So it seems the new fence around the sheep pen and a run from the sheep pen along the southern wall to the gate is now finished. Looking out the window now, it looks pretty good. And having just come back from the toilet, I can assure you it's a huge improvement over the old fence.
The toilet, you see, is in the southwest corner of the courtyard. The sheep pen is along the western wall, and with that run from the pen to the gate, it means you have to walk past the sheep pen to get to the toilet. The old fence was just about collapsed, which could make getting in and out of the toilet..... interesting. Especially for people like myself who are taller than the average Chinese person, and therefore had to adopt some weird, twisted, half-sideways crouch to squeeze through the last little stretch to the toilet door. The new fence leaves a lot more space between the pen and the toilet, which is great, because I was always terrified of losing my balance and falling in the cesspit while trying to get out of the toilet, and it isn't so high, so it won't lean over forcing me to adopt some weird, twisted , half-sideways crouch to get in and out of the toilet.
The thing about this fence, and the one it replaces, is that none of the materials used to build it, not one single component, was actually designed or made or processed or anythinged for building a fence. I have no idea where the materials came from , but the four concrete beams that form the four corners of the pen and the long steel poles (or where they meant to be pipes? can't tell anymore) that link the four corners and the large boards made of a sandwich of polysterene between sheets of some kind of fibre and cement, which look like they were intended to be the interior walls of somebody's apartment and now line parts of the sheep pen and the run to the gate, all look very, very recycled. And the wooden stakes that form the framework of the run and parts of the fence around the pen? No, they're just tree branches, and they've been processed no more than is necessary to drive them into the ground or weave them into a kind of framework.
And that's one of the beauties of rural China, and something you see precious little of in urban areas, and then almost never from urban people. Not much gets wasted here, almost everything is used and then reused in whichever way people find most useful.Don't worry, the house is properly constructed of proper house construction materials. But I'm sure that were it ever to be torn down, as many of its various component parts would be saved for future reuse as is possible.