Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fencing frenzy stymied.

Really it goes on forever and ever...

Phase 2 of fencing.
I went up on the hillside to do a little more fencing.  Our temporary electric woven wire fencing shipped on Monday.  So we are are trying to install all the metal woven wire we own to maximize the area covered by the temporary electric fence.  It was cold and windy yesterday but I decided I had better work on fencing anyways.  I went to the top of the back hill and rolled out my last large roll of scrap metal wire.  Unfortunately, I had not made it up to the top of the hill when I was burning so I had to clean up the fence by hand.  There was a lot of dead debris in the fence line and I had left the pitchfork down in the barn.  I just used my boots, a piece of broken wooden fencing and my arms.  I cleaned up about 300 feet of fenceline.  I stopped when I got to the end of the woven fence I had unrolled on the ground.  I then started to take the three strands of bottom barb wire off the existing fence.  I didn't get it all loose before I had to go get ready for work.  I need to install a rock crib at the end of the woven wire so I can tighten that section of fencing, detatch and roll up bottom three strands of barb wire and raise top four strands and then install the woven wire then just tighten it all. 

While I was musing and working I decided to boycott all future wooden rock cribs.  It takes me about 16 pieces of split rail to make a single wooden rock crib.  The current price for a rail is around $8 each.  So each rock crib costs around $128.  I need to build 6-8 each time I run up the hillside, at a total cost of approxmately $1000.  Plus, I need at least 9 wooden posts to cross the bottoms at $15 each for a total cost of $135.  There needs to be a gate below and above at a cost of $125/each or $250.  Add in one roll of smooth wire at $85 and around $100 for woven wire.  Oh, and don't forget the three panels to cross the creek for  $75.  Creating a grand total of $1775 to run a subdividing fence up the hillside.  Now it did not cost me that this time because I used on hand split rail and tied into an existing fence across the bottoms.  But due to labor and costs I am going to use the cow panel method of rock cribs.  You just take a 16 foot cow panel and cut it in half.  Now bend the eight foot pieces into circles and tie it to itself with its own exposed wire ends.  Tack in one wooden post (an old one from the ground) fill with rocks and you have a $14 rock crib that will not rot as fast as a wooden one.  So I am guessing the next subdivision will cost around $700.  I can substitute a piece of cow panel for one of the gates or save another $110 and just use cow panels for both gates and cut the price down to $600.  $600 seems a lot more reasonable.  I would like to subdivide up the hill four more times.  Once that is done I may even separate out the hillsides from the bottoms to allow us more flexibility.  We need to be able to rotate the animals around so that the pastures all have time to grow back without any livestock pressure. It is getting there. 

Phase 2 of the fencing I went down and walked the fence line headed up to the old well.  In the picture of the bottom pasture above the reconstructed fence would go almost to the power line on the left hand side.  It has woven wire in place for the first 400 feet.  I would just need to install a new H-brace at the end of the woven wire, tighten the wires and add one strand of smooth wire and about 25 metal T-posts to fix this fence.  I would need to cover the metal gate with a cattle panel also.  This would let us use the new electrical fence for the other two sides only. Coincidentally, this would be where I would want to subdivide back up the hill. Not going to happen this year, next year’s project.

 It has been very rainy here lately, which is good because we need the moisture.  The only problem is the ticks like a cool wet spring.  I was looking down at my leg and saw a tick crawling up my pant leg while on the hillside.  That was yesterday, and I am still thinking every itch is a crawling insect on my body.  The dog also had a tick on him, so I treated him with tick medicine.  I don’t like ticks.