Thursday, November 16, 2006

Building a Jackleg Fence

I'm going to have a cow!

Yes, a real cow. Actually, he's a Texas Longhorn steer and he's soon going to be in training as an ox.

Our 'next door' neighbor, about 3/4 of a mile away up on the ridge, called about a month ago to see if we were still interested in this 7 month old calf. We'd helped them search for him back in April when as a newborn he'd spooked and taken off into the woods. We hiked all over the mountain looking for this tiny white calf but to no avail. Later that afternoon the owner's stopped by to let us know that they'd found him. He'd gone in the opposite direction completely but he was back home safe and sound. We chatted for a while and I told them I might be interested in buying the calf once he was weaned to train as an ox. Well, now he's weaned and we are busy fencing a paddock for him.

To save money ( and to avoid having to dig yet MORE post holes!) we decided to use our own natural resources and build what's known as a "Jackleg" or "Buck and Rail" fence. They're more common out west but would work well here because of the steep rocky terrain.

What an undertaking! There are plenty of leaning trees that need to be cut but getting to them involves climbing up almost vertical mountainsides on all fours hanging on to roots and branches. Then of course we have to cut the tree into the right lengths needed and drag it all back down the mountain! It's a lot of backbraking work but fun. I love being up in the woods! There are some nice trails up there. I think some of them are old logging roads from many years ago. Wide enough for a team of horses. We took the metal detector on one and found some old chain and a horse shoe so I'm pretty sure they must have hauled logs out of there at one time. None of them lead to our fence building site so we can't use them to get our fence posts and rails out.

Anyway, here are some pictures to show our progress.

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