View Full Version : Fencing Vent! It's almost done and almost fun!

Nov. 10, 2009, 03:54 PM
This summer, I bought out my sister's share of our inherited farmland. It is 75 acres, mostly old cow pasture, some nicely managed woodlot, two fields and a neglected orchard. And at least a mile and a half of crappy barbed wire fence. Right now it won't even hold cattle. It's so bad, I'm afraid to ride my horse in the pasture for fear I may possibly be thrown and then he would be running loose inside this horrendous barbed wire.

SoooOooo... On my lunch hour, I often run out there and spend half an hour or so cutting brush out of the fenceline so it can either be repaired for cattle, or removed completely.... I haven't decided There is 25 years worth of multiflora rose, grapevine and thornapple. At least the pasture has been mowed periodically, including this summer, so besides the fence, the rest of it looks nice and grows beautiful deep grass. And, after we mowed it this summer, my husband and I spent a day with the backhoe removing dozens and dozens of boulders.

BUT, periodically, over the years, my family rented the pasture out. And these various people did some of the worst fence repair I've ever seen! Of course they didn't take the time to clean the line like I am, so if they encountered too much brush, they simply made a second line on one side or the other of the brush. So in spots, I have double crappy barbed wire. Try climbing through THAT to get to the other side. Don't even get me started on what's left of the gates....

When I've found broken wire, I've pulled it out of the weeds and coiled it at a post for future removal. I have no fewer than 8 good sized brush piles ready to burn, and.... I hate wire, I hate rose bushes, I hate thornapple trees, I hate grapevines, I'm not too fond of fence posts, since about 20% of them seem to be rotted off.... I'm presently covered in goldenrod seeds and scratches and there are thorns stuck in my jeans.

A few weeks ago I was talking to the local dairy farmer trying to work out a use for my land. He already uses the one large field, and he was asking if I was really attached to the existing fence layout, because there are two other areas that could be turned from pasture to field if some fence were removed. He's got hired farm hands. I pray he decides to rip it ALL out!

The only good thing I have to say about the darn wire... At least I don't have to paint it ;) ***sigh*** I feel better now!

Nov. 10, 2009, 05:20 PM
That calls for

a) hot Bubblebath
b) glass of wine
c) scrumptious chocolates
d) all of the above, multiple times.

Maybe you can strike a deal with the farm hand to rip the crap up! :lol:

(I bet the roses covered the barbed wire nicely from afar....:))

Nov. 10, 2009, 06:20 PM
And a tick check, at least around here.

I ripped out about 500 feet of old barbed wire in old overgrown fenceline, so you have my complete sympathy!

Nov. 10, 2009, 06:35 PM
goats love roses -- just sayin'

Nov. 10, 2009, 07:20 PM
ugh. sounds like you'll have a lot of work for quite awhile....but (!) (isn't there always a 'but'?)....75 acres!!!
While I can share your grief and hardship yet to come in removing the old barbed wire....I can also ENVY YOU BIG TIME.
:D fence off what you want to enjoy and use in a 'temp' way...and gradually work on the remainder over time....You are indeed blessed in that much acreage! It will always be a plus for you in the end....its yours!

(looking at the glass half full, and not half empty)

Nov. 10, 2009, 08:33 PM
Yes, you're right it is mine! And it's beautiful. Even without horse fence and mares and foals galloping on it.

A lunch break of cutting brush is usually really refreshing and gratifying. Today I tackled the worst 10 feet which had a thorn apple, a rose bush, and a 2" grapevine set in the middle of one of those double fence spots. Now the North line is CLEAR! Hooray! On to the East line.

Here are some photos. They keep me going when it seems insurmountable.
I still have to do something about the orchard with it's fallen trees, and the woodlot with the tree tops from the last time it was logged... I think I'll ask Santa for a chainsaw and a pair of loggin chaps!

East from the Frontage (http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q113/smartalex_photos/Land/Eastalongthefrontage.jpg)

West from the Frontage (http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q113/smartalex_photos/Land/westalongthefrontage.jpg) The little tiny blob under the tree on the right margin looks so insignificant, but is the tangled mess I cut today!

Galloping along the Orchard (http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q113/smartalex_photos/Land/AppleOrchard.jpg)

The Day of Rocks (http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q113/smartalex_photos/Land/TheBIGRock.jpg)

Nov. 10, 2009, 09:45 PM
Call the local firewood suppliers. They might want the dried out tree tops and especially the fruit tree remains. Don't forget fruit woods are popular for nice winter fires. Even if they only want some that will be something. Or advertise on freecycle or craigslist about free firewood-they just have to haul and cut it off your property (less legal liability that way). Also if you say where you are located maybe someone on here will want the fallen trees. And if you know anyone who heats entirely with wood they would love hardwoods like the fruit trees. I wonder if you could clear the entire fence line with a bulldozer? I bet a big one would do it all in one day, and it's worth looking into. It could take care of the barbed wire, posts and brush at one time.

Nov. 11, 2009, 08:09 AM
Wow. SOOOO beautiful! You ARE lucky indeed.

Heck, I'd invite a few good riding buddies and have a day of riding, followed with horse camp and then enjoy a bonfire with all the wood/tree tops you pile up!

Nov. 11, 2009, 10:30 AM
Call the local firewood suppliers. They might want the dried out tree tops and especially the fruit tree remains.

My step father will probably be working on my tops next year. He has nearly completed my mother's woods which was logged at the same time. But... with the popularity of pellet stoves, he has had cords of cut wood advertised for a couple of months with no takers. One of the neighbors does take tops, and will probably be looking for more within the next year. The last time my property was logged, maybe 15 years ago, we had a guy who cleaned the tops and paid us in a portion of cut wood. We just got the last of his abandoned equipment hauled off about 3 years ago. So, no one who is going to saddle me with a 60 year old dump truck and a 30 year old camper trailer will be welcomed to clean tops :cool: I'm pretty sure I can find takers for the apple trees as they are right along the road.

Luckily, the worst of the fenceline is now cleared. I couldn't go the bull dozer route because of large trees in the line. The portion of fence that the farmer is thinking of taking down, may go the route of the dozer because they will have to level that into the field anyway.

I do have the issue of an interior fenceline running through the wood lot. That line is so deteriorated that in spots I can't even follow it. I'm thinking a crew of young Amishmen is the way to go with that mess. :yes:

Lord Helpus
Nov. 11, 2009, 01:53 PM
I have one word for you after looking at your gorgeous land:


I don't (of course) know what it is planted in now, but even if it is straight orchard grass, if you do some weed control and top seed it with timothy or alfalfa, in a year from now you will have enough money in the kitty to start fencing your property. And every summer it will grow back!!!:winkgrin:

Such a deal! :yes:

Tom King
Nov. 11, 2009, 02:24 PM
Hire someone with a 953 or 963 loader and dumptruck to dig a big hole somewhere out of the way and scoop up the whole fenceline and dump it in the hole. Then start a new fenceline on the smoothed out bare stretch. Whatever that spouts back up can either be sprayed or just kept clipped. It will be many times easier than what you are dealing with now.

Nov. 11, 2009, 02:50 PM
Before they haul all that useless wood off your gorgeous (and I'm jealous) property, make sure there isn't something you could use to make good cross country course out of. Nothing worse than letting something go and then saying, 'darn!'

I know someone who cut the unwanted pine trees off their property and built an addition to their barn with it.

Nov. 11, 2009, 05:04 PM
Thanks for all the good ideas and different perspectives. I am still struggling with letting go of how it has always been used, and where the fences always have been so I can think more clearly about the most economical and easy way to make use of the land. My current approach isn't the easy way! With a little support from you guys, and another day or two fighting thorn bushes, I may just get out of my "how it's always been" rut and call for the dozer!

The farmer has taken soil samples and will meet with his consultant in February then I'll find out how much of it he wants to use. There are some land characteristics that make a portion of it more suitable to pasture than fields so I may come up with a whole new pasture footprint.

And Saidapal, I did think of using some of the wood and lay of the land to make myself a bit of a "cross country" course. I don't jump (yet), but I would love to have a safe, maintained off road "course" to do conditioning gallops and just have fun on. My horses are boarded at my Mom's and I already have a field route where I ride, and getting rid of these dangerous fences and putting in some natural obstacles is in the back of my mind.

May. 26, 2011, 03:33 PM
Almost two years after starting this thread, I'm still working on fence.

We decided to rent the pasture to the neighbor for his heifers. He gave me a chunk of money for supplies, and I hired Amish to come help. We're on the home stretch now. All those hours initially spend clearing undergrowth from the lines in 2009 sure sped things up.

I've been taking time here and there when it's needed most to lend an extra hand. So on my lunch hour today, I changed quickly, drove 8 miles to the pasture. Walked a quarter mile of fence in crotch high grass and ankle deep mud. Pulled about 30 old staples, and walked back. It whooped my butt! Who needs a gym membership? The "crew" including my mother and step father are now moving that saved wire I unstapled to the new line and I am sitting at my desk red faced, damp haired, panting and trying to cool down before I change back into office clothes. I'm sure my co-workers think I'm nuts. I sure can mess myself up in an hour. But BOY does it feel great!

Here is a blog from a couple of weeks ago when I spent my first day working with the Amish and learning how to roll barbed wire.


May. 26, 2011, 07:28 PM
I"d laugh but I am so envious of your beyootiful place. We have the metal dump, we have the fenceline that is so deteriorated the only wire left is the heavier wire on the bottom and it's almost impossible to trace (unless you trip on it), we have the truly crappy fence left by my former owner and the cattle tenant behind us - in order to get staples out of trees you have to chop through the tree, or cut the wire and hope to God you never need to go after that particular tree with a chainsaw (metal inclusions are Really Bad Things). We also have lots of rocks, the fieldstone kind, so if some miracle ever happens we have lovely stone wall building rock, but in the meantime we have big heaps scattered a short distance from whatever project dug them up. Lots of them.
I love that you are carrying on the family farm - enjoy!

May. 26, 2011, 07:46 PM
I have a bag I carry over my shoulder which has a fencing tool, a hammer, BOLT cutters for the wire or staples, and heavy duty loppers. The staples go in the bag. There are plenty of old trees doubleing as fence posts!!! On some of them I just cut the wire on each side leaving what was grown in there.

In the past I was afraid to ride my horse in the pasture because if I was thrown, the perimeter fence was so unsafe. Now, at least, I could ride because the fence is visible and all the loose coils are picked up so if he came to it, he could see it. I never truely appreciated what a coil of barbed wire could do until I got one wrapped in my shirt tail.

Today, with all the rain we've had, and the hay being so high (Will it EVER get cut?!?) walking that long slope nearly killed me. When I passed my step dad on my way out I said at least I was wearing a bright orange shirt so if I colapsed from exhaustion before I got to the road I would be easier to spot. It was a tough morning at work, so the exhaustion was cathartic.

May. 26, 2011, 08:28 PM
wow, i am so impressed--and so jealous!!
your hard work will reward you for years to come.
will you give us a hint of what part of the world you're in?

May. 27, 2011, 11:08 AM
Western NY. The land of wet soil ;)

May. 27, 2011, 01:40 PM
We bought 100 acres that had been farmed, logged and then abandoned for about 10 years. There were lots of dumps on it. :o Seriously, people would just drive over to the property and dump their garbage.

I spent an entire summer pulling up old barbed wire. And yet it still appears out of nowhere. I was fixing fence this spring and stepped into a piece that wrapped around my leg. Glad it was me and not one of the horses.

I took mine all to the public dump. They hated me up there because apparently the wire got caught in the tracks of their hoe. Too bad, its a dump and I don't want to look at it or have the chance of anyone stepping into it.

It is amazing what I'm still finding 16 years later. This spring I found an old baby crib in the channel. I'm always on the lookout for stuff.

And yes, its always an ongoing project. We have to redo a few corner posts this year.


May. 27, 2011, 03:56 PM
Weirdest thing I found this year was a shiney table spoon. Little Anna the Amish girl was tagging along behind me holding posts steady and we came across this spoon. It must have blown off a load on the way to the dump like a lot of stuff does.

Anyway, we got a kick out of it. I showed her how her reflection in the concave side was upside down.

Grossest thing I found was a cat skeleton in a plastic bag last year. I don't even want to think about whether it was dead or not when it got there.

Today was pay day so I waded out there to settle up. I gave all the kids some money for their help. They're on summer vacation (Levi says "I don't get any vacation" :D) so they've been along for the ride each day. Little Daniel is about 4 years old and he got a $10 bill for his piggy bank. I swear this kid is the most charming, handsome little kid you've ever seen. Even my mother says he's going to be a real heart throb when he grows up. Anyway, I gave him his $10 and a few minutes later, he had gone to the wagon to get his lunch box, and I looked down to a tug on my hand. He had half of his cookie to give me. He's just the sweetest thing!