The Fence Project

We've talked for a couple of years now about fixing the hayfield fence so the horses can graze out there over the winter. Most years, our neighbor cuts and bales our field on shares in late summer. The fall rains encourage the grass to grow again, and there is enough growth out there by winter that the horses could graze.

Our 2008 harvest

This year with the drought, our neighbor did not cut the field because there wasn't enough growth to make it worthwhile. And since all the hay we'd bought and stored was burned in the fire, we really needed to get the fencing project done. However, it's a big job for the two of us to accomplish - which is why it hadn't yet been done.

When our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter arrived unexpectedly last Monday from out-of-state, they told us they were here to work, to help out. It was the perfect opportunity to get this done.

Step #1 was to remove two sides of the sheep pen. The wire was in deplorable condition - it really illustrates how easy it is to keep sheep IN. It took just a couple of hours for hubby and son-in-law to remove the wire and pull the t-posts. The posts were added to our pile of fencing supplies, and the wire was disposed of. Now the horses won't get tangled in the loose fencing, we have additional t-posts to use, and we can use the "sheep gate" for the horses to go from pasture to hayfield. Right there at the gate is a water trough as well.

Step #2 was completed the next day. The wire going across the pond was tightened and another strand was added. We hope this will keep them from escaping along the edge of the pond now that the water level is so low. Time will tell on this part; hopefully the Escape Horse will stay where the grass is.

We also straightened up a wooden post that leaned badly, ran barbed wire across an opening (this was a gateway without a gate, but our "fix" can be taken down relatively easily if needed), used the tractor auger to drill some deep holes into which we dropped big wooden corner posts, and stretched wire across another opening. (We all had a good laugh when our son-in-law "dropped" the cutoff telephone pole into a water-filled hole as directed, and was splashed with an abundance of dirty water!)

In Step #3, hubby and son-in-law filled in some armadillo burrows and sinkholes with woodchips left here recently by the power company.

Sadly, after that it was time to take our company to the airport and say goodbye. I am so thankful they came. What a surprise it was to us, and such a blessing.

Step #4 was to inspect the perimeter fence and tie up all loose wires, and tighten sagging lines. We finished up that task on Tuesday, and I flagged the fence with cut-up plastic bags so the horses would be able to see the fenceline.

And finally we let the horses into the hayfield! I don't know how long the grass will last, but each week that we don't have to buy hay is a blessing. Under the tall dead grass are green stalks, growing still in the warm winter temperatures.

My plan is to let them graze during the day, and shut the gate to keep them in their pasture at night.

In early spring we'll need to shut them out of the hayfield so that the grass can grow, but at that point they'll have grass in their pasture too.