December 23, 2013

Checking Fences

On our last warm day before our latest storm I checked the hayfield fences. We use the hayfield as winter grazing for the horses. In March my horses found a hole in the fence and went walkabout, and I want to make sure it doesn't happen again. Our neighbor checks the fence between his place and ours each fall, and spent several days recently fixing a hole in the corner that he said is where they got out, but the other three sides needed to be checked.

Our hayfield a few summers ago

I shut the cats in the feed trailer. They follow me everywhere, and I didn't want them way out in the hayfield. So, I gave them a scoop of cat food in the trailer (the one place that our dog Cracker can't steal it from them) and shut the door.

The hayfield looks flat, but it's made up of gently rolling hills surrounded by woods, bordered on two sides by deep ravines, and cut in the middle by a large blackberry thicket. I was glad to see how much grass is out there for the horses to graze. Under the tall wild oats and native grasses there are blades of green grass.

The fence disappears into the woods and
down a slope to the top of the ravine on one
side. I scrambled in and out of the trees
and the thorny undergrowth to make sure
the fence wires are intact. A very old
wild grapevine has grown up this tree,
and then dances in the air from one
treetop to another. It's hard to see where
the vine ends and the tree trunk begins.
The main trunk of the grapevine is as
thick as my arm.

I saw my first puffball mushroom, or at least the first one that I've recognized as a puffball. I turned it over with a stick and watched the "dust" puff into the air.

In the corner of the field where the two ravines meet, I climbed down the slope to check the fence where our neighbor made repairs. He'd told me that several trees had fallen on the fenceline, and he'd cut them down. I could see the fence posts but not the wire, so I went down further than I'd intended to, and then walked along the fence line for a distance. As always, our neighbor did an excellent job and I needn't have worried.

It amazes me that the horses came down this slope that morning without any more injuries than the scratches on Dakota's nose and leg.

Isn't it beautiful down here? I will only walk down here in the winter though, when there are no snakes and the undergrowth is sparse and low. The layer of fallen leaves is thick, and makes the slope rather slippery. Climbing back up was easier than edging my way down.

In several places trees serve as fence posts. Over the years, some of the trees have grown over the wire.

I did find two places that need attention. In one spot, the barbed wire has come loose from the posts and needs to be tied back up. In the other, the top piece of wire has broken and needs repair. I also found a wooden post that has rotted at ground level, but for now the wire is tight enough to hold the post in place. It will need a new t-post. I'll need to get these spots fixed before I can let the horses out to graze. That will be my job on the next nice day.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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