Don’t worry, Bob and I aren’t warring. We are only 16 days into our marriage, so we are still good, I promise!
The post-wedding war I’m referring to in the title is the war on neglect. Whether it’s the farmhouse or the barn or the land, we are constantly battling years of neglect.
I understand that the previous owners simply got too old to take care of the place, I really do. But that doesn’t make our job any easier as we try to bring the house and farm back to life.
Case in point: pulling out fencing. Something that should take no time at all takes all day.
I suspect our farm used to be a cattle place, either beef or dairy. But the owners for the past half century had sheep, so all of our fencing is for the little wooly guys, not our equines…both of whom are taller than average anyway. After the house is livable, one of our first projects is to tackle the fencing. We already had a horse loose the other day, and the only sign of where he got out was a tangled mess of sheep fencing that I suspect he got stuck in, then ended up on the wrong side of the fence once he’d freed himself.
Until that time, the only fencing we’re tackling is the fence with no purpose. So on a recent and very welcome sunny day, I tackled the remaining fencing in the sideyard, the purpose of which I will never know.
I planned on an hour or two. It took me all day. Why? Because the grass and other vegetation had grown up and over the bottom wires of the fence. It was no longer a matter of simply unhooking the fencing from the t-posts. It was a matter of battling sod. Have you ever battled sod? Sod is a tough opponent! Those grass roots are strong and matted and near impossible to work against.
In one place, a tree had grown through the fencing. That bit of fencing is still waiting to get pulled out. I tried taking a saw to the tree finally, but can’t get a good angle…because of the fencing!
The day the horse was loose, we discovered a pile of old fencing behind the barn, just piled there and grown over by plants and grass until you saw a mound, not a pile of dangerous wires. That’s an area we turn the horses out to, so it had to go! Once again, the battle against sod, but this time the fencing was rusted and kept breaking as we worked to pull it out, until we ended up with as many little pieces of fence as big huge ones.
It is a bit frustrating when there is so much work to be done on the house to be spending time on these other things, but sometimes the cosmetic improvement is worth being sidetracked, and sometimes it’s a safety issue and requires immediate attention.
And sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the project that is the poor, neglected farmhouse to simply fight the sod, wrench a t-post from the ground, and feel the satisfaction of hard, manual labor.