Monday, May 30

The Orchard Fence

On one of our new sections of field we already have the chestnut trees and now those 205 fruit trees spread out over a 550 foot long by approximately 100 feet wide area. We hope that this is the beginning of our orchard including both fruits and nuts with many other eatables and perennials mixed in. 

Our problem comes from the deer wanting to enjoy those eatables as well. Many gardens and orchards in our area are fenced - my own vegetable garden has a five foot fence surrounding it - which I have seen the deer vault over in search of delicious snacks. So, a fence was is a necessity after spending the money on all the trees. This area will also be packed full of all those other crops to consume or sell which makes the fencing decision a little easier to handle. This is a permanent, 8 foot tall, metal fence with 12 foot 4x4 posts buried between 3 1/2 to 4 feet down, spaced about every 25 feet apart. It is a big investment and an even bigger construction project - the biggest we have taken on since moving here and deciding to adopt this lifestyle.

Just starting out with the poles on the south side, running 550 feet in length. 

The post holes were dug using our tractor and a post hole driller which got us down to about 3 1/2 feet. However, we measured for and drilled all of the holes we would need in one weekend, so when we returned the next weekend to install some posts, there was a lot of water in many of the holes. This make the depth hard to determine and we spent time on each hole digging out mud and checking measurements.

 This part of the property does have some drainage issues but because of the purchase contract, it was the only open field that would work for this project. (The rest of the acreage will hopefully be purchased at a later date when finances allow). It is our plan to install the drainage pipe down the middle of the field to funnel the majority of the water into the creek, therefore making the field much for workable. This should be accomplished after the fencing project has been completed.

It was slow going installing the posts as it was done at a rate of about 5 posts per night after Roy returned home from work. Given the size of these posts, it was not feasible for me to attempt installation during the day. It is a two person job and I spent a lot of time measuring, leveling and using the manual post hole digger.

Weekends gave us more time to install more posts. This also lead to our kids getting into all kinds of mischief both in the house and out in the field with us. My son is obsessed with the farm 4-wheeler and wants to drive it even though he is only 7. The 4-wheeler is much to powerful for him and we try our best to make shoveling fill gravel a fun project for him. My daughter is a great helper at 4 years old but he attention span is, of course, that is a 4 year old. I have moved her plastic playhouse and table out to the field so she has something to occupy herself with while my husband and I are hauling posts and leveling them up. Leaving them in the house is not an option since they get into all kinds of trouble with sneaking snacks and drawing on furniture or watching television shows they are not supposed to. If anyone can tell me why shows like Phineas and Ferb, Sponge Bob or Shezow are appropriate for ANY age group, I would love to hear your reasoning behind it.

Two weekends ago the first section of fencing went up - 550 feet in 2 sections. It took two tractors, 4 adults and some serious skill with the come along to get it into place. 

The trees are doing well so far - about 95% of them are showing signs of growth, budding and/or flowering. 

This weekend we will be installing the other 550 foot section, despite the incredible heat and humidity, and passing sudden downpours. Also, all those eatables and perennials need to get put in, even if the fence is not complete, to ensure a good growing season. That will be the celebration of Memorial Day here on this farm - hard work and appreciating what we have.

More updates to come - the young chicks, the garden and or course, the hopeful completion of the fencing project.

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