Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fence Post Cutting for Women

Well the goats have really damaged their fence. Actually, it is so badly damaged that they no longer stay in it, unless they choose to. Part of the problem was that we skimped on fence posts. At the time my husband didn't want to fell any trees to make posts and instead wanted to buy steel T posts. I have never really liked t posts because with enough pressure the fencing just slide down the post as the ties loosen. Well that is exactly what has happened to most of their fence line. Field fence is a bear to straighten out. It must be completely taken down laid out flat and straightened. You simply make more of a mess if you try to straighten it out while it is up, especially attached to t posts. I have been waiting for my husband to help fix the fence. It absolutely must be done before the garden is planted or we will have the same problem as last year....goats walking over their fence right into the garden. Last year I would have had a really good harvest had it not been for the goats that ate half of the garden produce (if not more). They inhaled all of my fall greens. I only have two pastures that are fenced for the goats, the perimeter around the horse pastures is in barbed wire and definitely is not goat proof. The other pasture fenced for goats is the one that my neighbor in his enthusiasm to bulldoze his side of the fenceline drove two tree through the fence, dropped another on the fence and broke off 3 of my fence posts (wood). So the whole line between his property and mine in that pasture is destroyed. Yes, he cut the trees up and got them out of my way, but he didn't repair the damage done. So the goats are visiting the neighbors on that side and using his fields to get to the neighbors on the backside. I am tired of calling goats back home, my husband has the flu and is working very long hours lately, so it is up to me to solve the problem. The goat pasture attached to the barn is first on the agenda. There are several spots that the boys have broken the wire and that won't be salvageable, but I have a plan. Anyway, back to the fence posts. I don't like chainsaws much, but I am comfortable using a small one. Unfortunately we only have a big one. So what is a girl to do? Using an axe kills me and knocks me out of commission for several days due to the pain of hefting the heavy thing over and over. Believe me, an axe may not weigh much when you first pick it up but swing it over and over and it will begin to weigh a ton. So I broke out my trusty axe, made sure it was nice and sharp and went to work. I chose cedar trees to cut since I use my oak in the fireplace, and cedar is naturally insect resistant. I chose 10 inch diameter trees for several reasons. The thickness of the heartwood is what makes a fence post last and smaller diameter just doesn't have much heartwood yet. The soft outer wood will become softer over time so you need a tree with a good thick heart. Second, trees with this diameter will usually yield at least 2 good sized posts which means fewer trees to fell. And three, a 10 inch diameter isn't too terribly hard to cut through. So I took my trusty hatchet and used the v cut on one side and then cut through from the other. This helped to control which way my tree fell, especially if you take a look at the way the tree is growing. Oh, first I delimbed the bottom limbs so that I could get to the trunk. Once the tree was down then I delimbed the rest of the trunk with the hatchet. After 2 trees, I resharpened my hatchet. A dull hatchet makes for a lot more work on your part. All in all I got 4 trees down, delimbed and ready to cut into posts in 2 hours. Not bad for a girl!. I will cut those today and then get them prepared to set. Ideally you want to let the posts cure for several months to a year. I don't have that kind of time. So I will strip the bark from the bottom of each post (again with my hatchet) and paint that portion with a mixture of linseed oil and charcoal to act as a preservative. You simply crush the charcoal into a powder, mix in the linseed oil and paint it on. I will then set those posts, take the fence down, straighten it out and put it back up. Then I am going to run two strands of hotwire along the top portion of the fence. That will keep my boys from trying to climb it. That should solve that fence problem and then I can work on their other pasture fence. So for women I highly recommend working with a hatchet that is lighter weight than trying to use an axe. It is also easier to control. It cuts smaller bits than an axe would and probably takes more swings, but you can accomplish more and feel less pain afterword. I must admit my muscles are sore, but I am not in screaming pain like I usually am after trying to use the axe. Blessings from the farm. Kat

1 comment:

Kelle said...

Oh my you are a strong woman! I'm always afraid that I'll miss the log and hit myself, so don't swing hard enough to do much damage to the log. I've found that a wedge and maul work better for me*wink*

I like to do things myself I'm just apprehensive about using sharp objects, LOL!!!

Sorry to hear your goats got all your Fall greens, naughty goats anyway.

I've been thinking more along the lines of getting a couple of Nubian goats for our dairy and using the cattle for beef and future beef only. I just don't know a thing about goats, so will have to dive in and educate myself some before getting involved. If you have any hints, does, don'ts or any advice please feel free to email me at kellemt(at), please put in the subject box, that it's from you. Thanks in advance for any and al help.