puttin up fence

Puttin’ Up Fence

(This post first appeared on this blog in 2008 while we were still on the Arizona Homestead)
puttin up fence

I finally got to puttin’ up fence this year.  With rising gas and feed prices, I need to find more creative ways to keep everyone fed.  The most commonsensical thing seems to be to let the critters out to graze.  The neighbors, however, take exception to the goats and sheep getting into their feed stores. Although a few do appreciate getting their weeds trimmed for free.  Anyways, I have spent years scavenging anything that could conceivably be used as fencing or fence posts. Now several people are helping me pound them in. We unroll, stand and tie, or shall we say wire field fencing to the posts. When that runs out, we string barbed wire across the last several yards.  This is hard work, and it takes a very special talent to pull the fencing tight.  I do not have that talent. 

Fence maintenance and repair

is now an ongoing project. Every scrap of rebar, field fence and chicken wire, barbed and barbless wire is put to use. Even wire coat hangers and baling twine makes the grade.  Steel t-posts are like gold.  Several of the old wooden posts had to be reset. Without recent rain, the ground is too hard to dig post holes. I end up pouring water onto it to soften it up. Frequenly a tpostwould  hit rock and have to be repositioned. 

One of the locals is a professional fence man. So my partner in cows, Maryruth, offered to reduce the cost of a cow he wanted in exchange for setting the gate posts and hanging the gates. I keep Maryruth’s cows over here sometimes, so she can have a break and I can get the milk.  

The guys are in. Mostly.

But the fence is up, and the guys are mostly in.  Tying up Mr. Billy Goat seems to keep the rest of the herd from wandering very far most of the time.  The sheep seem content to stay inside the fence.  The horses are just happy to stretch their legs and assert their superiority over everyone else.  The cows are usually happy to stay inside the fence unless they are feeling particularly mischievous.  The chickens are finding enough grasshoppers near the house. They don’t feel the need to wander up the street to the neighbors’ stew pot.  The coyotes still manage to sneak off with the occasional chicken when Ana the Guard Llama‘s back is turned.

And then they’re out

Lest you imagine that I can sit in luxury, eating bonbons now, let me set you straight.  Just because they stay inside the fence, does not mean the cows and horses do not reach over the fence to nibble tasty tidbits.  The more they reach over, the more the fence sags. Until they think that maybe I meant to leave the fence down in that particular spot. And they just walk over it.  They then have a lovely adventure and lead me on a merry chase getting them back into the yard.  A little grain in a bucket does tend to get them in a lot faster. 

Walking the fence

A brisk, early morning walk along the fence line is now a part of the daily routine.  An additional benefit (bane?) of this activity is that I can monitor the condition of the Homestead. And plan my work accordingly.  When and where the fence needs reinforcing. What trees need replacing.Whether the latest wind storm blew my neighbor’s shed roof inside the fence, etc., etc.  Hmm, forgot about that pile of horseshoes, what could I use those for?

This post originally appeared on this blog in 2008, when we were still on the Arizona homestead.


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