Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Dream of Fence

Fence, fence, fence.  It's a homesteader's constant want, need and chore.  When we bought this place, there was a decade's old barbed wire fence that had once surrounded about 3/4's of the perimeter of the land.  What posts that haven't become termite food or downed by falling trees aren't worth a lick, and the wires that were strung from them are buried underneath composted leaf litter, intertwined with greenbriars, snapped and wrapped into convenient ankle breaking and tripping hazards along the way.  In other words, that old fence is nothing but a hazard and another project in itself.

We originally had about a 3/4 acre five-wire electric fence for the goats.  Then the ice storm of 2009 took that out so we switched to a "temporary" cattle panel fence, but their browsing area had been greatly reduced.  We (meaning Paul) have been adding on to the panel fence so it's much larger than what we started with, but we now have many more goats than what we started with and the area, even though greatly increased, is still not adequate.
Why didn't anybody tell me I had so many freaking goats?
Not only are we unable to rotate paddocks (because there isn't room to) but they really need to be off that part of ground to help reduce the parasite load.  Paul has been working on a larger, permanent pasture area for the goats and Ms. Melman (the mule) but it's slow going because of his lack of help from yours truly and the fact that every stinking corner and line post takes an inordinate amount of time to break through the boulders riddling our land.  I'm hoping that by Summer the posts will all be in and we he can start installing the fence.  We decided to go all-out (i.e. Cha-ching!) and bought Red Brand Goat & Sheep fence.  It's a 48" high web wire with 4" squares and will eliminate not only the problems of the goats getting their horns/heads stuck in the fence, but will keep the smaller goat kids IN and hopefully keep any predators OUT.  That will solve our goat fencing problem, but it doesn't solve our garden fencing problem.
What could have been part of Rhiannon's college fund
Even if we didn't have the chickens to scratch, peck and destroy my gardens, there's still the deer to contend with.  Although Charlie seems to keep them away if he sees them, most of the time he doesn't see them as he's snoozing on the porch.  Paul put up a permanent fence around my berry / grape / whatever garden two years ago and that has been very helpful in keeping what berries & vegetables that did grow on our plates instead of in the munching maws of the local wildlife.

I'm hoping to have a small picket or waddle fence put around the raised beds and herb garden in the front yard, not only for protection from the chickens and deer, but for the simple fact that I think it would be nice to look at.  I've always wanted a little secret garden and I think Rhiannon would really like being able to "hide" out in her own little garden area.

Even after the pasture fence for the goats and mule is finished and the gardens are fenced in, there's still the job of fencing off the property.  We've had the property lines surveyed and marked and we know our neighbors are in agreement so it's just the "simple" job of dozing the entire 4,600-odd feet of line, driving almost 600 t-posts into bare rock and stringing whatever fence we decide on.  One day. Hopefully before I'm dead.  Or before Paul keels over from exhaustion.


  1. Don't forget corner posts with cross supports. Ya need three for each corner. I recommend 9inch minimum with three cross boards but most get by with just one cross board.

    You should have it easier though since you don't have any full sized useless horses destroying your fencing.

  2. This will test Paul!
    I installed 2900 feet of the same fence and a single strand of barbed wire on top but it was in Florida dirt. Even with a Cat tractor boring the fence post holes I thought I was going to die before finishing. Hang in there Paul, she's only just trying to kill you for the insurance money!

  3. Carolyn,

    It's a lot of work but well worth it in the end.

    Mike Yukon is too funny.......

  4. Wow! You DO have a lot of goats. We have a fenced in area started for the goats I may or may not have in the future. All we need are a 12' gate and a smaller one (4' I think) and some hot wire installed on the top of the fence. And then there's the shed for the goats we may or may not have that needs to be built. Then we'll need all the things that go along with having goats we may or may not have. It's not been a high priority as there's still so much to do around here. The funds and the lack of a truck make everything more difficult. I'm still "on the fence" about the goats but I guess when the time comes I'll just call it a new adventure!

  5. That is a lot of Red Brand wire! and a serious investment...but it is the best, I think.

    Just think how wonderful it will be when all that fencing is in.........we just gave up and hired ours done....of course we were a tad older than you all and milking then. We still get our share of trees on fence, deer jumping over top and dragging part of it down and the odd bull deciding he can just push his way through. Ah the joys of country living!

  6. I have some serious fence envy. I'd rather have that fencing than money in the bank. Of course, if I DID have that fencing I wouldn't have any money in the bank. And, yes, what's with all those goats....? (SciFi Chick is too funny!)

  7. I think that picture is a graphic illustration of your goat population explosion! (Good thing you didn't plan it that way. Hee-hee.) I love good fences. (Doesn't every homesteader?) There is something so basic and secure feeling about them. Too bad they cost so darn much and take so darn much time to erect. Sigh.

  8. Wow, real goat fencing. I know how pricey it is! For that reason we opted for regular welded wire fence. All I can say is (hindsight is 20/20, eh?) is that you made the right decision to go with the woven goat fence. Our goats are really rough on our fences meaning that no sooner do we get a fence up than it's time for repair!

    That first photo is great. Our goat population doubled this year so I know what you mean about population explosion, LOL

  9. Ah the little things in life. I dream of gutters right now, having our made next week. We did a DIY that didn't handle all the rain, so now we're having no seam made. It will look great!