Digging Trenches, Building Fences

Two really huge projects are coming close to their completion. Because we want our cattle to remain in pasture all year long (ideally) and rely on feeding hay as little as possible, we found it necessary to fence several more acres of our property, and run water lines to several different locations to make it easy for the cattle to access while strip grazing.

It has been a bit of a race against time and the weather. At first, the ground was much too hard to even think of driving fence posts into it. There hadn’t been rain for months! Then finally when we did get a little rain to soften up the ground, there weren’t any fence posts available thanks to the recent economic upset. When finally the fence posts arrived and were driven in, there had been several rains, which was good for the fence posts, but which made it impossible to run a trencher for the water line installation! So we ended up pushing that back three whole weeks till the ground dried up. We were running 2100 feet of pipe 3 feet deep and installing 9 water hydrants at various points. Several places needed to be hand trenched with a shovel and a pickaxe, because we couldn’t run the trencher near power lines, gas lines, etc.

I think Nathan and I are getting just a little taste of what hard labor really means. Not to mention that we have often been thinking how spoiled we have been our whole lives never having had to work that hard every single day. In the pictures, you can see the trenches Nathan dug by hand with some help from a neighbor. “C” is standing in one, and the others you can tell are inside the barn. For the long stretches, Nathan rented a ride on trencher, a big powerful machine that went a whopping 5 ft per minute. Operating that turned out to be really quite boring, and a bit maddening since we wanted to be done in a hurry!

We have also been racing the cattle’s appetites. We need to get this pasture fenced and hydrated before they run out of grass in their current pasture. Will we make it? They have about six days of grass left. The fence is still not complete, as we still need to add about half the line poles and install the gate, but the water hydrants are set and ready to go and the water line has been buried. I’m proud to say becoming quite adept at installing high tensile electric fencing. In one picture you can see my ” jogging stroller turned mobile workbench”, complete with shotgun, in case any turkeys should waddle my way (it is hunting season after all!)

These projects actually, became a family affair, with the baby in the carrier on my back, children running back and forth carrying tools or sliding hardware along the fence lines. They were a great help, and were happy to do it, too. And that is one of the biggest blessings of farm life: the whole family can work together, and get a huge amount of satisfaction from the fruits of our labor!

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