We concentrate on replacing the north side of the garden fence. You can tell how bad the old fence was by how many posts are bracing it up. This length of fence is approximately 100 feet long.
The first thing we had to do was go ahead and lean the fence into the garden. We are needing room to clear and level-out the ground where we are going to put the new fenceline. Incidently, it amounts to about 5 feet further out and is a much straighter line.
Thank goodness for the Kubota tractor, with the disc implement Pete is able to till the soil and then smooth it out even where we want to put the new posts.
This picture was taken from inside the garden looking at the big old apple tree.
Doesn’t the new fenceline look good and straight? Yay! That should keep Bambi out of our garden for quite a few years.
This is the beginning of the west side of the fence for the garden. It is a fenceline that is 53 ft in length stretching out from the south side of the garage.
Here is how the old fence and gate looked on the other side (northwestern) of the garage. We walked in here to pick blueberries or apples.
We took down all the wire and pulled the old fenceposts/braces down, then smoothed out the ups and downs in the dirt along the fenceline. So, now we don’t have gaps between the ground and the wire at the bottom of the fence to deal with.
One Kubota tractor with a phenomenal operator can move mountains and valleys. I will never doubt the power of a man and his Tonka toy! Prior to the tractor, we left all the hills and valleys just were they were. Unfortunately, we used to have to put old logs at the base of the fences to keep turkeys out. They would come in every gap where the ground was uneven. Leveling the ground before building the fence, could be thought of as an act of forethought and planning. Wow, that is scary isn’t it? Are we getting smarter in our old age?
This is the west corner going 50 ft. then turning a 45º angle for 40 feet to go around the apple tree. Covering approximately 70 feet before it makes the turn uphill into the northern side of the fence.
Can you identify this mystery tool and what it is used for?
I wonder what part this tool plays in the process of fence building?
Rolling out 150 feet of wire fencing can be hard on your body. Don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s easy. First, my legs get tired from rolling out the wire. Then, the biceps get a good workout from lifting it up so it is vertical with the posts. Honestly, how many times can you walk up and down a fence line in a day before your legs wear out?
I learned how to straighten the wire. It is required that you pull with all you got, then pull again. Following this, my hands, arms, shoulders, abs, and legs are talking to me all night long.
Say hello to my little friend!
A Fence Tensioner
The mystery tool above is called a fence tensioner. I think I am in love. It is an old tool from Pete’s secret stash in the garage. A basic block and tackle assembly with a cogged clamp on one end that grabs the wire, and a dual hook chain on the other side. Pete showed me how to slip the chain around one fencepost, then hook the clamp end to the top wire of the wire and pull the rope. Yahoo! Nail the top in, then repeat for the bottom. This tensioner makes a wobbly crooked fence to a straight line. Sweeeeet!
Now all that is left is to staple the wire three times per post. The south side of the garden is about 150 feet long, with 15 fenceposts.
You can see how the wire is drooping down on the top row of wire before we used the wire tensioner.
We shift into a mode of making a new fence, starting with groundwork including tree and stump clearing. Then on to moving any other obstacles, like gargantuan boulders. The tractor easily flattens out the grade once the obstacles are clear. This grade work was done by hand using shovels, rakes, and wheelbarrows prior to buying our brother and sister’s tractor. Whew! Those were not the good ole days.
Last week we completed the rock retaining wall located along with the asparagus patch. This wall holds an entry corridor open on the lower level for secondary tractor access. About 4 feet of the bank is there between the upper and lower portion of the garden.
Slowly But Surely
Yesterday, we completed the west side (5 fenceposts) located on the south side of the garage.
Today we started on the longest straight fence line which is the south side of the garden. You can see the first group of posts in the ground starting at the lowest elevation down by the garage. This length of fence is approximately 150 feet with a walk-in gate in the center and a duplex equipment gate up at the top for equipment.
You may be able to notice the two tree stumps laying on the right side of the picture. These are from two dead trees that used to stand right where the new fence is going in.
We were picking up one pole at a time and taking them to the appropriate post hole to install. Lining up the tractor and dropping the post into the hole. Adjusting to make sure it is straight, followed up with upside-down-shovel tamping. Then on to the next posthole using the post hole digger on the back of the tractor. Once the hole is ready we drive back over to the fencepost pile for a post, chain it up and come back to put the next posthole in.
Demolition of the old fence begins with Pete taking down all of the top rails on the existing fence. Our demo construction experience “kicks in” as we prepare to build a new garden fence. All the new posts are painted and stacked to dry. Now we decide what is good enough for reuse and what is not. We sort and stack supplies, then burn debris in the fire. Then, do it again. Next, we remove the wire staples followed by taking down and rolling-up old wire for reuse.
The ground is graded after clearing the old fence away. This allowed easy and accurate measurement for South and Southwest corner posts locations. We stretch the blue bale twine line to use as a guide to help make the fence straight. Consequentially, by the end of the day, the first 5 fence posts are set on the southwest side of the garage.
Since this is not a one-day affair, we must construct temporary fencing each evening as we work. Why? Because Bambi is always a threat in our area. If you look at the middle of the dirt expanse in this picture you can see how we placed temporary fencing for this evening.
We have a total of 10 fruit trees in our orchard. It has taken years to get them all healthy and happy and they are beginning to bloom. It is so beautiful and fragrant. If we want any fruit this year we must not leave them out in the open for the deer to eat up. We hope that the weather doesn’t decide to freeze up and snow again before summer gets here. Just another thing that we are crossing our fingers for. Unfortunately, it is all over if those beautiful little flowers get frosted.
We have a dilapidated garden fence. With the accumulation of snow weight this winter, everything started to really lean. When the snow melted it became obvious. There is no way around it, we had to replace the fence. Dang! This is a view of the 1/4 acre garden that we plant every year with the messed-up old fence.
Over the winter our garden fence started to sag and lean everywhere, till we had placed just as many braces to prop it up as there were fenceposts. Here is a before picture of the Northside fence with all of its braces. You can see how saggy it all is. Guess it really is needing some help isn’t it?
This image illustrates how over the years, we have added fences as the garden expanded by simply going around big rocks or trees. There was no long-term plan. Laying out the fence in any kind of straight-line was not a concern so much as simply keeping the deer out of the garden.
It is a good thing we are not competing in any kind of Home and Garden contest because, in the existing leaning lines of fence, there is not even one single 90-degree corner angle in it. We began by trying to lay out the new fenceline with 90-degree corners but finally gave up. Our focus instead is on straight runs with the removal of all possible obstacles. Thank goodness for the Kubota…. thank you, Dan and Ann!
The south border of the garden is the longest continuous stretch of fence at approximately 150 feet long. It is going to also be the straightest stretch of fence in the new. You have seen all of the “before” pictures in our garden fence line replacement project. Now, you know what the Woelk’s in Elk do during quarantine, letting the ultraviolet rays kill all the Covid 19 virus cells as we sweat.
Fence replacement preparation steps. One of the first concerns with any project prep is being able to handle the cost of getting all of the necessary supplies. But, luckily Pete had already thought ahead by stacking a deck of logs to dry that we could use to make new fenceposts with. Thank goodness, the man is always thinking.
A couple of years ago, wild turkeys decided our garden was a local delicatessen, so we installed new wire then. We knew our material costs will be low if we are careful with the demo. Hopefully, we will be able to reuse a lot of the wire. It is going to be a lot of sweat equity.
We are well aware that it is not going to be an easy task!
But, what the heck. What else are we going to do with the hours at the home front during quarantine?
Pete and I set a corner post at the southeast corner discovering obstacles at the southwest corner. Two large trees with broken tops and a large rock which are removed.
Next, The logs are cut into 14-foot lengths and peeled. Then Peter began to split the larger logs by using 3 simple tools. A maul and two wedges, combined with lots of strength (sweat) and determination produced our 50+ fenceposts. Splitting fenceposts (an informative article), used to be a common yearly deed for Peter on his family dairy farm, but I found it to be an amazing thing to see in modern-day life.
Truthfully, old age is not for wimps. Increased energy expense requires aspirin consumption at night. Honestly, we both have had to make use of our jetted bathtub to ease sore muscles during the evenings of this project.
Preserving Fencepost Bases
I mixed all of the enamel paints we had leftover from house constrution together. It produced a real yucky purplish-brown mix. Luckily, it blends in well with the color of dirt. Painting the post bases helps provide some protection for the wood. As the logs were split, they were moved to the painting area (pictured above). Afterward, they were again stacked to dry and await being put into the ground when we were ready.
Pete is amazing to watch as he moves the posts from one area to the other. He also alternates between removed top rails of the old fence line and clearing and/or leveling the grade where we want to put the new fence. We are both quite busy.
Our goal was to do the best job we could. After all, we don’t want to be doing this fencing replacement project on a yearly basis, just because we were too lazy to do it right.