Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Fence

The “New” Old Fence

Hi friends! Last time you got to see our back yard, was back to when we did tons of clean-up work. We cut down dead trees, trimmed dead branches off the living trees, and weeded our way around the property (~9000 sqft of it!). After a few days of elbow grease, we were left with this:


Before we start planting and plant our dream garden, we have an important issue to address: the fence. Like I showed you in the site plan of the ranch, our backyard is fenced by three types of fencing – wooden fence AND chain link on the left, wooden fence at the back, and chain link fence on the right and the front. As much as we appreciate that the yard came pre-fenced, the different types of fencing makes it look choppy, especially at the back of the yard:


The picture above shows a corner of the backyard, where the old wooden fencing meets the chain link. We hope to replace the chain link fence soon, but the back fence still consists of two different colors of fencing.

It is apparent that some sections of the wooden fence were more recent than others.


The darker panels are older. They are still holding up, but just barely. Some boards are warping away from the post:


And some others are split:


One hot afternoon, Slav took his hammer to the back fence and reinforced every single board. He also replaced a few of the broken panels with some backup ones we found in the shed. The plan was to paint the lighter panels darker, hopefull to match the darker panels.

In preparation for painting, we decided to power wash the fence. Besides getting the fence clean, we hoped that power wash would lighten the darker panels a bit, so we would not need to paint everything almost black!

It was apparently very difficult to wash aged wood clean in one go. It took Slav 5 hours to wash all the back fence! He first sprayed deck and fence cleaner on the fence, a few panel a time, let it sit for 5 minutes, then pressure washed. After he finished with all the panels, he came back around and washed everything once again.


From the photo above, you can see how much lighter the darker boards got after their first wash! From right to left, the different colors of sections are: unwashed lighter panels, washed and dried darker panels, just washed darker panels, and unwashed darker panels. What a difference!


It was satisfying to see black water coming off these old boards! But some of them ended up on Slav so it was not cool at all.


May I present you – our new old fence!


Isn’t it sooooo much better? We were in such a shock that the “dark” panels were really just dirty! I am sure that they were older, so years of dirt have made them much darker. But really all of them are the same kind of panels!

This surprisingly good result (always welcome!) changed our plan of painting the fence – with the color being nearly uniform, and the wood surface looking fresh, we will be sealing them with linseed oil to offer some protection.

At the meantime, we are enjoying this:



You may still be able to tell the difference between older and newer panels, but we could not be happier to go from this:

Ranch house - 2

to this!


Let Us Take It Outside

One of the things that drew us to this house is the yard. Being a small ranch on 1/4 acre, the house is surrounded by large pieces of green lawn.



Shortly after we moved in, we did a walk-through around the yard and discussed what action we need to take. The yard is simple – there is not much landscaping except a couple trees and a flower bed. However, there was definitely some trimming and weeding ahead of us.

First, the pine tree in the front is scraping the porch cover and the roof. Our roof is already on its last leg. We really do not want to put more stress on it until we are ready to replace it. So the lower branches of the pine tree needed to go.


The backyard has a pretty healthy apple tree in the middle. However, the perimeter of the yard was aligned with dead trees and random bushes. they were either next to the electrical line or sandwiched between neighbors fence and our chain link fence, so they needed to go as well.






There was also a pile of old fencing and old branches on the side of the shed.


Last, there were so many weeds! The Sloniowskies have no tolerant for weeds.


Trimming and weeding sound easy, just like removing carpets. But it is actually pretty labor intensive and generates tons of trash. We were blessed with a cool (cold for me!) weekend in the middle of the mid-west heatwave. And you bet we totally took advantage of it to work outside.

Slav oiled up (his chainsaw) and got to work:




He cut down three completely dead trees, and a bunch of lower branches from the living ones. Look how much he cut off!


And the backyard suddenly looked bigger and much greener after all the brown branches were gone:



While Slav was waving his chainsaw in the backyard, I tackled the weeds. They were everywhere, like one every step. And we had some problem areas along the fence, under the tree, and around the mailbox.



Aside from the mianbox area, the right side of the front yard looks pretty decent. However, the left side yard did not look so hot. The grass near the fence was completely taken over by the weeds, creating a perfect trap for loose trash over the years.



After 6 hours of weeding, things started looking up:


And these was how much weeds I dug out of the yard! Two big yard waste bags!


After cutting all the dead trees and branches in the backyard, Slav started to trim the pine tree in front of the house.


The needles and pine cones from the tree covered a good portion of the roof and filled up the front gutter. Slav jumped on the roof and hosed everything clean.



Look how much needles came out of the gutter just below the tree! We plan to buy a gutter protector for the portion directly underneath the tree branches when we replace the roof and get new gutters.

Much. Better.


Believe or not, all the branches filled our 5′ x 10′ trailer, twice. Slav spent a whole day just to dump trash – one trip to a landfill for the carpet and other loose pieces we pulled off the house, and two trips to a yard waste center. But by the end of a three-day overhaul, we owned a weed-free and open yard!


It also made squirrel-watching a lot more fun for Roxie and Charlie. The pups are so on it! Sadly the two squirrels living in our yard are a lot quicker and smarter. I am pretty sure that they tease the dogs on purpose.


Did you do any summer cleaning around the yard? When Slav went to the landfill, he also got rid of the old grill left behind by the previous owner. We are getting a brand new grill – for the first time in our life time! And when we do, it is not too shabby to have a clean yard to look over!

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