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Ha-Ha! You Ran Into a Ha-Ha!

Betcha didn't know that "ha-ha" is an actual word meaning a trench, basically a sunken fence to keep livestocks from coming into your backyard while preserving the uncluttered look of the landscape:

... the name is derived from the response of ordinary folk on encountering them and that they were, "...then deemed so astonishing, that the common people called them Ha! Ha's! to express their surprise at finding a sudden and unperceived check to their walk."

More on Ha-ha at Wikipedia - via Fancy Notion's Word of the Day


The first known ha-ha in England was made in 1694 at Levens Hall, Cumbria, and was cut to open up a prospect from the highly formal, walled, topiary-stuffed garden to the wild landscape beyond, a revolutionary and not particularly appreciated concept at that time. One critic sniffed that the design opened up the civilized garden to the "horrid crags".
From The Pleasure Garden by Anne Scott-James and Osbert Lancaster:
http://books.google.com/books?id=IbhwIo3m3mQC&client=safari
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There's one of these on our local park to keep the deer out of the gardens. Apart from the ones smart enough to use the bridge. The ditch is full of muddy water too.
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I used to live in a house that had a haha halfway up the back garden. It was pretty cool, very well made with support to the vertical side, proper drainage at the bottom [or else they just end up as muddy ditches] and a shallow slope up.

I remember my [grown up] uncles coming over once and playing 'trenches' in it, hehe. It was great for playing hide and seek with people who hadn't seen one before.

we used to have to explain what it was and where the name coma from. then we'd tell people that a really DEEP haha is called a hoho. *grins*
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My brother's got a ha-ha. It's not quite as good as it's supposed to be - young lambs and frisky rams can just about leap up it and get into the orchard. He doesn't mind much though - I suppose he like the exercise.
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