Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Homestead Fence

As my son and I erected a fence for the dogs yesterday, Mother asked me if it was an organic fence. My initial response was "of course" -- this is an organic homestead afterall. But, of course, a fence of metal can not be "organic" as metal is inorganic. My chuckling at this turned to pondering about the fence and how it symbolizes the homestead life.

Homesteading is a growing movement here in the US. It isn't the same as the homesteading that took folks west to settle new territory in the early days of this country. Today, it is about self-sufficiency. Folks are learning how to raise their own food organically so that they know what they are feeding their families. We're growing our own herbal medicines and learning how to make tinctures and salves. We are learning new skill sets so we are ready for what may come. It's a movement about gaining confidence in our ability to care for our own.

Dogs checking out their new Dog Yard

What does this have to do with a fence? Well, I got it through Craigslist at a great deal as long as I came, took it down, and moved it. BJ and I went and took it down and a friend came and loaded it on his truck. The same friend loaned us a post driving tool (non-power driven) but was not able to provide a stretcher for the chainlink. Together, we drove the posts and stretched the chainlink. Stretching that chainlink without a stretcher was impossible until I remembered a little physics trick. We got some rope, tied it around the link and post and used a screwdriver to twist the rope. Tada! The chainlink stretched, and the fence came together--literally!

Then, there was the issue of the damage done by the seller's dog. Mostly of no consequences except for one spot where our dogs were bound to decide to use it as a back door. More homesteading ingenuity. BJ took an old board we'd saved from an old set of porch steps, hammered a few nails in it, and wired it to the fence to close off the back door. And, finally, there was a small gap at the gate that was Chloe sized. Sure enough, it didn't take her long to find it. So, a metal post used for temporary fencing was hammered into place and the Chloe sized exit was closed.

I used to wonder why my dad and stepfather were so fanatical about saving "stuff". Neither were hoarders by any means but they tended to hold on to things that I saw as trash. Coffee cans, old brick, the odd piece of old wood or bits of wire. They understood what I am just beginning to learn: that today's junk is tomorrow's "just what I needed". Homesteading is about being prepared for the "in case of's" and that requires having a well selected stash of "I might just need that"s.

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