Permasteader

Our high tensile fence, mostly through the woods, is underway. This post is the actual work on progress. To see my planning/notes post, Click Here. I’ve cut 30+ trees, split and hauled out the big stuff and stacked it. I’ve got smaller logs laying out there that I’m bringing up a little at a time in cool mornings when the bugs aren’t so bad. I cleared enough to set the corner posts, run some bailing twine on them and see what else needs to be cut. This is the Ozarks so I had some spots where I had to roll some small boulders out and fill the holes to make it drive-able with the little tractor. I’ve got so many that in some spots, I filled all but the smallest holes with other rocks I rolled out. Big rocks go into holes left from huge rocks. Medium sized rocks go into holes left by big rocks etc etc. I just got some gravel for the driveway so I used some of the gravel to do some filling in on the fence line trail.

This is a little of the front line out by the road that you can barely see to the right.

Here’s one end of the back line which is also the longest line.

I think I’ve got a total of maybe 10 tree left to cut with most of them being on the front line and leaning towards the road so I’ll have to have someone out there to watch for cars.

I got the post in for the top corner by the road a couple of weeks ago. Went pretty good for Ozarks soil but the top end is pretty flat and even though it’s our top end, there’s another property higher up the hill. I imagine some of the dirt I dug came from that higher property. Today, I got the corner post for the lower end by the road put in and the hole dug for the lower back corner post. I’m a few inches shy of my 42″ depth because I hit a rock and I ended up flaring the bottom of the hole to try and get the rocks out but it’s big. Since my hole is flared at the bottom now, I’ll just add a couple of bags of ready mix to the hole to make up for lack of depth. There’s water in that hole so all I have to do is dump the mix in and then finish filling it up with the mostly gravel dirt I dug out.

I needed that lower back(away from road) post in before I can do my upper back post because the 7.5 acres is surveyed but the 8 acres isn’t. I do have an old marker back there but it’s further up than that corner of the fence so what I’ll do attach my wire to the lower back post and stretch it with my tractor and measure of the old marker to make sure it’s parallel to the property line. I’m coming in three foot from the property line with the fence to give me a little room to maintain the outside of the fence.

I had my orange bailing twine on the property line going by the survey markers and then eyeballing the back, plus going by the old marker, which is about 40 foot off.

Update 8/28/2019

As of mid Spring all four corner posts were in and the seed ticks were out so I pretty much had to quit for the year. I still need to pull the bottom wire around the perimeter and then I can dig my brace post holes and set my brace assemblies as below. I was planning on single braces but I think I’ll do the double brace for one corner. When I set the corner post in for that, I didn’t hit any gravel so when packed in, it’s not as solid as the rest, where most of what I dug out was gravel. Those packed in solid like they are in concrete.

I do have an electric fence completed, just a wee bit smaller. I moved the dogs away from the house as two of them are to be LGDs, although only one of those two is an actual LGD type breed, Great Pyrenees. The other looks to be Old English Sheep dog which of course haven’t been used for their original purpose in many generations. The Border Collie replaced them because they are better at herding and a whole lot cheaper to feed. So I set up a pen against what will be the inside of the perimeter fence. It will become an area to keep the goats, pigs and dogs during winter and then later, it will become a place to train new animals to electric fence and also be a quarantine area for the new or sick animals. It could also be a buck pen at some point. It’s about 85×85 feet which is 7225 sq ft or 1/6 of an acre. Funny thing is, I used a good portion of my insulators and hardware because it still has four corner posts, eight brace posts and some line posts. I electrified every other wire starting from the bottom which leaves the top wire non-electrified but that top wire is 51 inches off the ground so I might just leave it that way. The design I’m going by has the two bottom wires hot and then every other one from there up, leaving the top wire as a hot wire. I ran out of insulators to do that, so obviously, I didn’t even have enough for the perimeter fence in the first place. Not sure what happened there. So this little 85×85 fence with a fence charger made for 10 acres – 30 miles of fence is quite hot. I measured close to 9000 volts from hot wire to the earth and over 6000 from hot wire to ground wire. The dogs touched the fence once and only once, letting out quite a yelp when they did.

The small fence was good to learn some things on. My homemade Spinning Jenny needs improvement. I went with cheap 4 inch posts from the local feed store but didn’t have enough to finish the corner brace assemblies and that makes it really hard and dangerous to twist up the diagonal brace wire, while already having the horizontal fence wires in place. I’m not impressed with that twisted wire + “twitch stick” method anyway. It might work better with softer wire but then it wouldn’t be as strong so, I found galvanized turnbuckles for less than $4 each and I think I’m going to go with those. Even if you do the twisted brace wire, it may need re-tightening at some point and that’s near impossible to do with it being 2-4 inches away from the fence wire. It would be easy with a turnbuckle however and $8.00 per corner isn’t that much expense.

Another thing I learned; You have a bit of a choice to make with the horizontal brace posts where the ground is near level. You can either measure up from the ground and place them or put a level on them when you install them. Either way, it looks bad. If you put a level on it and the ground and therefor the fence wire isn’t exactly level, then the brace post looks good until you get close and notice it’s not parallel to the fence wire. If you measure up from the ground like you have to do with the wire, then from a distance, it’s very noticeable that your brace post isn’t level but is parallel with the ground and fence wires. I first noticed this at a gate post setup and then on a corner of the dog pen. Measuring up from the ground is the proper way to do it, so that’s how I’ll do it from now on.

In the diagram above and below where it’s more clear, you’ll see they want you to lean the corner or end post 2 inches and then the first brace post 1 inch, if doing a double brace. I did so on my corner posts and it bothers me to look at. I tried to do it on the gate but installing a gate on crooked posts doesn’t work too well so they ended up more like a 1 inch lean. I worked in the sign business for years and putting something up crooked just isn’t done unless it’s part of some funky design so it really bothers me, especially the one right by the road that everyone drives by.  When I did the dog pen, I put the corner posts on straight and of course once the wire was stretched tight, they leaned in. Granted I didn’t/don’t have my braces completed. Also, every old fence I drive by, even the ones with good corner braces, leans in 1-2 inches. I’m wondering and have been meaning to try and find info on it; Would that horizontal brace shrink end to end and how much? (just did a quickie search and “longitudinal” shrinkage is minimal for all wood so I don’t think it’s going to shrink 2 inches on 8 foot) So now, maybe I’ll lean my brace post 1 inch. One thing that could happen is that since the end of the horizontal brace post is pulled against the round of the vertical posts it’s in between, it could squish up a little. So, corner posts with 2 inch lean, first brace post with 1 inch lean and in time, they will probably go straight as opposed to leaning in like all the old fences I see, even the ones that use electric poles as posts. My neighbor used electric poles, set them deep and packed white chat(white driveway gravel that packs really well) back in the hole and he’s got barbed wire which isn’t pulled as tight as high tensile. His corner pots still leaned in. So in 20 years, people will think I’m smart. For now, I imagine they think I’m blind or dumb. BTW, I’ve never actually found an explanation for the leaning out of corner posts. At first by looking at the drawing and the placement of the brace wire, I thought it was so the corner post would have to take a whole lot of earth with it if it were to pull out. Pulling out is their tendency when a tree falls on the fence down the line. They pivot on that first brace post. But that theory wouldn’t jive with them putting the anchor lug on the outside.

Then of course we have another crookedness issue. We’re hilly here and I read that only on decorative fences you put posts in straight up and down(plumb) on a hill. For ag fences, you want them 90 degrees to the earth’s surface. Driving in posts or digging holes at angle to plumb(and the way one stands and the way we move a tool up and down due to gravity) will be awkward I’m thinking. I think the idea is that a post at an angle other than 90 degrees to earth will tend to straighten up under stress when that tree falls on the fence further down the line as the fence wire will mostly be lifting straight up or pushing straight down aka in a direction 90 degree up or down to the surface. Then of course if you lean anything, it gets lower to the ground on the top end. That means not setting the post as deep to have your wires at a consistent height.

I’ll have to do a drawing for a visual.

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