Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘rusty barbed wire

Hazardous Conditions

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Yesterday, while working outside for long hours in the spring wind, we exposed ourselves to enough tree pollen to cause significant irritation to our delicate tissues. I think I also successfully altered the weather to shut down precipitation here for some time.IMG_iP1213e

While my nose dripped at an ever-increasing rate, I built a barrier of old, moldy hay bales in the trees by our uphill neighbor’s corn field.

During heavy rain, the water comes off that field in a torrent and washes sediment onto our property. Lately, it has started to fill in a drainage trench beside our driveway.

Oddly enough, I actually wanted it to rain today, so I could see if my creation worked as intended, but the forecast shows no precipitation expected in the days ahead.

Given that, I guess my project worked. It has stopped the sediment from pouring into our trench, hasn’t it?

While I was working in the tangled bramble of uncontrolled growth that forms the border between our property and that cultivated field to the north of us, I decided to finally address a remnant of rusted barbed wire fencing that had been swallowed by a tree.

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The tree had long ago been cut off, leaving a stump that was about the height of a fence post. Made sense, since the barbed wire ran through the tree, it was already functioning as a fence post.

Removing the rusted fencing was made easier by the fact the tree was rotting to pieces. So much of it came apart simply by prying at it with one of the old fence posts that I found myself struggling near the end, to finish it off in the same manner. Eventually, logic, and my increasingly irritating allergic reactions to pollen, led me to hasten the task by way of the chain saw.

The area looks like it has been through a serious spring cleaning now, with the added benefit of opening up visibility to the area where water flows off the neighbor’s field. It is easier to see if the barrier I built is doing the job of keeping sediment out of our ditch.

Sneeze. Cough. Drip. Stinging blink. It’s the hazardous working conditions of spring!

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Written by johnwhays

April 10, 2016 at 8:42 am

Old Fence

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While working to widen the trail we created through the south woods, I recently discovered the remains of an old barbed wire fence. There is no obvious logic to the location of this fence. It is in the middle of the woods. There are so many trees in the area that it is hard to imagine what the fence was originally supposed to be keeping in, or out.IMG_iP0685e

Most of the rusty barbed wire had fallen down and was buried out of sight, beneath the dirt, leaves, moss, and fallen branches that carpet the forest floor. Occasionally, it would rise up to a dangerous level that could become a treacherous surprise to an unsuspecting explorer. It was clear that the fence was from a long time ago because I found a tree that had grown up into one strand, eventually swallowing it entirely, and continuing on undeterred.

As I struggled to navigate through thick growth while trying to keep track of the 5 lines of rusted and barbed strands, I came upon an old fence post that still had nails and hooks in it that held on to some of the wires. The post was barely a hint of its original size. It was so weathered it looked more like a walking stick than a fence post.

Working with rusted barbed wire is an onerous task. It often breaks unexpectedly. With much of the wire buried, if it breaks when I am trying to pull it up, I have to delicately hunt through the ground cover in search of the portion that remains.

DSCN2562eWhen it breaks while we are trying to bundle the lengths that have been cut for removal, the number of pointy ends and loose pieces doubles. That’s on top of the ever-present barbs that constantly poke our gloves and catch on every obstacle possible.

Removing it from the middle of the forest is a major hassle, but rusty barbed wire is a hazard we don’t want to have lurking among the trees, so we find that the torturous effort of removing it is worth it.

Now we just have to find a way to conveniently dispose of the bundle. I bet I could find a taker on Craig’s List. I think it belongs in a sculpture by some creative artist.

Someone other than me. I don’t have the patience —or the right gloves— for it.

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Written by johnwhays

October 30, 2014 at 6:00 am

Buried Wires

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Our search to locate the rusty old barbed wired fence that demarcated the northern border of our property has reached a temporary pause. We made it to the end of one section of visible rusted T-posts and wires, but now the wires disappear beneath years, maybe decades, of eroded soil that makes its way down the slope from a plowed field above.

I tried pulling up on the wires, but they are so old and rusted, especially having been buried for years, they just broke. I ventured ahead, further along our property line to a new section of scrub brush, to find someplace where the wires show up above ground again, hoping to work my way back from the other direction. What I found was a batch of grape vines so thick that it makes the thorny area we had previously been working in seem like a luxury.

IMG_3118eOn the positive side, it appears we could grow grapes! This vine sure looks fruitful! Maybe if I give it good attention for a few years, pruning and supporting it, I could nurture a harvest-able crop. Fresh squeezed grape juice would be a real treat.

I did also find where the wires come up out of the ground onto another T-post. As I followed the wires into the ground there, I discovered that they can’t be pulled up from this direction because they are now running beneath years of growth of the thick wood shoots of the grape vines.

At this point, my plan is to just run our new fence in a line between the last posts I did locate. IMG_3119eThe property line is supposed to be straight, anyway, so there’s no real mystery as to where the fence should be. And, there is no sense digging up the buried barbed wire, just to get rid of it. In this case, buried wire is the same as no wire at all.

I have also decided that for the remainder of the thick sections in the direction toward the street, we can forego trying to cut away enough brush to put a fence down the middle, and instead, just use the entire mass of trees as our fence. I will trim the branches on our side so they form a clean line, creating the impression of a tall hedge.

That’s the theory, anyway. We’ll see if my idea works after I spend many hours and a lot of energy pruning trees to test it out.

Written by johnwhays

October 29, 2013 at 7:00 am