Friday, August 4, 2017
One of the challenges
There are a lot of challenges when it comes to building fence.
At a glance, a barbed wire pasture fence might appear to be a relatively permanent structure, something that, once installed, is a finished project requiring little if any upkeep and maintenance.
Those of you who've visited this blog over the years probably understand that there's a good bit of maintenance and upkeep required to keep the cows in.
What it comes down to is this, most ranch fences are dynamic structures living in a dynamic world.
We could certainly build more permanent (ish) fences, like big, tall chain link structures. We don't, though, and for a couple of reasons. One is expense -- such a fence would bankrupt the operation. We're a pretty small ranch, and even we have many, many miles of fence.
As it turns out, the typical post and multiple strand barbed wire fence is considerably less expensive.
Another reason is that nature's dynamism is always worrying at fences and trying to bring them down. Big, tall, permanent (ish) fences are no exception, and in many ways are more vulnerable. A pile of tumbleweeds and 60 mph winds will lay a chain link fence down in short order. It'll happen to barbed wire, too, but a barbed wire fence is quicker, easier, and less expensive to repair.
Yesterday I rebuilt a short stretch of perimeter fence on the east side of the south unit along County Road 39. This is a tricky stretch. Can you guess why?
It doesn't happen often, perhaps every five years, but when heavy rain falls to the southwest the draw that runs through this pasture fills with water. At least initially, and often for a dozen hours or more, rainfall runoff flows through the pasture like a raging torrent. It usually washes out the road. And the fence? Lasts about 30 seconds.
I have some video of the draw running but I can't find it this morning. So here are a couple of stills from a while back. 2013 I think.
Ever since the last draw flow I've been patching. It works for a while, but eventually you have to tear it out and rebuild, which is what I did yesterday.
It was a good bit of work but the weather was cool and overcast. Only took about eight hours.
I'm a little pi$$ed at yewtoobe for changing up the embed interface. Don't have time this morning to sort it out. Maybe later. In the mean time you can full screen the videos. If you want to.
The soil down in the draw is clingy, clayey, silt, and it's a real pain to work with. It's either hard like concrete or shovel-clinging sticky. It was probably the best combination you could hope for yesterday, not too dry and not too wet, but still a challenge. Ah well, that's life in the real world.
Okay, off to work.