Tag Archives: fencing

The Fence Stopped Working

One important thing to do as a farmer with livestock is test your fence frequently. I test before I go to work. I set the sheep up in a paddock and turned it on….and it wasn’t working. So I started working my way to the charger to find the short. Not grass….my connections looked okay. The ground rod was still hooked up. Hummmm….So I started to walk the line and this is what I found:

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Oh. Well. I suppose that would do it. Oh dear, I have a tree on my fence and I’ve got to get to work! Luckily I’ve got a boss who raises horses and he understands. I’m apperently the first person to call him up and ask, “soooo…how do I safely buck a long on a high tension fence?”

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Whats kind of amazing about high tension is if its done right it doesn’t break even if a tree falls on it. Or a car slams into it. there should be spring in the wires and enough give that it can resist high impacts. But….if there is spring in the wires there is a chance bucking this log it can bounce back at me. I’ve got to cut this tree just right. First thing to do is clear limbs.

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Its SO important to get limbs off and away any log you cut. A small branch can catch your chain and rip the saw out of your hands or cause kickback. I had one very tiny baby branch catch my chain for just a second…it tried to pull the chainsaw out of my hands entirely. Scary. after I cut the branches off I moved them out of the way so i couldn’t trip on them while operating a death machine.

Next is to make a cut that will take away some of the binding forces in the tree. There are different points of tension in a downed tree. There may be points where a trees tension makes it want to sag, other parts it wants to pinch upwards, sometimes it has tension that makes the log want to swing out…bucking a log and seeing all the potential kinetic energy is a skill.

My log was not making contact with the ground. it was being suspended by the fence, so if I cut straight from the top the log would have pinched into my blade and I’d up a creek.  The other thing is there is potential spring back from the fence, so i need to release the energy slowly. I worked a few feet away from the fence for several reasons all safety related (reducing spring back, keeping chain saw away from wires, ect)

I started by making a cut on the bottom of the log almost half through. That is what I am going to aim my top cuts towards, but i can now get through the log without having to fight the pinching all the way. Next I start cutting wedges out. Again, I’m trying to prevent my chain saw from getting pinched.

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Almost through I decided to try and go the rest of the way with an axe……..but all i had was a splitting maul. Didn’t work so well so i went back and slooooowly chipped away at the wedge until there was some give and I could tell i had gotten the top of the tree cut off. Then, aw heck, why not?  went and chopped a bunch of firewood.

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It was a lovely morning workout. Now the tough part is going to be bucking the rest of the log with all those branches I can’t easily clear out. Oh yes. My fence is working again.

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A girl and her chainsaw.

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Weekend Warriors

Previously at the farm our fences were gimpy electrowire, copper wire and a brush pile. In addition there was a mishmash or railroad ties and treated posts.

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After busting our butts the last few weekends my mother and I finished the front section of high tension wire along with making a few paddocks. We hung 3 gates and strung seven lines on wire this weekend and we went from brambly mess to a beautiful front section.

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The brush fence is now in a big burn pile to be obliterated when the weather dries up. Look! Real gates! I’ve been using pallets as gates for the last several months. The driveway goes straight to the barn! I have access to the farm from my back door…I have access to my backdoor (mudroom)! Its all so amazing!

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Mooney came by to inspect our handiwork (as did the neighbor he was named after).

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See the strip where the fence kept the animals out? I’m letting the sheep have access to this area for a few weeks…then they are going to get kicked out into the regular pasture. For now the sheep have access to my backdoor. Its fine since the lambs are still small and I doubt coyotes are going to venture that close to my house i think its best for them to hang out here. They have really cleared the brambles by the stream back. The pigs, too, though I do worry about them encouraging erosion.

The fence line is far from done, but it sure makes me feel better to come home to a tidy fence that actually can stand up to animals rather than a hodgepodge mess. Next I need to do the back fence line and then the fence by the stream (don’t need pigs thinking a salmon protected stream is an ideal wallow in the summer!) After that its on to interior fences.

What kinds of fences do you all use? do you stick to one type of fence or use different kinds on different parts of your property?

 

 

 

 

 

Weaning Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roise seems happy feeding her kids a few times a day since I started feeding the piglets heavily. She actually seemed fine with the arrangement..but regardless they are 8 weeks old and its time to get her body back into shape for some more breeding.  I tried getting her used to feeding away from her shoats by moving her feed out of the barn but she decided shed rather not eat than not keep an eye on her brood. VERY good mothering instincts. A few days before I separated them I spied this scene in the morning:

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Rosie likes to enjoy her food slowly….no one else on  the farm does. So if she doesn’t gobble it down someone else will.

 

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So she decided to solve the problem by sleeping with her feed. Her babies were on watch, though: waiting for when she left it unattended to chow it all down.

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She’s a good girl…but it makes it hard to feed her enough when she won’t eat it all at once. Luckily she is very happy eating grass and roots…but its not enough for a sow in milk.

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So we finally got the pen built. I decided to put her in there so she could keep her rototilling to one acre while all the other grass grows back. Shes not a dumb pig, though: i knew if i wanted her in the pen she wouldn’t go in if it looked like a pen So we got 3 sides completed and the t-posts in the last side. Then I lured her into the area with some good food (she had a look in her eye as if she knew we were up to something…but ohh that milky corn smelled good) got her in and put  up the electro-rope in a matter of minutes…it was risky but we did it!

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I think she was more mad that she was locked up and out of the barn than about loosing her little ones: though she was worried about them. as long as she saw them on the other side she was happy. Two got into her pen and she seemed unhappy they were there. i got them out, but then she seemed upset she was alone. GURL: make up your mind!

So two days in she seems okay with the setup. Milk is literally dripping from her teats. Hopefully she dries up soon!

And the “weaners”? They are perfectly contented with the situation. Whoops. I hear piglets touching an electric fence: gotta go!