With the weaners gone, it has been time to spend some time repairing fences and getting the farm ready for winter. One of the constant jobs is maintaining and repairing fences. If you build a fence with quality steel and wire, you can expect it to provide around 50 years of service. Most of the fences on the Rock Farm are approaching that age, meaning I have a constant list of broken wires and stays to repair. The cattle don’t help, as they tend to lean on the fences to find the best green pick, but my wires are also broken by kangaroos and wombats as they move through the Rock Farm, and branches as they fall from trees that border my paddocks.
Whilst straining wires is something that can be done year round, our steel stays can only be safely repaired after the end of the bush fire danger season as it necessitates use of the welder. I do not want to be ‘that person’ who starts a bushfire in our neighbourhood. But like all jobs on my list, it stays there until the conditions are right and my excuses are low.
With everything aligned, I recently took time to commence repairing some broken stays on the Rock Farm. I loaded the ute with the normal fencing gear, and also the generator, welder and a chain block. The reason for the block should become clear from the pictures below.
The block helped me pull the strainer posts back into position, allowing me to re-weld the broken stays into position. The block allowed me to make fine adjustments to the tension, meaning the stays could sit snugly in position prior to welding fast. The straightened posts allowed the gates to swing and close properly, and also had the added bonus of effectively re-tensioning most of the wires in the fence. This made the fences taught and smart again, making the job doubly satisfying and a little quicker than I had hoped.
What worked against me as I started moving around the Rock Farm was the number of stays that were broken. The two or three I thought I had, turned into five or six very quickly on closer inspection. And not all were conveniently placed across gate ways. On a couple of occasions, the ute or a nearby tree became the anchor to pull the posts back into position.
My little old stick welder proved up to the task, but my welding reminded me of the old Navy adage…. If you can’t tie knots, tie lots. My welding was definitely a case of function over form – but I hope that with a touch of paint my welds should hold for the foreseeable future.
What I really enjoyed though was the opportunity to spend a couple of days outside on the Rock Farm. I love working outside (most of the time – there are occasions when the weather can make life outside thoroughly miserable). It is rewarding when you do something that has purpose, and you can see the results of your work. The Rock Farm is now just a little bit smarter and I have one less thing to do on my job list.
Life is good.