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Fence for Dog – Phase 1 Complete

Fence 1Last week Heather and I received our Federal tax incentive check and decided to go ahead with getting a fence for the backyard. We wanted a dog eared 4′ wood fence to match our neighbors which we plan to connect our fence to.

So here’s the story. We got a quote from Lowes a little over a month ago to have the fence installed. They quoted us about $1,200 for treated pine lumber plus labor, roughly $2,500. So moving forward with the idea that materials would be about $1,200, we decided to install the fence ourselves.

As the process moved forward, I did some research on some home improvement web sites and found that the treated pine tended to warp, split, crack, etc.. over time. From observing our 15 year old treated pine deck, I do believe these home improvement web sites are right. So I decided to go with red cedar since it has a better reputation for holding up with minimal shrinking, cracking, cracking, etc… So now the material expenses are up near $1,600.

We wanted to match our neighbors fence as closely as possible. Both Home Depot and Lowes only sell 6″ dog ear pickets, which doesn’t match our neighbors 4″. After making some calls, I was recommended to call Sutherlands. After a quick call with them, I found that all for the materials for the project were priced competitively and they have 4″ red cedar dog ear pickets too. So I ordered all the materials on Wednesday, everything arrived that Friday.

The first step in installing the fence was to dig the post holes. I called 811 on Wednesday afternoon to get the utilities marked in the back yard. On Friday, I rented an auger from Home Depot with a 10″ bit to drill 10-12″ post holes. It took my brother-n-law and I about an hour to drill one 30″ hole with the 10″ bit. We kept hitting rocks in the ground which made the process take a lot longer than it otherwise would have. The whole was between 12-15″ wide. We decided to get a 6″ bit for the auger after starting hole number 2. An hour later, we got the smaller bit in, and started drilling the holes faster, though by hole 4, we didn’t just have rocks to deal with. We hit an unmarked coax cable in the ground. After further examining ,we determined the cable was for Time Warner Cable to my house. I’m currently a WOW customer, so we decided to just keep going on our path.

Fence 3We then started drilling our holes across the back of the property. This is where the real fun started. At our 4th of 9 holes, we hit the main WOW cable. It was marked about 2 feet from where the cable was actually in the ground! Needless to say, we knocked out cable service for the rest of the neighborhood. In the process of waiting for WOW to come fix their cable, we started remarking the fence 3 feet from the back of the property line since we no longer trusted the markings. As the WOW repairmen came to fix the line, we started drilling our remaining posts on the new 3 foot back line. Just as the WOW folks left, we were finishing the last hole and discovered their line again. This time, we were 5 feet away from the closest marking on the ground. luckily we caught it before the auger tore through the cable.

Fence 4The rest of the weekend Heather’s dad, my dad set posts and mixed concrete. On Sunday we only got 2 posts completed mixing the concrete by hand. On Monday, we rented a concrete mixer, thankfully Home Depot Rents was open that day! If you have more than 4 bags of Quikrete to mix, I highly suggest renting a mixer. It cost about $45 and was worth every penny.

On Monday, Heather’s dad and I got the remaining posts set and concrete poured, except for the remaining hole where we discovered the WOW cable a second time. Heather’s dad did a great job setting the posts, they are very level and plumb with each other.

On Tuesday afternoon, the WOW folks returned, tested their line and decided to replace the portion of the line where I found their main cable. Once the guy left, I hand digged another foot beyond the cable line to reach 30″ for the last post. This manual digging was a pain and I believe resulted in seriously hurting my back. Then I plumbed up the post, mixed the concrete and set the post just before the sun came down.

Fence Posts 1On Wednesday, I returned the extra materials (3 posts, 8 bags gravel, 4 bags Quickrete) I purchased as well as exchanged 20+ pickets that I discovered were damaged from the original delivery. That evening, Heather and I returned the truck (we’re on our own now).

This morning I did some clean up and removed the remaining braces holding up the posts. Phase 1 complete!

Next weekend my dad and I will be working on phase 2, which includes installing the runners and the pickets. Dad has a pretty nice wireless drill, so this process should go rather quickly. The red cedar pickets are rather fragile though, I am planning on pre-drilling the holes for the screws, but besides that the picket installation should go as quick as any other picket fence.


  • 19 4x4x8′ red cedar posts
  • 32 2x4x8′ red cedar rails
  • 6 2x4x12′ red cedar rails
  • 310 4″x4′ red cedar dog ear pickets
  • 2 self closing spring hinge gate kits
  • 2 5lb boxes 1-5/8″ cedar screws
  • 1 5lb box 3″ cedar screws
  • 24 80lb Quickrete
  • $10 scrap lumber for plumbing up posts
  • 36 lawn stakes
  • 2 day Auger rental from Home Depot
  • 1 day concrete mix rental from Home Depot
  • A lot of patience


Fence Posts 2I’m never installing a fence myself again. Installing a fence is a lot of work and full of obstacles that cannot be foreseen. Looking back, it may have been worth $2,500 to have someone else do it, though I will have to say that I don’t think the installers would have put this much care for quality as we are.


The fence is complete. Read more.


New Fence For the Dog Maybe?

We had someone come out and measure our yard this past weekend to see how much a new fence for the yard would cost. There are a lot of home improvements I would like to make to our home but the fence, oddly enough, is becoming 1# on the list. My sister told me about her fence quote, so I’m a little nervous. I priced out the materials, that part of the job isn’t that expensive.

Ty wearing PodCamp Ohio BlingWe currently walk Ty 2+ times a day and walk him around the yard 1+ times a day. Both Heather and I are starting to feel like we’re holding him back on the leash though. He can really run if you let him. So a fenced in yard will really help him out.

I’ve been thinking about a lot of home improvements we can make. The HGTV improvement shows really put ideas in your head, one week I want to re-do the kitchen, the next week I want to redo the bathrooms. In reality, we really don’t have any pressing home improvements to make. But it is fun to think about them.

Here’s my dream list:

  • Ceiling lights for the 2 smaller bedrooms and in deep closet over the stairs.
  • Finish the basement – This is one that we may want to do once we have kids.
  • Redo the deck – The decking on the deck is in pretty bad shape. luckily the under framing is in good shape, this should be a project we can do this year, if we have the funds of course.
  • 1/2 bath – The sink drain needs some TLC. I got the replacement drain last weekend, I just have to find the time to replace it. We also purchased a new faucet for that sink.
  • Master bath – The master shower needs some TLC, and the 2 sink counter us ugly.
  • Garage – Insulate, drywall, add electrical outlets on west wall and add shelving.

I can always dream right? What sorts of home improvements do you want to do to your home and why?


Dog Ate My Oatmeal Cookies!

Ty Oatmeal CookiesLast night, Heather and I went out to dinner for Valentines Day. When we got home, the dog was extra hyper running all over the house. So a few hours go by and I went to the kitchen to get an oatmeal cookie. They’re gone! I searched around the kitchen thinking I put them somewhere else. I ended up finding them in the living room with only a few crumbs remaining. These cookies were in the new packaging with the rip away top, somehow Ty knew how to pull back the top and get into the packaging. There wasn’t a rip/tear with his teeth anywhere. That explains why he was so hyper.

So this morning, I woke up to the most awful stink. It’s the dog’s farts! I took him on his morning walk and everything came out as normal. Then 3 hours later, the dog is barking, biting my pant leg and pull me away from the computer. So I took him out, and within minutes he did his business. Man it was nasty. Luckily it went on a sheet of snow, I just scooped it all up with the snow and put it in the bag.

Now here is the funny part. After he was done, he ran across the sidewalk where there was a lot of snow, backed up slightly, then sat right down with his butt directly in the snow (pictured above). What ever that oatmeal did, it either made his butt itchy or on fire. Never the less, it was the funniest thing I’ve seen. And he kept getting up and doing it again!

Unfortunately, I don’t think he is done, He still has gas and is acting strange. Hopefully this taught him never to eat my cookies.


Skunked out

Well, if you haven’t herd, Ty was sprayed by a skunk last night. The past 16 hours have been pretty rough on us. We were up till about 3am washing him with tomato juice. He likes the taste, but doesn’t like to wear it.

Here is a post skunk picture of TY. You can see the white of his coat is a bit orange now.

Skunked out

He smells like cheap perfume now. Hopefully the smell will wear off over the next couple weeks.

News Programming Technology

Wiring Up the house

I’ve been slowly wiring the house with Ethernet Cat5e and Coax RG-6 cabling. The evening of the 4th I finally ran cabling up to the attic and dropped the wires into the bedrooms. All the rooms now have coax cable ports. I’ve punched down 4 Ethernet in two of the important bedrooms. Sometime this weekend I’ll finish the other 2 bedrooms.

Wall Ports

I think putting 2 ports in each room was a smart thing to do. I color coded them so each room has both a blue and a green port. If we ever decide to get a home ‘lan’ phone, we now have the option of putting Ethernet phones in every bedroom.

I had to pull one of the cables off the patch panel. I still don’t know what the standard practice is for re-using a port in a patch panel that was previously used. I assume I can re-use the port but I haven’t found a blog post or web site to say either way. If anyone knows one way or the other, please leave a comment.

I didn’t wire everything on my own, as you can see Ty helped out!

Wiring Expert

Food News

Working at home and making lunch

So I am now working at home and it has its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage so far is the food. Check out some of the things I’ve made for lunch.

Club Sandwich, two layers of ham and turkey with lettuce, tomato and mayo.

Club Sandwich

Hot Pepper Cheese Burger, yea it’s hot!

Hot Pepper Cheese Burger

Cheese Coneys, It’s Skyline time, not quite as good as actual Skyline though!

Cheese Coneys

Yea, Ty wants some.


New addition to the family!

Meet Ty,



We adopted him Saturday (February 3rd). He is a Border Collie mix.