So many of you ask about my pets - my dogs, cats, canaries, horses, donkeys, chickens, and the peafowl. I love giving you updates on all of them. My youngest dogs, Bete Noire and Creme Brûlée, are thriving here at the farm. These two one-year old female French Bulldogs are extremely exuberant, and love to get into everything.
Recently, I decided it was time to build a more suitable fence for all my dogs - one that enclosed a courtyard space behind my Winter House, where they could relax and play when not out with me or on long walks around the property. I wanted the fence to be durable, and to coordinate well with my home. I discussed plans with my carpenter, John Kowalczyk, owner of JK Home Remodeling in Stamford, Connecticut, and he started work on it right away.
Here are some photos of the building process. Enjoy.
There’s a lot of activity going on outside our workshop. My carpenter, John Kowalczyk, owner of JK Home Remodeling, is laying out the pieces for our new dog fence.
Each panel is made from wood cut right here at the farm. We’re using cedar, which won’t warp despite weather, humidity or changing temperature conditions. It is among the best types of wood for building.
This frame was painted my signature “Bedford Gray”. The team completed one frame, so I could see what the finished product would look like before they continued with the rest.
Once we were all set with the plans for the fence, Fernando began priming and painting all the wooden pieces.
These four-inch wooden boards are about 10-feet long. The fence will match all the other structures at the farm.
Each piece was cut to size – we were able to repurpose a lot of good lumber.
I wanted to use a very strong wire for the fence. This is quarter-inch steel with one-inch by one-inch squares – rabbit wire – we don’t want any doggie paws or noses to get stuck.
To fit the dimensions of the frames, Pete cuts the wire by hand.
The wire cutter is very easy to use and gets the job done quickly.
John lays the rabbit wire onto the frame.
It is measured out perfectly, so there is just the right amount of overlap on the wooden edges.
A second piece of wood is placed over the wire.
And then using one-and-a half-inch screws, John secures the wire between the cedar pieces.
John places screws evenly down the length of the frame.
After all the frames are painted, and all the wire is installed, the fence panels are brought down to the courtyard outside my Winter House kitchen. Fernando brings some of the shorter pieces.
Here are Pete and John carrying the longer pieces.
It is so exciting to see the fence come together.
The first panel is the most important because it sets up the fence dimensions – it must be straight, level and square.
Here is a view of a fence frame from the top – the rabbit wire is sandwiched tightly between these pieces.
John screws the panels together.
Fernando helps to hold the panels in place.
The same size screws are used to attach corner panels to wooden stakes, which will help to anchor the fence.
This is a seven-inch framing measurement ruler. It is used as a protractor, miter, or framing square, and is a
must-have carpenter’s tool for making precise right-angles.
One side is complete – so far, it looks great.
John installs the stainless steel latches for the gates. These gate latches are rust resistant and close very securely. The safety of my dogs is very important.
John also installed the heavy duty stainless steel strap hinges. We need several gates along the fence for convenient access from all sides.
During the summer, I also like to keep tropical plants in this courtyard, so placing the fence gates strategically will allow equipment and my big outdoor containers to be moved around easily.
Pete makes final cuts using an electric “five saw” hand saw.
A level is used to ensure all the panels are perfectly straight.
What a nice fence – but the real testers need to take a look too…
Here is Bete Noire – I wonder what she thinks of the new enclosure.
Bete Noire’s sister, Creme Brûlée, seems to like it.
My regal Chow Chow, GK, seems to approve also. This fence will provide years of safe fun for my pets.