We have been very busy preparing our homestead for the arrival of our family milk cow, Gertie. We are working with a tight budget to complete all of our projects. This has involved cutting (and continuing to cut) all of the materials that we can to build a barn and a milking stanchion. We also have been building fence for the pasture she will be in. We are utilizing everything that we already have or can cut or make ourselves in order to keep the projects to a minimum cost.
Our fencing project began with collecting our material. We were very blessed to be given all of the wooden posts for the field. It always amazes me when someone “happens” to have what we need and they no longer need it and offer it to us. God is so good to us and always provides. We are running 4 strands of 12.5 gauge high tensile wire with a solar powered fence charger. We did have to purchase the wire, charger, fence hardware, and a few T-posts for the fencing. We are using my cousins field and she happened to have an old 12 foot gate that we can use as well.
Once we had our materials (most of them, we did have to make a last minute store run for a couple of extra insulators), we began drilling our post holes. We were able to borrow a 2 man auger (You could also use a 1 man auger) which expedited the hole digging process by a lot. If we had not been able to borrow it we would have used good ole’ fashioned post hole diggers and a digging bar. This would have taken a lot longer and required a lot more physical effort so I am very pleased that we had the auger to use.
Next step was to pull the wire around the posts. We were also able to borrow a cool contraption called a fence spooler from a friend. Farmer Derek rigged up a bracket for it on his truck so that he could set the spool of wire on it and drive it around the field to pull the wire. Usually, he would have drag the wire and pull it by hand.
This was another huge blessing and time saver. We used wrap round fence insulators on the corner posts and end posts to keep the wire from grounding out the electric fence. Farmer Derek nailed them to the posts with fencing staples that we had on hand. Jack was a huge help and nailed (with his own hammer) the nail on insulators to all of the wooden posts that were not corner or end posts. This was a great job for him and helped the process go faster for all.
After the posts were ready for the wire, Farmer Derek and I worked together to put the ratchet tensioners at the corner post and tightened the wire some. Next, we put our T-posts in where they were needed in between the wooden posts. We also attached our T-post snap on insulators as we went along. Once the T-posts were in, the wire was ready to be tightened the rest of the way.
The gate was ready to be hung next! It is so close to being done I can feel it! This consisted of putting the hinge pins (also already on hand) in the post and hanging the gate up. The last thing on the agenda is to connect the fence charger…… NOT crossing our wires…….. and make sure the fence is good and hot. That’s all there is to it.
We were able to build the fence over the course of 2 days, we could have finished in 1 day but we had to work between rain showers. All of this was done with very minimal out of pocket expense. We will be busy finishing the barn and building the milking stanchion over the next couple of weekends.
Gertie actually arrived while we were finishing up. She hung out with her calf, Annie, in a pen area until we finished the fence. After that we had our first milking session at home (yay!). We are so very excited to finally have Gertie at home.