Thursday, July 13, 2006

On the fence....

2 of my neighbors have vinyl fences. One is a 6 footer, completely enclosed, offering a lot of privacy and no maintenance at all. At night, car lights reflect off of the shiny white vinyl.

My other neighbor's vinyl fence is a picket style... less glare, to be sure, but still a weird, unnatural, white.

We are in the process of replacing our fence this year. When we bought the house it had a 4 foot stockade fence in terrible shape around all 12000 feet of our yard. Because it was such a huge amount of fencing, we spent years replacing posts, repairing the uprights, picking up sections when the wind blew it down. The previous owners had failed to use pressure treated posts or creosote, so the posts would rot and were replaced by more junky posts. We eventually started replacing them with galvanized posts, but it was a haphazard job.

Then one day, we took the whole thing down.

At first, we weren't sure we were going to replace it at all. But after a summer of living on a corner lot with no visual barrier between us and the street, we relented and are going to install a 4 foot, wood, picket fence which we are going to stain to match the trim on our house. (Off white)

Here's the thing. I love pickets. And more, I love pickets that are flaking paint. Maybe it is a Wabi Sabi kind of thing, but to me, an old picket fence with flaking paint is a thing of immense beauty.

In Newfoundland, they don't have a lot of vinyl fences yet. When my parents were looking to put up a fence near their little guest cottage, they scored a whole bunch of old fence sections from the Anglican church down the road. The fence is just simple boards, cut at an angle on the top, painted white... now flaking badly. My parents installed them just as they were and they are beautiful in the middle of a green meadow.

There was another fence behind the house when they bought it. It is probably my favorite fence of all time... a kind of a waddle made of spruce sticks, stuck upright in the ground and then secured by some cross bars. By the time my parents aquired the house, the boughs were bleached a stunning gray by the years of wind and weather. The whole structure leaned precariously to one side. It had long since lost its ability to prevent a moose from getting into the kitchen garden.

So, this summer we are building a picket fence around the yard. I'll put a coat of cream colored stain.

And wait patiently for it to start to flake off.


e-Mom said...

A really nice piece of writing. Our house is surrounded by a (weathered) picket fence too. It was one of the features that sold me on the property when we bought it.

Your parents have a vacation home in Newfoundland? Wow... the opposite side of my country-of-origin!

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

They started with the little cottage on Tickle Cove as a vacation home... then, five years ago, retired to Newfoundland! Their winter house is about half an hour from the cottage. It is stunning there, but boy it is a drag to get there. Lots of plane transfers and then a 3 hour drive from the airport.

juniper68 said...

I'm so glad you're not giving into vinyl. And thanks for introducing me to wabi-sabi - that's my fave new word in a while.

SingingOwl said...

Chuckling that you are gonna wait for flaking. :-D