Labor on Labor Day – or – Fencing Sucks

The most important thing you can do on your homestead to protect your livestock is install some good fencing! And, this not only goes for goats and horses, it’s for all of the animals in your charge. Sadly, our new farm has zero fencing, and I can speak for everyone involved when i say, “Fencing sucks!”

One of the first priorities on our new farm is putting up a fence for our little pups. Not only are there everyday predators running the perimeter of our land, but there are also at least eight neighbor dogs who roam. I know one of them for sure isn’t a farm dog and would easily get into a fight with my pups, since I saw him take off after my hens one day. Since he’s a huge mastiff and my pups are about 20 pounds, I know the outcome wouldn’t be good, as my mini schnauzer thinks she’s 100 pounds and isn’t fazed by anything weird. She runs head-first into situations and would chase down that mastiff in a heartbeat before I could recall her.

So, this Labor Day weekend was spent putting up deck railings and a picket fence to keep the puppies safe.

Instead of building from scratch, since we both still work crazy hours off the farm, we bought panels. (Lowes delivered all of the materials I ordered online for $75! That saved us time.) The only thing we needed to do was measure, dig post holes, and screw panels in. Easy, no? Well, you know it took three entire days, because if you don’t know, digging holes in Tennessee is darn nearly impossible – even with a powered auger.

Saturday, we started with the deck railings that were pretty simple. We worked 8 am until 4 pm and got them completely done. We used brackets on the bottoms, L brackets on the railings, and finished them with bottom trim and cute caps. Came out nice.

Sunday was when the headaches began. Not only was it 94 degrees with zero breeze and high humidity, but one side of the fence line is under a 150-yr-old red oak with a gazillion roots, and one side is where four power lines are buried – one to the well house, one to the barn, one to the pond, and one to an outlet where a pool used to be (a neighbor told me all of that). The lines are not running together; they’re running in all different directions like a spider web. Farm Hero tracked them all down and we shut of the power completely before digging. It was still a time-consuming, dirty, sweaty job. (Where’s Mike Rowe when you need him?) Between the roots, the power lines, and the heat, we only finished half of the fencing on Sunday. And, let me just mention that running a powered auger is like wrestling a flippin’ grizzly bear strung out on meth. Dang! Can you say, “Ibuprofen!?”

Monday went a lot better as we only had four final holes to dig. Putting in the posts and screwing in the panels aren’t a problem. Where we spent most of the time on Monday was on the gate. We nearly had to spend more money on a divorce lawyer during that project. But hey, it’s done, it swings, it closes, and I can get to the garden and the barn from the back yard. Win, Win! Sorry about all the swear words.

The finished results are wonderful. All we have to do is cut the post tops with the Sawzall, but that can wait until next weekend. The pups are safe. The back of the house feels a lot more secure. It was a pain, but sooooo worth it.

Our next big project is putting in six raised garden beds in front of the barn. I better wait a few days until Farm Hero’s back stops aching.

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