Homestead

A Farm Thanksgiving

This is our first Thanksgiving on the farm, and it’s funny how farm work can creep into everything!  I had planned for a nice family dinner, the girls had each picked out a favorite recipe and we were going to spend the afternoon cooking and eating together!  Well, it was a nice thought.  But, what really happened was that we spent much of the day installing last minute fence posts.  Here is the back story…

Our new rescue, Georgie, is young and bold and headstrong!  “Electric fence.. what’s that?”, she says.  Nope, our 5 mile solar powered electric fence charger did nothing to keep her contained.  We didn’t realize how lucky we had been with both Ellie and Laurelei who never ever tested our electric fencing and stayed exactly where we wanted them to be.  Georgie, now she is a different story.  So anyway, we come home to the horses both walking around our front yard happily eating grass. Which was a scary sight, considering the driveway is open to the road and we have had a scary experience in the past with a foster horse running away after he jumped out of the barn dutch window.  Click here for the scoop on that disaster!

See red caution tape at the base of the driveway?

So, as a temporary gate for the base of the driveway, I ran a couple of layers of caution tape and parked my car at the bottom to help deter them.  But, I knew this wasn’t safe.  My daughter, was quite upset when she saw this and made it quite clear that it was absolutely not a proper way to contain the horses…she was right.  So then I did temporary gate #2.  I had a roll of metal fencing in the barn, waiting to be put up.  So, we brought that over and used baling twine to fasten it to the fencing on either side of the driveway.  Since the fence spanned over 30 ft, it sagged a lot in the center of the driveway.  I found the perfect solution was to back my car up against the fence creating tension on the fence!   Ha, I dread what our neighbors thought as they drove by!  This was a secure fence for the horses…however it was a huge pain for our family.  We couldn’t drive in or out without first unhooking one side, then rolling the fencing over and then re-installing it after we pulled out of the driveway (And not to forget someone’s car always had to be pressed up against the fence, utterly ridiculous!)

Needless to say, this was TEMPORARY!!  and the sooner we could get a real fence put in, the sooner we could return to being sane human beings!  So, I left in the morning to buy all the supplies we would need – 9 wooden round posts from Tractor Supply and a 10ft gate, then off to Home Depot to rent the 1-man auger to dig the holes.  First of all, let’s be real clear about something…a 1-man auger actually takes 2 people!  It is difficult to operate and loud, so make sure to have something to protect your ears!

Building this fence line was actually quite satisfying!  We started at the side of the house and ran it straight down to the side perimeter fence.  This way, the horses have a permanent fence perimeter, excluding the front yard.  The front yard will be used as an occasional pasture area, once we get a gate across the driveway.  We used a can of spray paint to mark the location of the posts every 8 ft. Two people worked with the auger to dig holes that were 30in. deep, while the other two set the posts, made sure they were level and then tamped in the dirt.

It got dark pretty early on, so we drove the car over to the side of the house and used the headlights to help us see!  It was funny standing out there in the beams of the headlight, going around the post tamping the dirt in vigorously with the handle of the shovel.  I thought we must have looked like crazy people to our neighbors!

Getting the posts in was the hardest part.  Installing the wire fence was easier.  The only trick was to have one of us pull it really tight while the other person hammered in the staples.   The last step will be to add a wooden board across the top, and then trim the posts so they are all at the level of the board.  I’m hoping to repurpose some boards from the back fence to complete this.

This picture shows a 10 ft gate, but you can see the extra room we decided to leave so that a 12 ft gate could go there instead.  This way, if any larger trucks need to get into the back pasture, they can.

After it was done, I still managed to put a lasagne in the oven, so dinner wasn’t a complete bust.  AND I actually really enjoyed working with the whole family outside on this project.  My ideal day is when my family helps me get projects done on the farm…it is so satisfying to see what we can accomplish together.  It was a different kind of Thanksgiving… but we were still together, we were working hard to accomplish a task and we ended the night with good food in our stomachs.  Definitely a win-win!

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