Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Installing barbed wire fence - part 1 of 3

The new property only has one straight property line. The rest of the property lines are defined by a stream, road and a ditch. Literally -- the legal description says "the north bank of the stream" and "the center of the ditch" and so on. This is the first time I've had to deal with a legal description that relies on moving landmarks for a boundary.

So the first part of this is to cut a path through the brush along the proposed fence line. I want to leave a wide margin by the stream and ditches, but I want to enclose as much of the property as possible in the perimeter fence, so the the first order of business is to walk down and scout it out.

As shown by the picture, this is easier said than done. Most of the bushes have thorns, and the ones that don't are a mixture of pretty innocuous weeds and poisonous weeds. So you walk down there with a chainsaw or a machete, and hack a path through.

Once you've got the rough line hacked out, you calculate where your stretch points are going to be and hump these heavy rolls of barbed wire out to the starting point. Bryan and I carried these rolls of barbed wire about a thousand feet to this point down a mowed path. That sucked.

Then we cut a short branch off, and carried each roll down the fence path, unwinding as we went. This is the creek side, where we mostly used alder trees as fence posts and stretch points. We'd go straight between two trees, and then change direction for the next run, and work our way through the grove this way. Notice the gloves: We're both wearing thick leather welding gloves because they're longer and thicker than working gloves. Otherwise this wire will shred you like lettuce.
After doing this for a while, we found that the easiest way was to carry each of the four rolls of wire do the next stretch point, stretch and tack the wire up for each of the 4 strands, and then carry the rolls to the next stretch point. When we tried to carry them a long distance the multiple strands got tangled and it took a bit of time to get them straight. Doing it 100' at a time meant less untangling time. And the shorter stretch points made for a tighter fence.

1 comment:

Lee said...

My wife pointed out the welding gloves in your photo two posts ago and said, "Hey, that's a good idea!" I've always wondered how barb wire stops cattle when leather gloves do such a good job of stopping barb wire.