Category Archives: Fencing

The Fence is Finished and Other Things

Last week we had, what my husband referred to as, the soft opening. He had completed fencing the perimeter of our property. The only thing left to do was put up the gate across the driveway. Until he could get that done, he made a makeshift gate by using a piece of the fencing to extend across the driveway and clamping it closed.

Difficult to see but there is fence across the driveway.
Front of the property looking east
Front fence looking to the west from driveway.

Putting up the grate took a few days. First my husband rented a post hole digger to make the holes for the wooden posts. Then he had to measure the depth of the holes while putting the posts in and filling in around them with quickcrete (cement). On top of the quickcrete he put stone then topped it with soil. He used a level to assure that the posts were straight. Once they were in place he left them for a few days to let the cement set up. On May 2 he attached the gate to the posts and the project was complete.

From the inside looking out.
From the outside looking in.
The fence in this photo surrounds the front garden. It is not part of the perimeter fence.

All of the rain that we have had in the past week has the ground saturated. We now have pooling water everywhere.

We have a bumper crop of dandelions this year.

Even though we have been wishing for the temperature to hurry and warm up there are some good things about the cooler temperatures.

The apple trees have not blossomed yet thus reducing the likelihood that they will suffer damage from heavy frost or freeze when in bloom.

The forsythias have enjoyed a long bloom time because of the cooler temperatures,

as have the daffodils.

For years my primrose plants have struggled just to survive. Last fall, after learning that primrose like wet soil, I decided to move my plants to a lower area in the prayer garden.

Already this spring they are thriving.

Our old chicken coop is still standing. Tearing it down is on our to-do list but has not yet become a priority. My husband had leaned the old gate from the chicken yard up againt the front of the old coop.

Earlier this week he noticed that a bird, most likely a robin, has built a nest on top of the gate.

I couldn’t see inside the nest while standing on the ground, but I was able to get a look inside by holding my camera up above the nest and taking a picture. This was two days ago, maybe I’ll take another picture today.

On April 23 our bees arrived. We had lost all three of our hives over the winter. We decided to start just one new hive this year.

They have been very busy this week – enjoying the dandelions.

Our old hens are enjoying springtime. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that at least six of the nine are laying eggs. I really only expected that four were still of laying age, but somedays we find six eggs. ūüôā

Here’s a cute story: last week while working in the barn my husband found, in a dark corner, a nest with seven eggs in it. One of our black hens has been sneaking in there and laying her eggs. Apparently, she was getting ready to brood some chicks. Sadly, he had to get rid of the eggs because we haven’t had a rooster since last November, so none would be fertile. Perhaps next year, when our new roosters are mature, she will try again.

Our young chicks are enjoying life at the farm as well.

We are experiencing a lovely day today as it seems like are warmer temperatures have finally arrived, so I’m heading outdoors to get some things done. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunshine On My Shoulders ūüėÄ

Over Easter weekend we had beautiful spring weather and throughout the week, that has followed, it seems that the weather has just gotten nicer each day.

On Easter Sunday, when we went out to the farm, I wore jeans and a jacket over my long-sleeved shirt, each day I have found it necessary to wear lighter clothing until yesterday, and again today, I have broken out my summer wardrobe and am wearing shorts with a tank top and enjoying soaking up that long-awaited sunshine.

Let’s take a look at what’s been happening at the farm this week.

Sunday

For about the past three weeks my husband has been working on fencing in the entire farm. It’s a huge undertaking as the 7.6-acre farm measures 1000 ft (304.8 m) by 330 ft (100.5 m). When it is all done he will have pounded in more than 260 fence posts and strung more than 2600 feet (792.48 m) of fence.

The small fence posts in the above picture line the east side of our back field. He has the entire back field fenced at this point and is working diligently on completing the front of the property.

In the above picture the fence lines the front of our property on the west side. When this project is complete we will no longer have to worry about Ranger and Ruby and even the chickens wandering onto neighboring property or into the road. It will take a large load off our minds.

There seems to be an abundance of robins this spring. Some of them have even sat still for pictures.

The fence in the above picture which had enclosed the main garden area is also being removed.

The pond level is up from last fall but it has yet to overflow like it does most years in the spring.

Ruby did not hesitate to get her feet wet as she enjoyed a cool drink from the pond.

Things are beginning to green up. I’m sure the thunderstorms we had last week helped.

Tuesday

Tuesday the weather really warmed up so we were able to move the chicks to the farm.

My husband set up their chicken wire enclosure. He designed it so they have access to the coop through the small door with hopes that they will learn to go in the coop at night.

He also put up a divider inside to coop so they do not have access to the big door.

I bet you’re not surprised to see Ranger watching the babies.

Like robins, we have an abundance of red winged blackbirds.

Some of them posed for pictures as well.

I also got a rare picture of a kildeer that was hanging around near the beach before Ruby chased it off.

The garlic that we planted last fall is coming up nicely.

As I looked up to see if the maple trees were getting leaves yet I noticed what appears to be a Baltimore oriole nest. It seems too early to be a nest build this year, so I am assuming it was from last year or maybe even the year before.

I only say “the year before” because I noticed a second one in the same tree. I don’t know how likely it is that two pair of orioles would nest in the same tree.

Some of the chickens had wandered into the field next door. This won’t be a problem once the fence is complete and it really isn’t a problem now because that neighbor doesn’t mind.

But Ruby thought it was a problem

and took it upon herself to bring them all back home.

She really does have amazing herding instincts and skills. If you have ever tried herding chickens you understand how difficult it can be. It took her less than two minutes to round up eight hens and bring them back over to our farm.

Thursday

The chicks are doing well at the farm, feathering out nicely, learning to forage

and maybe even learning to get back into the coop.

It was a great day to be in the pond, at least the dogs thought so.

Ruby discovered the (bullfrog) tadpoles and has now become obsessed with watching for them and trying to catch them. I suspect she will spend a lot of time there this summer.

Ranger just wanted to go for a swim to cool off.

When deciding to put up the fence my husband and I discussed the likelihood that the wildlife presence on our farm would be altered. Not necessarily a bad thing. While deer, fox, racoons and other animals can get over the fence it’s hard to say whether they will or not. I suppose it depends on what there is to motivate them to do so.

However, I never considered that the fence might be a problem for a pheasant. Pheasants can fly and could easily sail right over the fence.

This male ringed-neck pheasant was very confused and spent several hours trying to find an opening in the fence.

Eventually Ruby spotted him. I’m not sure if he flew or ran when she chased him but I think she did him a favor as he did clear out of the area. Hopefully he found a different route home.

I’ll leave you with a slide show of flowers that are blossoming at the farm. Among them are daffodils, forsythia (beginning to open), and primrose.

Thanks for visiting.

Blueberry Patch Upgrade

If you read my recent post about how we work with nature on the farm you may recall that we have had problems with birds eating our blueberries. Birds have an unfair advantage over us as they can seemingly sit perched on the nearest tree branch or fence post and wait until the berry reaches the perfect degree of ripeness then swoop in and gobble it up. We on the other hand schedule blueberry picking in between all of the other chores that need to be done in a day and it seems if we leave a partially green berry to ripen for one more day the birds get it before we get back.

For the last few years we have used netting over the bushes to keep the birds from eating the fruits of our labor. Our methods have worked to some degree but for various reasons have been less than ideal.

For a couple years we just wrapped each bush with the netting. The problem with this is  that  every time we went to pick berries we had to unwrap each bush then rewrap it after we were finished. As you can imagine this was not very efficient.

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Last year we used a different approach. My husband put wooden stakes around the outside of the blueberry patch and covered the whole patch with netting.

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This was also largely effective, but again less than ideal as in order to pick blueberries we crawled under the net on our hands and knees. With both of these method an occasional bird might get in and steal a few berries, but we were able to harvest most of the berries for our own sustenance and enjoyment.

The netting that we have been using for these projects came in a large roll, maybe 150 feet long by 20 feet wide, (it’s hard to¬†tell because it is stretchy)¬†and was something that my husband found sitting along the roadside at a neighbors house waiting for the trash men to carry it away. He picked it up and brought it home thinking we would probably find some use for it. We have used it over and over for project like this.

This year we decided it was time to give the blueberry patch an upgrade. We needed a screened, fenced or netted structure to keep birds out but allow us in to pick berries (standing up).

We first thought that we would need to use chicken wire as fencing to get the grid small enough to keep the birds out, but when my husband went to the  farm store he discovered a plastic fence that he thought would work well. This fence had a small grid, was light weight, and more affordable than chicken wire.  He also bought 12 Р7 1/2 foot t-posts. He set the t-posts around the perimeter of the patch with each side having two corner posts and one post midway along the side. On one side he set an additional two posts about three feet apart where we wanted our entrance to be.

The plastic fence was light weight and easy for my husband to manage by himself. He started at the t-post to the left of our entrance he attached the fence to the t-post using zip ties. (They are so very handy.) He then rolled the fence to the left and attached it to the corner post again using zip ties. He continued rolling the fence and attaching it to each¬†t-post until he arrived back at the starting point. The plastic fence fit snuggly and looked very nice. When he was back at the final t-post he cut the fence leaving just a small amount to over lap. Instead of using zip ties to secure it at this point he clipped the fence to itself using clothes pins (also handy to have around). We can now enter the blueberry patch (standing up ūüôā ūüôā ) by unclipping the clothes pins and¬†opening up just a three foot section of fence.

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To keep birds from flying in through the top we used the same netting we have been using all along. Before draping the netting over the top my husband placed one taller t-post in the middle of the blueberry patch to¬†keep the net from sagging too much. He also wrapped the tops of the t-posts with duck tape, or maybe it was gorilla tape, I’m not sure, but it was to keep the metal t-post from snagging and ripping the netting.

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Once he had the netting draped over the t-posts and fencing, with at least a few inches of overlap on each side, he tied the netting to the fencing with string. He placed ties  wherever he noticed there might be a gap.

While I won’t be surprised to see a¬†determined bird finds it’s¬†way in now and then, at least we should be able to efficiently¬†and comfortably harvest most of the crop. We will keep this fence up year round and hope that it will last for many years – at least until the blueberry bushes out grow it. ūüôā