Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Orchard - Spring 2015 - Permanent Fence

For a few years now, we've let our goats out into our inner field, which is between the goat pens and the barn, as this area is always growing something naturally...mostly weeds, but the goats eat just about any of it. Well, in order to be able to do that, I had to put up a fence around our orchard and pecan trees, but I didn't want to take the time to put up a permanent fence, so I was hoping to be able to get away with just hand pulling some fencing around some lightly-pounded t-posts.

This worked well, until last year, and the goats started getting into the orchard, and ate back one of the pecan trees. So, it was time.

We've had a whole bunch of rain this Spring, thanks to the Lord for His graces and mercies. But that has slowed things down, so I'm only partially done after several weeks, but here is progress...

I originally thought I could just bury the landscape timber posts in mud, but the rains showed me that that wasn't going to work -- it just wasn't going to be solid enough for stretched fence. So, after unburying them, I concreted them in. I'm trying to get away with only using a single angled brace on the corners. I also added distance between the current trees, and brought out one side to allow for another row of trees. I figure I can just continue to move that west line over the years if needed to add room for more rows. There is also a gate space planned along one of the lines, big enough for the tractor to drive through:

Fence Posts Concreted In

More Fences Post Concreted In

Still More Fence Posts Concreted In

Again More Fence Posts Concreted In


Here's a diagonal brace installed. I notched out the the bottom of the dead-man post using a reciprocating saw and hammer and chisel, worked the angles on the brace until I got it right, and then notched out the upper side of the main post. Then, I drilled pilot and counter sync holes for the 3/8 by 6 inch lag bolts and washers:

Fence End Cross Post Installed


And so I didn't have to dig a post hole on line that already had fencing, I thought I would try using a t-post bracing system for one of the ends (sadly, once I started pulling the fence, this ended up not working -- too much pressure on the aluminum pieces and the t-posts too loose in the ground), and I had to put in the wood posts and brace):

T-post Fence End


With the posts in place, using a string line around the perimeter, I pounded in the t-posts. Sometimes you hit rock, but sometimes those rocks are smaller, and it is possible to pound through/around them, although that almost certainly brings on the blisters, at least for me it does. :) :

Fence T-posts in Place

More Fence T-posts in Place

Still More Fence T-posts in Place


And that's it for now. Yesterday was dry enough for me to work on the fencing some, so I just started to tie off a couple of the ends of the net-wire fencing; but Lord willing, this will be ready soon. Actually, because we are sort of out of hay for one of the groups of goats, and it's too muddy to get any right now, I have to go move the temporary fence and hand pull it around the new fence line because we need to let them out today.

We thank God for His provisions to be able to put up the fencing, for the rains, the mercy in the weather, and for the free goat food He's granted to grow!

-- David

2 comments:

Judy said...

David, doesn't it feel good to get past the temporary fence point to where you're putting up good, solid, permanent fence. We hope to do the same around the goat pasture soon. Good to see that you brought the concrete above the soil line. People often concrete part of the hole then fill with dirt. This will often cause the post to rot out. My David usually sets them in damp/dry dirt and tamps them in well with an iron bar. We've used the t-post braces with pretty good luck on a stretch of hillside fence.

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Mrs. B,

Yes ma'am, finally getting to some unfinished business with the fencing. Plus, the plan is to put chicken wire around it and plant sweet potatoes in the mulch area and see how that goes; so this is another step toward that.

Yes, someone told me one time that the dirt should never touch the post, because of the reason you mention.

Thanks also for the tamping info and your experience with the t-post braces. Some folks around here seem to have done well with them too.

Thanks again, and thanks for saying hello! Please say hi to Mr. B for us!

-- David