Tag Archives: high tension 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.

Who Knew?

Well, I’m sure many folks who have *actually* raised hogs knew this, but according to the literature I read hogs don’t hit puberty til 6 months….so if i planned to butcher the boars a 5 months we should be fine, right? Well I don’t know about you but those balls look pretty well developed to me:Image

When Rosie was delivered back to the farm from her time with her lover Gord mentioned it was time to separate….those boars looked awfully ready to mate. Well, indeed they were. After the reunion and a quick wallow in the mud, they tried getting some milk (no go) and since that didn’t work hopping on mom for…um, yeah. She wasn’t having it. So dispite the fact they had just reached 5 months of age in two weeks time everyone showed signs of sexual maturity.  But I suppose it is not just about age, but weight. the kids are all over 200 lbs. My nieces fair pig. Sweetheart, needs to be under 300 lbs for the August fair, but she is already 240. She is a beautiful beast, though. She would be a nicer breeder that the one I’m going to keep, Peppercorn, since she is so long, nice hams, awesome growth rate and shows signs of early sexual maturity. Peppercorn will be a nice, gentle mother and her rate of gain is nothing to scoff at either and she has a good build, too…but shes just not as promising as Sweetheart, Oh well!

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Unfortunately, the butcher hasn’t been able to fit me into his schedule, so this has resulted in shuffling girls in heat around to avoid the boars, but i still have some holes in my fences. I did finish fencing the stream-side…okay, not totally finish since i need a few more lines for the sheeps sake, but pig wise we are good to go on that side. Next, I need to run a few more line up in the woods to keep them inside my boundries there. This will be more difficult since it involves lots of rugged terrain and trees and such. Oh, and driving posts into rocks will not be fun.

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I got all sorts of differing opinions on the distance i should have my wires. I decided 6 inches, though recommended for hogs, usually just gets dirt/grass rolled over it and shorts out so I opted to go 8 inches. Maybe I should have gone a little closer with the next wires, but iIhad such a range of opinions on what the distance “should” be I opted to go 8-16-24-36-48 inches. Looking into more literature I shouldn’t have bothered with t-posts and just stuck with more wooden posts. oh well. I have a wooden brace about every 100 yards. We should be okay. One problem we will have to deal with was being dumb and trying to reuse an old corner post the old one is not in great shape….or perfectly aligned with the new fence (what happened there?!)

The streamside is now protected and I will be able to plant an orchard and other native and soil stabilizing bushes there. I can also lock the sheep up there when I need it mowed down. Possibly I can allow for the pigs to graze there in the winter when the stream is running high and the water is cold. This time of year they can just walk across and meet the neighbors….or the highway. We have taken care of that problem. Soon we will work on additional pastures then be able to rotationally graze the animals. It is all very exciting.

Overall I’m happy with how this is all working out.