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Friday, March 25, 2011

What a landowner's gotta do

As we have no idea what the next batch of neighbors will be like along our west side, which is across the creek from our house (shown on the right), it seemed the right time to put up a pasture fence. For our purposes it should be dog-proof, sheep-proof, small-goat-proof, duck-proof, and chicken-proof. Risa would love for it to be deer-proof too, but such a fence might seem a bit tall and overbearing to a neighbor whose property line is eight feet from the house, so we went with 48" 2X4 welded wire on lightweight six foot t-posts, with a lattice-top wooden gate by the barn, in case we ever get neighbors who'd enjoy milking goats for us while we gad about in foreign parts.

Such a fence can be built reasonably well without getting too technical about it.

Risa bought twenty-five posts and seven fifty-foot rolls of fence, and distributed them from the back of the pickup truck. She ran string the length of the project from end post to end post, and hammered in a post every fourteen feet along the string, using one of our most appreciated hand tools, a hand-held post driver.

Each roll was spread out along the posts, attached to the preceding roll, and then stre-e-e-e-tched by the simple expedient of a piece of pipe threaded through the mesh and then pulled along the posts with a come-along attached to the next post from the end,at its bottom. Risa's not really strong enough for the clips that you hook the fence onto the post by, so she just uses twisted wire instead, cut from a roll of 18 gauge wire with a pair of side-cutting pliers. Tighten like putting a twisty on a bread bag, with the pliers. Draws the whole fence tight.

At the fence ends, Risa jammed an eight-foot post into the ground, leaned it against the end post four feet above the ground, creating a right triangle. wiring this to the end post and to the fence in three places creates a reasonable strong anchor. To make this into a permanent fence support, she can attach a vertical tube, two feet in diameter, of welded wire and fill it with rocks. Never has got around to that, though. Some of these quick-and-dirty fence projects of hers are still standing after more than thirty years.

This does not result in the world's strongest fence nor the world's prettiest fence, but it does enclose the commons. Sometimes a landowner's gotta do what a landowner's gotta do.

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