Lessons From a Barbed Wire Fence

Like most things in life I suppose, you take for granted that which you have seen but never actually done yourself.  I have seen, as I’m sure you have, many barbed wire fences marching across pastures.  I never really gave much thought to the effort and skill it took to get that fence standing there.  Since we bought cattle, Rick thought we needed fences to keep them inside.  I personally was an advocate of staking out the cattle on a picket like Laura did in the Little House on the Prairie books.  Rick convinced me that this method was impractical and I’m sure he was right.  But I still don’t like  building fences.  However, having now actively participated in creating one of those fences, I can tell you it is more complicated and difficult than you think.  While I am not an authority or expert on fencing (nor do I wish to be, by the way), I have learned a few things.

Lessons I Have Learned:

1.  Wear old, already ratty (preferably with holes) work clothes.

2.  Wear really good leather gloves.

3.  If you disregard #1 above,  the clothes you do wear will become your old, ratty, work clothes with holes.

4.  If you are over 40 and installing the fence, take at least half of an Aleve before you start work.

5.  If you have lots of fence to install, buy the big bottle of Aleve from Costco – you will need it.

6.  When installing fence posts and encountering rocks, it is sometimes easier to adjust the location of the post than the rocks.

7.  Start with the bottom wire first.

8.  Get and wear a tool belt of some kind.  No matter how dorky it looks you will have your tools with you rather than at the other end of the fence you just installed and have to walk all the way around.  I personally prefer the suspender kind of tool vest so my pants don’t fall down; however if you wear the standard type of belt that pulls your pants down you can entertain your fellow fence installers.  Fencing is hard work and they need a laugh.

9.  Rolls of barbed are a lot heavier than they look.  Spend the extra $10 and get the handle to carry it with; it cannot be “easily carried by one person” as the handle says but with two people you can both still walk the next day.

10.  If – no actually it is when you tear a hole in your waterproof rain pants on the barbed wire, duct tape seals it up pretty well.  Not much of a fashion statement, but fashion and barbed wire fencing are not really compatible anyway.

11.  If you have a choice, install the spa first and the fence second.  You will need to use the spa after working on the fence.

And finally, if you must install a barbed wire fence, it is best to do it in a beautiful, scenic location.  And we certainly do have that.

4 comments on “Lessons From a Barbed Wire Fence

  1. Tj says:

    Fantastic post. so funny but true. I hate barbed wire too. Mama said never to hate, but I do it anyway when it comes to this pokey stuff! BTW- good choice on not wanting to become an expert on fencing. I have chosen not to learn to cut firewood either for similar reasons… instead of just having ratty, holey clothes I might find myself missing a leg.

  2. Brenda says:

    Tj – my Mom said the same thing about hating; I figure that is because she never installed a barbed wire fence. I think you made a good call on the firewood lessons!

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