The Front Fence

Fences in Panama are very important. They indicate that, “This is my property. I am marking it and I am protecting it. I respect my stuff, and so should you.” Like the locks on trashcans in campgrounds and parks, fences keep a good bear from going bad.

We already erected fencing at the two sides and the back of the lot, but the front was postponed until the containers were placed and the well was completed. Now that the big vehicles are gone and those tasks are done and the rainy season is on its way, it seems like a good time to finish the fence. Also, our dog likes to go to work with Dad some days, and without the fence or constant attention, he is “gone fishing” in the blink of an eye. He didn’t grow up on a rope, so when he is tied up it is only a matter of a few seconds before he is in a mess of rope spaghetti.

So I have Armando working on the front fence. We have dug the foundation, placed the posts in concrete, and are working on the bottom row of concrete blocks. Hernan joined us for a day or two, and I got him going on the columns at either side of the driveway. They will mimic the electric service entrance wall at the corner of the lot.

When I’m not keeping a quality control eye on the fence progress (which needs to be done frequently), I am working on getting power to the well pump. This involves bringing power to the house, first by stringing the main utility wire from the service entrance wall, across the three tall fence posts on the east boundary, then turning toward the house. I installed a conduit through the roof on container #3 and mounted a breaker panel on the wall below the conduit. Next I need to put a sub-panel in container #2 and run the utility wire to that panel. From there, it is a short run with some #12 wire to the pump controls that I have mounted in container #1. Soon, we will have water flowing from the well. All this new wiring means not having to coil up several hundred feet of extension cord every day as we will now have power in the containers.

Today, Sunday, I have been working with graph paper most of the day, designing the front gate. Previously, I mentioned the design principles of C.R.A.P. and Repeating a grid from the windows to the front gate. But the more I drew front gate to scale, the more it looked, well, Boring. Or maybe like a Scottish tartan plaid. There’s nothing wrong about plaid, it just didn’t go with the program. It made the whole project look too hard, as in sharp edged, and there was just too dang much of it. And since there is no B in C.R.A.P., I had to do something.

How about C, the Contrast part of C.R.A.P.? So I worked trying to bring in a softer element, curves. Some years ago, as Neighbor Bob will remember, I was working on a gate for a swimming pool area. It was going to have stalks of flowers on it. Today as I drew, it dawned on me that I had seen this before. Years ago, my mother had a small lead crystal glass bowl that had pussy willows or cat-o’-nine-tails on it. The bowl is long gone from the family; maybe it was dropped and broken, who knows. But the memory stayed with me, and in 1999 I made from that memory a small maple wood bowl on my lathe and carved cat-o’-nine-tails on it with small chisels.

I showed my grid drawings to Cynthia, told her of my grid problem, and I made that face showing blaauuggk, I hate it. The Design Acceptance Committee agreed with my assessment. But wait. I got my wooden bowl from the display case and said, “What if I made this same design but big?” And we could no doubt carry this theme elsewhere, perhaps to a security bar somewhere.

So it appears that we have a design for the front gate. The design softens the hard corners of everything else (Contrast), but the top ends of the shoots can have a sharpened point, good for security.

Here are a couple photos:

The front fence underway.

My bowl is less than an eighth of an inch thick.

Looking at the bowl, I can see that the bottom of the gate can be more dense, and the top more open and airy.

See you later.

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2 thoughts on “The Front Fence

    • Hi Sher, I assume you are talking about the front gate design. Thanks. My mother passed a few years ago. I think it will be a nice tribute to her memory. I never know how much of my history/personal stuff to put in these posts, so I am happy to get your feedback; it doesn’t seem too much. That reminds me of a man back in Colorado who was always telling stories about his life. He ended up with a show on the local Public Radio station. He would go into the studio, turn off all the lights, and tell stories in the dark about his life. It was a wildly popular show. Thanks again, Fred

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