In an effort to clear back vegetation so the electric fence does not short out, I have made my way down along the outside of the bull pen over the last couple of weeks. It’s been a slow go as I hacked and wacked buckbrush, wild blackberry vines, maple saplings, wild cherry saplings and dead ferns higher than my head. Most of it was done with clippers (long handled lompers), but the saplings needed my little chainsaw to fall them before hauling off the line.
With that stretch of fence line clear, I have turned my attention the opposite direction and am now whacking my way toward the lower woods.
It is a short walk across the pasture from the house, but then I have to step over one electric wire that is barbed and likes to attack at random. then I have to bow in half to step between a hole in the woven wire fence (luckily there is a wooden brace pole that I can lean on for stability. Once standing on the far side of the woven fence, I have a second electric fence that is made out of barb wire. This second fence is the one I have have been clearing the brush around. To clear around the bull pen, I turned toward the road from here, since I finished that stretch, I now turn left where a large patch of wild roses has entangled the electric barb wire on our side, the woven wire fence in the middle and the electric barb wire on the neighbor side of the fence. I have found the rose bush stems too wiry to cut with a chain saw and have to resort to other means.
This rose patch is most likely older than I am. I have lived here since 1978 and it was good sized then. Now, if one were to drive two loaded trailer semi-trucks and park them side by side you would get the idea of just how big this patch is. My job is to plow a path about two feet wide right down the middle. I had been clipping for two days with my garden lompers and had not moved more that a couple of feet. It was time to get more serious with my clearing project.
I took the push lawn mower out of storage, removed the grass clipping basket and set both front and back tires to the highest mow setting. Set like this, the mower clips about 4 inches off the ground. I still took hedge clippers and my garden lompers because I knew that I could not just mow the 7-8 foot tall tangled rose spikes off without at least getting them below knee level first.
The electric fence wire disappears into the thicket within inches of where I had cleared the rose bushes. I worked my way into the thicket, clipping with first hedge clippers to clear the path so my upper body could reach forward, then used the long handled clippers to nip the stems below the electric wire line. Then I revved up the mower and forced it forward along the fence line clipping the stems down closer to ground level.
I almost was able to make the path open for a full 5 feet after working a solid 4 hours this day. There will still be several more days of work before I will get through this single thicket of old growth rose bushes.