Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Redneck, Fake Farmer's Guide to Fence Building

"Hillbillies are innovators." 
-COW 

It's our family's new motto.

Hubby came up with it while we were putting up our new "These chickens are going to live past their first birthday or we are done, DID YOU HEAR ME?  DONE, raising chickens" fence.

For those who haven't read and memorized every post I've ever written, when we bought this 147 year old house, it came with several barns, an outhouse, a chicken coop, and 14 chickens.  We had never seen a chicken, let alone owned a chicken before, so we just went with the system and setup the previous owners had.  And apparently, the other 3 families who called this property home before them.  They were free-range chickens.

The free-ranging hasn't worked out so well.  In 8 years, we've basically fed the local coyote and dog population about 100 chicken dinners.  We have decided this will be the year we put an end to the 147 year old cycle of buy chickens, feed chickens, get a few eggs, feed chickens to local animals.  (OK, I'm sure the folks who lived here 140 years ago were a whole lot better at chicken farming than we are, and they probably had much better behaved dogs.  They most likely didn't have nearly as many premature chicken deaths.)

On to the solution...

I really need to learn how to make a button...

Stop the presses!  My awesome Bible study friend made a button for me!

 
After you ooh and aah, you may continue reading the post...

1.  Buy a really expensive net 12 ft. by 100 ft. on which to base the entire plan.
 
2.  Gather decades-old chicken wire and rusty metal posts from around the farm.
 
3.  Have Trusty Assistant kneel down and hold the rusty metal post for Fake Farmer while Fake Farmer swings a 20 pound metal mallet over her head in order to pound the rusty metal post into the ground. 
 
4.  Unroll chicken wire and attach to poles, going as far around the pen as you can.  Once you get to the already existing fence, simply put the chicken wire fence in front of the existing fence.  It's fine if you leave all the already existing weeds between the two.
 
5.  Attach chicken wire to posts, wall, or existing fence any way you see fit.  Use nails, funky-shaped hooks, or hooked shapes on the posts.

Funky-shaped hook which caused lots of inappropriate language.
 
 
6.  Leave Trusty Assistant working on attaching the chicken wire while Fake Farmer goes to Tractor Supply to buy more chicken wire and perhaps a pole or two.
 
7.  Upon return, Fake Farmer and Trusty Assistant finish erecting and attaching chicken wire, leaving a gap in the fence for easy exit.
 
8.  Assign Trusty Assistant chore of putting nails into coop roof in order to hang net.
 
9.  Drag huge old post from porch roof taken down in the Big Kitchen Remodel.  It will be the post which holds the net up in the middle of the pen.
 
10.  Use post-hole digger to dig a hole in middle of chicken pen, then put post in the hole.  Fill the hole around the post with the dug-out dirt.  (Yes, some might use cement to keep it in place, but that's not how this redneck rolls.)

Redneck Fake Farmers aren't too worried about being level, either.
 
11.  Begin putting net over pen.  Slide end of net over nails on roof, then stretch the net along the chicken wire.  Secure the net to the chicken wire with zip ties.

 
 12.  When Fake Farmer gets to the opposite side of the fence, cut the net with scissors to the appropriate size.  Any scissors will do.

To prove our point, we used these scissors to cut the net.
OK, really, it's because our children have stolen and lost every pair of real scissors we've ever owned.  We really did use these scissors to cut 12' of net.  Three times. 
 
13.  Realize the net sags a bit in the middle, so find a REALLY rusty pole to stick in the ground to hold up the net.  (Trusty Assistant will REALLY want to wear gloves and say many prayers during the post installation.)

And if the post is bent, all the more reason to pray.  And maybe wear protective clothing.
 
14.  Repeat steps on the other side of the pen, thus sealing Fake Farmer and Trusty Assistant in the pen with no exit.
 
15.  Yell for Not-So-Trusty Assistants (children) to come hand you things still on the outside of the fence.
 
16.  Endure jeers from Not-So-Trusty Assistants.  Questions such as, "How are you going to get out of there?!?" should be ignored completely.
 
17.   Realize you don't have enough netting to cover the entire pen.  Decide to simply stretch it across the back fence part and attach, then zip tie the ends to the net already in place on the sides.
 
18.  Find even rustier posts and use them to prop up the droopy net.

19.  Realize the 10' post Fake Farmer installed in the pen is unnecessary, seeing as how he won't be putting net over the entire pen.  When Trusty Assistant is done laughing, give her the job of deciding how to decorate pole to make it less dumb.

20.  Toss all tools out to the children.

21.  Figure out how to get out of the pen.  We went with the "Trusty Assistant and Fake Farmer climb the ladder onto the roof, pull up ladder, Fake Farmer climbs down tree, goes around coop to retrieve ladder from Trusty Assistant, then comes back to cop a feel as Trusty Assistant tries to climb down the tree" plan.

This would be the roof and the tree we climbed down.
22.  Take a look at the craftsmanship and wonder if the bottom of the fence might be a wee bit loose. 

Straight and tight are not necessary when fence building as far as we're concerned.

23.  Realizing the gaps on the bottom of the fence would have been a much better exit plan for Fake Farmer, Fake Farmer may want to secure the fence a bit more so coyotes can't get in.  Find some stakes around the farm and secure fence with what you have available.  Then cross your fingers that nothing gets in before you can get some more stakes.
 
Do not ask me why I put a boring photo of a barely recognizable stake in this post.
24.  Stand back and admire your work.
 

Notice anything missing?  That looks something like a chicken?
25.  Curse the day you ever moved to this farm and became Fake Farmers when those stupid, pampered chickens refuse to come outside.  Ever.
 
 
26.  Raise those stupid, pampered chickens until their natural deaths.  (I have no idea what the natural life expectancy of a chicken is.)
 
Have a lovely day!


39 comments:

  1. That.is.awesome. I can picture it all in my mind. And praise the Lord that you put in that picture of a stake because otherwise I would have had no clue what it looked like! ;)

    From my vast research (ok I Googled it) a chicken lives an average of about 5 years, although some have been known to live 15 to 20 years, depending on their environment. Most die due to some sort of mishap (such as a dog or coyote...) prior to that.

    BTW I know you were just baiting me to look that up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wanna put bets down that my chickens live to be 20 years old, just to irritate me?

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    2. Well, that goes without saying...so no, I won't take your bet.

      Delete
  2. DANG, and here I thought you were a true transplanted midwestern redneck this whole time.

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  3. OMG! This was hilarious. I hope your chickens live long and happy lives...

    Julia

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    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it. They better...but not too long. :)

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  4. LOL!! I don't really know the life expectancy of a chicken either. It really seems to vary widely! P.S. - I LOVE zip ties. They are the best thing ever. Whoever invented them is an absolute GENIUS!

    So glad you got something up for your chickens. I know it must be a relief to have that out of the way! One day, I want to get our entire property fenced so that dogs/coyotes can't get in. We have had more issues with hawks at this point, but we have had a stray dog here and there and I know one day we are going to loose a chicken that way. Besides, if all of my animals (dogs, cats, horse, geese, chickens, and hopefully one day goats) are all running about together my hope is that hawks and eagles won't be brave enough to swoop down in that craziness. Ha!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Every household should be well stocked with zip ties and duct tape. You can MacGyver anything with those two things.

      Our entire property is fenced, it's just so old there are plenty of spots where animals can get in. I'm hoping our net, while not all the way across, will help deter the hawks and eagles. (Of course, if the chickens never come outside, we won't have to worry about it.)

      What a little heaven on earth you have planned for your animals. I have no doubt it will come to fruition someday. You are much better farmers/animal caretakers than we are. :)

      Delete
  5. LOL. Thank you for letting me know that I never ever want to build a chicken coop. Ever.

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    1. See, if I was starting from scratch, this would be a whole different project. It's the working with a really old farm that's the trouble. You would be fine!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Crossing my fingers for you!!! And you are NOT a fake farmer. You are hard core. Those stupid, pampered chickens, though... Good luck with your efforts! As a sidenote, I often have a hard time getting out of my garden once I am in it, thanks to the ineffective fence we have up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please tell me you have to do some creative acrobatics to get out of your garden. It will make me feel better.

      Thank you for the crossed fingers. And your support in my farmerness. :)

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  7. You should have filmed this so we could all have a bit of a laugh. Sounds like a three ring circus. That's what would happen if hubby and I were doing this.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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    1. The thought crossed my mind, but the project took about 7 hours over two days. And I don't know how to edit.

      A circus it was. As usual. :)

      Delete
  8. I love that you come from the same fake farmer place as we do :)
    Exchange your place for an old farmhouse in the back of beyond in west Wales, and we could have been twins! Lol

    I thought ALL fences were meant to be built with that wobbly, drunken look to them, and tied together with a million zip ties? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaaahhh!!! My people! The fence DOES have a drunken look to it. I have only recently discovered the loveliness of zip ties. Brilliant invention.

      I've shown you photos of mine, now I would like to see your drunken, zip-tied fence. :)

      Delete
  9. Wow...only 26 steps??! Easy! ... I can do this!! I am totally 'pinning' this on Pinterest on my board entitled "Fun Stuff to do on Date Night"

    ;)

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  10. This is so something I would do, but I would only have the help of my kids (and they would cause more problems) because my husband would refuse to be a part of it. I hope it works for you.

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    1. I can't imagine that would be nearly as much fun. Fortunately, my husband was the Project Manager on this one, so I could just laugh and play along.

      Thanks for the well wishes.

      Delete
  11. Wow - that sure seems like a lot of work. Isn't there a KFC nearby? Snort!

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  12. As a person who once had to 'Fort Knoxify' a fishpond (so otters wouldn't get in) by patching an existing fence, and spent an afternoon sans Trusty Assistant but with several rolls of chicken wire, rusty snips and home-made wooden stakes to bang into the base of the patches, I congratulate you.

    As the person who came back an hour post-Fort-Knoxifying everydamnhole to find not one, but TWO ducks INSIDE the fence (which was meant to be everything-proof), I wish you all the very best of luck.

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    Replies
    1. It's because you didn't have Trusty Assistant. It's always all about the Trusty Assistant. :)

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    2. Ahhh see, I only had Stinky Fish Men, and if I'd've tried to cop any feels (I assume an important part of keeping the Trusty Assistant involved) I woulda been looking at the wrong end of some kind of lawsuit...

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  13. I tried to post a witty comment from my phone right after you posted this, but it wouldn't post, for whatever reason. Now I have no idea what it said, other than offering you the title of Honorary Ozark Hillbilly.

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    1. I'm sure it was hilarious. Darn shame you are old and have lost all memory brain cells. :)

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    2. Oh, and there was something about comparing y'all to Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel. A few memory brain cells still fire....

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    3. I had to look up Mike Mulligan...I don't mind being compared to him. I'm glad there are some cells left. I'm quite worried that mine are all gone.

      Delete
  14. Oh I love that story and life is never dull! Good luck on getting a great omelet in the near future! How are you going to collect eggs if you cannot get in and out of the coop? Or did I miss that when I was reading?

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    1. We can get in the coop, just not the pen, unless we climb over the coop or go through the little door the chickens use.

      Eggs should be getting eggs by October.

      Delete
  15. You mean you didn't teach your chickens karate? Rookie mistake.

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  16. http://singleinthe011.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-keep-siberian-from-escaping.html
    I've been enjoying your blog. Evidently chickens and Siberian Huskies have something in common, so here is my response.

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  17. I have one 6-yr-old chicken, the last of a group of 7. She still lays eggs, though not as frequently as she used to. The other 6 met various demises: predators, heat/age, unknown natural causes. Good luck with your chickens!

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  18. I would eat those chickens before the coyote got them.

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  19. we found a carpenter to add the wood slats. The slats are a quarter of an inch apart, so there is a good balance between privacy and openness.
    brown chain link fence

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!