I think I have officially participated in the worst job ever on the farm. I used to think that cleaning the cow trough was a yucky job. Now I scoff at that notion. I literally laugh out loud when I remember that I used to think cleaning the cow trough was a rotten job.
As everyone knows we are in the home stretch of getting everyone moved to the new farm. In addition to packing up their stuff, Jason kept telling me we needed to "pull wire" before we finished moving horses. He brought this up several times and - silly me - I thought he meant putting up more hot wire on the top boards of the fence. Every time he would mention pulling wire I would think "we've never had all of the hotwire in place before we've moved horses so why now??" and go on with my day.
NOW I know why he would bring the topic up but we never actually did anything about it. "Pulling wire" meant cleaning out old wire fencing in one of the unoccupied pastures at the new farm. In the last two days we have pulled out over 3,000 feet of old fence and we still have another day or two of this project to go.
When I do the math it is actually much more than 3,000 feet of wire that we have pulled out, more in the neighborhood of 9,000 feet. Because the idiots who farmed this land previously apparently thought it was a brilliant idea to never get rid of any of the old, sagging wire fencing. Instead they would just put up a new row of wire fencing right next to the old stuff. So we are pulling out two rows of mangled up wire fencing plus a third row of triple strand barb wire fence. My arms look like someone has scrubbed them with a cheese grater after two days of being shredded by this wire. Thank god I had my tetanus shot boostered a couple of months ago. My clothes are ripped and torn as well.
Dealing with all of this rusted, tangled, mangled wire is bad enough. But you have to understand the totality of the situation. It isn't like you can just walk up to the old wire and start cutting and pulling. It is all embedded in, tangled in, wrapped around in about 70 years worth of tree growth and underbrush. We have to hack our way through the growth to get to the stuff, then wrestle it out. In addition to dealing with the wire I live in constant fear that I might run into - horror of horrors - a snake. Surely this type of habitat is perfect for snakes?? Not to mention all of the bugs and spiderwebs. The last two days have seriously been like one of my worst nightmares playing out in real life. I hate unidentifiable bugs and creepy crawly things, I hate walking through spider webs, I hate being in a bunch of undergrowth where I can't always see what might be in there with me.
At one point I threw my bolt cutters on the ground and said to Jason "this is why I went to college? Why I graduated magna cum laude? Why I busted my butt in biochemistry??" Imagine my voice getting louder and louder with each question . . .
Yes, you noticed I said bolt cutters instead of wire cutters. One of the things I have learned over the last couple of days is that wire cutters are pretty useless for cutting wire, especially thick barb wire. You want bolt cutters for this job. How does one go about removing old, embedded, mangled wire fence?
1. Hack your way through the woods and undergrowth to get to said fence
2. Rip away as many of the vines, weeds, etc. as you can while trying to identify exactly what is fence and what is not fence.
3. Decide how much of a section to cut. You can't just find an end and start pulling, the stuff is way to embedded and tangled in the growth. In fact some of the trees have grown around the wire so the wire is literally in the middle of the tree trunks.
4. Pick up your bolt cutters and start cutting away, trying to free a section of the fence.
5. Drop your bolt cutters and start screaming and frantically trying to brush off the creepy crawly thing you are SURE you just felt crawling on you.
6. Dig around in the brush and find your bolt cutters and resume cutting.
7. Repeat numbers 4 through 6 several times until you finally free a section of fence.
8. Start dragging the section of old fence out of the woods, constantly freeing it from everything it gets tangled in. Once you free a section it of course whips around and shreds your arms, clothes, snags your hair, etc.
9. When there is enough room to maneuver the tractor and you absolutely cannot get a section of fence out do what Jason does. Throw your bolt cutters on the ground in frustration and utter a few expletives. Then go stomping away with no explanation as to where you are going. Return with the tractor, hook the front end loader up to said section of fence with a chain, and slam the tractor in reverse. Watch with satisfaction as you pull out not only the section of old fence but half the woods and underbrush with it, complete with dramatic sound effects as you rip out the roots and break trees in half.
I made the offer a few days ago that anyone with the desire could come nail up a few thousand insulators to fence posts. I now extend to everyone the offer to come remove old wire fencing (triple layered no less). Really, it is fun and you will like it, disregard anything I said above. If nothing else it will give you a story to tell and some war wounds you can brag about.
Not Jason's happiest look ever. I believe he was in the middle of saying something along the lines of "if you take my bleep bleep bleep picture I will shove that camera down your throat." Notice his hand is resting on an old fence post wrapped in tangled wire that he had just 'liberated.'
In the midst of all our craziness lately we have had the pleasure of welcoming a new face. His name is Moe and I am sure you agree with me that he is super cute! He has a personality to match the name Moe.