January 19, 2013

Trailblazing The Property Line

One of this year's goals is fencing part of the woods for the goats.

Detail from our 2012 Master Plan

The red line is where new fencing must go to enclose the area. It will tie into existing fences. Out of our several fencing projects to choose from, this one is important because of invading kudzu. It's important now, because in summer it is thick with not only kudzu, but also brambles, bushes, saw briars, and honeysuckle.

Kudzu invasion
Kudzu on the property line during summer

I had to wait until everything died back for the winter before I could begin to find the survey pins. Along the property line, there is an old fallen down barbed wire fence. I'm following that to find my way from one pin to the next.

Same spot now. The orange bits along the ground
are where I flagged the old barbed wire fence.

It's slow going because even without leaves, the vines and bushes are thick. As I find remnants of the old fence, I mark it with orange flagging tape. It fell down every whichaway, but keeps me going in the right direction. Once I clear a path to the next survey pin, we'll have a line of sight to mark for that stretch of fence along the property line.

Welded wire fence for the project. We purchased it
last October, when it was on sale at Tractor Supply Co.

Then the real fun begins. Or should I say, the real work. The worst part of putting up fence in a wooded area is trying to dig holes for corner and brace posts amongst all the roots. And it's no picnic trying to stretch the fence in a thick area like that.

The clearing part though, that's me. It's something I love to do. I love being outside, love being in the woods, and love seeing our homestead take shape. It's one more step in making our dream come true. :)

Trailblazing The Property Line © January 2013 

38 comments:

Tombstone Livestock said...

You are really making progress on getting the project list whittled down.

Jacquelineand.... said...

Fortunately the goats will also be able to cut down on the kudzu invasion for you!

You guys certainly keep busy; your project list doesn't stand a chance.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Is kudzu a weed? Or is it something the goats like to munch on . . . or is it both? Is it a bothersome plant . . . I don't know if we have Kudzu around these parts.

Leigh said...

TL, seems that way! We'll see how it all works out. :) Actually this part of the project has been dual purpose. The green stuff is fed to the goats, who are hungry for fresh forage these days. Everyday I go back and cut a little down for them, clearing a path as well.

Jacqueline, we are definitely project people. :) But then, if we liked lounging around in front of the TV all day, we never would have gone for the lifestyle, LOL. The goats will definitely benefit.

Janice, kudzu is the plague of the southeast. It was originally imported from Asia as a ground cover for erosion control. The US government actually paid farmers to plant it. Unfortunately it is ultrafast growing and invasive to the point that it engulfs and smothers entire forests. I wrote more about it in this post, Kudzu for Hay. :) The goats do like it fresh or as hay though, so there is something for it.

Anonymous said...

I like to walk/ride my fence line, even if it is only a few acres. When i fence the perimeter i set my fence back about six feet from the line and then i can bushhog one strip on the outside of the fence without being on the neighbors property. Helps out alot to when i need to do fence repairs.
JC2

Anonymous said...

Oh i forgot - love reading about your projects - very inspirational.
JC2

Tami said...

Holy smoke, that's a LOT of Kudzu!
(And here I was mentally b!t@hing about all the Bermuda I've got to pull out of the garden.)

Looks like my job is easier than yours, Leigh. Or should I say Dan's? Yuck!

Theresa said...

Pretty darn envious of that nice fencing! I miss my goats and we certainly had a great benefit being able to let them browse free around the property, but that's nice fencing.....

Kev Alviti said...

Fencing is always a bg job. I never mind once I've started but the thought of starting always puts me off! Good job we don't have kudzu - sounds like a pain

Leigh said...

JC2, thanks! Your comments are much appreciated. We put our fences inside our property line as well, but only a walking width. We have had a problem with that on one side however, where the fence divides our front pasture from the rental house next door. Renter assume that the fence line is the property line and have trimmed back some of our bushes so they can see the goats. That in itself might not be so bad, except that their kids throw things at the goats and their dogs go crazy trying to get at them. That, is a worry!

Tami, well, I have Bermuda to battle too, LOL.

Theresa, and I in turn, have envied that you don't even need fence!

Kev, yeah, I wouldn't wish the kudzu on anyone. I had to smile at your comment about fencing. So many jobs are that way, worse thinking about than doing!

Woolly Bits said...

you could wish Kudzu on me:) I tried to grow it (knowing full well that it wouldn't survive the winter for long!), but it didn't like the irish summer and died, before it even made a dint on the poles I put into it for climbing! I know, it's no consolation for people, who have to battle it every year anew... the digging for fence post on the other hand I know only too well. not so much for roots etc - but stones. wherever you want to put something deep into the ground, you can be sure there is a giant stone in your way - which means sledge hammer and battering away for hours, sometimes even days:( I am just glad that we don't need fencing, as we have built walls all around the property (we have to do something with all the stones we dug out:). couldn't you erect a narrow extra fence exactly on the property line just towards the renters? you could still walk/work in between, but it would keep those stupid neighbours/dogs away?

Renee Nefe said...

I hope your project goes well. I know that your goats will love the new area.

Nina said...

The first time I saw Kudzu, I was totally amazed at the way it was overwhelming the trees, fences and even a schoolbus. It was even more so when I heard how quickly that can happen. It's amazing how misguided we can be with the introduction of non-natural species which then become destructive to our own natural species. It's amazing and scary how many new species there which have come in through human irresponsibility or even government intervention, as with the Kudzu. We rarely see a red lady bug anymore, but the yellow lady bugs, imported for pest control are everywhere. Our Ash trees are being decimated by the Emerald Borer, brought in by accident, purple loosetrife, Zebra mussels, green crabs.. it's unbelievable how much this has happened and obviously still does.

Rant over - you'll be so satisfied when that fencign is done. Go you!

DebbieB said...

This is another big step to cross off your list. I love that the goats eat the brush you clear away. Nothing wasted. Too bad about the renter-neighbors, who just "don't get it".

a view from a brown dog said...

Sound like things continue to take shape over there, happy the goats can help clear your way along the fence line. Big job but bigger reward. Have a great day!

Brenda said...

I looked up the Kudzu as well...kills trees by blocking out the light...and like another reader says..the introduction of non-native plants etc. is killer to the Eco-system. Look at what those damned toads have done to Australia! Yuck. I've been watching the blight on the Maple trees across southern Ontario; looks like cigar burns on the leaves. Its a blight that trees can recover from...but like the Purple Loose-strife...that Kudzu is one to be pulled-out given to animals as forage and that's about it!
There are pics of it having covered over cabins etc. Wild stuff for sure.

Ed said...

Whenever I am down in that part of the country, I have a hard time keeping my vehicle on the road because I'm gawking at the kudzu. Crazy stuff.

Thistle Rose Weaving said...

Leigh I am looking forward to hearing all about how you go about putting the fencing in. I have never installed fence and we are planning on doing so this summer here at our homestead. Any tips and demos you throw my way will be most appreciated.

Pet the goaties for me!

Sue said...

Won't the goats have fun once you get that fence up! I don't miss kudzu from my Florida days.

Hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to imported species, isn't it? Around here we have 2 big problems - knapweed (which my beasties think is candy, and the county wants everyone to pull), and starlings (idiot wanted to populate the US with all the birds mentioned by Shakespear. They have taken over here, and nothing eats them. My cat is a rarity in that he will kill them, and I encourage him).

Leigh said...

Bettina, I always think of you when I'm cursing kudzu, LOL. Can't say I envy your rocks though. We had them by the ton when I lived in Arkansas. About that fence by the rental house, we've brainstormed about every possibility we can come up with. I'm thinking out of sight, out of mind would be best though, hence another privacy fence.

Renee, thanks!

Nina, that's because humans can't leave well enough alone! Countless "bright" ideas have turned out to be terrible mistakes, true?

Debbie, well, we can't cross if off until it's done! :)

Jen, this will indeed be a huge project. Of course now we've just had a barrel load of rain so the ground is soft and soggy. But that's winter for you.

Brenda, it both amazing and sad how easy it is to upset an ecosystem anywhere. The pics of kudzu are certainly amazing though, aren't they?

Ed, LOL. There is actually a website somewhere that features photos of natural kudzu takeovers as "art."

Martha, Farmer Barb has asked me the same thing. I definitely need to get my duckies in a row and share what we've learned about putting up fence.

Sue, that is so true. My stepmom complains about the starlings too. They are a nuisance. We used to feed the songbirds in the winter - until the starlings arrive. They push everybody else out of the way and eat the birdseed like it was candy. Always made me mad.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

I too get pleasure in working in the BARE of winter, seeing the bones of our property. Good luck with your next venture, you hard worker you!

starlighthill said...

I know kudzu is a noxious plant, but I always think of it with fondness. When we lived in a small town in the South, the vacant lot behind us was filled with kudzu, four o'clocks & morning glories. What a sight it was in early morning sparkling with dew. Our house was built in 1903 & housed a large family. The kudzu was planted to nourish their milk cow. The kudzu reminded me that once upon a time it was okay to have a milk cow & chickens in town.

Michelle said...

I was just telling my aunt, who recently moved onto kudzu infested property, that she needs to get goats to put a stop to that invasion.

I am in awe of your trailblazing efforts. You've been working your hiney of, as usual. It looks so good! I can't wait to see your fence up and ready for the girls! Fencing is one area I desperately want finished here. Hopefully we will have it all done this spring. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Leigh,
Here are a couple of suggestions for the natural fencing: Nellie R. Stevens holly and bois d'arc trees. The leaves of the holly have sharp points on them, are evergreen and cold tolerant. Some newer varieties may also be drought tolerant. The bois d'arc was used in earlier times as a natural fence. Since you grew up in AR, you may be familiar with it.

Blessings to you and Dan.

DeepEastTx

Leigh said...

Donna, that is so true. It's amazing how different things are with all the leaves gone. We still have some work to do before we can get to installing the fence, mostly partially downed pine trees. There's a lot of good eating for goats there though.

Starlighthill, I have to say that kudzu is an attractive plant and it does have beautiful flowers. I love your memory. And with the cow, it would be put to good use and controlled somewhat to boot. I do gather and dry it for hay, which the goats have been enjoying these days.

Michelle, she definitely needs goats. Other wise they'll wake up one morning to find their house swallowed up by it! We looked at one place that was really nice (before we bought this place). Fortunately we recognized dormant kudzu vines all over the place!

DeepEastTx, welcome and thank you for the comment! Yes, I'm very familiar with bois d'arc, from when I lived in Texas, though we called them Osage Oranges. A very hard wood from what I understand, though I've never seen them growing this far east. We do have holly bushes though, and they would make an excellent living fence. I think for us, is the need to get fencing up sooner than it would take to grow one. :)

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I despise kudzu, it's terribly invasive and destroying. Osage Orange grows around here and it's a lovely wood. Are you getting the next winter storm? I hear it's headed our way in southwest VA so I'm spending daylight today, getting ready.
BTW, when I right click, it's to go somewhere else not to steal -grin-. When I visit blogs, I'll see someone else's comment, right click and visit their blog while I'm still on the original...makes it fun traveling around blogland.

Leigh said...

Sandra, I'm a right-clicker myself, so I understand the annoyance. You actually still can visit other's from their profile names in the comments, you just have to do it from the pop-up comment form. Right click and open in another tab or window as before. This is what I have to do to reply to comments. Several people have commented on not caring for the right click, but I had so many folks stealing so many photos, sometimes dozens at a time. I know disabling right click is not the perfect answer, but it helps deter. Really, I'd need to go slap a huge copyright watermark across the middle of all my photos, but not too sure I want to do that either.

Not too sure if we're going to get that storm. Our forecast is for sunny for the next several days. Do stay safe yourself.

Laura said...

I'm so jealous. Things at your place seem to happen so quickly :-) Compared to here anyway. I love reading about your progress.

BA Norrgard said...

Hey Leigh! I love clearing bramble etc too - why is that?? LOL I've done it on two pieces of land, and I don't know, some how it is gratifying. And one feels so good after a day of working outdoors!

Your goats will be so happy!

Doug said...

I haven't mastered the fine art of stretching welded wire fence. I'm pretty good at barb wire but my welded wire stuff always loosens. Other than perimeter fencing (which you are doing) I'm a fan of electric fence. Easy to move and as long as the critters are trained it's very efficient in keeping the animal put.

Leigh said...

Laura, thanks! It seems that "happening quickly" is fairly relative. Sometimes all we see are the things yet to be done, and then we feel like we're slower than molasses in January!

BA, I sometimes think I was born in the wrong century. Maybe you too! I'd be just as happy blazing a trail in uncharted territory as anything. :)

Doug, I have to say that the goats have a way of loosening even our tightest fences. They all love to lean into it as they walk along to scratch their sides. We have electric netting on our to-get list for subdividing fields. I think that will be very helpful!

Doug said...

When I do welded wire I always include a strand of barb wire at the bottom so it keeps animals from going under better. I've also occasionally put a strand at the top as well to keep animals from leaning in. That's for cows. For goats a strand at the right height may keep them from rubbing and leaning. When you do get an electric fence run a strand around your perimeter fence just inside for a while. It trains the animals not to get close and to respect fencing. I can leave electric fencing un-electrified for days as the animals don't want to get close to the wire as they've learned it's shocking to test the boundaries. My wife does the same for me around our goodies cabinet.

Leigh said...

Doug, LOL. Goats are bad about scratching their sides on fences. I've seen goats well trained by electric wires. The gal hadn't used it electrified for months but the goats stayed put. We would likely get electric netting because we'd also have to keep out chickens! Do you blog, by the way?

Doug said...

I'd like to get electric netting so I can move the chickens around. They seem to follow the cows so that keeps them kind of close. The problem with leaving them free is predators. Doug@thesimplefarm.com

Leigh said...

Doug, I wondered if that was you. Your name doesn't link to your blog anymore, at least it's no longer listed on your blogger profile.

Chickens do follow livestock closely. Of course, I don't think we have the predator problem you do. Our worst (so far) is stray dogs.

Amelie Preston said...

Hey, you are indeed making a progress. The last time I came across your blog was when you shared the 1st peek of your new pasture but now you are already on the fencing system. If you don't mind me asking though, why don't you use a t post line brace system? Because if you used that, you won't have any problems fencing odd shaped corners like what you are planning to do based on the illustration above.

Leigh said...

Amelie, I had not heard of the t-post line brace system. Cost seems reasonable so I'd be curious as to customer reviews. Goats can be really hard on fencing and stoutness always seems in order. We actually only have one triangle corner to deal with and we're going to use a tree for that! The other two corners are coming straight off an existing fence. Anyway, thanks for showing this to me; it may come in handy.

Amelie Preston said...

Glad to be of assistance. Good luck on your project! I hope it finishes soon! :)