Fencing Manouevres, Part 2

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.

Fencing for a vegetable patch

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.

Pagewire fencing in progress

A repurposed post with scars from the side where the fencing used to be attached.

Recycled wooden fence post for pagewire fence

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.

Corner post of pagewire fence

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.

Black lab with piece of wood

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.

Wooden fencing around a pasture

4 thoughts on “Fencing Manouevres, Part 2

  1. Nice fence! I was beginning to think I was the only person around who called that stuff pagewire – it’s awesome for all sorts of things – short bits make excellent tomato cages.

    1. Thank you!! Yes, I’ve been using ‘off-cuts’ for makeshift cages for the past two seasons, and it works very well in that capacity too.

  2. Very resourceful. I especially like the comments about your husband planning..and thinking and planning. I do it that way, sometimes a year or two in advance. By the time I’m ready for the project I’ve built it in my head a hundred times. There is an old iron pile at the Lower Farm – an accumulation of junk left by previous generations. I’d like to clean it up someday but seems I’m often rummaging around in it to find a piece of whatnot to solve some dilemma or another. Creative resourcefulness.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share this. Yes, the planning stage is huge, and my husband would echo your experience of building or doing something over and over in his head countless times before actually undertaking the task. I’m in awe of that skill, as it really does mean the whole process goes very smoothly when it comes time to really do it. I wish I had more of that skill myself – just being able to see how something will go before ever doing it. I love your term ‘creative resourcefulness’ too – I’m really pleased with the enormous amount of recycling and repurposing that we’ve done here, and have been thinking about a post specifically on that theme. You may have just given me a great title – thanks again!

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