This week we took a couple of steps forward with all types of fencing at the farm. There are several reasons why this is appropriate work for this time of year.
- One is that the fields and crops are less demanding of our time so we can concentrate on other areas that do not get our attention in the high season.
- Second, the deer are quite a bit more active this time of year and so we are reminded of the diligence needed to keep them at bay!
- Third, the old cyclone fencing that we are tearing out is usually infested with wasps, hornets and other flying menaces but this time of year they are noticeably less active and we can work on those areas.
We have been working with a local company since last July to have our new wrought iron gates and fencing made to order. People wonder why we would use wrought iron to build this since it has maintenance issues over time. Well, for fencing that is nearly 8 feet tall, an aluminum fence would not be nearly as solid of a structure. We learned that if you treat your wrought iron by dipping it in molten, galvanized metal before painting it, that you can avoid the issues with rust for many, many years. So we went this route and after a couple of hiccups, we finally had the gate and fencing installed this Friday after Thanksgiving….black Friday indeed!
Another guy will come and install the operator mechanism (the motor will be in the garage) which will allow us to open and close this from our cars and also from a keypad.
We were always a bit curious as to why the original fence had been installed in such an odd formation. But as Robert Frost wrote, ‘Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.’ I think this is a paraphrase from one of his early poems entitled, Mending Wall, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.’ Whatever that reason, it no longer exists and neither does the fence!
First we used the Dewalt SawZall (reciprocating saw) to cut the upper pipe. (The saw was a Christmas present from Dave to me the first year we moved here, purchased with reward points from one of our credit cards.) We needed to cut the pieces into sections that would fit in Dave’s truck so we were measuring about 6 foot sections for each cut.
After getting all the pipe cut, we took Dave’s impact wrench (which he bought when he was building pools during his high school summers so it is at least 40 years old by now) and put it to work removing the rusty nuts from their bolts in order to take the whole mess apart.
There were wires for the old electric fencing to deal with and all kinds of gate closures and clamps to remove. These we were careful to not let fall in the grass so that we wouldn’t send flying metal into our windows when we mow the grass!
The nastiest part of the whole dismantling was something Dave and I both had dealt with in an earlier fence tear-out and knew to be cautious of this time. It seems that many of these cyclone fence manufacturers use a fiberglass plank of sorts to hold the woven metal cyclone part taut at the ends of the runs. This is what it looks like.
I guess fiberglass is cheaper than metal and can be very strong. Well, never grab onto a piece of raw fiberglass with your bare hands. The surface of it holds innumerable hairlike fibers that are, well, glass like in sharpness and if you brush against it, you will be feeling those invisible splinters in your skin for a very long time!!!
For our efforts to recycle sheet iron, painted aluminum, and aluminum cans, we received $33.81 and the satisfaction of putting this metal into a recycling program. The payout doesn’t include the posts which we will pry from their concrete bases in the next couple of days. Here is what it looked like after a morning of dismantling the fence.
Other highlights (no pun) of the week included the installation of the lighting for the outdoor grilling area. It is difficult to get a picture of this when lit up at night, but we are very pleased with the atmosphere it lends to the cooking.
But, I was saving the best news for last! Today I bravely made a cold call on a ‘neighbor’ who lives along one of the streets that I walk on. I have noticed their lovely yellow bee hives as I walk down Taylor Avenue. This year, I noticed they have added a third hive to their collection and after talking with their neighbor and seeing cars in the driveway today, I boldly rang the door bell. After a nice chat and a tour of their bees, they have agreed to come to the farm tomorrow to look at our orchard and discuss our future bee situation. I’m not sure how this will be structured exactly but I’ve decided this is an area for me to be an apprentice to a wiser bee keeper at first. I was so delighted with this development that I nearly skipped all the way home. I will have to give an update after our scheduled meeting tomorrow!