It is always bad when Ruby the Dog believes that she has just about figured out a way to get out of our yard, because the Great Houndini has proven to be pretty good at it over the years. In this case, we had thunderstorms with 70 mile per hour gusts blowing past our already-damaged, hastily-patched, please hold together until spring fence. Two days later, Ruby is poking around the neighborhood of the damaged post where Gretchen had (just last week!) used bungee cords to try to hold everything together, because the two-by-fours on either side of the post are so badly rotted out that they can no longer be screwed or nailed to the remnants of the post, where the post is supported by a steel brace that is designed to be hammered into the ground and attached to the above-ground post remnants.
All of this was working about as well as you might imagine after the thunderstorm showed up. (That is to say, barely, which I suppose means that it was a pretty good lash up overall, given what it had just put up with.) But Ruby was planning an escape, which meant that I had to do something about it.
Two phone calls later, I convinced myself that I was not about to get help to fix this. I was going to have to figure out some way to improve the situation myself. But I do not have the time or skills to replace the bum post by myself, nor do I have the time to rebuild the two fence sections and re-anchor them to the ruined post, since the likely result of that is getting to rebuild the fence sections again. Do it twice is severely not on my list of things to do.
In an earlier conversation, Gretchen had suggested nailing a replacement 2x4 to the outside of the fence to support the rotted one. I had discarded this approach immediately, figuring that the weight of a parasitic 2x4 was more likely to cause the fence to collapse than it was to support it. But you know...
I do have replacement fence boards and deck screws. And those are lightweight enough that I can screw them in to support the rotted 2x4.
So that's what I did. Gretchen came out and shoved the post back into place from our side of the fence, dropping the failed chunks of concrete footing back in front of it as a brace. I screwed the long board in and across two sections of fence and the rotted post.
There were, however, more places where rotted 2x4 in other sections of the fence had come loose from post. I really didn't want to cut up a perfectly good board.
And then I remembered that we had saved a bunch of end pieces of the cedar planks to use as tombstones at Halloween. We hadn't actually used them, but the box of scrap was in the garage. Two of those became quite suitable shims to reattach fence to post and the fence is -- for the moment, at least -- intact.
I went into the house and released Ruby into the backyard. She immediately ran to where the hole in the fence had been, sniffed, shrugged, and ran off to look for squirrels.
Take that, Houndini!