Fence v. Winter Storm

What a mess.  What a total mess.  Cows out of their designated grazing area!  Fence isn’t shocking!  Nothing works and it’s near absolute zero after factoring the wind chill!  Thursday we had a winter storm blow through.  It began with a thunderstorm and 30 mph winds and sideways rain.  Lots of rain.  When I got in my car at 6:30 am to drive to work it was 54 degrees outside.  When I got to work at 8 it was 34 degrees outside and the wind had picked up to 50 mph.  Then it started snowing.  When I drove home in the late afternoon I followed a semi pulling a trailer.  The trailer was being blown by the wind and wagged behind the truck like a dog’s tail.

We didn’t bother bringing the cows in.  They know where the barn is.  They had been in the barn recently but they know better than I do where they are most comfortable during a storm.  They found a sheltered place down in a valley and hunkered down for the night.  We put a few obstacles out by the layers to give them some relief from the wind and noticed several chicken tractor lids had taken flight and nearly landed in the pond.  Goats were warm, pigs got a whole new bale of straw, ducks were just ducky so we told the kids to sleep downstairs by the wood stove, built up a big fire and went to bed early…praying that the power would stay on all night but ready if it did not.

The power stayed on but the cows got out just the same.  At milking time we brought the cows up to the barn to milk.  They were feeling ornery and walked the long way around.  Cows!  Once up, it was time to start looking at the fence.  The charger was ticking but not lighting up.  It was shorting out somewhere.  That’s the worst.

The place to start is to turn off half of the fence.  Part of my fence is pretty OK.  The other part is…well…servicable.  All of it is legacy fence, built by grandpa’s hired men or cousins of mine over the last 40 or 50 years.  I trust the newer part…mostly.  So I cut the switch.


As expected, this made no difference to the fencer so I knew which way to begin the long march around the combine shed, through the iron pile and back around the house.  Then I found it.


The fence was touching an iron corner brace.  This is one of the wonders of fences built by hired help.  Oh well.  New fences are in the works anyway.  I separated the wire from the pipe and continued my inspection.


Not too much fence to walk between break points.  Then I had to walk the strands of fence we use for the cows current pasture, checking at each rebar post to make sure the wire wasn’t touching a post.

Rebar Posts

There were a few problems to work out along the fence until the end.  At the end, the spools were supported by another rebar post but the wind, rain and gravity had knocked that post over.  I cheated by hanging the spools off of the perimeter fence.


Well, that’s what it looked like later.  I didn’t realize I created a new short on my own.  Nothing worse than fixing one short and creating another.  Had to walk back out to fix it.  That’s what I get for taking a shortcut early in the morning in the cold wind.


Back up to the fence charger and it was at full charge.


Now, I don’t want to pretend it was all work and I don’t want to say I was all alone out there.  I had help.  But what is the fun of having your own cemetery hill if you can’t sled on it?


So I made a few trips down myself.  The railed sled has carried me downhill for 30 years that I remember.  Dad would carry it up the hills because I just wasn’t strong enough when I was little.  That sucker gets heavy after a few trips.  Now I carry it up the hill for my kids.  Good times.


The storm made a lot of work for us today but it also gave us a chance to play before breakfast.  Hope the storm gave you something fun too.

4 thoughts on “Fence v. Winter Storm

  1. Yes, it surely did. Same wind, sleet, and just a bit of snow here Thursday night, which ripped tarps off my hay and tipped the ducks’ mobile home back on it’s tail end. Got home from play practice at the church and had to make a couple of runs up and down the hill before I had the required tools (spud bar, rebar stakes, etc) to lift the duck house back upright, stake it down, and coax them back inside for the night. All in the dark, with that sideways snow and wind chill! The hay covers will get put back on after a couple of days’ sunshine hits the tops. I was glad to see all my paddock fence posts and wires were still intact, no branches blown on them. I dread the cows getting out.

  2. Aha. Now I know what the reels look like. Thank you. I have some interesting fences along my perimeter as well, and let’s not talk about the leaning chicken fences I have up by the hen house. They work, OK? And how did I never see this post before? Haven’t I been following for practically ever?

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