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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

More Our Old House Projects~

Last blog post was about our front porch... we got that done in time for Easter and family and visiting, etc.  It felt good to get it all spruced up and fresh for the season.

Our next project on our wish list is a big one (for us) ...  See, our little rescue sheltie dogs are sometimes very timid.  Often Binney will run in a blind panic if something scares her. She doesn't see or hear or come or seek a comforting master. She just blindly runs.  Fortunately she is ALWAYS while on a rope or a long flexi lead so we can grab her when she reaches the end.  I would hate to ever have her running free, because we may never catch her.

As for Finnegan, we live on a very busy four lane street which is also a state highway right through town.  If he sees someone walking on the sidewalk, I just know he would rush out there (turning instantly deaf to me) to circle them and bark and possibly go on the road.  It is a fear of mine.  So the dogs are always on ropes or leashes when we are outdoors, unless they are in their little fenced in potty yard.

We also have young grandkids who visit, and our front yard is off limits to them, due to the traffic.  Unless we are walking with them and holding their hands, they are not allowed up there.  I lost a little sister who was killed by car when she was on the road. So you can see why I do not want the grandkids up there.  But they can easily sneak around the house, like on Easter Sunday.  I looked out of the front porch windows and there were two of the little buggers, goofing off and racing each other around the front yard, oblivious to the rules. ARGGH!

We had discussed fencing in our backyard.  We had figured out a plan, and contacted the city to find out where our lot lines are. Turns out when the highway was widened up front, the stakes were never put back in the ground between the lots!  The city does not come and point out lot lines. They said we would have to hire a surveyor----  to the tune of $650.00  Ouch!

Even with a metal detector, we could not find the back marker stakes either.  Well, we needed to bite the bullet and hire the surveyor. This way our fence will be legal (it can be built right on the lot line) and nobody in the future would have a claim to our fence or the lot if it were built incorrectly.  We love love love our neighbors behind and on both sides of us. But on each side are both elderly widow ladies, and someday in the future there will be new neighbors in their homes. Knowing the exact lot lines for the fence is an added benefit. The surveyor came and placed metal poles 2 feet deep into the ground to mark our lot.

Next step was the building permit. That was $50 after getting my carefully drawn plans approved by the building inspector. Later we have to call him when it is done to get it okay'd.  Whew! $700 bucks already we haven't even bought a bit of wood.

Third step is calling Diggers Hotline to point out any underground dangers in the areas we wish to dig.  The post holes will only go down about 18 inches, but that can be dangerous if utilities are near the surface. They are not supposed to be that shallow, but over years, earth can move, settle or underground electrical cables can be pushed up towards the surface by ground pressure.  Best to be safe than sorry.

Once they come and mark the yard, then Steve is going to rent a powered post hole auger to dig the holes. 38 of them!

Here is our plan:

264 feet of fencing to enclose the area marked in red

Because our garage is between the house and the yard, we decided to make a 5 foot wide run behind the garage to include the present dog potty area. It runs right along the property line. That way we can still open the back door and let the dogs run out and they can access the back yard by running behind the garage.  We will put a gate to block it off if we want them to only stay in the smaller potty yard closer to the house. 

Soon this will be all closed in, but we are leaving enough lawn alongside the motorhome in case we have RVing visitors who would like to park a motorhome or camper there.

We checked out pre-made fence panels for sale at the home improvement stores. We wanted 4 feet high, not 3 feet that most of them were. We didn't want a tall privacy fence. We wanted white fencing, like pickets or something.  We didn't like the vinyl fencing. We could not afford the heavy steel welded fencing.  We didn't find much for pickets, and what we did find was flimsy rough wood with stapled together pieces.  That didn't look too sturdy nor would it last long, in our opinion.

On to Plan B.... we will make our own fence! 

We measured, we planned and we came up with a pretty good idea.  Our back upstairs shaker porch railing and our side gate and fence of the back steps are already made with deck spindles.  I liked the look and said lets go full broke now and make the whole fence from sturdy deck materials! We will use good heavy deck screws and make it secure and not flimsy.  And most of all.. let's make it "match"!  (I like matchy matchy!) 

These are all made with treated deck wood 
stained with Cabot solid colored stain. 

I like the Cabots solid colored stain over paint for a few reasons. First, you can stain the wood right away, because the stain breathes and lets any wet wood still dry in the air and doesn't harm the finish. Second, I like the solid color of the white but with the stain it doesn't flake or peel like paint does.  It just slowly wears away over the years (many years). If you go to restain, you do not have to scrape or sand off loose paint.  Third, I stained a wooden gazebo I made over 30 years ago, and it still looks good to this day and has not needed restaining yet ... I saw it last year and it looks great! 

Steve and I headed off to Menards yesterday to start buying our wood. They are having their great 11% rebate sale, no matter what you buy, you get 11% back in a store rebate credit.  That is fine with us, because we always need something at that store. LOL.  

Our little Tracker can only tow about 1,000 pounds and our little trailer Steve bought can handle 2,000.  We decided to make multiple trips back and forth from Manitowoc Menards, 24 miles away. 

While we were at the store to get our first load... we noticed that the kingsize Serta gel memory foam mattress we had an eye on was on a sale of a sale, plus now discontinued, plus the 11% off.  Okayyyy switch gears here, buy less wood for the first load and now toss on a mattress!  hahahahha

It really seems to be a nice mattress.  Our other one is only 4 years old, but is more firm than I like.  Steve suggested we try a memory foam and if we don't like it, we have 90 days to return it, along with a 10 year warranty from the company.  The covering seems nicer than some we saw in other stores. It's a thicker padded material that seems to be soft and is cotton, not polyester.

Steve and I hoisted it off the trailer, up the front steps and into the house. Together we managed to get it up the stairs which have three turns to get up to the second floor. On Saturday, the kids and grandkids are all coming (for Steve's birthday) and the guys can help carry down the old one and put it in the motorhome.  It's better than than the one we have in there. For now it's on end in the hallway,

Ahhhhhhh  here it is! 
Our last one was 10 inches tall, this one is 12 inches. 
I use a step stool to get into bed! 

It feels really nice and has full body support as you lay on it and sink down. It's called a Plush Firm.  Steve noticed his whole calf and ankle are supported instead of just his heels like on our other mattress.  His back felt fine too.  I noticed the small of my back getting support and when side sleeping, my hip and shoulder sink in nicely and don't hit anything firm like before.


(on edit now Wednesday morning---we both slept great and woke up feeling fine!) 

Steve had to go drive the Old Fart Party Bus this morning... so I started staining the 4x4 posts.  They are 10 ft now, and will be cut in half into 5 ft pieces.  As soon as Steve borrows his brother's chop saw to get through the whole thickness without having to turn it around with his circular saw.   I will do the second coat of stain this afternoon. 

I have them set up on horses in the garage to stain them at waist high level. Much easier to stain each piece of wood first with 2 coats than leaning over the already installed fence in the ground! 

I cranked up some tunes on the radio, and got to work with my roller and stain.  It is a very pleasant job, and I am looking forward to getting these done.  I had two supervisors on the job to make sure I didn't slack off. 

I think when Steve is back from his Old Fart Party Bus job, we will head on over to Menards for a second load.  Next come the horizontal boards (66 of them to make 33 spans of 8 feet each)   Then all the spindles for the up and down pieces...  522 of them!   We will be making three 4' wide gates, of the same materials. Then Steve can get in and out with the riding lawnmower.  

I cannot wait to have the yard done, set out our chaise lounge furniture around our little backyard fire pit, set out our little red picnic table out there and most of all, let the dogs RUN!!!!   off leash and playing with their ball, frisbee or just wrassling with each other! 


I am sure these two stinkers are going to
enjoy it as much as us! 


  1. Love your new project. I think it is a great idea and worth the money.
    Can't wait to see the doggies faces when they try it out and realize there is no rope attached to them. You will feel more relaxed knowing the doggers and granddots will be safer. Kelly

  2. Not wanting to blow your budget but most times Foundations and Fence Posts are installed to a depth below the Frost-Line. If you plant then above that the Frost will heave them up and you'll be doing a Plan D. Finding out what the local Frost-Line is for your area now will save you the headaches and extra expense later.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Haha.... Our frost line here is four feet! Naw, we just taper the post ends and pack atound with gravel fines from the crusher waste.... Not much movement then, like on signs and mailbox posts. But thanks for thinking of us!


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