A Pig and Her Fencing, 7 Lessons Learned

     I’m here to tell ya’ about some lessons learned while installing welded wire fencing. No need to tell you I’m a complete novice, you’ll figure that out soon enough. First, I guess I need to introduce you to Lily, my itty bitty pot-bellied pig. She’s almost three-years-old now.
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     Here’s a picture of her as a piglet with her best friend, my St. Bernard, Charlie. She’s in a makeshift pen I threw together with some hardware cloth and a few misc. poles tied together with baling twine. The indentation is from him trying to get in the pen with her.
     They really are best friends. Years later, she still prefers to  sleep with Charlie.
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     This one is just too adorable to not include. My youngest kiddo (in her 30’s) makes Lily’s clothes on her 1903 Red Eye Treadle Singer sewing machine. She also lives off-grid. Who knew pigs like to eat snow.
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     Alright, I know, I could go on forever about my pets. You know how a proud mom is, always armed with a slew of pictures and stories. I’m trying to reel it in, I really am.
     I wanted to enlarge her temporary play pigpen (she sleeps in the house) and wanted to have a place for her to burn off some steam when I don’t want her underfoot. I built her new pen right under some hickory and oak trees. So, not only does she get the benefit of shade in the Summer, she also gets the nuts in the Fall as a bonus.
On to the lessons learned:
1) 50 feet of wire is not as much as you think.
2) Make sure to drive your T-posts in the ground “straight”.
3) Stretching the fence taut by yourself is damn hard without some sort of gizmo.
4) Laying fence on anything other than flat ground requires a bit of digging.
5) Know that there has to be some kind of T-post clip “trick”.
6) Place the fencing on the “inside” of the T-posts (I thought it looked better on the outside, now I know).
7) Finally, when tired, frustrated and the job is completed, watch a video on YouTube and learn how much easier it could have been. Hahahaha, seriously, that’s how it happened. The built in hazards of being independent and just a smidge stubborn <wink>.
     So, I learned after the fact how to make a fence stretcher with two 2×4’s, some bolts and a chain and the crazy easy way to fasten a T-post clip. Good stuff to know as I am gearing up to build a new chicken run sometime soon.
     The new and improved pen with big girl wire and real posts (granted, not a good angle for viewing). I made the little gate all by myself (proud of this first attempt) I wish it were hung on more sturdy posts as these do not go in the ground and are just wired to the T-post.
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   Lily today, well on her way to becoming a full-grown piggy (it takes five years for pot bellies).
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Onward in Strength,
Mary Lotus

 

Easy Peasy, Firewood Storage Rack

 

img_3520Suggested Materials List:
(3 or 4) – Concrete blocks
(2) – 2″ x 4″ x 8′
(4) – 2″ x 4″ x 6′

     That’s it, that’s all, the whole she-bang. I have several of these racks free standing around the property. I set them up where I fell and cut trees. I can let the wood season for a year right there off of the ground before I move it up to the outdoor furnace site racks. Depending on how high you stack the wood, one rack can hold up to ½ a cord of wood.
     Down on the homestead I try to repurpose materials or just make do with what I have on hand. Saving money where I can is a big deal.  This is a great project to use those warped boards or the ones you can’t pull the nails from. As it happens, I had some rough cut, oak 2″ x 4″s and some 3″ x 5″s lying around and a few left over blocks from my outdoor wood furnace project. I only used three blocks because the wood I was using is strong oak. If I were to purchase pine boards, I’d probably use four blocks to support the weight. I’d also buy treated wood.
     This is my third year of keeping these racks full of wood and I’m starting to see some insect damage on the boards. This will probably be the last year for some of them. But nothing goes to waste here. They will just be added to the firewood stack.

Let’s get started. Try to pick a semi level spot. Lay out an 8 ft. board to see where you need to place your blocks.

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Place a block at each end and one or two in the middle, hole side up.

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I put a few stones in the bottom so the wood isn’t resting on the ground.

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Place the 6 ft. boards in the holes on the end blocks.

 

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     It’s a little easier if you are doing this alone to place a few pieces of wood on the rack to help keep the end boards from moving till you get a row down. You’ll still have time to readjust them.
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     Well that’s it, doesn’t get any more easy peasy than that, or cheap. I hope this straightforward rack gets you through a winter until you can build that wood shed. I know it’s on my list, my super l-o-n-g list.
Onward in Strength,
Mary Lotus