Recycling on a former farm is often extremely easy. Earlier this season we spent a lot of time dismantling pagewire fencing that enclosed a huge field that just didn’t make any sense in our current context. It blocked the flow of natural pathways across our land, and defined an area with no obvious use.
We’ve chosen a much smaller area within that larger field to enclose than we were even originally considering: the north-east corner of the original field is now home to our greenhouse and a growing series of rows of 20-foot beds. Both the ground and the fence are still a work in progress and we’ve staggered our milestones throughout the growing season. The fencing, including a working gate and improvements to the height of the original fencing, should be done some time in the next few weeks, while we continue to tend our existing beds – both inside the greenhouse and out – and plan the final layout to accommodate yet more beds. Those should be dug and prepared by the end of the fall.
Removing the old fencing was a task that, for the most part, went very quickly. Only the extraction of deeply installed corner posts was time consuming and frustrating at times (this past weekend I could be heard making loud guttural sounds as I strained to lift a post that seemed to fight me every inch of the way out of the ground, but I succeeded in the end!). A crow bar, a good set of pliers, and a set of wire cutters with a good bite is almost all you need. We were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the new fencing went into place, but as always I think that was also down to the fact that my husband had been thinking about and planning this bit of work for many weeks (months, really).
Fencing work has been – in case you wondered – quite a good fit with our new dog Reggie. He just explores the fields and stays nearby as we get on with things. Even better, in this shot, he’s on the right side of the fence – away from the vegetables that he’s prone to trampling on otherwise.
A repurposed post with scars from the side where the fencing used to be attached.
The corner posts are where we’ve got extra height to work with for height enhancements once we’ve got the main fencing work done. The deer are never far away and we know they are crafty devils who can jump silly heights. I love spotting them in the distance (this year we’ve got a mother and fawn who’ve been regularly wandering around close to the greenhouse), but just don’t want them in my veggie patch.
Re-using existing fencing has made this an incredibly inexpensive project to implement. The only purchases this season were a manual fence post driver (wow, what an effective tool) and a bag of five-inch nails for a grand total of less than forty dollars. We already had a reel of about a mile’s worth of electrical fencing wire on hand, had previously purchased a manual post hole digger worth its weight in gold, and absolutely everything else was recycled on site. The project was also very environmentally friendly overall thanks to the amount of recycling we did and the heavy focus on doing things by hand; we only drove our mini tractor a short distance to help with hauling some of the posts. My nine-year old drove solo for the first time this weekend, though not while hauling posts!
Joining in the spirit of things, this pooch was happy repurposing a sawn-off bit of fence post for a chew toy.
Until we did it, I had no idea just how satisfying fencing work could be. Next year we’d like to turn our attention to our upper pasture, a good sized field ringed by old fashioned wood fencing. Now there are some good sized posts.