Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Clearing brush, just like Dubya!

This last weekend was a mad rush to brush out all the fence lines for the fencing contractor who started this week. Our new brush hog (basically a big lawnmower towed behind our tractor) made this job much quicker, and is really a lot of fun to use. Unfortunately for me and the local phone company, I've discovered that obstacles (such as... a phone service box) are most easily seen just as they pass under the mower.

I've also discovered that poison ivy can get to my skin through clothing, and takes a long time to wear off. Par for the course, I guess. Alas, my dream of being among the lucky 30% of people who are immune to the stuff have been shattered. At least I know enough not to use it as backwoods toilet paper, which is more than can be said for one member of our family.

Mullberries are all over now, as are blackcap raspberries. I find that I'm easily distracted by these when I'm clearing brush.

Deciding where to install our permanent fences is a tough decision, and I'm certain I'll regret some of our placements. If only our property were a nicely cleared square of pasture, it would be so much easier.

Running fences through the woods means 1) lots of work to clear out the trees 2) trees will fall on the fence and destroy it, and 3) our animals will probably hide in the woods when I'm looking for them.

My other option would be to run them along the edge of the woods. I think this is actually worse, as all the trees on the edge lean out into the pasture, ensuring that all of them will eventually fall on the fence.

Another conondrum is the type of fence to use. I'm going with woven wire and a barbed top strand, because I don't trust electric fences. A high-tensile electric fence would cost half of what a woven wire fence costs. I don't trust electric fences because I read too much chicken-little hogwash about our energy future. I want my fence to work when the reliability of our electrical grid here in Michigan starts to resemble the grid in Baghdad. Of course, I'm still going to be using electric fencing for all of our temporary partitions, as doing so with permanent fencing would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

So later this week, with our fencing up, we can start looking at some real animals (something beyond the chickens, barn cats, and bees we have thus far). First in line will probably be a Nubian dairy goat.

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