Monday, November 24, 2008

My Town Monday - Fence Color

The county where I live is a "bedroom" community, not just for people, but for horses. It is not unusual to see large horse trailers rolling down my street on the way to deliver a horse to be bred, rehabilitated or trained in a facility nearby. Some of them are only here a short while, and then, it is back to work somewhere else as they are again trailered back home.

Once outside the city limits, it is not unusual to see the roads lined with black four-board fence. Occasionally, you will see a fence of a different color. For example, a neighbor one mile from me painted his fence brown. (Of course, he also painted the trim on his brick house pink and purple. He apparently walks to the beat of a different drummer.) Mostly, however, everyone here conforms to black fence paint. It is pleasing to see it go on, connecting disjointed properties with a common theme.

I don't know who decided that fences in our area would be black. There are advantages to black paint, which isn't always "paint". I used to use roof sealer cut with mineral spirits to paint our own four board. It is thick and water proof but the smell is nauseating. It can be sprayed on, however, if you have enough fence (and money) to hire someone to do it. Sometimes, you'll see men spraying fences along the road completely covered with black tar or paint, their eyes peeking out over bandannas covering their noses and mouths. Until the weather turned colder, black acrylic paint was my choice as I can paint it easily and it doesn't smell and people aren't breaking open their pillows for feathers to add to the tar.

Despite a quick Googling of fence paint, I've not yet uncovered why my region of central Kentucky wears black paint, but eastern Kentucky, specifically, Lexington, sports white paint. Flying or driving into Lexington, you will see miles and miles of it. It has it's advantages over black paint. One is that it doesn't show bird poop like black fences, but I can see no other advantage. I will continue to study this phenomenon and see if I can uncover any historical basis for the choice of paint color in Kentucky fences.

Write about your town, and tell Travis.

Speaking of paint, I've tried two paint colors so far in our main room and still we are not satisfied. I have painted and painted. And because the paint color doesn't go with curtains we very much like, I am going to have to paint it all over again.

And more about paint! We traded Ginny (Anna's former horse) yesterday for a small paint horse she and I will share. He has two blue eyes and is black and white. His name is Phantom of the Opera or Phantom for short. And he is short. And safe. That's good.


Terrie Farley Moran said...

Interesting about the paint. Maybe the first person who painted the fence black did so on a whim or because he had extra black paint left over and others liked it and followed suit. I guess we'll never know.

Great luck with Phantom.


debra said...

There is a place in NE Ohio (wealthy wealthy wealthy!) that has a dress code for houses: white pain with black shutters---only. T'would make me want to go out and buy a gallon or red.

pita-woman said...

I like the look of both the black & white fences... anything, just as long as they're all one color.
Can't wait to see the new horse. With him having blue eyes, are his eyes extra sensative to the sun?

Jenny Jill said...

Interesting observations! We have a bedroom community near Ottawa where they all agree to use particular colours of garbage bags. They do not allow outdoor laundry lines - not a good idea for the environment! Funny how these trends start.

Up here, in the north, the fences are all split-rail, and unpainted. They stand out better when piled with 4 feet of snow or snow drifts!

A Trucker's Wife said...

Maybe it has something to do with the American dream. You know, wanting the white picket fence and 2 1/2 children? Oh, your fences don't have pickets, do they? And last I noticed, Wm was a whole child. I'm inclined to go with the leftover black paint theory. You know Dale Earnhardt's first race car was painted pink because they ran out of avocado green paint. Don't know what that has to do with you story, but it just seemed to relarted somehow.

Barbara Martin said...

I was surprised when I saw the black paint on the fence. I've always seen white fences around horse farms, or wire fences out west.

If your paint has quarter horse breeding they're smart, like to please and don't feed too many oats.

Janie said...

Lots of the horse fences are amazingly, pliable plastic. Looks like wood, but it's not.

And that stuff is white. You never have to paint it.

I guess it fools the horses!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, I am only familiar with the white fences in the Lexington area. Nice to know it's not universal.

Junosmom said...

Thanks, Terrie. Phantom is settling in nicely.

Debra, wouldn't be Hudson, would it? Yeah, I'd get in trouble in a town like that.

PITA, don't know about the sensitive eyes, will have to find out. Do they make horsie sunglasses?

Jenny Jill - it's not regulated here. I could paint it purple if I wanted. Most people want it to look the same, however. I like split rail.

Robin, I'm wondering if they didn't use asphalt sealer or roof tar at first, thinking it sealed better.

Barbara - he seems smart, if a bit lazy. He has a cold, so maybe he'll perk up when it is gone.

Janie - some people here do use the plastic and also electric plastic fencing. It comes in black :-)

Travis Erwin said...

Fences in my area come one of two ways. Rusted and not yet rusted as they are nearly all barbed wire.

Passage of a Woman said...

Note to Cathy: It's getting to the point where you need to create a whole new blog entry just to respond to your comments!

Junosmom said...

Travis, Oh, we have barbed wire too - for cows. It does nasty things to horses who can be a might high spirited. So if you go out into the country a little ways, you'll also see rolled wire and barbed. In my own yard you'll see electric as well.

You are right about that! My dd#1 has told me I need to "prioritize" INO, Mom you're blogging too much.

Anne said...

I am quite familiar with the pink and purple trimmed house. My kids used to comment when we drove past. Now we don't even notice. Well... maybe a little. :)

Anonymous said...

I've traveled to your area as a Tour Director. The local step-on guide said the color of the fences, either black or white, were determined by the "type" of horse farm. For instance, all Quarter Horse Farms had the same color fence, etc. Don't know if this is true but might be something the locals could verify.



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