Just Before

Just before our week of rain, we finally got down to getting that temporary fence put up around the barnyard of the barn across the river. I had taken the fence down during the end of summer when the  small field  needed to be open for the main herd to use the area for grazing. We were supposed to replace the temporary fence in the fall before the wet weather came but it was one of those things that got put on the back burner until the forecast demanded we get the area blocked off before the really wet week would cause the ground to get chewed up by hoof prints of the herd.

The poly tape has many advantages. It is very flexible and can be repaired easily by simply tying a knot and hooks to metal t-posts by plastic insulators. The whole fence can be set up or removed without too much work or hassle. The white tape is easily seen so the herd does not mess with it once they know it carries an electric charge. It is also easy to see if the elk have stormed through and created downed or broken wires that need repair. Putting up the fence or taking down the fence and storing the pieces does not require heavy gloves or fencing pliers.

The disadvantage is that the wire is not very heavy and does not last for decades as does barb wire.

With a day filled with a lot of small jobs, the fence got the t-posts replaced, insulators clipped, the poly wire restrung and the gate closed with the portable solar electric fence unit charging up the wire. The herd was not upset at all that they could no longer cut through the small field to get to the outdoor round feeders. After the first couple of hours all the cows including the three nearing weaning age were walking the rocked road as the path around the blocked area.

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Finding More Than Roots

On occasion, we come across old fencing when working around the farm, sometimes from fences that were established, used and abandoned. Other times, rolls of wire or a long tangle can be found as we are digging in the dirt when trenching. When I was down along the riparian where Mike had bladed the large wild blackberries out, remnants of an old fence line were found as I shoveled holes for the seedlings.

What long pieces of barb wire I could extract from the wet ground was rolled up into rounds. Then I went along with a strong magnet searching for those smaller chunks of wire that had broken off. The smaller pieces are the most dangerous for the cattle, if one happened to be eaten with a bunch of grass, it could poke a hole in one of the stomachs or intestines. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often and when ever we find metal of any kind we are quick to clean it up and get it out of the areas where the herd can tread.

Most of this day was spent removing the old in order to have a clean spot for the seedlings to reside. My trusty bucket was filled along with the rolls that I had accumulated down by the river.

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Less Solid Ground

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It will soon be time to lock the main herd of cows out of the fields that are used for hay, pasture and nursery areas. Once the ground becomes sodden with late fall rains, the cows begin to sink with each footstep making for uneven ground when running equipment and downright dangerous human-foot-catchers. So far, the ground has been fairly solid and the herd has been enjoying the rotations around the various fields as they munch the grass that has come back after the cold October. Continue reading

T Minus Eight And Counting

Sunday afternoon Mike and I were working on the mess on the top of the hill that is our property line, barb wire fence line and wind-ravaged, fallen and broken trees that litter the ridge line. He cut through a few fallen wild cherry trees and was going to pull them out of the way when strands of barb wire ended up wound up in and around the tracks of the logging bulldozer.

With him inching the dozer forward and backward while I tugged at the broken strands, we were able to free the dozer to once again attack the criss-cross tangle of trees and fencing. Continue reading

A Fence In There Somewhere

At the top of the hill there is a small area, less than five acres in size, that we have been avoiding for several years. It is the dividing line between us and the neighbor that happens to be a large tract(miles and miles in size) timber company.

We have avoided the trees in this spot because of a storm several years ago that caused powerful winds to rip across the ridge. The clear cut that the company had recently completed denuded the crown of the hill. The winds funneled through the newly created clear ground acreage and slammed into the trees that lined the ridge both on their side of the property line and on our side. The trees that had recently lost the big timber that protected them from the buffeting winds became susceptible to the force of the storm. Continue reading

No Flooding Here

nehalem riverIt’s hard to imagine the river getting low enough at our downstream edge to need fencing while much of the Willamette Valley is under flood warning with many evacuations.  The wet storm systems that have been coming in off the ocean are swirling in from the south and seem to peter out before they get twisted back to the coast range in the north, leaving us with much less rainfall.

We had to pile drive a couple of metal T-posts into the rocky shallows of the river and extend the wire fence that had washed out during the winter high water. If we did not replace the fencing, the cows could walk along the shallows and out into neighboring property.