Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Come Along with Me, The Fence Is Yet to Be

I've mentioned the barn yard that has yet to be completed.  It has been an ongoing project of Herb's that has been a labor . . . just plain labor!  After having hand dug 21 post holes (most of them 3' deep), setting the posts and wiring the supports diagonally for strength, he was finally ready to start stringing the wire.

These are "come-alongs," the handy tools that enabled us to stretch a heavy roll of wire tight over the fence posts.  We used two at a time, one toward the top of the fence and one toward the bottom.  We pulled each cable to its full length, attached one hook to the fence and another to the tractor, then ratcheted the come-along up tighter and tighter, pulling the fence up with it.

That's the theory!  The practice is a lot harder and takes some figuring out, but we did it.  I say we, although my part was mainly cheerleading!

We bought the best wire fence for our barnyard.  It's horse-quality, the heaviest gauge, with very small squares all over.  Some fencing has small holes at the bottom with larger ones higher up, but horses can easily put a hoof through the larger holes and seriously injure themselves.  Since our barnyard is smallish, we wanted to prevent any bored horse from getting hurt, any tiny calf from getting out, or any stray dog or coyote from getting in.

For the first run of fence, we wove re-bar through the end of the wire and attached the come-alongs to it.  That method worked, but the re-bar bent from the tension so we kept experimenting.
When we were ready to do another section, I would back the tractor up close, in line with the fence while Herb attached a metal T-post to the end of the section of wire fencing.
What worked best for us was to attach a loop of chain around the T-post and hook the come-along to the chain.  Here you can see both come-alongs hooked to the tractor and to the fence, in the process of being ratcheted up tight.  Of course, Herb alternated between them to keep tension on the fence as equal as possible.
Here is a section of fence that we man-handled into place, sagging away from the posts with its own weight.  The roll of fencing wire was so heavy that we could not pick it up.  Herb rolled it off the truck when he brought it home and from there on we rolled it wherever it needed to go.  Just standing it up was an effort, as was dragging it along to unroll it.  It would have been humanly impossible to pull it tight without the come-alongs.
Here's the same section of fence, pulled up much tighter--just by ratcheting the handle on the come-along!  By the time the fence was tight enough to staple to the posts, all of the sags and wrinkles would be pulled out. 

And that is how come-alongs and our trusty Kubota tractor helped build the barnyard.

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