Saturday, February 1st
The Chastain Farms
Today marked the halfway point of our working honeymoon; we’re one month in, with a month to go before we start working our w.ay back North.
We woke up to the news that one of the horses had somehow escaped the pasture, and was in the garden. Although there were no crops for her to devour, there were rows of plastic mulch that did not withstand heavy hoof traffic well.
We lured her out of the garden by freeing the other two horses and leading them past the gate toward the chicken coops, where the sweet feed (for Blossom the old nag) was kept.
A loudly-shaken bucket of this feed got them to follow Nathan back to the gate to their pasture … but no further. They knew where he was taking them and they were more interesting in somewhere new.
This worked out fine since the plan was to move them to the massive, wooded pasture area, where the Camphouse and little pond are located – leaving the cow pasture open to move the pigs into.
Cleo walked behind the big alpha-female Appaloosa as we secured the gate behind them, and learned that horses kick, the hard way. Fortunately, it was a light kick – knocking her over but not hurting her any,
Once the horse situation was under control, Nathan led the SoCal WWOOFers in a project to tear down a superfluous segment of fence. Kristin and I started on the next phase of toeboard work – a second tier of boards beneath the first, on the side with the massive gap between the ground and the bottom of the boards, due to the slope of the land.
This meant more drilling through the galvanized posts.
We started on the side with the largest gap with 2×6″s – staggering the gaps as needed, connecting sections in pairs, then mounting these pairs onto the drilled posts, and connecting them to their neighbors with the same splice boards we’d used to connect pairs. As the land sloped and the gap narrowed, we switched to shorter 2×4″s.
The work on the 2×4 section took two trips out to the Camphouse – the first time we returned empty-handed, convinced the 2×4″s we found there were not treated for outside use.
Then we were told they were, in fact treated, so we took a second beautiful walk through the mossy, towering forest.
For lunch, Kristin made venison, corn, & sweet potato tacos, for us and Rachel and the two kids.
After we wolfed that deliciousness down, we helped get the project started to add a gate to a corner of the field adjacent to the just-removed fence, permitting equipment to be driven in and out.
For this to work, we needed to run an underground insulated wire from one side to the other, for the electric fence.
So Kristin dug a trench, while Nathan and I pulled a bent old steel fence post from a pile of similarly used posts, selected due its long straight section. I used a diamond angle grinder to easily cut the piece down to size, taking a selfie as I did so.
The post would be used to protect the buried wire, six inches beneath the roadway. But not yet – we still needed to find and install hinge pins to the existing fencepost, add a new post, mount the gate, wire the fences to the wire, etc. And it was dinnertime, so we closed it up in a temporary fashion, to be finished tomorrow.
After dinner, I scavenged a long spring from the milking stalls in the Tool Barn, and upgraded the newly-faced bathroom door so that it would swing shut automatically; it was a simple, minor thing, but it gave me joy, and I found myself opening the door for no other reason than to enjoy it swinging closed again.