Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Break Fence Posts

Last week was spring break for the university where Brandon teaches. Instead of a vacation for his time off, we did something even more exciting, and started building a fence. We had to do some research on how to build a fence, and spent quite a bit of time tromping around our fields placing flags and pulling string.  Our final fence design is approximately half and acre (six hundred feet of fencing) on the back northwest corner of our property, attached to the corn crib.   

The blue tractor implement, which I think is for moving pallets, made a handy cradle for hauling the heavy fence posts to the field.  

The frequent rain made the ground squishy, and the tractor made nice ruts in the grass.  Brandon tried to stay on the edges of the fields as much as possible, so we didn't make tracks in our pasture.  Hopefully our future mammals will appreciate our efforts.  

This is the farthest fence corner from the house and barns.  We left enough room between the posts and the edge of our property to drive the tractor and mower.  We debated putting the fence right on the property line, which would make a nice boundary marker, but in the end we decided we would rather be able to walk or drive on the outside of our fence and still be on our own property.  This should give room for planting fruit trees on the outside of the fence too, so the fruit can fall in for the animals, but they can't chew on the trees.  

In one day, Brandon dug at least nine holes with the post hole diggers, and made them as deep as he could.  We watched a dude on youtube demonstrate how to dig a three foot post hole by hand, and he stood in a grassy field on soil that was so loose it gently fell from his tool with each scoop.  He had a deep hole in minutes.  This was not our experience!  Our tight clay sticks to the blades of the tool with such suction that my job was to take a stick and scrape it off after each scoop.  The wet clay is sticky, and heavy, and every once in a while there would be a huge stone that we would have to break in pieces with a heavy breaker bar in order to get the whole deeper.  Judging by location of Brandon's sore muscles, I think this is a good workout for the shoulders.  

Our fence design uses a wooden corner post and a wooden brace post to each side.  We also used wooden posts and braces where we want gates, and a wooden post in the center of the fence on each of the long sides.  The rest of the fence line will be held with metal t-posts that get pounded into the ground.  

We placed orange flags every fifteen feet between the corner post to mark where the metal posts will go.  

To make the wooden posts level and sturdy, we have to tamp dirt back into the holes around the base.  Most of our holes filled with water, so this is a messy job.  I finished two.  Only fifteen more to go!

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