Molly keeps insisting that we need a fence between the house and the orchard. Why? It seems that she doesn’t appreciate chicken and turkey poop on the porches, in the shop, and occasionally in the back of the truck. And as the domesticated farmer (and husband) that I am, I went to building a fence.
Building fences is nothing new for me, but the drought conditions gave it a new twist (wait for the pun). I mounted the auger (that’s the pun) onto the tractor and commenced putting holes in the ground for the anchor posts. But below the first foot of sand we have a thick layer of clay - and clay absent of moisture is like a giant sheet of rock. As I attempted to drill post holes, the auger spun and spun but only burnished the clay to a mirror finish. Well a good fence depends on deep set posts and I wasn’t making any progress, so I filled the holes with water and waited. The next day, I was able to hand dig a few more inches deep. Each day for over a week I repeated this process until each of the 6 holes were 3.5 ft deep.
Finally, having set the end posts, I set to installing the T-posts that span the distance between the wooded end posts. Again, this proved a challenge. After pounding in 12 of the 40 T-posts my body was telling me it was time to stop. After a week of carpel tunnel pain in both wrists, I was willing to pay a young hand to drive in the remainder (ah, youth).
Well it didn’t take him long to drive the T-posts in. So, while I had the help, we went about stretching the fence. I had bought a typical 4” sheep and goat fence to keep the birds from climbing through. But as we got to stretching the fence, I realized that it was very poor-quality fence - much softer than what I was used to. After spending 2 hours hanging half the fence I looked back and realized It just wouldn’t do. It was sagging and rippled like the desert sands. I knew that I would be filled with disgust every time I looked at it. So, with a positive nod from my helper, we went about undoing 3 hours of work and 100ft of fence.
After a quick trip (nothing is a quick trip when you live in the country) to the local hardware store yielded a role of High Tensile woven wire fence. The high tensile steel allows you to put tremendous stretch on the wires without them breaking - and results in a nice tight fence that springs back into shape when you (or a cow) leans on it.
Needless to say, I am quite pleased with the fence. I should have spent the extra money in the first place - a lesson that I never seem to learn. While I still have a bit of work to do (tying the fence to the T-posts), it should be tight enough to keep the turkeys off the porch. I’ll be moving them in a few days so keep following us on Facebook to get an update.