The Fence (Part 1)

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When it comes to The Fence, there are a lot of decisions to make. And some of them are rolling decisions. And all these decisions require more knowledge than I have. So I’ve been looking up a lot of articles and youtube videos on “Field Fence installation” for months to see what everyone on the interwebs had to say. And then I talked to Bill at tractor supply for a very long time and he answered many of my questions and helped me spend a lot of money. Ah the fence. And I’m still spending considerably less than I would have to go chain link or some other type of fence. It just comes with the territory. Some things you think you have decided, and then while you’re actually installing components, you decide your previous decision needs to be revisited. So you’re back to thinking through other options again. Who knew fencing would be such a mind-bending exercise?

Field fencing requires a few components:

– Wood fence posts for the corners (three posts vertical and two horizontal for every corner + tension wire). The idea is that your corners are the foundation you pull the fence against. You need solid foundations or the whole thing will not be tight enough or will fall over. Wood fence posts go 42″ into the ground and require a lot of post hole digging. Not super fun.
– T-posts – you drive these in with a post driver and it goes pretty quickly. These are all the interim posts between your wood corners. Super easy compared to the corners.
– Field fencing – you stretch this in connect it to the corners and t-posts. Stay tuned for that adventure.
– clips, tools, blah blah blah

Things that went super well:
– I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate the friends and family that came out to help. As a person who does 90% of her projects solo, this one was just plain daunting and much too big to tackle solo. I spent weeks clearing (also with some help- Donal and Lindsey save my bacon yet again) which felt like a lot. And this is just a lot of fence to be putting in solo. Lots of friends and family came out to help and I am eternally grateful. It was also a great morale booster since there was so much visible progress made in just one day, for the small price of providing lunch and beverages, and now owing everyone favors.  While the men helped with the post driving and post hole digging, my sisters cut up veggies for lunch, kept an eye on the babies, and clipped and hauled more brush.

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– I had one (from work) and rented two additional post drivers for the day. For a mere $14 it made it possible for three people to be installing the t posts at the same time. Invaluable when you’ve got the help standing right there!

– Lawn service. After the grass was well past my knees, my cousin who runs a lawn service was finally able to come cut it for me! (His mower had broken down a few times in a few weeks so the grass got really out of control). So while Ben mowed the jungle, we started on the fence. Hard to believe how awesome a mowed yard can make a person feel. Not to mention that he let me use his van and trailer to go pick up the wood posts while he was mowing.

– Beer. I stocked the fridge and it got fairly emptied throughout the day. Beer apparently makes fencing more enjoyable, although I only had one through the day because I was busy running around. In retrospect, I probably should have drank more beer throughout the day.

– We took done the first of many ugly misplaced pine trees. The gap it left behind is a beautiful thing. Hauling it through the yard with a CRV (tied up with dog runner) was incredibly white trash and kind of awesome.

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Things I would do next time:

– Rent or borrow at least one and maybe two more post hole diggers, although much more enjoyable for the help to just take turns digging, it may have been more efficient to have more than one person digging at a time.

– I also felt a little bad because of those rolling decisions. But I did make as many as I could have ahead of time. At least I tried!

Up Next:
– I have to actually assemble the corners (need to borrow a drill bit from my dad to drill in the brace pins). Also need to figure out how to install the bracing wire and components on the corners. And there are still half a dozen corner holes to dig and install the posts.
– And then the fence stretching… which I have a lot of facts about and no practical experience with. That’s gonna be interesting.
– Buy and install big farm gate to the field
– Buy and install about 50 feet of picket fence along the front by the house, including two gates
– Figure out some way to hack a fence extension on about 100 feet of the back fence. There is an existing fence there but it is too short (and the dogs both know they can go over it). Instead of going through all the work to do the whole field fence routine, I’m trying to devise a simpler and cheaper solution.
– Fill that corner gap in the far back corner- it’s about a 3 ft gap in the far back corner. I think a few feet of welded fence wired to the existing fence will do the trick.

So close… and yet so far…

And once this fence goes in, I’m going to reconsider my decision on a puppy… and sheep… and chickens…

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