Fence Line Clearing


This past week we’ve been fencing the mile and a half of outside perimeter of our new fields and have started doing the paddock sub-divisions. One of the steps in the process is cutting trees that were fallen across the new fence line as well as some standing dead trees that would soon fall on the fence. Clearing trail on a mountain is a lot harder work than just blocking wood from a pile. Fortunately we had multiple people two switch off between for the task of the sawing and the other four of us worked at moving the cut logs out the way, clipping brush and such.

Will has been blocking up firewood with the chainsaw for our home stove for several years. This journey around the perimeter gave him a good chance to learn how to fell trees safely. He’s seen me cut the birds mouth and release before but doing it the first time is exciting. After doing one he was eager to do more. He also got the opportunity to safely bring down several hung trees. We saw several widow makers but we left them standing for another day when we could take them down safely. Don’t be careless with those killers.

Elbow Tree

Heres a mystery photo for you… It almost looks like a chaise lounge! What caused this tree to be shaped like a chair? It goes up for several feet, turns a right angle and runs horizontally for several feet and then shoots straight up again. The tree is quite old and thick. It seems to be doing fine despite it’s strange growth.

Elbow Tree #2

Here’s another elbow tree with an additional clue. Look at that sharp funny bone. It’s visible on the other tree too although not quite as prominent.

In addition to being an elbow this tree also was a bumper tree, but that is just a distraction. What’s a bumper tree you ask? Well, during timber work when skidding logs through the forest one needs to make turns occasionally. A good logger plans the woods roads so there are some sacrificial trees, or boulders, who will take the brunt of the force when the 70′ logs go around the corners. This process skins the bark off bumper trees in the area they get hit. They do recover. We have bumper trees that have been used many times over the decades because they’re at corners of major logging trails. That is ideal. They sacrifice some skin but in turn they save other trees behind them.

Have you figured out yet why the elbow trees are shaped the way they are? I’ll give you a clue, it has nothing to do with being a bumper tree but it does have to do with where they are located in the forest. Both of these elbow trees, and a third I saw this day, are right along a stone wall.

Field Seeds Sprouting

Will and Ben seed all of our new fields. The patch above shows some of the new sprouts coming up. Various grasses, clovers, birds foot trefoil, alfalfa, turnips and other goodies. This photo was taken at the south west corner of the far south field just after the snows were gone and the plant life has started to sprout. Our livestock are fenced out of this area for the summer so it will soon be thick with green growth. By fall it will make a great late season forage to help extend our grazing season through the early snows.

Thoughts on the elbow trees yet? Leave ideas in the comments and then after you’ve done that check the answer below. No cheating!

Answer: .ffuts ytsaN .eriw debrab fo stnuoma evissam pukcip eW .racs a tsuj si ti srehto ni ,seert eseht fo emos ni doow eht fo tuo gnimoc eriw eht ees nac uoY .ecnef eht fo thgieh eht dnoyeb niaga drawpu werg yeht neht dna syawedis ylprahs meht dellup taht ,eriw debrab ylbaton ,senil ecnef yb desuac era seert woblE

For those who don’t want to read backwards just hold your cursor over the word “Answer” above and it should pop up an explanation in most browsers.

Outdoors: 72°F/43°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/67°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Fence Line Clearing

  1. Test of Italian Comment Subscribe plugin.

  2. Testing the Italian Job again.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Your note on the seeding reminded me of a question I had for you. This is our first year rotating pigs and our three youngsters continue to educate us. We are moving the pigs through a really rough paddock, following up with our meat chickens who help turn in seeds. Watching the one-two punch as included my observing a consistent and interesting toilet-sic-fertilizer behavior.

    Because of where we have this trio this year we are able to provide them with a 48 gal stock tank to play in (they have other, more contained systems for drinking, although they manage to get their feet into everything so I’m not sure how contained anything really is, lol). I have noted that the two gilts insist on urinating and defecating IN their swimming trough while the barrow picks a new spot NEAR the drinking water in each new section we give them to turn.

    Have you ever heard of this behavior? I’ve looked through every book and queried every search engine but I don’t find anything. I must admit that I am oddly happy as their behavior has led to a nearly zero smell AND, if I place the tank near a downward slope and dump it every few days, the grass to that side gets a gorgeous dose of fertilizer. Is this something you know of and/or is there any reason you can think of for trying to stop this?

    I’m enjoying raising the pigs very much and, of course, very much enjoying letting your journey inform my own. Hoping your transition to WordPress is as seamless at it appears from my desk. Thanks guys.

    • Hi Cynthia,

      Yes, the females in particular do seem to pee in their water and occasionally poop there too. I would not worry about it in the slightest. Our permanent pig pond is teaming with frogs and other aquatic life – a sign of good pond health. If you have wallows that are moving around as you make new spots that is great.



  4. Cynthia says:

    Thanks Walter.

    I just assumed the girls were enjoying that old “pee in the pool” (oh, not ME) joy. I find it interesting that the boy doesn’t do it, but then he is probably remembering some pre-castration hormonal imperative. That he chooses to do it near the drinking water tended to make me think he was more invested in marking than having fun.

    I cannot complain either way and am trying to think of clever ways to setup a mobile tank next year when we have more pigs over a greater area. Between the water to splash in and the mud bog they intentionally create to the sides, pigs and play-water seem as important as chickens being able to roam and scratch.

    Cynthia in Wisconsin

  5. Bonnie says:

    Hi, My husband and I have been wondering for a long time what causes a tree to grow in that elbow shape! We never figured it out. Next time I see one, I will look for signs of a nearby fence from the distant past. Thanks:-)

  6. Ray says:

    Good honest work out on the farm. The thing I am missing so much myself right now. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Someone who wishes to remain anonymous emailed me that maybe these trees were bent like this by the indians to mark trails. It is a great idea but I don’t think so though since they are not that old. This homestead has been here for about 230 years and for most of that time it was cleared of almost all trees since it was sheep pasture. The trees are right along stone wall fence lines.

  8. Hi Walter,
    I have learned so much from your site and wanted to ask you a couple of specific questions regarding pigs. We’re going to be getting 2 separate litters this year (6 and 8 pigs) and was wondering what your experience/advice is on mixing pigs of different ages. Should we keep the two lots separated or will they integrate harmoniously when the younger ones arrive?
    Also, have you found a difference in your success using wire vs. nylon strand to contain pigs? Does the visibility of the strand keep them better situated? We are going to set up a 2-wire system on pasture and in woods this season – any advice on materials is helpful.
    Lastly, what equipment are you using for water/feed – been looking at Brower’s feeders and Farmtek Hudson valve to allow for more automated feed and water supply. Trekking out to the pigs twice a day was enjoyable last year but not efficient.
    Any advice would be helpful.

    • Mixing litters works fine even with significantly different sizes during the warm months. But during the winter this can be a problem as smaller pigs cuddle too close to the bigger ones and get crushed. I would suggest segregating large differences in size in the winter.

      On the fencing, a visual barrier is helpful. For us it tends to be the edge of the woods, stone walls, etc. I think they see the white wire better than the thin silver wire. I would think the tape would work even better but we had trouble with tape shorting out so we don’t use it much. Training the animals to the electric fencing is important.

      For feeding we simply use a valve on the whey tanks to the troughs. We found that anything more complicated jammed and in the winter freezes up. We have the animal feeding areas close to us. The animals then walk out to their housing and water as well as pastures. This way it is easy for us to feed and they spread their manure and urine rather than concentrating it.

      For water we use continuously flowing spring water. Again, freezing is the hardest issue. Creating a micro-climate around the waterer helps a lot.

  9. Arnold says:

    Thanks for sharing this, I too had always wondered what caused a tree to grow in that elbow shape! I will surely be looking harder around it next time I see one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.