And not the kind with the sword.
Living out here in the country with animals means that fence acquisition, building, and repair are both unavoidable and near-constant parts of life. Back when I lived in the suburbs on a 1/4 acre privacy-fenced lot, I dreamed of moving out into a natural utopia – free, open, devoid of manmade barriers.
At the time, I thought free-ranging all of our animals would be the ticket. Who needs fences? As long as all of your animal charges are regularly handled and have all of their needs met – they will never want to leave. Incarceration is for the lazy.
So, obviously, that was stupid. Fences are more for keeping things out than keeping things in. Sometimes it is necessary to separate animals for their own protection. Sometimes you really need to keep your does away from your buck. And sometimes even your most content companions want to take a day trip to the middle of the busy road down the hill.
Now that we know better, we devote a pretty significant number of annual waking hours to building or mending fences. Today we are reworking our inside perimeter fence to include a little more usable land at the top of our steep hill while replacing the 4-strand wire with wire panel to keep our dog closer to home when he is out unsupervised. This is going to be a multi-weekend project, as usual, but there is no use complaining about it.
We also learned the hard way that it is a lot better to invest in better fencing materials (the most effective for your animals and terrain rather than the cheapest) from the start. Now that we have learned this we can finally look forward to getting to work on the larger perimeter fence – rather than constantly having to use our time and money to repair the existing fences.
What had once been something we thought we would only accomplish someday after we won the lottery is now on the radar for completion within the next two years. I can’t even begin to express how exciting that is and all of the other projects that will open up for all of us.
For now… Back to smashing my hands with pliers and fence clips and battling ticks. It will all be worth it in the end.