Let’s Talk Security

The Old Gate

Security. It’s something I never really bring up but I think it’s important that I discuss it. This time I’m not talking about food security, biosecurity or keeping your hens safe from raccoons. Rather I want to discuss keeping an unwanted two legged animal off your property.

Over the past year it’s definitely been a concern and lately that concern has become even stronger with some events that have occurred in our neighborhood as well as some outside of our neighborhood. It’s caused us to push back some of our projects to take on new ones.

We first started thinking about security when we had to stop giving tours. We started making changes in how we presented our public persona including being very vigilant about never sharing any details about where we live.

Our next door neighbors recently sold their house. While the banks are trying to pull their heads out of their asses the house has been sitting vacant waiting for escrow to close. We have been very vigilant but we can only do so much. In the weeks it’s been empty we’ve had squatters move in (fortunately our old neighbor showed up the day they moved in and kicked them out), people sleeping in the backyard, people kicking in doors and trying to break in anyway they can. Most recently we caught our neighbor from down the street robbing the place. The cops got involved and stolen items were returned, but it left us feeling rather unsettled. We know who this neighbor is and they are nothing but bad news.

On top of that, when we went to go talk to our neighbors across the street about the happenings next door to us they said they had recently seen some man come out of our backyard. We figured it was our milk delivery guy but she said he wasn’t carrying anything so we can’t really be sure.

At the same time all this was going on we learned of some urban farmers in Portland that were having a go with animal activists stealing their animals. One urban farmer had 23 animals stolen from him. One of the rabbits had just kindled and the thief left 9 newborn kits to die. The rabbits were dropped off with a rabbit rescue where they were later found by the owner. Granted this happened in Portland, Oregon, but the animal rights activists here are crazy enough to pull the same stunts. Hell, they’ve already tried to sabotage Kitty’s homestead once already (one of the reasons we stopped giving tours).

With all of happening at the same time we’ve decided that it’s time to increase our own security here. While the alarm system covers our house and tower and the dogs are great guard dogs, we want to ensure that no one can actually access the backyard without our (or our dogs’) permission. Our animals not only depend on us for food, water, shelter and love, but they also need us to make sure they are secure. Part of that security includes keeping unwanted people out of our yard.

The New Gate Installed

The first order of business was our side gate. It kept the dogs from getting out but that’s about all it did. It was flimsy and we had just put it up in a matter of hours when we first moved in because we didn’t have a gate. This time we hired our neighbor who is a retired contractor to build us the Fort Knox of gates. None of this wussy fence panel crap we were using. We went with full on 2×6 and 2×8 pressure treated wood with 2×8 framing. Using a metal strut we tied it to a house stud. No one is kicking it in. You’ll also notice that there is no handle or latch on the outside. It also automatically closes so we can’t leave it open on accident.

Next we’ll be looking at replacing old fences and possibly adding  hotwire if anything to just keep Squeek in and the raccoons out.


  1. Good posting. We don’t have a dog or perimeter fence. Hard to go around 5 acres and no finances to do so. We live in a rural area and have never had a problem, but I’m thinking we need to lock up some of the buildings we have that have tools, etc. in them. But some are so old it would be easy to break in. But thanks for the thought provoking post. Appreciate it.

    • I know quite a few people that live in rural areas and have a heck of a time with poachers on their property. Unfortunately fences and signs are the only way you can legally keep them off your property. Locks would definitely be a good first step though.

  2. Large animal electric fencing? Good luck and I’m sorry you have some douchey neighbors.

    • Yep. My next door neighbor has horses and at her old stable she was using solar powered hotwire. She said she’d be more than happy to let us try it out if we want since she doesn’t need it at her new barn.

  3. Nancy Raftery says:

    I live in a fairly nice residental area of Florida. Recently my house was broken into, setting our alarm off. The theives were able to get in and out with all of my jewelry before the cops showed up. I’m not one for jewelry, but alot of stuff they stole belonged to my mother, my grandmother, presents to me and my wedding ring.

    They gained access to the house through my fenced in “urban farm”. Now we have to keep the farm locked up. We’ve also improved the locks on our sliding glass doors. I have alot of house cats, but fortunately only one got out and did not get injured.

    It’s getting frightening out there. Nancy R

  4. Sad, but good to know.

  5. I have an electric net fence I use when I take my goats camping. It works great. And I have a solar powered unit in the backyard. Right now it’s just around the garden to keep cats from digging in it when it’s first planted. But I bought the electric tape to put along the perimeter fence. I just haven’t had time to do it yet. Plus, there was the issue of the tree branches over the barn that would allow any cat or raccoon to bypass the fence. The branches are gone now, so I have no more excuses. It won’t keep a person out, but I’m hoping it cuts down on the feral cats in the neighborhood.

  6. i have gate envy.

    we had neighbors try to break in twice while we were out of town and had a friend HOUSE SITTING – scared the crap out of her. we put up one of the $300 costco video cam systems and redid the gates, but nothing as nice as that one.

    i also put up some “redneck windchimes” – basically some short lengths of copper pipe on a chain that rattle around when someone tries to shake the gate. our dogs can hear this pretty well.

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