14 February 2014

Mending fences

In my last post I wrote that I had a number of dry weather jobs to do before Hill Top opened its doors for the new season, and one of those jobs was to replace the paddock fence. 
Unfortunately (but rather predictably) it rained, and then it rained some more and then it snowed a bit before turning back to rain. But the Ranger team, who's assistance I had called on, are made of stern stuff and not deterred by torrential rain and ankle deep mud so we carried on regardless.

The first task was to remove the old fence. I had already taken the rails off with the help of volunteer Dean and taken out most of the staples holding the rabbit netting on. The old posts came out quite easily with the aid of my home made post puller, although we did have to dig out the 'straining posts' which were deeply buried. 

My home made post pulling contraption made light work of the old posts

New posts, neatly laid out
The new posts, sawn from larch from our own woods, were hammered in to the old post holes making sure they were straight, upright and parallel with each other. The rails could then be nailed on, making sure they followed the slope of the ground. 

 After that, the straining wires were stapled onto the posts and tightened to provide a firm support for the new rabbit netting which was held in place with 'hog rings'. The bottom of the netting was buried in the ground to deter any really determined bunnies from burrowing under the fence.
It all got a bit muddy

The last job was to cut the tops off the new posts to make them all the same height and chamfer the rough edges with a surform (no-one likes splinters)!

The useable old posts and rails will be repurposed as compost bins or added to my log pile and used to keep my house warm next winter. The old wire will go for scrap.

Just as we were getting the fence finished, Russ and Damien from our building department arrived to put up the new rose trellis. Also made from home grown larch, it's a slightly different design, based on an old photo from 1914. 

Although both the fence and the trellis look a bit new at the moment, the wood will weather to a silvery colour over the coming months and blend in nicely with their surroundings.

All finished (and still raining)!
Huge thanks to Claire, Craig, Paul, Jaz, Paul, Jo, Russ, Damien and Dean who all helped and I dedicate this months musical link to them.

Bye for now.

Words and pictures by Pete the Gardener