Frankie Tortoise Tails: Renovate 'da Fence

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Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Oct 14, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Mobile, Alabama
This year turned out to be very wet, damp, rainy, drenched, soggy....well, you get the picture. Frankie's yard never saw a lack of water. I only turned on the hose to clean and fill Frankie's big-honking mini-pool water dish. I cringed every time it needed cleaning dumping even more water on the lawn. Pool always needs cleaning. Where else is a 110 pound sulcata going to pee? In the yard. Perish the thought. Frankie pees right in front of the patio door or in the pool.

Am I a bit grumpy? Maybe. There are good reasons.

So, lots of rain, rain washing away grass seed, water flowing down hill, mud splashes, water pools at fence, Frankie has a second place to soak and play in mud.

Frankie's Mud Pit

We build that fence real good. Extra wide horizontal boards to keep Frankie from pushing through the pickets. Pickets thicker than the standard size, used screws rather than nails....

...because, yes, big sulcatas can take down a fence.

So, back to the extraordinary amount of rain we get in Mobile.

I noted, on one of my walks through the yard followed closely by Frankie would wouldn't think of letting me walk alone, that dirt was really beginning to pile up against the fence. As regular maintenance I dig out the dirt that rain has washed from the high ground to along the fence at the lower part of the yard.

Frankie is always cranky about my digging in his yard so he watches with keen interest.

I dig until I see pickets and as I suspected, five years of rain and muck has rotted out the bottoms. Further investigation of the horizontal board shows there is some deterioration to the point where the wood is spongy. I note that about fifteen pickets and one horizontal board need replacing.

Leaving Frankie who gladly stays to double check my work, I head back to the house to discuss with my newly retired husband that we have repairs to make on the fence.

Newly retired and still recovering from working full-time for 40 some odd years, hubby decides repairs can wait a day or two. Fine. I'll go back and do some more digging in preparation for those repairs. The fence was built tough and will last a couple more days. Yes? Right.

I'm grumpy. I dunno. Maybe it's because I've been a house-maintainer and Frankie Keeper for going on 20 years so I am not recovering from full-time working. I do house, geckos, cat, hubby and Frankie so I am not bored. So, yes, I'll work on the fence.

Apparently Frankie had the very same idea. He was bored so he started taking down the fence for me.

Yep, Frankie discovered that if he pushed just right on the spongy-from-water-rot horizontal board screws would slide right through and POP! fence was coming down.

Frankie deserves the nick-name Monster. The whole neighborhood heard me screaming, "NO! You stinkin' Monster! Frankie! Stop!" I am cutting back on my cussing.

One carrot later and I've got Frankie off the fence which is dangling by the top where the wood isn't rotting. While Frankie eats carrots to keep him away from the fence I spend the rest of the day replacing pickets and shoring up spongy bottom boards. The Hubby has to help with the bottom board but he is still in Early Retirement Recovery so that will happen another day. The fence is okay. For now.

No this isn't over yet.

Two days later, I catch Frankie doing fence maintenance. Frankie has taken it upon himself to point out anther overlooked section of rotting wood including a fence post that I catch the Monster Frankie attempting to severe from the cement holding it in place.

At this point why even bother yelling? I turn around, go into the house, grab tools and a bag of carrots and tell hubby that rest and relaxation ends and fence repairs begin. Now. Seriously, now.

Blaw, blaw, blaw, three hours, repair fence, we shake heads as we look at Frankie incredulously.



Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Apr 26, 2012
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
ALWAYS LOVE the Frankie stories!!!!![emoji173]️[emoji173]️[emoji173]️

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