Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pounding Rock

Paul did more tractor and dozer work last weekend in order to increase the size of the goat yard.  The goats have been in an area about 45’ x 45’ and it just wasn’t large enough for them; especially since the herd size went up by three (Nettie’s new doelings) and we still have three more pregnant goats so more are on the way!
After we cleared the area for the goat yard addition, Paul set up our new mechanical post pounder and pounded away.  The ground was still a bit damp, which makes pounding posts - by hand or mechanically - much easier. 
People-Powered Post Pounder

Paul had debated on which type of mechanical post pounder to get for several months.  Why get a mechanical post pounder when there is such a thing as a “manual” post pounder you say?  Look back at the above picture.  That pounder isn’t sitting on a gravel driveway….that’s some of the cleared land.  And that’s what the posts have to go through.  Yes, there may be an inch or two of top “soil” where grass can get a foothold, but just underneath the surface is rock.  Anyone who lives in the Ozarks knows that the three things we grow best around here are ticks, chiggers and rocks.
He looked into an attachment for the tractor, but that meant that we’d have to clear a path for the tractor even before we could put in posts and about half of the area we want fenced is in the woods.  As much as we’d like to have a clear trail surrounding the property, it’s just not feasible at this time; too time consuming.  Although the tractor attachments were nice, they were also quite spendy.
The post pounder he ended up buying is a unit made by Rohrer Manufacturing out of Oregon.

The unit is pneumatically operated so you also need an air compressor to run it. 

We found a used compressor in our local paper and it is large enough to run the pounder, but still small enough that it isn’t too much trouble to move it around on the property.  The compressor is also handy to have around for other air tools and for pumping up the tractor tire on site instead of having to drive the tractor back to the garage.
We ended up setting about fifteen t-posts and used some of the trees as supports.  We still had a stack of cattle panels so we tied those up to the posts and trees instead of using a field fence.  This isn’t an ideal setup, but it more than doubled the goat area. 

After we finish clearing a bit more land for pasture, the idea is to put up treated wood posts every 100’, t-posts between those and use a “goat proof” (Ha!) field fencing with a hot wire at goat-nose and mule-nose height.  I like the durability of the cattle panels, but it would cost way too much to fence the larger area with them.  Ms. Melman and Nugget (the mini-horse) will then finally join us here and they will share the pasture with the goats & chickens.
I sure hope everyone gets along.
Paul's Take
Carolyn wanted a place with all woods.  Didn’t consider that having livestock would require some sort of pasture.  But did she listen to me??? Nooooooooo.  So now I’ve got to run a tractor and a dozer and a chainsaw, saw logs and split wood and burn brush.  Buy t-posts, field fence, hot wire, fence charger, connectors, insulators, fence pliers and a million other things.
The pneumatic pounder works fine, although I would like to have a hydraulic post pounder for the back of the tractor; more power, less work for me.   Actually, I’d like it if we had bought a place with pasture instead of woods in the first place, but noooooooooooo.
Not only that, but I never recall agreeing to an entire herd of goats.  I believe she said she wanted a milk goat.  Not three, not seven, not a dozen.  We wouldn’t need all this fencing if we didn’t have all these animals.  Now that I think about it, I believe I only agreed to the chickens. 
She’s trying to kill me.


  1. What's not to love about any new tool? Sweet! I am guessing that "Paul's Take" ought to be pretty funny :)

  2. Paul, I like the pneumatic post driver! Having driven ‘T’ posts by hand before I know what a workout it is. How many strokes per minute does it make and how long did it take to set a post barring any rock in the way?
    As for Carolyn trying to work you to death, well that’s normal for women and why men die before they do! :-)

  3. When we first moved to the country in 1976; I just wanted more gardening and orchard space.

    DH came home one day and said he had bought a bull and a few cows.............and we were off and running.

    In 1991 we bought the adjoining farm....have a herd of Black Angus, chickens and dogs and cats and a milk cow! Next will be two pigs.

    It just gets out of control.

    And remember, a man started it all!

  4. YM,
    Depending on air pressure, guessing under 100 per minute. Depending on soil & rock, it may only take less than a minute including setting the post onto the pounder & lining everything up. Of course, there is a learning curve on installing them, but if you don't get into a big rock it does well. It's still pretty labor intensive, but beats pounding it by hand.

    What? No goats yet??? :)

  5. I did the same thing with cattle panels - seeing as I only have myself, and myself to blame for all these animals! But when my ewes had lambs, one little stinker kept popping through the fence. So goat/sheep fencing had to go up. L.U.V. the hydraulic pounder. I use the people pounder and here in upstate NY, we share the rock-growing properties with you Ozarkians.

  6. Susan,
    We also have a problem with the kids getting out. Not sure if we're just going to "deal" with it or maybe put up a run of chicken wire on the outside just to keep them from getting out. Only problem is that the kids will eventually end up getting into the garden...and that's NOT going to fly!