I came home from another business trip to Albuquerque Friday evening to a quick organizational meeting between the three of us about the fencing plans. We discussed tactics, but since we've never built a horse fence before there were many questions. Suddenly, the day I spent several years ago helping the Colorado Horse Rescue build their new pastures became incredibly relevant. Fortunately Dave also helped out at CHR that day, so at least he and I had more or less of a common understanding.
The first and foremost lesson we'd learned at CHR was that you must run a string to define the line of your fence before putting in posts. At CHR we had severly underestimated this necessity and had to pull out a bunch of T-Posts as well as a number of wood posts. So first thing in the morning I ran off to the hardware store to buy 1000 ft of string among a few other last minute items.
Then, in our haste we almost broke that very same rule about planning before digging. We somehow thought that the first post would be unconstrained, so we could start that one and then run the line. Fortunately Dave had only dug about an inch - a frozen inch I might add - before we stopped and ran the string line. The discussions prompted by that ended up moving our placement of that first post by about 3 feet, and added another bend to the fence thus adding 3 more posts to our overall plan. We were now short of posts. We also determined the total run of the fence line was approximately 540 feet. Since we had a 1000 ft roll of hotwire, we were now short of that too.
So the digging commenced. In fairly short order we worked out a scheme for each of us to have a job with the tools at hand. We were estatic to find that we have ZERO rocks on our land. We were less than estatic to find that about half of our holes were close enough to the pond to backfill with water. Not wanting the posts to rot, we decided we needed to cement them in. So, 2 holes completed and David headed out to purchase more posts, cross bars, and concrete.
Mixin concrete in place
Now that's a post hole!
Ginger and I completed the other 2 holes for the critical corner and end posts, and headed in for a late lunch. By the time we all got back to it, we barely had enough sunlight to finish setting and cementing those 4 posts in place. It was an extremely frustratingly small amount of visual progress for a day's work - not to mention for as sore as we were all feeling.
Sunday we started right in on running t-posts as we had access to a large compressor and Dave had rented a pneumatic t-post driver. We knew we only had a few hours in the morning when the ground would remain frozen enough to allow us to drive the trucks into the pasture, so we deferred the remaining wood posts for a few hours.
A friend of ours, Mike, has been working on his '76 Bronco in our dog barn for a few months. For rent he helps us out with projects on occasion. Well, we were very glad to have Mike around to help this morning! He and Dave took turns man-handling this t-post driver that weighed alot more than I wanted to tackle. Ginger was laying out t-posts and marking them at the depth we'd drive them in to, I'd pick them up and locate them and hold them level, then the guys took care of driving them in. We were flying! 48 posts in under 2 hours.
We still didn't get as much done as we'd wanted to, but by sunset we had all 10 wood posts in and all t-posts set. We had to leave it to Dave to finish cross braces and figure out how to run wire and tension it, while Ginger went back to work and I went back to Albuquerque.
Now it is Wednesday night and I've just returned home to find out that in the meanwhile Dave has located and ordered a longer spool of wire so that we won't have to splice the fence. We're hoping that will be delivered tomorrow, so we still have no fence. I'm sure the horses are getting antsy in their restricted quarters - it ought to be fun when we finally get to turn them out again!