Clearing Brush on New Year’s Eve

In Pasture, Projects and Renovations by Laura CrossleyLeave a Comment

Somehow, Aaron and I ended up on the back of the property fighting down thorny vines along our fence row. On New Year’s Eve. How is this not everyone’s perfect day date?

Honestly, it wouldn’t have been my first pick of ways to spend our day while the kids were with grandpa. But, after we went out for lunch and had a couple of good margaritas – getting the work done before a sheet of snow was supposed to hit sounded like our best approach.

When fences are put in, they’re often set back into the woodline a bit to provide livestock with some space for shade, shelter and wind-break. The fencing that outlines most of our property was done in this way prior to us buying the farm. After decades in the woodline, most of the barbed wire fence was overgrown with brush, vines and trees. In many areas, the wire had snapped or poles had bent. Generally, quite a bit of work was needed for the fence to hold livestock safely.

Aaron has taken on the bulk of the repairs. He has slowly worked his way around the front pasture over the past couple of fall/winter seasons as time allowed. The cooler seasons really are the best for this. First, it’s just miserable work to do in the heat. Second, most of the leafy plants have gone dormant – so it’s easier to work your way through the woodline. Aaron had tackled enough that we were able to hold all of our cattle on the front pasture this past summer. Plus, after all of the work on the pond and dam last summer, the only portion of bad fence that remained was along the east side of the back pasture.

With freezing temps on the horizon, access to the back pasture comes with the added benefit of giving our animals freewill access to the new pond. Ultimately, that offers everyone fresh, unfrozen water when their typical troughs and water bowls would be frozen.

With that in mind, we climbed into the brush and started sawing and weed-eating our way to the back of our property.

Look closely. The difference between the before and after here is, um, subtle. In the “before,” you can only see the next post in the fence line. But, in the after, you can see all of the posts leading to the north.

It may not seem like much – but clearing this fence took about an hour and a half. We were scratched up, my clothes were snagged, my shoes had giant thorns pushing through the soles and we were both just generally fed up by the time we finished.

When we first moved out here, Aaron invested in this wicked weed eater. We’ve used it for all kinds of lawn care, but it’s also a beast at knocking out thick brush like this. I tried to use it to clean up our ditches last Spring – and it covered me head-to-toe in poison ivy. I was reluctant to jump into it again – but chopping the dormant woody brush wasn’t bad at all. Honestly, I’m kind of thankful we have this machine at this point. It’s awesome.

With the fence line cleared, Aaron can now run barbed wire or temporary electric fence line through the woodline to give our critters a little more space to forage during winter. Wins all around.