Friday, June 8, 2012

Lessons learned while building a fence

When Steve and I moved to the family farm, I didn't really expect we'd be putting in a septic lagoon almost 5 years later.  I also didn't expect I'd be helping Steve build a cattle panel fence around it.  As I was working on a section of it, I had several thoughts. 

First, I can't imagine that fence building with Steve would have gone as well earlier in our marriage.  After 18 years of marriage, we communicate better than we used to, we brainstorm better together, and we work together better than we did.  Working with Steve gave me the opportunity to admire his stubborn persistence (sometimes just referred to as stubbornness) as he didn't give up on cutting down some trees that were in the way, even though he had to use a handsaw.  It gave me time to admire his strength, both physically, and emotionally, as he kept working on pounding T-posts into dry ground, though I know his arms and back were aching.  I also realized that 18 years of marriage have helped him learn to listen to my thoughts ... we've learned each others' strengths ... and we know when to call in a second opinion.

Second, I learned that the inventor of fence hooks and the 7-tools-in-one fencing tool is a genius.  Really!  Those two items made it so much easier and less time-consuming to attach the cattle panels to the T-posts.  Of course, we also learned that if you zip-tie the panels in place, it's easier to get them properly attached with the wire fence hooks.  In fact, I'm really good at attaching those panels to the posts, and I did most of that work alone while Steve handled other projects.

Third, biting flies are much worse than mosquitoes.  And for some reason, my ankles are extremely tasty to them.  They seem to like the taste of bug spray instead of being repelled by it. Now I know how horses and cows feel, twitching all day long as the flies bite away.

Fourth, I still can't tan on my legs.  I can burn on my legs.  But when it's all said and done, I'll still have white legs, and tan arms.  I guess I'd better get used to it, since I'm stuck with these legs.  I'll just keep hiding my white legs and varicose veins from public view as much as possible.  It's just better that way.

Fifth, we also learned that hedge posts are much harder to drill through than we expected ... especially when they are very old hedge posts being re-used after they retired from pasture-use.  Which makes it harder to attach a cattle gate to than we expected.  But we'll figure it out, and we'll get it done.

I wonder what surprises this next year will hold for me.  What other things will I be helping Steve with, that I didn't ever expect to do?

April E.

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