Spare time found between rain storms, chores and wintertime laziness has me back along the old fence line. This is the fencing that had already broken down when we purchased the place 40 years ago and had never gotten around to getting the area cleaned up.
Slowly working my way through the brambles, I have still been locating stands of rusting barb wire grown into roots and buried in silt from the high-water floods.
Once and a while I find a cedar fence post with a few wires still attached but most of the time the posts have long since decayed or washed away during winter storms. During this wettest part of the year is the best time to be able to dislodge the barb wire from the earth, but I am unable to get the tractor into this spot to rake the wire out of the silt with the teeth of the bucket because it would just make a muddy mess. I would like to use the chain saw to slash the brush out of the way, but inherently would nick the chain on the old wires that are entangled this way and that.
So my arsenal of tools to grub along the line are little more than a shovel to uncover buried wires, a long handled pruner to whack back blackberry vines (some growing nearly 10 feet in length), a large magnet, a bucket for metal scraps and a fencing hammer to pull staples that hold old wires to cedar posts.
I sweep the line with the magnet to find those pieces of wire and staples that broke off and are still lodged in the dirt ( I wouldn’t want one of the cows to step on the metal and get a piece jammed into their foot). Any larger pieces of fencing wire needs to be wound up onto a roll. All metal is carried to the shop and put in with the other recycle metal destined to be taken into town when a pickup load is ready.
This is another task that may take several winters to clean up completely and will remain on my to-do list until it is finished.