Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands


A Snake in the Grass

A Snake in the GrassWhere cedar trees are plentiful these rails are a relatively simple means to erect a fence, for they require no posts, and are beautifully “low tech” because they can be produced by one person and a few hand tools.

Ah, simplicity.

And snake rail fences are the “Miss America” of all, for they would wear the crown in a contest if placed beside any other western range fence. They are esthetically calming in their meanderings, and in their simple construct these gentle barriers give numerous convenient corners upon which to comfortably perch and contemplate one’s surroundings. Did I mention they are easy for a biped to surmount?

Cedar rails even SMELL nice! Starting with its least virtue, its fragrance, and moving through all of the other attributes and uses of this wondrous tree would take more space than I have available. I direct those motivated in learning the sum of interesting, indeed amazing uses for cedar to Hilary Stewart’s book CEDAR which describes how the Native Americans and First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest wrapped an entire culture around this tree.

Photo location: South end of San Juan Island.


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