Sunday, August 27, 2006

PhD = Post Hole Digging

Building a gate

The passing along of knowledge is very essential in all phases of life. In making a new fence line there are time tested procedures coupled with old timers "tricks of the trade" that are invaluable and make practical work much easier to accomplish.

The fence line we are currently working on was started earlier in the summer when the ground was not so hard and dry. I had hired two young men, Tulasi and Nirguna, to dig the new holes for the fence posts and too set the new posts. The holes traditionally are 3 feet deep and when the post is placed in the hole the dirt is slowly put back in the hole and "tamped" down so the post is secure with no movement. The "old timers” say the best time to "set" posts is during the waning of the moon, because then the moon is pulling downwards as it grows smaller and will pull the post down and keep them in the holes. These two young men are earning PhDs on the farm. PhD is short for POST HOLE DIGGING. They are becoming fully realized in the science of posthole digging and they will be able to use this knowledge anywhere throughout their lives.

Jason and Caitanya Bhagavt are learning how to do the next step, stringing the wire. There are two types of fence. One fence is too keep animals in the area and the second is too keep animals out of an area. The difference is which side of the post the wire is placed. Since we want to keep the cows in the pasture, we are stringing the wire on the inside of the post or the pasture side. Then if the cows push on the wire, they will also be pushing on the post itself. If the wire is on the outside of the post then when the cow on the inside of the pasture pushes on the wire they are only pushing against the staples that hold the wire in place.

We have already finished half of the fence and made "H BRACES" on the ends for extra strength. Slow work, as there are many little steps to complete the task. In between the two halves, we have left an opening with a simple gate. A team of oxen or a vehicle can pass through this gate to get to the wood lot on the other side of the pasture. If the job is done correctly, the fence will be sturdy and will last as long as the posts don’t rot away which could be as long as 50 to 75 years depending on the quality of the fence posts.

The choice of wood for fence posts in this part of the country is locust. Locust fence posts, when allowed to dry properly, will outlast several applications of wire over the years.

Weather permitting we will finish the new fence line today and facilitate the cows being switched back to new pasture on that side of the ISCOWP farm.

ISCOWP Website
Life With the Cows and Land


Jana said...

Nice fence! I remember how we did temporary fence!!! =)

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