West Side of Garden Fence

West Fenceline (southern)
Southern side of the garden West fenceline

This is the beginning of the new west fence line which is 53 ft in length stretching out from the south side of the garage.

before of west side on the north
northern side of the west fenceline

Here is how the old fence and gate looked on the other side (northwestern) of the garage. We walked in here to pick blueberries or apples.

Old Northwest fence line removed
old fence is removed

We took down all the wire and pulled the old fenceposts/braces down, then smoothed out the ups and downs in the dirt along the fenceline. So, now we don’t have gaps between the ground and the wire at the bottom of the fence to deal with.

One Kubota tractor with a phenomenal operator can move mountains and valleys. I will never doubt the power of a man and his Tonka toy! Prior to the tractor, we left all the hills and valleys just were they were. Unfortunately, we used to have to put old logs at the base of the fences to keep turkeys out. They would come in every gap where the ground was uneven. Leveling the ground before building the fence, could be thought of as an act of forethought and planning. Wow, that is scary isn’t it? Are we getting smarter in our old age?

west fenceline posts installed
New West fence posts installed

This is the west corner going 50 ft. then turning a 45º angle for 40 feet to go around the apple tree. Covering approximately 70 feet before it makes the turn uphill into the northern side of the fence.

Putting New Fenceposts

clear SW fenceline
clearing south and west fenceline

Good Fences

We shift into new fence routine, starting with ground work including tree and stump clearing. Then on to moving any other obstacles, like gargantuan boulders. The tractor easily flattens-out the grade once the obstacles are clear. This grade work was done by-hand using shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows prior to buying our brother and sister’s tractor. Whew! Those were not the good ole days.

Last week we completed the rock retaining wall located along the asparagus patch. This wall holds an entry corridor open on the lower level for secondary tractor access. About 4 feet of bank is there between the upper and lower portion of the garden.

W new fence posts
West new fence posts

Slowly But Surely

Yesterday, we completed the west side (5 fenceposts) located on the south side of the garage.

fence south side begin
fence south side begin

Today we started on the longest straight line of fence which is the south side of the garden. You can see the first group of posts in ground starting at the lowest elevation down by the garage. This length of fence is approximately 150 feet with a walk-in gate in the center and a duplex equipment gate up at the top for equipment. You may be able to notice the two tree stumps laying on the right side of the picture. These are from two dead trees that used to stand right where the new fence is going in.

We were picking up one pole at a time and taking them to the appropriate post hole to install. Lining-up the tractor and dropping the post into the hole. Then, adjusting to make sure it is straight, followed up with upside-down-shovel tamping. Then on to the next posthole using the post hole digger on the back of the tractor. Once the hole is ready we drive back over to the fencepost pile for a post, chain it up and come back to put the next posthole in.

Pete is Working & Tractor Is Slacking

This animation brought a smile to my face when I noticed how Pete was loading up fenceposts on the tractor. Pete says, “This way saved a lot of time transporting poles.” I tend to want to use machinery if at all possible, instead of my back. My back hurts just watching him pick up those heavy beasts. What do you think?

 

Demo Old & Begin New Fence

fence top rail removal
fence top rail removal

Demolition

Our demo construction experience “kicks-in” for both of us as we prepare to build a new garden fence. With all the new posts painted and stacked to dry, the demolition of the old fence begins with Pete taking down all of the top rails on the existing fence. Demo of old fence hardware and posts, requires determination of what is in good enough for reuse and what is not. We sort and stack supplies, then burn debris in the fire. Then, we do it again. Next, we remove wire staples taking down and rolling-up wire for reuse.

SW new fenceline
SW new fenceline

Ground Prep

The ground is graded after clearing the old fence away. This allowed easy and accurate measurement for South and Southwest corner posts locations. We stretch bale twine line to use as a guide to help make the fence straight. Consequentially, by the end of the day the first 5 fence posts are set on the southwest side of the garage.

Temporary Fence

Since this is not a one day affair, we must construct temporary fencing each evening as we work. Why? Because, Bambi is always a threat in our area. If you look at the middle of the dirt expanse in this picture you can see how we placed temporary fencing for this evening.

apple blossoms
apple blossoms

We have a total of 10 fruit trees in our orchard. It has taken years to get them all healthy and happy and they are beginning to bloom. It is so beautiful and fragrant. If we want any fruit this year we must not leave them out in the open for the deer to eat up. We hope that the weather doesn’t decide to freeze up and snow again before summer gets here. Just another thing that we are crossing our fingers for. Unfortunately, it is all over if those beautiful little flowers get frosted.

cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms

Delapidated Garden Fenceline

garden fence
garden fence from house

Realization

The garden fence became delapidated with the accumulated snow weight this winter. When the snow melted it became obvious. There is no way around it, we had to replace the fence. Dang!  This is a view of the 1/4 acre garden that we plant every year.

north side garden
north side garden fence

Over the winter our garden fence started to sag and lean everywhere, till we had placed just as many braces to prop it up as there were fenceposts. Here is a before picture of the North side fence with all of it’s braces. You can see how saggy it all is. Guess it really is needing some help isn’t it?

fence turns
fence turns

Evidence

This image illustrates how over the years, we have added fence as the garden expanded by simply going around big rocks or trees. There was no long term plan. Laying out fence in any kind of straight line was not a concern so much as simply keeping the deer out of the garden. It is a good thing we are not competing in any Home and Garden contest because comically, in the existing leaning lines of fence, there is not even a single 90 degree corner in it. Hmmmm. We tried to lay it out with 90 degree corners and just finally gave up and are aligning focus on straight runs with removal of all possible obstacles. Thank goodness for the Kubota…. thank you Dan and Ann!

south side garden
south side garden

The south border of the garden is the longest continuous stretch of fence at approximately 150 feet long. It is going to also be the straightest stretch of fence in the new. You have seen all of the “before” pictures in our garden fence line replacement project. Now, you know what the Woelk’s in Elk do during quarantine, letting the ultra violet rays kill all the Covid 19 virus cells as we sweat.

Fence Replacement Prep

exist south fenceline
exist south fenceline

One of the first concerns with any project prep is the cost of getting all of the necessary supplies. But, luckily Pete had already thought ahead by stacking a deck of logs to dry that we could use to make new fenceposts with. Thank goodness, the man is always thinking. A couple of years ago, wild turkeys decided our garden was a local delicatessen, so we installed new wire. So, we knew that if we are careful with demo, we’d be able to reuse a lot of the wire. Our material costs will be low. Mainly it is going to be a lot of sweat equity.

We are well aware that it is not going to be an easy task!

But, what the heck. What else are we going to do with the hours at the home front during quarantine?

Prep

SW corner Tree Removal
SW corner Tree Removal

Pete and I set a corner post at the southeast corner discovering obstacles at the southwest corner. Two large trees with broken tops and a large rock which he removed.

Next, He cut the logs into 14 foot lengths and peeled the bark. Then began to split the larger logs by using 3 simple tools and his muscles. Splitting fenceposts (an informative article), used to be a common yearly deed for Peter on his family dairy farm, but I found it to be an amazing thing to see in modern day life. A maul and two wedges, combined with lots of strength (sweat) and determination produced our 50+ fenceposts.

Truthfully, old age is not for wimps. Increased energy expense requires aspirin consumption at night. Honestly, we both have had to make use of our jetted bathtub to ease sore muscles during the evenings of this project.

Preserving Fencepost Bases

fencepost painting area
fencepost painting area

I mixed all of the enamel paints we had together coming up with a yucky purplish brown mix. Luckily, it blends in well with the color of dirt. Painting the post bases helps provides some protection for the wood. As the logs were split, they were moved to the painting area (pictured above). Afterwards, they were again stacked to dry and await being put into the ground.

Val painting fenceposts
Val painting fenceposts

Pete is amazing to watch as he moves the posts from one area to the other. He also alternates between removed top rails of the old fenceline, and clearing and/or leveling the grade where we want to put the new fence.

fenceposts 12
fenceposts begin
fenceposts
fwnceposts progress

Our goal was to do the best job we could. After all, we don’t want to be doing this fencing replacement project on a yearly basis, just because we were too lazy to do it right.