Since moving into the Yellow House almost two years ago, putting up a fence has been on our project to-do list. It hasn’t just been on the list. It has been a big, looming, item on that list and has been repeatedly, intentionally moved down because….gulp….you have to dig deep holes in the rocky Texas soil (God Bless it)! You have to mix cement! Set the posts! You have to cut posts for goodness sake! It was a huge job. HUGE.
But, luckily for me, Mr. Yellow House is a project tackling beast. And just like you eat an elephant, we took on this intimidating project one attainable step at a time. First of all, I would like to mention that I am using “we” generously here. I did help, of course. But, Mr. YH deserves the credit, along with his parent’s, our friends, and anyone else who came and helped in the sweltering August heat. People love you if they’ll dig holes/cut posts/attach field fence in a Texas summer. We are so blessed.
If you have been a reader of this blog for a while (thank you), you may remember that we put up a barb wire fence about a year ago. You can read my post, “How the Cows Convinced us to Put Up a Fence” here. (Why are we always putting up a fence in the hottest part of the summer?) We knew that first fence wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t. So, you could say, the cows are to “thank” for the forever fence as well. Once that barb wire started to droop, they were in our yard like it was their job. Eating our garden, the kid’s soccer balls and chewing up our garden hose. To stay positive, we’ll say that they motivated us to get the ball rolling. In reality, we yelled at them and shooed them out with serious frustration. “There is literally grass everywhere!”
First, we needed deep holes for our support posts. We went through some trials, put the auger on my dad’s tractor and went to work. Nope. Maybe if we….nope…how about…nope. It’s a serious tractor, but it just wasn’t going to get through that hard ground. We went back to the drawing board, and this is where we got discouraged. We called someone out to give us a quote on building the fence for us. This decision caused some conflict, but also gave us some real insight, and tethered me back to our mission. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Obviously, we didn’t hire him and moved on with new vigor.
Next, Brian and his dad (Thank you dad!!!) set the support posts-those on corners or those that would be supporting a gate, in the deep holes using cement. What has already been done at this point is, we have collected and/or cut all the posts already and they are in a pile by the house. (Big thanks to our friends, The Pearsons. They came out for a day and helped us harvest some posts!)
Once the posts were set, Brian used the chainsaw to cut divots out of the support posts.
The kids water-proofed the tops of the posts, and the fresh cuts.
For posts set on the corners, or anywhere that could be supporting a gate, you have to create an H brace. This helps the fence stay upright when you put pressure on it by hanging a gate, or when you pull wire across. We shimmied/shoved a horizontal post into our divots.
I will not attempt to describe this process too thoroughly, because honestly I’m attempting to simplify months of work. If you’re looking to do this…YouTube.
We used 12 gauge galvanized wire to wrap around the top of the outside post and the bottom of the inside post (closest to where the gate will hang). Friendly advice: invest in a serious, no messin’ around pair of wire cutters to cut this stuff.
We used barbed staples to attach the wire to the post. Then we used a piece of rebar to twist the wire and provide resistance and stability. We attached the rebar to the inside, and middle of the cross post with a staple.
We did this a total of ten times. We have four gates (1-2 braces for each) and the rest are on the corners.
We set the rest of our posts using a tamper. If you don’t know, a tamper is a heavy, cumbersome, arduous pole that breaks up the ground on one end and smashes it compact on the other. It is hard, hard work and is how we stay “ranch fit”. It’s likely this is some kind of Cross Fit work out.
We bought two rolls of field fence and ran it along all the posts, attaching with barbed staples.
One of my grandmother’s written goals for our ranch was, “To have an eager and willing spirit to learn” and ” To have the quest for knowledge…”
Hiring someone, who I’m sure would have done a great job, and saved our sore backs, would not have accomplished either of those goals. Not really. Do you know what we have knowledge about now? How to build an H brace, how to unroll a huge roll of field fence without smashing all our toes, and how to cut 12 gauge wire without breaking your hand.
Y’all it was hard work. Such hard work. But I think the fallacy is that hard is the same as bad. I have not found that to be true on this ranch, or in this life at all. I’m so thankful I had a partner in this adventure to remind me of that. Hard can be fun, and a learning experience…and a great story to tell. Thankfully, Brian kept his head on straight and helped us start, and finish this fence because I wasn’t sure I had it in me. I am so proud of him, and us, and this beautiful fence with it’s crooked gate. It brings a tear to my eye to look at it.
Thanks for reading,