Friday, October 27

Building Fence

Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
I apologize, again, for the lack of updates. I took this picture a couple weekends after we actually finished the fence.* We fenced in some pasture to the west of the driveway. The perimeter fence already existed, we just needed to add 500 feet of new fencing and a couple of gates to close it in.

I took a couple days off last week to get this done. My Uncle Bill, who builds fence for a living, my Aunt Julia, my dad, Jennifer and I each did our part. Uncle Bill provided some of the specialized tools, such as his back-saving pneumaitc fence post driver. We still managed to find some rocks every where we wanted to set a post but that didn't stop us.

Uncle Bill also brought his John Deere tractor with the auger attachment. Coy Dan, our neighbor and John Deere fan, gave us his seal of approval on the eqipment choice.

We made quick work of the 500' of 4"x2" of woven wire with a single barb strand on top. To top it off we set into the ground all 22 posts for the roundpen.

More pictures to come.

* finished is a relative word - I still have one more gate to hang, a pile of scrap metal to move, and a burn pile that needs to be moved before we let the horses out in to the new area.

Wednesday, October 11

Bird brain

chicken coop
Pictured above is another shot of our poultry housing. We get lots of enjoyment watching the birds go about their business. One of the funnier things I've noticed has led me to further understand where the term "bird brain" came from. Surely the first person to use this term had a flock of guineas to observe.

guineas ready for take-off
In this image you can see the guineas have made their way to the roofline of the shop building which acts as the barrier to the east for the other non-flying birds (the chicken hens). While the guineas are not flightless, they're certainly not the most graceful in the air. Flying always seems to be an afterthought to me when watching the guineas.

I had read that we could have both guineas and chickens in the same fenced area, and that the guineas would learn to fly out of the pen and return at night while the chickens wouldn't be able to escape the 6' tall fence. This is mostly true in our case. The guineas never seem to make one leap to flight that takes them over the fence. Instead it's a system of short leaps accompanied by flapping that takes them from the ground, to one perch, to another. In the picture above they had just made the leap from the ground to the roof of the hen house, then the hen house over to the shop building.

It's here were something funny almost always happens. One by one they will jump for a take-off from the shop building flying across the width of the fenced area each one clearing the 6' fence by less and less until the final one or two smack straight into the fence.

Now with 1 or 2 of the flock inside the pen and the remaining outside the pen they'll spend the rest of the day trying to get back together, by walking up and down the length of the fence, over and over. They're just not very smart, in my opinion. Eventually they'll get back together but they will spend hours running the fence line trying desperately to get the flock back together. To their credit, they are persistent.

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Tuesday, October 10

When playing with barbed wire...

percherons meet quarter horses

You will get scratched. My arms are evidence of my recent weekend activities. While the barbed wire ("bob war" for the phoetenically challenged) won many battles, I won the war. The fruits of my labor are that the horses now have room to run, and run they did. As soon as they got over the fact that there was fresh green plants to munch on they began galloping back and forth and kicking their heels in the air.

Pictured above is the meeting of herds. Our two Percheron draft horses were noticed by quickly by the neighboring quarter horses. They exchanged sniffs and glances for quite some time. In addition to the room to run the new grazing area will reduce our hay requirements somewhat and keep the horses entertained.

I'm fairly confident now in my fence building abilities. I've got plenty of barbed wire left and a barely used fence stretcher. Money and time are my only obstacles to building the remaining sections, that seems to be a continuing theme.

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Tuesday, October 3

Half a dozen felines, coming right up

new kittens
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
We had six new arrivals last weekend. Our momma barn cat had this litter of kittens sometime Saturday night. We made a place for her to have her kittens atop our hay stack in the horse barn. Sunday morning I went to feed her and found the newborns and momma cat resting.

We'll probably keep one to keep momma cat company, but we'll soon be seeking new homes for the rest of them. Any takers? :)