Thankfully when we moved to this property in the December a little over a year ago it hadn’t turned bitter cold yet and the ground was not froze. My husband and I constructed a make shift holding pen for the horses until we could build proper fence when the weather turned.
The previous owners hadn’t had any livestock for years which meant that all of the fence around the property had to come out and be rebuilt. My husband was a farm hand growing up so he is quite a good fence ripper outer! EVERY Saturday last summer was devoted to fencing. I would take our daughter to my mom’s in the morning and linger there a little longer then I should knowing that Coby was starting fence work while I was there. Once I got back it was time to put up some fence. We would complete a single line of fencing each day. Now, some might envision a couple arguing with each other and bickering incessantly while building fence but oddly Coby and I seem to be at our best as a couple under usually trying times so it was actually fun.
Some people feel close to God when they are sitting in a church pew. I felt alive and blessed working on our fence. Maybe it’s because it took us four years to find our acreage but God blessed us with a piece of his earth that he created and entrusted it in our care, that honestly blows my mind. I’m not saying it wasn’t hard work and was exhausting but in the same sense it was exhilarating. We have looked back on it and both felt a sense that someone was there with us. For me it was surprisingly a spiritual task.
The Steps to Building a Fence
Coby did an insane amount of research into building fence. He watched YouTube videos from the pros because we were going to do this once, and do it right!
- Set the corner posts. We just followed the existing fence line so we would take out the old corner posts, use the fence post digger attachment on the tractor to clean out the hole and throw the new creosote post in there. We would use a level to ensure it was straight on all sides before filling the hole in.
- Creosote is a tar like substance that is used to coat fence posts and soaks into the post leaving it a very dark brown/black color. Creosote helps slow the wood post from rotting and can also deter harmful insects from damaging the posts. Definitely wear gloves and full sleeves when working with these posts. Coby would develop a slight rash whenever the posts made contact with his skin and it would burn for a few hours afterward.
- The next step was to place the brace posts on either side of the corner posts. We placed these a metal brace post length away from the corner post.
- We used 9 Gage Wire and looped it around the corner post and the brace post at a diagonal, attaching it together with a Wire Tightener. For this project we did have to buy quite a few specific tools but we wanted to ensure this fence was going to withstand the test of time, and my mom’s fence stretching horse.
- The last step in bracing the posts was to use a metal brace in-between the posts. I grew up seeing these metal posts placed diagonally between the posts but my Dad said to put them horizontally because the diagonal would start to lift the post where the diagonal was lowest to the ground.
- We would then run our bottom line of barbed wire to use as a guide for the metal “T”-Posts. We would wind the barb wire around the wood posts, put fencing staples in it and then put a metal rod through the spool of barbed wire and we would walk it to the other post. Once there we gave ourselves about 3′ extra to work with and cut the wire.
- Coby bought a Come-Along Tool or winch that we hooked to the hitch of his pickup. Coby also got an adapter to be used with the winch that can hold the barbed wire. We then tightened the wire and would wrap it around the post and attach it with fencing staples.
- The next step was placing the “T”-Posts. We placed ours every 8′ along the outside of the fence. We loaded them in the tractor bucket and Coby would drive the tractor slowly alongside me and I would throw them out at estimated 8′ intervals. I would then measure 8′ and pound the post in with a post pounder with the flat part of the “T”-Post facing inward so electric fencing insulators could be attached later.
- Once these were all in we started running the rest of the barbed wire strands. We chose to do 5 strands. My Dad ran 6 because when he built his fence we had sheep and since they’re smaller he wanted smaller openings between the strands. We only intend on having horses and steers so we decided we could make them slightly farther apart. We placed our barbed wire 2″ down from the top, then 12″, 22″, 32″ and 42″ on the 4′ post.
- We would run the bottom 3 strands and would then have to adhere them to the post using fence clips. Any more strands then this and they started getting caught in one another while on the ground before we attached them to the post. We would leap frog each other, each doing the next post in line and would attach the wire. We used both regular pliers and fencing pliers for this, both worked but the rounded head of the fencing pliers made it easier for me.
We divided our pasture area into three fairly equal parts so we can rotate the critters to give the grass a chance to catch up growing. We placed gates in-between the pastures to make it easier to move livestock and get the tractor in and out for maintenance. There’s nothing worse then needing to get into a pasture with the tractor and having to worry about the critters running out!
When we had an over tiring day I would make Coby look at the horses and remind him of how happy they are going to be in that beautiful pasture. I don’t think he quite shared my enthusiasm on that but as he always tells me, “If it makes you smile, I’ll do it.”
Finally the day came to let the boys into the completed pasture. I honestly think I was more excited then they were. We each took a horse and walked the perimeter of the fence so they knew where it was and then we let them go. They were so excited to have beautiful green grass they didn’t even do their typical run around like idiots when they get someplace new. They just dropped their heads and started munching, it was a wonderful site!
It was hard work and honestly I’m exhausted even reminiscing to that time but we have gotten numerous comments from people about how nice our fence is. Coby says if we ever have to do it again we will hire it out but we both puff up with pride whenever someone comments on our fence!