Monday, April 18, 2011

good neighbors fix bad fences

In late March, I visited the garden after an absence of a few weeks to see how it had weathered the end of winter. In addition to stray bits of windblown trash and the desiccated stalks of last season’s kale plants, I discovered a plastic bin full of branches that we had left uncovered over the winter. The malodorous ferment of snowmelt and rotting vegetation inside was a pungent reminder of the need to store buckets upside down at the end of autumn.
not the branch water I prefer
Usually, a few fetid buckets of sludgy compost are the worst of what awaits me in spring. This year, though, I found that a section of the garden fence had collapsed over the winter, probably as the result of the heavy snowfalls that we experienced in January. The extent of the damage to the fence was not apparent until the snow melted; when it finally receded, the snow revealed a serious problem. A six-foot section had ripped away from its supporting posts and completely separated from the rest of the fence. Only the gate to the neighboring property’s fence protected our garden from someone being able to walk in from the alley.
fallen fence section
After volleys of emails, we found someone to help. Chris Salus, the brother of Eric Salus, one of Ginkgo’s founders, agreed to look at the fence and see what he could do. Chris wound up fixing the entire thing himself over the next couple of weeks, working during on his days off from his job as a fireman.

repairs after first week
Chris told us that the fence posts, constructed of cedar instead of pine, had rotted; what’s more, they had not been set in concrete. Chris set the posts in concrete and reattached the fence section with longer screws.

repaired fence

Thanks to Chris’s efforts, our fence is now whole again. We can turn our focus to the 2011 growing season.