Fencing 101

Posted by E&V Ranches on Monday, November 9th, 2020 at 10:54am.

If you're new to farming and ranching, you'll benefit from fencing 101. From time to time, livestock finds a hole or has a wooly coat and does not notice the electric fence. Otherwise, they run amuck onto the road risking getting hit or they discover your tasty landscaping and the flowers, plants and landscaping you worked tirelessly over the summer are destroyed...plants chewed down to nubs, flowers uprooted, grass trampled and trees bare on the lower half. A good fence will do a lot more for you than just save you some grief. It ups the property value. It gives your property a good clean border. Also, it keeps your cows, horses, sheep or anything else you may have where they belong a lot better than a single strand hot wire. Barbwire is a staple of cattle ranches and farms and for good reason – it’s effective.
Posts, barbed wire, friends or tractor, post-hole digger, level, fence stretcher, T-post clips
Step One:  Set good square corners with hedgeposts such as railroad ties. The corners of the fence are the foundation. If the corners are set properly, you will have a fence that will keep tight wires for years and years to come. The railroad ties are heavy though!
Step Two: Use the post-hole digger to carve out your hole then you can drop the post in. Use a level to square it up and then you can start tamping dirt around the post until it is solidified.
Step Three: A brace post between the corner and the first post going each direction will solidify the corner. Running a nine-gauge wire diagonally between the posts and twisting it with a stick or pole will give your corner extra support and make it last even longer.

Step Four: Once the corners are set, the really hard work is over, and the tedious work begins. Run your first wire before putting in T-posts to ensure your fence ends up as straight as possible. Once you have the guideline up, you can drive in your T posts. A post driver works fine, but a tractor and loader is welcome, especially if the line is very long.
Step Five: With all of your posts in, you can then run as many wires as you like. Most barbed-wire fences are five-to-six wire lines. It mostly depends on how mischievous the animals are within the fence. Use a fence stretcher to get the line good and tight. After that it’s just a matter of clipping the wire to each post using T-post clips on the line posts and steeples for the corner posts, that's the long game, but the ROI is worth the investment of time!


The phrase "fences make good neighbors" came from the following poem.

Mending Wall

By Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

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