The Pointless Pursuit of Perfection: Dog Fence Edition

A black dog sitting in the snow with trees in the background

Posted by Kyle

As winter turns to spring, projects around the homestead are starting to ramp up. We are still buried by at least a foot of snow but the temps have been hovering around 0°C for the last week or so and it’s starting to melt :D:D:D

This past weekend, Bonnie and I tackled a little DIY dog fence expansion. You see, our dogs aren’t what you would call “good dogs.” They tend to run away at any chance they get (they are half husky after all). We (mistakenly) thought that the 3′ wire fence we installed in the summer last year would contain them (HA!) but turns out once the snow gets 18″ deep and the dogs bend the top down a little they can basically step over it. So after the 50th time they escaped we decided we needed to do something about it.

Why did we think a 3′ fence would contain them? Mostly because they know what a fence is and they know they aren’t supposed to cross it. Of course I know a husky can jump over a 3′ fence. The point is, they knew they weren’t supposed to and respected the boundary for the most part. Just not enough to be reliable. But I digress.

A black dog sitting in the snow with trees in the background
Sophie – the black sheep of the family. Half Husky, half Lab, half pain in the butt. She was the primary escapist but once the line was crossed the other two followed suit

We were planning on building a fence around the homestead this summer anyway but decided to push up the project because we will be away for a couple weeks while someone stays here to watch the dogs. So out we went in to the melty, shin deep snow to fix a fence because, dogs. Gotta love ’em.

Now I bet you think this is going to be a tutorial post.. But it isn’t… Bear with me.

This article is actually about the shift in mindset that both Bonnie and I have undergone over the last year. You see the people we often refer to as “Old Us” would have done this fence “properly.” And by properly I mean we would have gone down to our local Home Depot, paid a bajillion dollars for a bajillion fence posts (we did 200 linear feet and didn’t even get 1/4 of the way around our yard). We would have drilled holes, set the posts with concrete, nailed in 2×4’s and screwed in a literal truckload of fence boards.

Now this all sounds great, and I am certain it would have looked amazing but it also would have been insanely expensive and we would have finished it just as Little H was leaving for college (she’s 2).

So what to do then?

Lately I’ve been reading “You Can Farm” by Joel Salatin and I think my favourite line in it so far has been his personal mantra of “Good enough is perfect.” This really resonated with me and reminded me of the 100’s of jobs that I have done with my dad where we get to that point and just look at each other and say “well I guess that is going to have to be good enough.” Is it perfect? No. But let’s be honest, when the job is done only you see the flaws anyway. To everyone else it looks fantastic.

So back to our fence.

We took a look around the yard and realized we had all the posts we needed in the ground, in a line, ready to go… Dead poplar trees! Our property is ringed with dead poplars. They were all planted around the same time and poplars don’t have a very long life span (25 years or so) and they all died at the same time. We figured why bother using new posts and doing 5x the work when mother nature has already done it for us.

So we fired up the chainsaw, trimmed up all the branches to 5′ and then simply rolled out our 4′ wire fence along the tree line. We used an 18ga air stapler to nail it right to the trees. Simple. If the snow wasn’t a factor the job would have been done in a couple hours. It took a little longer then we would have liked because we had to dig down to grass level, but saved us a ton of cash.

That is cash we can now dump in to the foundation fixing fund (now accepting donations, kiddin’… not kidding… kidding) because we are going to get slapped with a massive underpinning bill… This house is cursed. With a little creativity, coupled with our newfound imperfectness we were able to save a ton of time, money and labor that resulted in a perfectly functional dog fence.


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