On a chicken farm, far, far away....
We are in a state of "sheep readiness" (Go to Yellow Alert, bwarp, bwarp bwarp...). While T toiled all weekend inside, filling borer holes, undercoating doors & then top coating them (only the backdoor & maybe one other I'm not sure about left to do), getting grumpy because it was beautiful out there, I made my weekly visit to the very cool Farmlands to demonstrate my complete lack of knowledge & experience & purchase 100 metres of 8 line high tensile steel mesh. Bejesus it was heavy....
Then I got it home, hefted it up on a wheelbarrow & barged the whole lot, strainers, tools, mesh, water bottle... through waist high grass out to the patch of derelict fence in the olive tree paddock. This took a while because it's not easy pushing a barrow through long grass, the grass winds around the wheel & elicits a lot of frustration & profanity.
But by 5pm I had that section of fencing replaced completely. And that included 2 hours of removing the poxy, rusted chicken wire someone had wound around the existing wires & posts & which was a real bitch to get out.
Standing back for a breather & wondering what I could do now, to fence in the little olive trees, and a bit disappointed at how so little fencing had taken all day, I heard Him approaching...
"Yes Master Tim?"
"You have done well... you are the Master now, I give you my tools, handed down from my Fencing Master & handed to him from His"
"Yes Master Tim, thank you"
and then he left, and I thought I heard some words blown back by the breeze from the direction he took...
Well actually, what he said was "Not bad for a non-fencer", and when he leaned on it he said "Jeez, you got it tight! how'd you do that?". Which when you think about it is pretty much the same thing. Anyway, I showed him I couldn't figure out how pro-fencers get the really neat corkscrew tie-offs, whereas mine look like galvanised birds-nests. And he told me I needed a "key" and loaned me his. And it's just a little strip of metal with a hole at one end. And it really makes a difference.
And by then it was time to leave the fields, head down to Price-Chopper, which is the closest Otaki gets to Moore-Wilsons, get booze & something to char on the barbecue & heap fulsome praise on the state of the painted doors, and not mention how wonderful the weather was outside. We have a nice little shade tree at the sheltered end of the house which is perfect for barbecuing & outdoors dining. And the world of Drunken Fencing Master & his family was good. And then we watched Goldeneye on TV2 & ogled Halle Berry in the Making of Die Another Day documentary.
But Master Tim also told me my plans for sheep-proofing the trees probably wouldn't work that well, sheep can be determined & surprisingly resourceful, and if they want something (like young trees especially) they will move heaven & tree protectors to get them.. SO that's still a bit of a problem & at the very least, I'll need to get a load of sturdy posts in, not the namby pamby stakes I had planned to use. Unless I can think of something easier soon. I have the added constraint on my creativity & resourcefulness in that T insists whatever the solution is, it can't be ugly. Hamstring a guy why dontcha!? I've been eyeing those big steel things around the trees at our end of Lambton Quay actually. Anyone got a gas axe & a truck?
And so on Sunday, I took a look at the big paddock, which I always figured would take the longest to fix up - one entire side needed refencing completely, or the neighbours would be getting unwelcome visitors on a regular basis.
It took a couple of hours again to remove the worst of the broken down existing fence, and to cut back a macrocarpa tree at one end so I could attach the mesh to the end post. And the other end was easier, but there was a nasty thorn tree of some sort (like 3 inch thorns!) and I have a lot of scratches & scrapes today, and puncture wounds... But by 5 pm Sunday, I had the whole length strung up with taut mesh. And attached to the (fortunately already existing) posts. It looks real professional - except for the ends where they're tied on, the key got me nice tie-ons, but access to both end-posts was difficult, a massive macrocarpa nestled up to one, and a hedge is growing around the other. But who cares. And who would notice?
And so the big paddock is now stock proof. Funny how I thought this one would be the last. A good plan has to be flexible. And there are no young trees in this one to worry about. Aside from those trees to protect, I have two short sections of fence to put in elsewhere, a couple of gates to fix up a little & then the entire property is secure.
And bonus! Tim's been moaning that the people who used to graze horses there borrowed & never returned his electric fence. And a few weeks ago I came across an electric fence in the run down shed. And when I told him I'd found it he said they'd already given his back! So I have an electric fence unit (not sure if it works, there may be a reason it was abandoned in the shed).
Then, while I was cutting hedge back from the end-post, I found a huge roll of electric fence tape! It's like one of those computer-adventure games - Zork - everything you need is there but you have to find it. After that I fully expected to come across the actual sheep in the long grass. But anyhow, the fence unit has written on it, in very large words "Do not use before reading ALL the instructions". Haven't found those yet. I guess they're not the ideal gadgets for learning about through trial & error. Anyway, I need a supply of the little insulated poles to hold the tape up. Farmlands have those! They're only a couple of dollars each. Master Tim can probably show me how it works. And tell me what "Slow" and "Fast" and "Pulse" mean. And where the big crocodile clip goes. And how on earth the tape connects to it! It actually runs on 4 D size batteries. How cute.
And so I have to contact a stock agent today, on the off chance they can help me locate 4-6 black (we fancy something different - boutique even) ewes or wethers, and deliver them this Saturday, and which have recently been sheared & drenched (got some sheep advice from Master Tim - he even offered to kill any if we get sick of them or have a barbecue planned - he must really miss this sort of thing).
And that's it for this week - the kitchen/dining area & bathroom get tiled today, so that's something to look forward to seeing next week.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
On a chicken farm, far, far away....
Posted by llew at Wednesday, December 15, 2004