January 15, 2014

Fencing Project: Finishing The Doe Browse

I recently showed you progress on our fencing project, an area in the woods for the does (see "The Ongoing Job of Fencing."). What was left to do was corner bracing, t-posts, and attaching the welded wire fence.

Corner post bracing with a 2x4 and t-posts

I mention in my book that when we put up our first fence, I stood there with a library book in hand and read the steps out loud while Dan did them. Since that time we've gained experience, plus Dan has kept his eye out for other fencing jobs and how they were done. There are many methods and the above photo is an example of two different ways of doing the same thing, bracing a fence corner. The purpose of the brace is to counteract the pull of the fence on the corner post. Without it, the tension of the fence would pull and loosen the post. I mention this because I once saw a fence with no corner bracing, and yes, the corner posts were pulled almost out of the ground.

Below is a color enhanced close-up so you can see them better.

The corner on the left was one of the first we did. The diagonal is made of 9 gauge wire looped around the two posts and then twisted together with a stick called a twitch.

The new brace is on the right. Rather than fencing wire and a twitch, Dan used a scrap 2x4 from our bedroom closet wall demolition. This is not necessarily better or worse than the other, it was simply using what we had available without buying more wire.

Bottom corner of the doe browse. This corner also has two different
types of braces, one wire with a twitch, the other a landscape timber.

Stretching and attaching the welded wire fence came next. Because this was a wooded area Dan was able to use trees for attaching the fence. No, it doesn't kill them and the benefit is not having to sink dummy posts in order to stretch the fencing tightly.

For photos and details about stretching fence with 
a come-along and fence stretcher, and clipping
it to t-posts, see this post, "Progress on the Fence."

After that it was time to open the gate and let the girls in.

About that blur in the bottom left corner: Sam loves being with the goats.
He loves being outdoors and loves playing with the chickens (though they
don't think of it as "play.") He's turning into a good, all around farm cat.

There's not a lot down there right now, but come summer there will be tons of poison ivy, saw briars, honeysuckle, blackberries, and kudzu. At least the job is done and we can move onto the next project on the list, the new chicken coop.


Chris said...

All that browse come the summertime, and it will be like goat heaven. I can see from the photo, the girls are concentrating intensely on sussing out their new digs.

Good job fencing. We learned to fence from a book too. Practice always makes perfect though.

Izzy said...

The does look very happy in their new surroundings, and I'm sure will enjoy it even more as spring and summer get here. Nice job!

Carolyn said...

Didn't barn kitty have a sister? How is she doing?
I LOVE out Outside Kitty; he follows me on barn chores every day, twice a day, even in the snow deep as he is!
Great job on the fencing....wann'a come over here and help :)

Leigh said...

Thanks Chris! I have to say those learning experiences are why I think print books should never be replaced by e-books. Portable, page flipable, and no battery required. :)

Izzy, thank you! The girls are quite pleased although still a bit cautious. I'm just happy they have additional forage during pregnancy (er, pregnancy, I hope).

Carolyn, you know, I read that in the olden days they had work bees for jobs like this. The trading of labor would be such a blessing. Most of the homestead community nowadays is spread out across the world!

Yes, Sam has a sister, Katy. She loves trying to catch birds. squirrels, and bugs, but really likes the house best. :)

Renee Nefe said...

Your goats and cat all seem pleased. I think there will be much fun and games in the new area.

Cassandra said...

Those look like some really happy goats. And one silly cat. :)

Mama Pea said...

Happy goats, happy cat, happy homestead! This is the way animals are meant to be kept. Lots of exercise and good (natural) things to eat.

Farmer Barb said...

I am eyeballing the trees that will be available to me for my fence, too. As long as we are on the outside,they should keep on growing.

The goats, that is. I have seen you tubes of trees that look like they were peeled for log houses. I don't want to offer up the trees as much as use their strength.

Well done!

Leigh said...

Renee, Sam is still kitten enough to think everything's a game. :)

Cassandra, I agree! :)

Mama Pea, that is so true. We grumble a bit at the work of fencing, but are always pleased with the result.

Barb, trees definitely go on the outside. For the reason you mention, and also because goats (don't know about sheep) will push on the fence. If posts of any sort are on the inside, they'll push the fence right off them!

My goats like bark too, but only of dead logs, like the cedar ones we've used for posts or the logs used to make the billy barn. They are less apt to eat bark from older, firm barked living trees, although from younger trees and my silver maple they like the bark. At least that's been my experience considering the browse and trees they have on offer.

Woolly Bits said...

looking forward to blog entries about building the chicken villa:) I find the goats entertaining, but we're not going to keep any, so chicks are the priority! and I learned most things I know from books - unfortunately most of us didn't grow up on a farm, where jobs like fencing were taught by doing - so books are my 2nd best choice:)

Sandy Livesay said...


You and Dan did a great job on the fencing. I can see your goats a very happy with their new play ground. Can't wait to see the pictures on your next project.

Lady Hawke said...

Good Job, Leigh. I will be glad when we can start fencing at our place. Sam is in the same heaven that our Tootie is. She loves going outside when the weather is good. Has Sam or Katy brought you any presents, yet? Tootie brought us a snake, 3 voles, and 2 lizards.

badgerpendous said...

Can't wait to see the chicken coop! I'm always thinking about what I'd do if we could have more than three hens here in our little suburb. So it's fun to see other folks build coops.

Kev Alviti said...

Some good fencing there - we do our corner posts in much the same way.
I do have one objection though and thats using trees as fence posts! The tree quite quickly grows round the wire and it will rot it much faster than the rest of the fence, it pushes your fence out of line and when you come to cut the tree down it knackers your saw blade (this is from personel experience where my brother and I have both been swearing at past generations as the tree was full of wire). I shouldn't think it does the tree much good either.
What type of normal posts are you using and how do you find they last?

Anonymous said...

I bet the girls are going to love that new area! Thanks for always giving so much information on how you do things...it helps newbies like me lol.


Leigh said...

Bettina, you'll be glad to know that chickens are entertaining too. :) The new coop is part of an overall plan for a new barn and the need to clear out the old one first. If the ground ever dries out we'll be back at the coop, and I'll try to have lots of photos and helpful information then. :)

Sandy, thanks!

Lady Hawke, good for Tootie! No presents yet from Sam or Katy but Riley, our older cat, brings in his kill. Then Sam confiscates it and has a grand old time playing with it!

Garrett, what you need for your next project is a move to the country! ;)

Kev, very good point about the trees. Of course, too late for here, LOL. Besides no funds to buy many materials, part of the problem with posts in the woods is battling all the roots to properly sink the posts.

For our corner and bracing posts we're buying treated posts from the farm supply store. We've also used home cut cedar as well. The posts are doing well after several years, but we're finding that even the treated cross members will need to be replaced soon. Of course, maintaining fencing is an on going job.

Stephanie, true to the nature of goats, they'e maintained a "we'll think about it" approach. They are happy for the browse once they consent to being there however!