Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Hoss high, pig tight, and bull strong..."

The ponies are annoyed with me.

I cross-fenced the orchard.  The snow has almost entirely melted off, and the grass needs some time to recuperate so... they're now restricted to a narrow strip along one side that leads down to the pass-through to the creekbed.

They spent the last couple days staring longingly over the new fence and loafing by the barn.

I've been thinking a lot about fence lately, mostly because we have a lot of fencing to do.  But also because out walking I pass a lot of it.  Mostly barbwire.  Some of it's horse-high, pig tight and bull strong - the kind Louis L'Amour wrote about in The Rider of Lost Creek (the phrase stuck with me, but I had to go look up which book is was in).

Some of  it's hanging on by a few shreds of rust and the grace of a line of creaky, weathered posts.  Most of it's somewhere in between.

Apart from high and tight or old and disintegrating, it pretty much comes in two varieties: 2-5 wire barbed, and single strand electric.  Farmyards and lots might have continuous pipe fence or panels, but not fields.

Once you get off the paved roads, nice straight, factory-milled posts are a rare commodity.  Hedge posts - weathered, weirdly warped, spindly or thick and knobby with bulbous burls - are cheaper and just as durable. 

They're set to last, too - 15 yards apart, with a wood post every two metal stakes.  A good, tight fence might last 40 years or better.  Here and there you can even find a barely listing line of World War II-vintage metal posts. 

Further south is limestone post country, but I haven't found any within walking distance yet.  

Which reminds me - I met some more neighbors out walking.  The four-footed kind...

They've watched me from across the pasture, but yesterday they finally came over to see what I was up to.  The old grey mare (she really is) was skeptical... two-footed people type critters might mean she'd have to work.   But the gelding was friendly.  

And stout.  He's supposed to be a barrel horse... he certainly has the barrel part covered.  He liked getting scritched enough to trot down the fence after me, but once I hit the corner of the field he took off like a shot back to the bale feeder at the other end of the pasture, the mare trailing behind him. 

I've been itching to ride, but had to settle for giving all four a good brushing tonight and a few minutes each grazing on the narrow patch of green grass by the granary.  I hopped on Sunny really briefly to test the footing, but everything's still squishy and slidey.  Not safe.  The moisture's great to have though, so no complaints.  Well, maybe just tiny ones...


Kellie said...

Your pictures remind me of how beautiful I think Kansas is.

That endless sky and prairie as far as the eye can see. Looks so much like my Grandparent's place. They had a lot of fences just like you showed, with the old hedge posts.

Funny how fast the snow went.

Good for you for getting out and walking :)

SunnySD said...

It's gorgeous out here. I'm getting really addicted to my daily excursions, and I can't wait until it's nice enough to ride and explore off the road.

I can't believe how durable hedge is! I thought cedar posts lasted a long time - maybe because it's drier here, but some of them are OLD.