March 29, 2012

Privacy for your Protection

    When we first moved to the homestead, security was not a first priority. Our home seemed to be located in a decent suburban area with many elderly neighbors. It wasn't until we noticed how people constantly liked walking through our back yard to access a park down the road that we began to reconsider our safety measures. There were actually a few occurrences and stories from our neighbors that opened our eyes.

   One of those occurrences was when Lenny and I were relaxing in our garage one after noon. A couple middle aged women, who we had no idea who they were, decided to cut across our backyard. However, instead of cutting through the tree line to get to the park, the way most people have gone, they decided to walk along the tree line to get to the road and then head to the park. They were just casually strolling past our open garage when I stopped them and asked what the heck they were doing. There response was “We were heading to the park but didn't want to walk along the road." So for their convenience they decided to throw out any common courtesy of asking the owner if it was ok to cross their yard and did whatever they wanted. Kids doing this I can understand, but grown women who should know better. There is no excuse. I politely and sternly told them that they were Not welcome to take this route and not to do it again. People are capable of anything. My aunt had items stolen from here garage while she was working in her back yard in broad daylight. A car had pulled into her drive way, sat there only for a minute or two and left. Her backyard has a steep hill and by the time she got up to the garage to see who was there, the car was backing out of the driveway and left. It wasn't until an hour later when she went to leave that she noticed items she had left out to take wither her had been taken. So looking back the women could have just had a lapse of judgment or they were hoping someone wasn't paying attention so they could snag a few tools to pon for their next crack binge.

   The next occurrence that got us thinking was when my daughter and I were getting ready to leave to run a few errands. As we were approaching our vehicle, we were greeted by a couple dogs. Immediately I placed our daughter behind me and slowly walked her to the vehicle. I had no idea whose dogs these were and was unaware of what they were capable of. They could have been the sweetest dogs that happened to get loose or they could have been a couple of strays that snap at anyone who gets close to them. To me they looked like a couple medium sized mutts that posed a threat to the well being of my daughter and myself. I slowly approached our vehicle and made sure our daughter safely got into the vehicle and closed the door. Of course once I had my daughter safely in the vehicle I hopped in and started it up scarring the pooches away.

   When we began assessing our back yard, one of the absolutely have to's was put up a fence. A fence provides a barrier for animals and people. It keeps what you don't want out and what you do want in, for the most part.

   We are currently sitting on an acre lot which has a well grown tree and brush line down one side of our property. This is nice because it provides a great deal of privacy and reduces the need to build an actual privacy fence. Then, on the opposite side, one of our neighbors has a chain link fence around a portion of their yard.

   Starting off we needed to decide what type of fencing we wanted to put up. Chain link was out of the question, because for the length we were wanting to fence it would have cost us an arm and a leg. Then there was the thought of wood fencing. There are many types of wood fencing. There are picket fences, there are privacy fences, there are split rail and ect... Split rail fencing did not provide enough protection as it is easy to get over and under, picket fencing would have probably been ok but we didn't want the maintenance of having to seal it every other year, and privacy fencing was going to be too expensive as well. We finally decided to go with cattle fencing.

   We made sure to know where the property lines were before we installed the fence because the last thing we wanted to do was to upset a neighbor and have to re-do what we had already done. Once that was out of the way, Lenny went on down to Tractor Supply and picked up the fencing and some T-posts.

   The hardest part to putting up cattle fencing has to be stretching the wire. Lenny decided to make a rig to hold the roll of fencing by welding a metal post the middle of our lawnmower wagon. That way all we had do was to hook the wagon to the lawnmower and drive it a few feet letting it unravel enough for the section we were working on. Then, we had to hook up the fence stretcher to the fence and be careful not to bend the fencing. Once we had a section tied off, we would go to the next section and repeat. Our final post allows our fence to meet up with a corner of our neighbor's chain link fence so there is no gap in between and removes the need to care for grass between two fences.

   We aren't stopping there and I'm already feeling a lot safer.

   Lenny then decided to invest in a little bit of wood fencing. We got 2 sections of privacy fencing and 2 sections of picket fencing. We figured it would look a lot better from the road to have a cute picket fence instead of just a cattle fence. We used the privacy fencing off the corner of our home to provide a little privacy from our neighbors. We love them to death and they are wonderful people but some days we just want to be left alone. Like if we want to sunbathe in the nude. Just kidding.

The dug up area is were we planted some bamboo
   One more occurrence I would now like to tell you about was when we had a good portion of our fencing up. As I had stated before, Lenny like to scrap. He picks up anything from old bed frames to treadmills, to refrigerators. We don't view our scrap pile as junk but as a hedge against inflation. Unfortunately so do many other people in the area. One day while I was at work and Lenny was at home a vehicle pulled into our driveway. The only area not fenced in. A woman got out of the vehicle and started snooping around our scarp pile. Not aware that anyone was home, Lenny caught her off guard when he popped around the corner of our house and asked her what she was doing. She said "The thermostat on my dryer went out and I thought I would see if you had one available." Once again we had no idea who this person was. Lenny being the nice guy he was popped one out and told her she could have it but while he was talking to her he could tell she was checking out the contents of our garage. Because we wanted to protect our investment and prevent possible theft we decided to complete our fence to enclose most of our driveway.

   That day Lenny took some extra fencing we had and a chain link gate he had replaced for someone and constructed the fence from the corner of our house and took it to where a single vehicle can park at the end of our driveway. Across the driveway he installed the gate. A gate can be considered a weakness to any fence because it allows access to we always keep it locked with a chain and lock except for when we are coming and going. Some People may think we are paranoid but I beg to differ. We now have a sense of security to where I can allow our children to play outside without worry. We now have an enclosure to allow our animals to roam freely without worrying that they will run away. We have made ourselves less of a target to be burglarized and we are less likely to be ambushed by friends, family or neighbors, when we want us time.

   Because we had put up cattle fencing there still is little privacy. If people can still see that you have what they want, they will find a way to obtain it. This can be true especially for when SHTF. In order to add privacy we are now looking at plants. Practical and tactical plants. One of the first plants we decided to plant is bamboo. Bamboo is a great resource. It can be used to make textiles, furniture, and many household items. It is evasive so a little bit can go a long way. Once fully grown it will also act as an additional barrier and will be difficult to walk through. Next we will be looking at tall ornamental grasses and possibly honeysuckle. Both of those are great for making baskets and household items. Honeysuckle also has edible qualities. We are still looking for additional plants to add to our landscape but those are the first that come to mind. We will keep you updated as we continue to upgrade our privacy.

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