More Astro – Fence Building

Wait a minute!  This wasn’t here yesterday!

The astronomy observing field had a couple of issues with bright neighbor lights.  A few months ago we had the main privacy fence put up to block an annoying light to our north (white lights destroy night vision).  Once that was up and we were enjoying the darkness, we discovered of course, another light that is on occasionally to our east (the prime observing direction for our yard).

Not wanting to spend the usual arm and a leg to have another 32 foot section of fence set up, I bought the parts and did it myself (Aaron helped with the screws).   Yesterday (June 29th), after fighting  a body that was rebelling against yet another day of lifting and positioning heavy stuff, I got out and cemented in the posts, ran the stringers and attached the pickets.

The ground out here is kind of funky.  According to one of my contractors, the soil is made up of about 80% sand and 20% clay.  If it is wet its pretty easy to dig into.  If it is dry its as hard as concrete!  I learned a trick from the fencer I hired for the other fence installations.  If one takes a power washer and jams the tip down into the dirt where you want to dig a post hole and jet the water down into the ground and get it all soaked down to about 2 feet, the auger slips into the ground ridiculously easy!  Prior to knowing that, when I built the dog run, I thought the auger was going to shake me to death.  It could only get in about 4 or 5 inches before it would hit dead pan.  It took me several weeks of working every weekend to build the dog run with its 11 posts.  With this new found magic, I dug the 5 holes for the new fence in a couple of hours!  Funny what you can do when you know the secrets!

Anywho, I wanted to get this fence in prior to the weekend of the 13th as we are hosting the first JUGS Star Party (JUGS= JAZFarm Under The Glittering Stars)  A bunch of misfit astronomy friends are coming out to break in the observing field.  At least this way I won’t have to hear griping that the white light is bothering them……. oh yes indeed they would gripe!!  Astronomers are very picky about white light issues.  We have even named one, The White Light Nazi, as he will confront anyone coming into an observing field with their headlights on! ; )

You will notice that the fence doesn’t touch the ground (except for the posts of course).  Thats because it is more important that it block out light than keep anything from crawling under it.  At some point the grass and weeds, etc., will fill in under it.  The ground slopes a little so one side has a larger gap than the other.  I will be curious to see how this stands up in our up to 70 mph wind gusts in the winter.  It feels pretty stout but if it isn’t then I will likely close the two sections off so they can support each other.  But for now, JUGS is ready to go!!

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