May 25, 2010

What a fence does

When we put in our fence, I was thinking mostly of creating the largest and safest defined play area for Sungiva that we could manage, while keeping things looking nice. Instead, I wound up with a great fence that's transformed the way I look at the road side of my house.

Completed fence from the road.
Completed fence from the road.

Before the fence, everything between the front door and the road effectively belonged to the road. We planted an orchard there, put beehives there, and raised chicks and ducks there, but most of the time we didn't go there. 366 is noisy and generally unattractive, and the view of the woods across the road is better enjoyed through the window. The hillside and ditch area were basically purgatory, unmaintained except for a few willows.

1259 Dryden Road
1259 Dryden Road, 2003

Since we put in the fence, though, the front yard feels like it's ours, despite the noise. Sungiva runs out there and we're happy about it. I'm mowing it more frequently (though maybe that's the rain, too). It's still a hard place to have a conversation, of course.

The strange part to me, though, is that I'm also now more willing to work in areas beyond the fence. The last steep slope to the ditch has always been a tangle of sumac, honeysuckle, and grapevines, but now I'm ripping those out and adding hostas and daylilies. In the farthest corner from the road, I even chopped down trees and honeysuckle for an afternoon, creating a huge amount of debris but creating a space for nicer planting.

Work in the front has also reminded me of the poison ivy infestations on the northeast and northwest corners. There's a lot to do there removing it, and it'll likely take years.

Route 366 has been carrying traffic in one form or another for thousands of years. Over the last hundred that traffic's shifted from creating places alongside it to damaging the places alongside of it. I didn't think of it this way when we built the fence, but this is one small step toward pushing that damage back.

Posted by simon at May 25, 2010 12:13 PM in ,
Note on photos