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Tending Fences

"In appraising the future of a farm, fences were reckoned a prime necessity. Almanac after almanac starts the month of March with, 'Look to your fences.'"

Even if one doesn't follow the agrarian calendar, this time of year seems a natural fit for projects such as looking to one's fences. The planting and harvest seasons are just too busy! Early spring is a good time, because the weather is starting to get mild and it's a joy to be outdoors again after a long, cold winter.

If you've read my blog over the years, then you know we've had a terrible problem with old pine trees taking out our fences.

This is all in our woods, and we've patched the damage as best we could. There are enough of those trees still standing to make us wonder when it will be safe to replace the damaged fencing. Probably not this year, so this year we turned our attention to fencing repairs closer to the house.

The first project was the hedgerow we created four years ago in our front pasture (see "Forest Garden Hedgerow: Fenced, Gated, & Planting Begun"). Planting it was one of those one-step-forward-two-steps-back projects, because most of what I planted didn't survive. I chose drought resistant and heat tolerant species and did not pamper them but they struggled. I replanted pears, mulberries, chestnuts, and aronia several times. None of the flowers and herbs I planted made it. The survival rate was less than 50%, which isn't very encouraging, is it? We definitely don't want to give up, but this year we decided to narrow it.

Last summer.

It was so overgrown that Dan decided to remove the bottom fence to let the bucks graze it down first. It became their favorite girl watching position. It's apparently the best place to try and catch a glimpse of the does on the other side of the homestead.

Earlier this month.

They both ate it down and wore it down. Then we got to work. Dan pulled out the bottom t-posts.

Heavy-duty chain wrapped around both the t-post and
the tractor's drawbar make pulling them out a snap.

Then he reset them a little closer to the top fence. I planted the bare area with chicory, clover, and coneflower, and covered the seed with composted woodchips.

Now. We've found that board scraps from the sawmill
help reduce erosion until plant roots are established.

Now we wait and see! Eventually we may move the top fence in some too, but that's for another day.

The other end of the hedgerow was it's own kind of disaster.

Dan backed into the cattle panel with the tractor awhile back and pretty much trashed it. We had to think about what to do with this one. Originally I fenced in a wild rose bush here, but that old bush has pretty much quit producing. So we removed the bent panel and rerouted the existing panels. The fence now goes behind the bush. After the boys clear it out I'll removed all the dead wood.

Colby on brush trimming duty.

The next bit of fencework in this pasture is the front corner.

There used to be a tree and hedge of shrubs there, but these have been removed by the power company and our next door neighbors. This really shouldn't be a problem, but people walking up and down the road have taken to throwing things at our goats. I like for people to enjoy watching them, but I don't get why they want to throw golf balls, beer bottles, and soda cans at them. What's the matter with people?

We've talked about putting up a privacy fence on that side of the property for several years, and in fact bought a number of fence panels for that purpose. We have good neighbors now so there isn't the same sense of motivation to do this, but we would like that corner to not be exposed. That will be the next project of the tending fences list.

Tending Fences © March 2019 by Leigh 


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