Makeover #4: School entrance

Real Red Riding Hoods forest school

Keeping busy during the COVID break

If you are following us on Instagram you’ve seen that we stayed quite busy during our temporary closure due to COVID-19 guidelines. Over the 3 months that the school was temporarily closed we built a green house, added a large flower garden, set up a beautiful new outdoor classroom and most recently I replaced a fence to go with our new sign.

I haven’t shared anything about the fencing project over on Instagram, as it was probably most exhausting of them all 🙂 Our old fence was badly bent by the deer jumping over it. And as I was in the process of installing our new sign I wanted the fence to look the part. So after some time spent on Pinterest I chose this look for the new fence. It didn’t seem too complicated. But while it wasn’t particularly complicated it did involve a lot of heavy work. And so it is going to be our last building project (at least for June :))) as I actually already have a few more on my mind).

Conquering the old fence

Real Red Riding Hoods forest school

My first challenge came with the removal of the old fence. I expected that I would be done with this step in a couple of hours. Just clip the old ties holding the fence to the metal posts and then roll up the fence. I soon discovered that the ties were made of some pretty tough old-school wire, which unlike the modern wire took good muscle work to cut through. The next discovery was that the fence went about 2 feet under ground with plant roots growing all through it. And turned out to be much taller and heavier than it seemed. And to top it all off the old posts holding the fence had a lot of cement holding them in place, but the cement was also about 2 feet under ground. So after about 2 days of digging and pulling and shoving at last I conquered the old fence.

Installing the new fence

For the new fence we decided to go with this beautiful dark color for the stain, using a DIY stain which we used all throughout the school cabin and which produces no off-gassing.

Once all the posts were stained and oiled the next step was getting the 4x4s in. This step is probably the reason I lost a bit of weight in the past weeks and now my pants are on the loose side 🙂 Each post needed to be installed by pounding the road base with a special metal rod, which is very heavy and very long. So for each of 7 posts first I had to dig a 2 foot deep hole, then carry buckets of road base and then pound it with a tool that weights as much as a small elephant 🙂 So, as you watch the video you’ll notice there aren’t any photos or videos from this stage of the work, as my arms felt like noodles and I was constantly too exhausted to spend my energy on anything outside fence work.

Almost there!

Once the fence was up, there was still a bit of work to do. For example, there was this ancient contraption right in front of everything. It is an old water meter reader. I thought it’d be nice to get it mounted onto the fence post and to also get it tucked away into a copper pipe for a sleeker look 🙂

Here I want to thank Jeremy from the Palmer Lake water department who has always been so friendly and helpful with any of the requests we’ve needed. Jeremy came out and moved the meter wiring to the fence post and then hid it all in the copper tubing, which made it look even nicer than I imagined it would!

We have also added some Seagrass junipers on the other side of the fence. And of course we planted some lovely flowers in the front!

Although the work was very exhausting, at the end it came out so beautiful. The next stage will be to build a new gate to match the fence. 🙂 But I’m going to take a good break from building projects before I embark on that journey.

It takes a village

I want to thank my 73 year old mom who has been part of all of the school’s makeovers from day 1! She is the one from whom I learned so many things in life, including that everything is possible if you just start doing it. And as always, mom has helped me with the school projects every step of the way.

I also want to thank our incredible neighbor Jim who always lends me his tools and to whom I usually go with any construction-related questions.

One beautiful thing I keep learning over and over in life is that a good team is everything. And only together through team work can we achieve great things for ourselves and our community.

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