and starts drilling. It’s faster than by hand, maybe 3x as mucb, but he spent $30k on that thing and drilled about 25 holes in 30 minutes. I spent $50 and drilled 20 in 90 minutes. I think I’m ahead, but he offered. I will say that it digs deeper than we did and so I know I’ll have to leave some dirt in those holes.
He gets all the holes done except where we’re putting gates and two holes that will be under the existing old bridal trail marker fence. We’ll have to rent an auger one more time when we have all that laid out.
I got back and finish cementing. We’re done until we get HOA approval for the slight change.
June 1, 2004
HOA approved the changes, so more cement and more work.
June 5, 2004
I went out and put the rest of the posts I had in the holes, getting to the corner of the yard. I braced them and then trekked down to the south side of the yard where I had one more post. That came back and went in the next hole near the driveway. Getting to the corner was a nice accomplishment.
Next I put up rails. The ones along the street went easy, I did have to shave some holes to make them wider so the rails would fit. A lesson to you, measure carefully.
The real issue came with the first section going south. The turn at the corner was more than 90 degrees. Yikes! I fussed and messed with it, making the first hole wider so the distance would be shorter, etc. I’d get two rails in and the third would fall or cause another to fall. Tia helped and finally we got all three in, but they weren’t super stable. A couple quick nails helped to fix that.