Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bernie is a Fence Spoolin' Fool

Today is a big day on the homestead. Bernie officially finished fencing in the yard around the house. When we decided to move here, we cleared a chunk of land in the middle of our property, and since we never had it officially measured, I'm really not sure how large it is. I would guess maybe an acre or an acre and a half. I do know that we bought over 1200 feet of field fencing, and Bernie used most of it.

I don't know if you've ever worked with field fencing, but I have to tell you that stuff is heavy. Really heavy. In fact, when we bought it, they loaded each bale of it in the back of our pick up truck using a fork lift. It didn't take Bernie long to figure out he was going to have a heck of a time running that wire alone - especially because the vast majority of it would be in the woods. He thought about having a fence stringing party, but couldn't think of anyone he disliked enough to invite. He really didn't want to do that to a friend. He checked with several stores to see if they make something that will help spool wire, and the only thing they suggested was a piece of equipment that requires a three point hitch. Not only do we not have a three point hitch, there is no way a vehicle sporting a three point hitch would fit through the woods where he needed it.

So, as he usually does when he's in need of a home made tool, Bernie went to Tex. He told Tex he would like to build a fence spooler. Something inexpensive, strong, and disposable, since it would only be used to run wire for this fence and then likely never be needed again. Most importantly, it had to spool by having a spinning bottom to rest the bail of wire on. And, as he always does, Tex designed and built the perfect tool.

And here it is:


And here's how it works - see the big piece poking up in the middle in the above picture? Well, Bernie lays that down towards the ground and "threads" in the bale of wire. Like this:


Then he stands up the whole thing, with the longest leg of the spooler pointed toward the direction he will pull:


Then he grabs the end of the wire and begins to pull. The wire bale rests on steel plates that actually rotate, while the base remains firmly in place:


And he pulls, and pulls, and pulls:


I'm not sure Bernie could have fenced in the yard without the Tex-O-Matic spooler. While it was still a great deal of work, the spooler helped immensely. Especially in places like this - which is typical of where he ran the fence other than the short piece beside the drive way:


So, thanks to Tex's creativity and Bernie's hard work and Incredible Hulk muscles, we now have a fenced in yard! I really love the way Bernie ran the fence through the woods. I know it was a lot of difficult work for him, but there are very few places we can actually see the fence when we look around the yard. It feels a little less confining. It will also allow the dogs we get shortly to have plenty of woods to run around in, while being restricted to the yard area of our property.

By the way, as soon as we finished up the rain barrel, we went into a near drought. But we've finally gotten rain the past couple of days, and the rain barrel has about 25 - 35 gallons of water in it! It works like a charm.

The chickens are doing great. Duke is figuring out how to act like a rooster and spends the majority of his time looking out for his girls - and the girls just love him. He crows off and on all day now, making sure that everyone knows he's large and in charge. It has gotten extremely rare that any of the chickens challenge him these days. Even Lucy-fer has realized she doesn't stand much of a chance against Duke. She now focuses her aggression on poor little Bobby Lee. They are about the same size, but Lucy-fer beats Bobby Lee out in the ornery department. So far, she's nothing more than annoying. I've reminded her daily that we will not tolerate mean chickens on the homestead, and casually mentioned how much we love chicken noodle soup. She clucks and bawks at me, but I've noticed she's not pushing the envelope on it.

We leave in a couple of days to head out west and visit Bernie's family. I really can't wait to see them, but I'm very anxious about leaving the homestead. I shouldn't be. We have a wonderful woman who will look after the place and take care of the chickens and cats while we're gone. And Bernie's family is a hoot. I really love spending time with them. Besides, Bernie thinks I need to work on my social skills. I think he's concerned that my communication level is eroding to clucks, peeps, and occasional crows.

Bee Free,


Amity said...

Wow..what a very smart hubby you got there!! How wonderful that you were able to get it all fenced in. said...

Hi Amity. I am really quite proud of him - and Tex for all of his help. It's nice to get it fenced in before we leave to go out of town. Just another layer of protection for the hens while we're gone. And now we can get serious about finding a couple of puppies to raise up and watch over the yard and it's inhabitants!