Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Fence Post Massacre

The root of the problem is that, anytime I do any kind of project, I always think I have all the supplies I need yet, no matter how simple the task, I end up making three trips to the hardware store. The first thing anybody who wants to grow veggies has to do in this area is keep the deer out. While deer can jump 12 feet if they’re being chased, usually a 7.5 foot fence will keep them out. My deer fence, which isn’t completely up yet--but the hard part is over with--was not a simple task. Honestly, it could have been, but I decided I didn’t want to spend any money on fence posts, and so far I haven’t. The first part was simple. Somebody gave me 50 eight foot fence posts and 50 four footers, which I bolted together, over-lapping them by two feet, so I had a bunch of really strong ten foot posts which I hammered in two feet. Easy. Then, I decided that I was going to salvage every rusty piece of angle-iron surrounding this property. The previous owner had horses and other projects that needed fencing throughout the years, so there were, in some places, several layers of posts, all strung together with rusty wire. I rolled up the wire, pulled up the posts of all different sizes and tried to figure out how to get them to be ten feet tall. Each post seemed to come from a different era of fence making, with different sized holes. How was I to bolt them together to make ten foot posts? I came up with a bolt size that would fit through all of the holes, found it at the hardware store, came home, began bolting and realized they were ALL TOO SHORT! I got the width right, so I went back to the store and just got them twice as long. PERFECT. Then, of course, it started to rain. I should mention that it was late November, at this point, and I was in a hurry to get the posts pounded in before the ground froze. So, after spending days cutting, untangling and rolling up rusty wire, then pulling up rusty iron, much of which was camouflaged by over a decades worth of thorn-filled shrub growth, I was ready for some progress! I then realized that about every seventh post had a hole size just barely too small for the bolts I had purchased. This is when I started swearing. When a guy is putting up a five acre deer fence on the cheap and it's raining, there is nothing unusual or worth noting about a little fit of profanity here and there. But, for whatever reason, I was having a whole curse-filled dialogue with myself and my otherself about how the entire universe had just veered off-course and all was lost and, really, most of the words rattled off I don’t want to mention because this is the internet and the internet police don’t allow profanity (right?). So anyhow, I’m cursing up a storm while also arguing with my otherself who was telling me that while the universe was, as of that afternoon, forever and totally off-kilter, I shouldn’t complain because it was all my fault and whatnot and I, Dave Siegel, had ruined everything for everybody for all of time, but also at the same time I was aware of the sound of a deer walking a very short ways behind me. At some point I decided that this deer was awfully close and sounded nothing like a deer, so I turned around and within ten feet of me was a middle aged man pointing a gun and slowly stalking through the woods looking for the deer I hadn’t been hearing. He was my neighbor I’ve still not formally met, but who was well within hearing distance of me. As I sit here writing this, it occurs to me that possibly I should have feared for my life, but at the time I was only concerned with fact that I had just made a complete ass out of myself in front of someone I will live and work next to for many years to come.

I then quieted down and figured out how to bolt all of the posts together, without making yet another trip to the hardware store.

My neighbor didn’t shoot any deer that day. I had scared them all away. So, we have a happy ending. And also, my otherself was wrong and the universe is not forever off-kilter, and if it is it’s not my fault.

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