2009-10-17: Fence


Good fences make good neighbors, and prevent dogs from dropping loads
on your footpath. Well, at least that’s the idea. That in addition
to the herds of midgets that like to poke their slimy fingers in my
nursery of half cut oil bottles perched on my front porch trying to
produce a resemblance of an edible vegetable.

I decided last Saturday to construct a hedgerow and fence. Our
neighbors, Fani and Filo, both have rather nice shrubbery and I
thought it would be a nice addition to the compound. After procuring
fence post from the tree Samalu’s son’s cut down across from our house
I laid out the dimensions and commenced to dig the holes. The soil is
rather rocky around our house and packed hard from the weeks of no
substantial rain. Therefore I was using the next best thing to a
posthole digger, a 5’-0” iron crow bar that could take the smile off
King Kong’s face. The process is rather simple, just lift the bar and
thrust it into the hard earth. The only problem is when rocks are
encountered. This sends the bar wayward and on one such occasion it
made contact with the tip of my upper right ear. Feeling like I had
just been walloped by a ‘76 Buick I stumbled into the house to check
the damage. Sure enough, my ear was grazed like Wyatt Earp had just
winged me. O.k., I’ll stop the analogies. Let’s just say it hurt and
looked very bad.

Hoping for some consolation and constructive medical attention from my
wife, I instead received belly laughs and queries into what had
happened. After she finally stopped ridiculing me she tended to the
wound and I went back outside to continue the hedge construction
project.

The next phase involved getting starter plants to make the row along
the fence. This is pretty simple and involves snipping the tips off
larger shrubs. Filo allowed me to take several samples and I
proceeded to trim. About 10 minutes into it I heard a bee buzz for
about three seconds and then it struck me hard. It’s stinger landed
on the opposite ear and this time it felt like my head had been
slammed by a Mack truck. I haven’t been stung since elementary school
and forgot how bad bee stings hurt. After picking up the bucket and
garden spade, which I had hurled several yards, I made my way back
home for another round of doctoring. The laughs this time where even
louder and I thought Kelly was going to wet herself before pulling the
stinger out. She finally regained some sort of conciliatory composure
and inspected the wound. The stinger was gone and the pain subsided
enough to continue with the work.

A herd of children had gathered outside our house to see if I had died
from my wounds, and they seemed surprised when I walked out on two
feet. The braver children had assembled a bee search party, and they
quickly informed me two bee casualties had been taken while I was
recovering.

I continued with the collection process and started digging more holes
for the starter plants. This attracted a group of onlooker youngsters
rather quickly. I wasn’t sure why – as I was just shoving a large
pole in the earth. When I looked up from my work they just grinned.
I continued on and they continued watching. I felt like I was quickly
becoming a TXDOT crew working on I-35, one guy working with 10
watching. They just stood there mesmerized by this palagi working a
rod bar. I finally stopped and handed the bar to one of the boys and
he immediately started making holes. Another one would exchange with
him every other hole and I made good speed with the planting bed.

This didn’t last long, however, and the children around here have
about the same attention span as American kids, and they where quickly
off to the next adventure. This process of children congregating
around my work area happened several times during the day. I made a
point to sometimes not say a word or even make eye contact just to see
what their reaction would be. Amazingly they just stood there, inches
away, intensely gazing at my activities. I guess if I was 10 and some
white man came to my island and started planting stuff I would be
kinda curious as well.

The day ended in success and I was able to finish the fence, plant 80’
of hedges and three coconut trees. The yard looks much better and
will be a nice boundary for the wayward pooches and mischievous
children.

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