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Fixing the Fence

Our plans for the week have been interrupted by a very important task: fixing the fence so the dogs can’t get out. Take a look at this hole.

Hole in Fence

This is what happens when a 60 pound dog gets desperate to escape an unreinforced chain link fence. Meet Princess, a 9 year old lab mix.


What’s she mixed with? Your guess is as good as mine. Princess is an adorable, lovable mess of a dog, just like most labs, and like most labs, she has two big faults that training has never been able to entirely eliminate: she’s a glutton and she likes to roam.

As to the former, my beloved mutt will eat anything. I can’t count the number of times she has eaten something she shouldn’t have (or too much of something that’s normally all right) and gotten sick. She’s the sort of dog you have to keep the dog food hidden from, or she’ll eat herself sick.

Her roaming tendencies weren’t a problem for the first 7 years of her life. We lived in a house with a 7-foot privacy fence around the backyard. She knew there was an outside world, but she never saw it, at least from the back yard, and she didn’t care to dig out because of that. The few times she got was through the front door, and it was easy enough to catch her in our quiet neighborhood.

Then we moved into a cheaper rental to save money to devote to our homesteading dream. This house had a chain link fence and a very interesting neighborhood. We spent countless hours and a lot of money patching her escape routes. When we bought this house in August, it had a privacy fence around a quarter of the back yard and a garage wall blocking an eighth of it. We knew we had to put something up in a hurry, and we didn’t have the money for a privacy fence, so chain link it was. We mistakenly assumed it wouldn’t be a problem since we were now in the country and didn’t have so many dogs and interesting neighbors in every direction.

Wrong. Labs love the country. They’re bred to be hunting dogs, after all. It took her less than a day to get out the first time. I looked up and she was chasing a rabbit across the field. We’ve been slowly reinforcing the fence ever since. She created the above hole while we were in the back tending to our trees. She thought she’d join us.

So, to fix the fence. We got this role of tension wire for about $20 at Home Depot.

Tension Wire

(The workbench isn’t always this messy. I promise.)

We’re stringing it through the bottom of the fence to make it harder for her to dig under. It proved to be too tough to bend around the wires and fix the gate, so we fixed it temporarily using wire from some old marking flags. We’re looking for ways to fix it permanently. (Suggestions are very welcome.)

If this doesn’t work, we’re going to concrete the bottom of the fence.

Just for fun, here’s a picture of baby T. eating her first slice of watermelon:

First Watermelon