Time Off for Good Behaviour

Space opened up a little too much

Normally once it gets to November we down tools and get some time off for good behaviour. Maybe the odd day will be a work day if the sun shines or there isn’t too much snow.

2019 had other thoughts! The weather was amazing, so here we are in January and we haven’t stopped yet. This means we are getting a good jump on our tasks for 2020.

Before I go into our three tasks for this year though let me sum up the third item on last years list. I have already covered the kitchen in this article here. And the garage floor in this one – just click to read them if you’ve missed them.

Item Number Three

You might be getting the theme now that only having three things on our list doesn’t mean we have very little to do. Similar to the UK saying we will only ‘save the NHS’, ‘build a high speed rail link to the North’ and ‘leave the EU in an orderly manner’. I rest my case.

The damaged stone wall that needed repair

Item number three was to sort out the external boundaries to our property. This sounds easy – put up a fence, done! Not so simple. When we moved here there were no boundaries between us and the neighbours’ and with dogs this was not ideal. So we built a big dog pen. This meant when we went shopping they could stay contained and not poo all over nextdoor’s garden or eat their chickens.

This dog pen was about 600m2 with fencing about 2m high to stop them climbing out. It was then linked to the house at one side and the external stone wall at the other…this cut off some of our land as the wall had fallen down and until mended was an exit point for said canines.

My dream has always been to have a nice garden with pool, seating area, sauna, and nicely scented flowers. In order to do this we would need to open up the majority of the garden.

The nice new wall Dan built


So we rebuilt the old stone wall, then created a fence on the outside of the old dog enclosure (the neighbours’ side) and ran it back to the far side of the house. This then left only the field to be tamed… a job for another day/year.

Opening Day

With this new fence in place we could then take down the dog pen and open up the garden. This is really hard to describe so I made a couple of short videos showing the before and after stages.

The nice new dog-proof fencing

Only when we took everything down did we realize how private our garden had been. Also how open to the world we now were. I hated it.

We put green netting up against the fence. Bought some new plants from our friends at Morgan’s Plants to grow up it. This was going to take time, I’m talking years to establish. I am feeling better now, though, and have plans for more individual, natural screening around key areas to create privacy.

For the Love of Dogs

The miles of concrete and shuttering

When we talk fencing, it is always related to our dogs. We have, over the years, spent a silly amount of time, money and effort trying to keep them safe. This project was no different. There was around 45m of expensive, but solid, green fencing, with the same length of concrete base to put it on. Not forgetting the lengths of wood for shuttering to contain the concrete as the land, of course, is not flat.

Once complete though, it became obvious that once the neighbours come in spring, there is little between our four dogs and them. Our dogs are friendly, but big and scary when up close and personal and super protective. We needed to create an ‘air lock’ between the two.

After trialing a small decorative fence just in front of my new plants and one of said plants being obliterated in its entirety, drastic measures were required.

Doggy Decisions

As tempting as it is at times, euthanizing four healthy dogs is frowned upon. We had to do something that allows me to have my plants, the neighbours to visit without being scared out of their skins and the dogs to have space to create havoc.

The new little fence

One of the three things on our 2020 list is the garden. And the weather was not giving us any time off for good behaviour, so we took the decision to split the two halves. One half for the dogs, veg growing, wood storage and other practical stuff. The other for the flowers, seating, sauna, pool and new balcony.

It’s an ambitious plan, but we are already making progress. A new, prettier fence is in place with a nice little gate and I have grand plans for the space on the other side.

Planning Ahead

Yes you’ve guessed it. For 2020 there are three little things on our list. They are as follows:

  1. Garage Walls
  2. Guest Room/Office
  3. Garden
The cleared yard and pile of stones

We have already done some prep for all three. The yard has been cleared (van scrapped, suzuki sold) so we have access to the stones for building the walls. The ‘box room’ has been emptied of boxes, tools and other ‘important’ stuff. Getting it ready for gutting and creating the guest room. And of course the little dividing fence in the garden.

Watch this space as we make progress on all three of these. Or follow us on Instagram to get daily updates.

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