|I'd like to invite you for tea but I think we both know it's Margaritaville!|
Ranch house. Picket fence. Are the two compatible? As hard as I searched online I could not find my style ranch house surrounded by a picket fence. My late forties ranch with its large sweeping front yard, wrought iron rails and original metal awnings, screamed out “do not fence me in!” At least, not with a picket fence.
There once was a split rail western fence across the front yard by the street that had fallen in decay. OK, I also knocked into the fence one rainy night going out to meet a bad date. I whacked it with the rear of my car and it tumbled to the ground. An omen I took to heart that my date was not going to work out. While I never saw my date again, I got to look out my front window at the fence remains for a few years.
The problem with my yard and a sweet picket fence is the size of the yard. The land is not all mine, but part of a right-of-way that I maintain. Those charming fences I loved would make my house look ridiculous. Like when I shrunk my already tight jeans and went out to dinner with my jeans about three inches above my ankle. Laughable, but not funny. I didn't realize how silly I looked til I caught sight of myself in the full length mirrored doors as I entered the restaurant. Proportion counts. In jeans and in fences.
“I want a picket fence!” Simply said. But not quietly so.
My handyman and I went through pictures I'd printed out.
“I like that railed fence. You could do that.” He tried to be helpful.
It was lovely. I actually saw one like it on a farm I passed as I went antiquing the week before. White. Charming. But I was not looking to buy the farm, I wanted the cottage in my mind.
“Nope. Picket fence.”
Driving an intown neighborhood a few days later a different kind of picket fence caught my eye. Three trips around the block I positioned myself to take a photo. Never mind the few cars behind me honking as I came to a complete stop at rush hour. I got the photo. I also found my fence-style.
“This!” I flashed my cell at my handyman. “What do you think?”
“That will work!”
And yes it did.
Two inch pickets, forty-eight inches high, with four inches between the pickets, gave the openness and height that was needed to frame my yard. Simple, elegant, timeless, and charming.
A trip to the lumber yard provided the supplies. Two hundred and forty pickets, two inch rails, and posts totaled over $740.
Visa don't fail me now. I pulled out my worn credit card and handed it to the cashier. For just a second my heart raced. I had not put a cost to the fence.
“Here is your receipt. Take it to the window in the first room and the guys will load your lumber.”
Work started that afternoon and a few days later my fence was in. Most of it. The far corner on the other side of the drive goes in the end of this week. Towards the creek and right-of-way the only remaining portion of the old split rail fence still stands. You can barely see it. It has not rotted. I left it to show where the original fence boundaries were. It also reminds me of an earlier time in my house, when a man I loved would have cringed at the thought of a picket fence. It is part of my roots after all.
I am dreaming flowers and garden statues. I love my picket fence! Come on over. I'll have a pitcher of Margaritas waiting!