I Don’t Want to be Seen

I don’t want to see some views, but I also don’t want to always be seen.

In all cases of lattice work, it’s a little of both.

The specific view in question this time involves a vista of the neighbor’s driveway and the road beyond. Traffic on the road is distracting at night, but what really breaks the tranquility is the cars coming up the driveway. The approach, before turning to their garage, directly points to our deck and the sliding glass door to our living room. At night, headlights from approaching vehicles illuminate the whole area. It is, somewhat annoying. Recurring readers of this blog might have noticed I dislike the runaway trend of increasing lightbulb strength.

It would probably be unreasonable to ask the neighbors to turn off their headlights, so, it was back to an old trick: a trellis.

A view of what lays beyond

Using some prior lessons, the work went much faster this time.

I also had some additional manual labor this time

A few 2x4s, 1x2s, 1x8s, 1/2″ bolts, and several hundred deck screws; I had successfully created a polite screening, and prime real-estate for climbing plants.

I’m told if I do this to the entire perimeter, I can get a greyhound.

Also, look at this fancy seamless joint on the corner.

–Simon

P.S. I still managed to refrain from putting tools in trucks.

The Way is Shut

The Dads do not suffer the dogs to pass.

Easement Acres gets its share of odd projects.  And this time it’s for muddy paw mitigation.

Say it’s nice enough to leave the door open.  Say I want to enjoy the deck.  Say I also want to let the dogs enjoy the weather because I’m an awesome dog dad.  But also say that the backyard isn’t dry, and say the dogs like to run and I can’t keep grass growing back there so it’s’ a mud pit.  And finally, say that politely instructing dogs to not leave the deck has little effect.  What to do?

Simple.  Shove a kiddie pool against the stairs and wedge it with the grill.

Or, something slightly less trashy…

A gate!

Not a novel solution I suppose.  Somewhere along the line someone figured out barriers need access points and invented such a device.  But I still had to create one that fit my exact needs, so I still get man points!

Behold, my adjustable retainer! The bolt can be loosened to account for changing tolerances.

And another fine application of an existing invention.

A gravity latch. Oooooo.

The whippet has since thanked me by peeing on the floor.  But what she hasn’t realized yet is that I can also lock her in the yard, thus depriving her of deck furniture cushions in the sun once the weather warms.  We’ll see who has the last laugh then!

Naughty dog projects.

–Simon

String Lights

I’m not sure if we’re going for a roadside shanty theme, but our growing string light setup is certainly more pleasant to look at from afar than the standard suburban system of single-bulb external illumination.  The overlapping fields of small-lumen bulbs provide a less invasive experience to the human eye, which I’m finding quite superior to everyone else’s practice of buying the brightest bulbs available to replace their standard garage and patio fixtures.

These are people who’ve forgotten how to use their outdoor space, and in an act of suburban paranoia, take crime-reduction advice to an extreme.  Yes, illuminating your entire property with theater stage lights will indeed make any criminals visible, but someone still has to see the criminal to know he’s there, and that system relies on other people in the neighborhood.  But with lights so bright now, I’m gradually planting bushes and constructing barriers to block those critical views.  You might have sufficient light to land helicopters, but now no one can see your yard to report crime, including you, because you’re inside.

Also I hate you now, because you’re making my own outdoor space less relaxing.

But enough of the grumbling.  Here’s our new deck lights!

It does make things a little cozier.  The prior lights were strung along the eaves, but the effect was a backlight that brought the deck in rather than inviting its full space.  I’m looking forward to their shining through the hydrangeas.

But waste not!  The old lights got a renewed purpose on our front porch.

Both sets are on light-sensing timers, so bonus in that I don’t have to remember to turn on lights for delivery services either.

All in all, their aesthetics might suggest rustic homeliness, but I’ll take the alternative to the typical sterile prefab over-lit house theme in these here parts.

Also I make good crab cakes.

–Simon

Ring 3

It’s not quite paranoia, but I wanted another outside camera.  This time, I wanted a view of the garden.  Why?  Because the house doesn’t have any windows on that side and I want to check in on the veggies.  And to yell at any deer and cats that trigger the motion alert (the latter of which I’ve already chased away with the camera’s alarm).  I’m also hoping its presence will be a deterrent to a certain neighbor who takes their dog across the property line to shit.  Doubtful.

But between the pandemic and chip shortage, the camera model I wanted, which I’ve previously installed in the backyard, hasn’t been available for a couple years now.  Then, finally last month, it appeared open to order, though it must have been backordered because I only just received it over the weekend.  No matter. I have it now.

Taking the previous installation’s lessons, I routed a CAT6 through the attic and to the garage window, where I installed a keystone jack, and connected to this a specially-ordered outdoor patch cable which ran along the eaves and to the camera.

Exposed wires are never elegant, but it’s the garage.

I also must be losing my touch with crimping cable terminals.  I struggled to the point of fury before deciding to go out and buy a different model, which worked just fine.  User error maybe.

Surpassing the other camera, this is now the longest ethernet run I’ve pulled.  And fortunately, it worked the first time.

I see you!

This makes my 10th drop to the patch panel.  And I even acquired a PoE switch since last time, thus replacing the prior single-port injector and giving me 4 powered ports.

Future expandability!

Looking forward to some nature pics.  And foiled pooping attempts.

–Simon

What’s in a Name?

I like the concept of naming one’s home, but never fully jumped on board with the idea.  And I think it comes down to the fact that the names fail to recognize the place itself.  Instead, when I hear someone mention a named plot of private property, it’s for the sake of status.  Such is the case with celebrity locales, HOA neighborhoods, crappy apartments that try to sound better than they are, and sports arenas (which are really just sponsor plugs).  Sometimes small businesses choose a name that reflects the space, but more often opt for a more descriptive name which references what that business does.

So how would I choose a name for my small estate?

In order to avoid making it about me, I should refrain from explaining what I do with the property in the name.  Our love for dogs prompted some cutesy thoughts, such as “Whippet’s Run” or “Feisty Fields”.  But, the dogs are transitory inhabitants.  Also, we’re a somewhat sarcastic family.  The name should have a bit of snark, and reference what will always be here, devoid of the goofy romance with which people try to make you believe that they live in a British cottage overlooking Dover.  No, this is a contemporary abode in a neighborhood with well-funded public amenities, and the standard homeowner/municipality friction that always accompanies such developed areas.  The name should allude to that fact.

It needs to be an honest name with snark that only calls out what the property itself is and the type of place in which it resides.

Welcome to “Easement Acres.”  Call before you dig.

–Simon