Monday, August 14, 2017

Ups and downs

Yesterday was a day that featured a significant scare. I'm not going to provide details here as I'm still sorting through information and recovering from a bit of a roller coaster ride. Stuff can go pear-shaped in an instant. It's life.
Giant Puffball mushroom. About the size of a tennis ball.

This kind is not for eating.

Decomposing siltstone shelf. Formerly sea bed.



Today dawned bright and sunshiny and the air temperature charged right up into the high 80's. The sun blasted down quite competently and as the soil warmed (it had been dampened and chilled over the last week) swarms of gnats took to the sky. There was hardly a breeze all day.

Still suffering from my summer cold and from the effects of yesterday's events I determined to get out and build fence. A big part of me didn't want to. I wasn't feeling that hot and my mood was still jangly and all over the place. I knew that a dose of good physical labor was just the medicine I required; that I'd feel much better having blown the cobs out and having accomplished a solid chunk of an important chore. Which doesn't mean I relished the thought of taking the medicine. I took it anyway.

The job was to tear out a quarter-mile of fence and relocate it. The fence in question had been built long before my time and right down the E-W half-section line of the south section of the south unit. That line just happens to skirt the south edge of the big east-west draw in that pasture and it runs crazily up and down the eroded gullies on that side. I'm sure there was a reason to put it there back in the day, but there's simply no reason to keep it there, particularly since I'm working on the cross fencing project anyway.

So I set a couple of played-out railroad tie anchors at the ends of where I wanted the fence to be relocated. Then I peeled a strand of wire from the old fence and stretched it up tight between the new anchors to give myself a straight(ish) line along which to set new posts.

I dug eleven new holes with the Armstrong posthole diggers (I hand dug the anchor holes as well) and tamped in eleven new(ish) posts.

Digging and tamping and harvesting, dragging, and splicing wire was a very good physical workout. It was hot and in the absence of wind was muggy and buggy too.

In some ways it was quite a miserable experience. In others it was quite nice; challenging physically and mentally and paradoxically quite relaxing.

By the time I called it quits I was mostly done with relocating the fence. I still have to move a couple of more wires but I'm 90 percent done.

Once I finish with the relocated fence I've got most of a mile of east-west cross fence to repair. A good bit of it will only take some tweaking and tightening but I will need to set anchor posts at the stock tanks and repair/replace about five or six gates. Then I can shift a bit farther south and jump into the hodgepodge of cross fencing that separates formerly farmed ground from native pasture. And then there's a good bit of cross fencing to repair back on the northwest pastures of the south unit.

With any luck and a break from the weather I'll be done by Thanksgiving.

Curious Georgette...


  1. Happy to read that your mending progresses. As to Georgette, she's wondering why you forgot her treat.
    Thanks for the post.

    Paul L. Quandt

  2. Building fence can be cathartic.

    With all that work, I wonder if Georgette thought you were a salt lick...

  3. Hope all is well out there. Life can be pretty challenging at times.

    Stringing wire, ranchers and combat engineers have that in common. (Though the techniques are far different!)

    1. I could use a squad of prives from time to time. Of course I'd then get no exercise and the outlay for bail expenses would be eye watering!

  4. 'Ranching', hard work. Thanks. Also, what's the large structure at the beginning of the last video.

    1. That's the Clean Harbors waste incineration facility.

  5. Are you doing that zooming with your 'phone/radio? What brand of device do you have?


    1. It's actually my Canon camera. It's a surprisingly good little pocket camera.

  6. All things considered, I would like you to blog less. I don't want to hear from you for a while. Ask the parson's daughter out. You haven't suffered enough. You need to get married.

    It took me 42 years to get there. I got it wrong, but there is a darling 14 year old girl running around just west of you.