Fences make good neighbors

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The Fence

It was a sort of fence at one time, a hodgepodge of wood and wire that divided 'in here' from 'out there'.

I am guessing the crows found it useful, a nice spot to perch while enjoying fruits from the plum and cherry trees in adjoining yard.

Now, years later it is abundantly clear that the crows' recycled cherry pits found welcome ground. Vigorous young cherry saplings sprouted up all along the fence line.

In summer the leafed out branches take the shape of an airy green hedge. From 'in here' it is a lovely screen that completely blocks neighbors from view. What a gift, a free fence.

The Fence ll

They say not to look a gift horse in the mouth. But the free Cherry hedge called to me as I admired its graceful form, and I couldn't help tweaking it a bit (pruning) to accentuate the weeping branches. I was careful to cut it low enough for neighbors across the street to see over the top, and out to the beach just beyond our yards.

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The Fence lll

Years went by.

I basked in the refuge of the cherry hedge, which in spring transformed itself into a frilly white 'sky garden'.

Then, slowly and persistently things began happening with the fence.

One summer the neighbors did 'repairs'. "Does this mean they own it?" I asked myself.

Another summer I arrived home to find the neighbor's hired grass-cutter loping off big branches from their side of the fence. Apparently the branches were getting in the way of his fancy new ride-on mower. (I had not been consulted).

Since then the fence has slipped further into disrepair. A sewer installation knocked down a whole section at the front. The cherry trees shifted whole sections at the back. It's a mess.

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Fence future

I have this vision of a nice tidy renovated fence that is pleasing to the eye from 'out there' and protects the cherry hedge to preserve the screen from 'in here'.

I dwell on this now, night and day.

How can this be accomplished in a timely, neighborly manner?

I am worried the neighbors will show up unannounced and 'fix' the fence without consulting me. I am also hesitant to 'trespass' onto their side (even though it is just an empty green space along their driveway) to do repairs.

We have no contact (they live half way across the country), but I've asked my landlady if I could go ahead and do repairs, and she has no problem with that.

A friend suggested planting a flowering vine along the fence to hide it, which is a nice idea, but won't save the cherry hedge if the grass-cutter gets trigger happy in the Spring, which is literally moments away.

To be continued...

Source

September 23 2013

Summer came and went, and the fence remains unchanged. It's now on my list of projects for next summer...

Thank you very much mckbirdbks for the 'fence' illustration!

Comments 64 comments

jhamann profile image

jhamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

Fences make great neighbours, or so they say. I love it. Thank you for the read. Jamie


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Jamie, thank you. I noticed you use the Brit spelling of neighbour. I was trying to stay consistent with the American spelling, and now this! You are very welcome for the 'read'.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Nice hub. You're still fretting about your fence, I see. It will work out. My husband always plant the fence on our side of the property line so there is no doubt about whose it is.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Becky, that is a really good idea, but to give it that 'finished' face I thought it would be polite to have the rails nailed on from their side, and I have to go over there anyway to replace the posts (at least I think I do, maybe not). But I also have to try to 'liberate' the cherry trees that have installed themselves partially on their side. I know, it's complicated.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Maybe the best idea is to pop over and have a chat with your neighbour and see if you can come up with a mutual agreement so that it looks good from both sides and you are both happy with the arrangement.

First I would find out who actually owns the fence.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Rosemay, thanks for visit, and I appreciate comment. If only it was that easy. The fence kind of belongs to both properties, and has been 'grandfathered in' that way all these years. Basically whoever wanted to fix the fence just went ahead and did it. So I'm hoping that is still the way things work. In the meantime neighbor on the other side of me (I am surrounded) went ahead and put up a fence without consulting me, which is ok. But she is sister to the woman who owns the other ajoining property. So clearly obvious who owns what. I just want to do a little quiet fencing to protect my interest (the Cherry hedge). But you are right. The only way to get permission is for my landlady to talk to property owner. It is so out of my hands that way. That is why this hub is to be continued. Meanwhile, I need to come up with the perfect fence, so everyone will be on board. So that is what this is all about. How to design the perfect solution, get the idea out there, get everyone to agree, and then, do it! Argh...


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Hello Snakeslane, I enjoyed reading about your fence dilemma. Always hard when it involves a neighbor and trying to figure out the best plan. I hope it works out for you soon so you do not have to worry about it. I love the picture. It has Mcbirds written all over it..lol really good. I hope you have a good night. Thank you for sharing.

Sunnie


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Sunnie, thanks for support. It really is just me thinking aloud, but hey, what are Hubs for anyway, lol.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Well I hope it all works and everyone is happy... especially the cherry trees. Lol

Love the photos and the sketch of Mikes is perfect


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Rosemay, thanks for coming back, and your good wishes. Yes, as you, and Sunnie mentioned, the illustration by our friend Mike of Mckbirdbks is perfect. What a gift.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

The only thing i can think of is planting ivy that will cover the fence but not the cherry hedge. Whatever, i hope it works out for you. I love Mike's drawing. I don't see how he finds the time to draw, ( He's so busy at the cafe ) See you for coffee..Cheers


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi always, thanks for ivy tip. Ivy grows rampant and wild, you are so right. Would be a good choice, but it is considered an invasive species (here) so that's out. I have a Clematis in a pot inside the yard, would be perfect, but is not evergeen, although there are varieties that are(evergreen) ....I think I just need to fix the fence. Please feel free to suggest anything though, I love the input. And talking about it is a lot easier than actually 'doing' it.:)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

I was hopping to read your February gardening, but then you came up with this long story. Hey there are still few days left. Well actually this story also contains some gardening elements.

I enjoyed reading this story. Hope to comeback again for a close reading.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Vinaya, thanks for reminding me, not too many days left!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Oh dear! Fences! Where shall I start?

I have four borders to my property. All four have their problems.

At the front of the house, between my property and the pavement and road.

I had a brick wall built, which suits, and matches the house, but about four weeks ago, a friend, Allan, decided to “break” a plank against it so that it could fit into the car which I was using to take rubbish to the rubbish dump. He managed to break one of the merlons of the wall, and there is now a long diagonal crack, and that section of the wall will need replacing (at some expense).

Next, there is a short stretch of matching brick wall from the front wall separating the people on the right from me and my front garden. These neighbours are Congolese and very pleasant, but they think the wall is a “bench” so every summer their Congolese bottoms grace the walls in the afternoon sunshine, when they have drinks (and sometimes a barbecue) and glasses fall and break on both sides of the wall. Grrr!

At he back of the house, on the same side (right) I own the fence, and it appears to be the same as yours, Snakeslane. It is made up of self sown cherry tree, a beautiful heavily fruiting greengage tree and bamboo and an old shed at the end (Neighbour’s side). This neighbour, however, is very unpleasant and thinks nothing of coming into my garden to pick ALL of the greengages when they are ripe.

The fence at the back belongs to two houses filled with strange people who have an idea that they can throw whatever they want over into my garden, but I have never seen them… and I don’t think I would like them anyway.

The fence on the left, from the back and all the way to the (partially demolished) front wall, belongs to my (Left Hand) neighbour. By chance, and I don’t mean a lucky chance, Allan, the front wall destroyer, decided to try to remove an old dead cherry tree in my garden a couple of years ago, and it fell and demolished two panels of that neighbour’s fence. Winter winds and the ravages of time (not necessarily in that order) created a domino effect and now half the fence between us on that side is down.

But she (Left Hand Neighbour) is selling the house, and as she has had trouble with the buyers/new owners to be, she has decided to do nothing about replacing or repairing the fence.

Aaaarrgghhhh!!!!!

Now tell me about your problems, Ha ha ha!!!


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hello Lawns, this is the third time I have tried to reply to your comments (great comments) the last two went up into the clouds. I love your perimeter stories, especially the section designated soley to neighbour's bottoms, had to laugh. My fence woes do seem trivial in comparison, but please don't get me started, I am saving the other three sides for next instalment if I survive this one. Do fences make good neighbours? Not always. Good to see you, hope you are feeling better (sure sounds like you are.)


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I have no ideas or solutions but ave enjoyed your rendering of the problem. The comments are so innovative also. I look forward to seeing the solution.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Ms Bird, me too. At least I know now, after Twilight Lawns comments, that I am in good company when it comes to fence issues. :)


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Twilight needs to put spikes on the wall so that the bottoms will get punctured if they sit on it.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Becky, funny haha.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Becky. I am not being racist; neither am I being bottomist, but the Congolese bottoms resting (Yeah, Right!) on the brick wall between #18 and #20 Norbury Porn Road, were built on magnificent lines, and no one with any finesse (or concern for the ozone layer) would ever seriously consider placing spikes or any other puncturing equipment within any reasonable distance of those voluminous CBs.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Ian, that's funny. They would only sit there once. It won't hurt anything. Give it a try, and I would bet there would not be more than one punctured. haha


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

hello snakeslane. Now, I'm thinking fresh post and reuse the 'vintage' cross members to keep the rustic old beach community look. The idea has the added benefit of significantly reducing the cost. Ian and I will be over Saturday morning to get started with that. I have no problem with trespassing.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Helloo mckbirdbks, I shall take you up on that offer, don't forget your rain gear!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

How symbolic and deep Snakeslane. The troubles with "neighbors" over property lines and trees and fences must be a universal thing.

The first act my new neighbors did after fifteen years of my pole marking the corner of our property was to remove my pole and construct an ugly barbed wire thing that only served to mark his territory. Fencing and property lines are a touchy subject to property owners.

PS Love Mike's drawing! And your photos.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hello Peg, so nice to get your understanding note re: fences. Believe me I feel for your loss, and I also have a lot more to say on this subject, stay tuned.


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Snakeslane

Hope everything works out.

Take care


Ercolano profile image

Ercolano 4 years ago from Vancouver, BC

Keeping on the perimeter of the actual issue itself, on the fence whether to pipe in about that or not, I thought I would stay within my boundaries as I know nowt about owt. However, I thought the story read very beautifully, almost as if it was some great metaphor, the war between two adjoining countries, but then I decided to hedge that, and thought of the rise and fall of an empire. So please don't take a... fence! Nice little story, hope chapter two works out and gets to the root of the problem and that you can 'Don' your 'Cherry' fence for evermore (perhaps only Canadians will get that?)


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Sueswan, appreciate chatting over the fence with you.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hello Ercolano, I am so amused at your musing on my fence allegory, yes, you found the deeper meaning, no surprise, you win the prize, that Don Cherry joke is a little too Canadian but a good pick, and I owt not to take a fence.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago

Snakeslane , I suggest booby traps for neighbors , Nothing to hurt them maybe just painballs or dogcrap bombs!lol......good luck.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hey ahorseback, what a brilliant idea, I'm liking the dog doo booby trap. Especially since I don't have a dog so wouldn't be a suspect. What fun!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear snakeslane,

Joining in late, I have nothing of value to add to your problematic issue...

I do agree with Hyph. This community is amazing in offering solutions of every kind, from the specific/ serious to the lighthearted... it is heartwarming indeed to read the variety of comments.

I love Mike's sketch as well-- so perfect for what you have described!

I also agree with Peg in the universality of the issue. People can be so territorial about their boundaries, to the point of violence in some cases. It is a sad reflection of our society.

In conclusion, you continue to show your big heart with amazing consideration and respect for all around you. I am so glad we became buddies at the Cafe and look forward to seeing how things progress. I wish you the best with this issue, girlfriend.

Hugs, Maria (Auntie Baby's Mom)


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Maria ABM, thank you for visit...the fence is a bit of a thorn in my side, and yes I do appreciate the helpful ideas and suggestions (dog bomb!). Still winter here, but the fence is definitely a priority on the coming Spring 'to do' list. Must rally some help to get those post holes dug, and just get er done! From the helpful comments I've received here, it is beginning to look do-able. Thanks for your cheery friendly support.


Derdriu 4 years ago

Snakeslane, What a philosophical, powerful, prescient, prophetic tale of two neighbors and one fence (as well as an absenteee landlord ;-]) in a prose poem/poetic prose! Your photos are quite telling, as are your succinct words full of allegories, allusions and illusions.

How will this play out?

Thank you for sharing, voted up + all.

Respectfully, Derdriu


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hello Derdrui. So far the fence dilemma remains unchanged, partly because winter has not quite lifted. I think I will have to have a meeting with all concerned soon. The absentee landlord is well represented here by a sister who lives on the other side of me (fence issues on that side too). Unfortunately they have me surrounded. I will let you know how it plays out. Thanks for the support.


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

snakeslane...

I love me a good fence. I was chuckling (out of sympathy, of course) as YOUR fence slowly sinks into the ground. Our fence, recently, got burned in a fire and I am very envious of those neighbors whose fences didn't get burned. Admittedly...it was ghetto...but it was a fence...it kept the dog "in here" as opposed to "out there".

I look forward to the continuing drama of..."The Fence."

Thomas


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

ThoughtSandwiches, your style of writing really brings out the little green monster in me.

Grudgingly, I love your comments... Mind you, it was a great hub to comment on. Snakelane is "out there"... (with your dog, perhaps).


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hey Mr Sandwiches, thanks for the read. I had no idea that my fence story would strike a cord with so many. I've just found writing about it is so much easier than doing anything about it. Trying to work up the courage to speak to the neighbour, but she has no concept of boundaries given her inclination to ambush me in the driveway every time I get out of my car. Soooo I am worried she will use this as an invitation to further chats over the fence if you will. Thanks for sharing your burned fence situation. Wondering now, what are you going to do to keep the dog in the yard? Could be a Hub. We could 'link up' :)


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hello Ian! How embarrasing to make a major uncorrected spelling error (chord) just when the word maestro shows up for an unexpected visit. Good to see you, hope you are well? I've heard rumours that you are writing something great. For us I hope.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Snakeslane, my friend, I make more typos than most, so worry not.

I am still writing a story that I have been writing, on and off, since God was a boy. It is going so slowly, but, self-indulgent beast that I am, I an wallowing in it.


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

snakeslane...

Well...I'm forced to tell him that he has no yard (he can't be trusted) whenever he wants to go out (very sad).

We have worked out that he wakes me up in the morning and we go for a walk (while noting all the fences that didn't get burned) and I wake him up in the late afternoon for a walk (while noting all the fences that didn't get burned).

Our neighbors don't want anything to do with us. Now...get this...in a gross display of (fence wealth) and (good insurance) they have rebuilt their burnt fence WITH...a perimeter fence, a privacy fence, AND some OTHER kind of fence behind the privacy fence. What the hell? I'm expecting a moat soon.

Twilight...

Hello my friend!! I am immediately reminded to go hit your profile up and see what you have been up to!! Snakeslane IS "out there" and my thinking is...SHE can walk the dog in the morning...

Thomas


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Sure, I'd be happy to walk the dog, I'm a fully trained dog walker. Don't you hate that when people have more fences than they know what to do with.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

I really enjoyed reading this. A low cinder block wall separates my place from two neighbor's yards, and it is leaning precariously - I hope there are no lurking conflicts in my future.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hello Natashalh, thank you for reading and enjoying and commenting. The best of all possible Hub visitor! It seems our fences are important for so many reasons. I just want to blend in, but not lose my privacy (very precious) or my cherry hedge (orchard) which volunteered, and is thriving and provides so much beauty. I still haven't done anything about it though (except obsess over it night and day).


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

What a great story about your fence, that is what is so nice about fellow hubbers, the sharing of some helpful ideas. Peace of mind to you, and keep us posted as to the results. Voted up and shared.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi again Ruby, the fence is making me crazy. Thank you for stopping by. I agree this writing community is friendly and helpful. I appreciate the vote and the shares.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Depending on how nervous you are regarding the property line, you could build a new fence right up against the old fence (releiving you the mess of taking down the old fence and disposing of the debris.)


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Mike, I like your idea. I really need to get out there and start on this project. I have no idea why I am procrastinating. I appreciate the encouragement.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Depending on who tall the old fence is, a new fence that just hid the old one from sight could be inexpensive and fairly trouble free to accomplish. Evenly spaced grapestake might even accomplish that.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi mckbbks. Another good idea. I like all your ideas so far. My original idea was for a rail type fence because that is what was there originally. I would like to keep it low and open so the beach can be viewed over top of it and the wind can blow through it (remember the property is right on the beach so big storms). I also want to protect the cherry trees because they make a nice privacy screen in summer. Problem is the trees are growing right along the fenceline and making it difficult for fence repair on either side, I'm worried, if I don't come up with a plan that protects the cherry trees I will lose my lovely hedge. Meanwhile the fence looks awful, so it is attracting a lot of attention. Traditionally at the beach front the yards are open with no, or very low fences, but because the property I am on was developed as a bit of a subdivision it did have some fences which got added on to in a patchy sort of way to enclose the back part of the yard because it was used for a dog kennel (many years ago). I have slowly removed all the ugly chain link fencing. There is one more section to go, but it is along the side that needs repair, and the cherry trees are growing up through it. It is a mess, you can't really see it from the pictures. It is this little back yard I am most concerned about and the whole length of the property. I am just going to have to talk to the neighbors and see if we can work something out, there is no way around it unless a magic fence fairy appears overnight!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

If it were my fence I think I would address it as two projects. One hire some inexpensive day labor and remove and dispose of old fence. That makes stage two so much easier to address. You make the decision as to type and height. Order the lumber delivered. Pull a string to align the post, then supervise the hammering of nails.

One of these days I will get my who's and how's straight as I type.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

You're hired! When do we start?


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

LOL, I have a fence 40 ft away that could use my attention. In my defense (get it de-fence) I have repaired four of the five post I thought needed immediate attention. If I lived closer, I'd be there with a post hole digger and a canteen. (With water of course.)


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

Voted up and interesting. Who would have thought an article on fencing would bring this many comments? That is certainly quite an accomplishment and one to be proud of. I am fortunate that there are no houses behind mine and because of that the neighbors to the right and left do not have fences up. I do fence in my vegetable garden in order to keep out the deer. Also, several years ago I planted seedlings to form a natural hedge of shrubbery giving us privacy on our patio area.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi pagesvoices, thanks for the visit. If you look closely at the comments you will see that some of them are return visitors trying to help me sort out my fence issues, which has been really helpful.

I like the layout of your yard. It sounds nice and open, while still having that privacy zone, and protection around the garden. I am almost tempted to take down my delapidated fence and leave it open after reading this.


kathryn1000 profile image

kathryn1000 4 years ago from London

It's nice to fund anew person to read,I think boundaries are imprtant whether real or symbolic..wild animals have terroteries.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hello kathryn, nice to meet you. I seem to get stuck over and over again in boundary issues. Appreciate the read and comments, thank you.


kathryn1000 profile image

kathryn1000 4 years ago from London

I'm delighted to meet you via your hubs.


silverstararrow profile image

silverstararrow 4 years ago from India

Hi snakeslane, this was an interesting read, more than the title, it was the sketch that got me. A new fence over the old one sounds feasible... :)


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you kathryn, very nice to meet you too.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi silverstarrow. The illustration was created by mckbirdbks, of the Emerald Wells Cafe series here on Hub Pages, a very generous, talented writer, and historian.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 2 years ago from USA

The things our neighbors do or don't do can become so irksome to us, don't they? We had a lot of trouble (trespassing) with the previous neighbors, and we saved money for a fence. The neighbors moved out, but we put up the fence anyway, and we don't have that kind of trouble with the new neighbors.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Millionaire Tips, The fence in this story is still not fixed. It is propped up at one end with a big beam, and on the other end with a piece of slate. Too funny. Nice you got yours built. Congratulations!

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