The Big Field Trip…



This is our weed patch.  We should have named it the WEEDLESS Patch… because sometimes what you name something is what it becomes…  Unfortunately, this is the last of the wild areas on our little farm.  It’s about a good half to 3/4s of an acre and we really would like to reclaim it sooner than later.   Problem is, we really don’t know a lot about it, and we just haven’t been able to work it much this year for various reasons.




So Sunday afternoon past,  Jessy, Evee, Duke, Luna and I got our long pants and bug spray on, and were armed with camera and walking stick as well as a measuring tape and we embarked on a field trip and scouting mission.  We remembered seeing a bit of fence in the outlaying hedgerow, buried but still there.  If luck would have it, we might be able to connect the dots and make it safe to send in the homesteading landscape crew to start whacking it all back for us.

That was our hope…  our dream.

As you can see, we made it to the back end of the sheep barn and it was high and weedy, but still, we were able to find a little bit of a trail…  and we followed it…



This is our pallet fence between the weed patch and the garden.  It’s still standing, but it’s deteriorating pretty fast.  By next spring, I’m pretty sure we’ll be removing it and putting up a stretch of standard field fence.

I’m kind of torn about pallet fencing.  One point is that it’s free.  Usually… and if you strive to find as solid and nice of a pallet that you can find to use, you will be rewarded with a couple years of life.  Just add a bit of wire and some posts…  perfect!

The problem is…  most pallet wood seems to be rather short lived.  Unless you get some that are treated with nasty nasty chemicals, you are going to see that wood decay very quickly.   That has been our experience.  We won’t use them any more on the farm for fencing.  We’ve found some wire fence that is very reasonable…  50 feet for $25 a roll…  and it’s nice, small holes (about 2 x 4)  and seems to stand up a lot better to most sheep and goats.  And chickens.  Not sure if it would work well with pigs, but I’m pretty convinced that the best fence for pigs is hog panel.   But that is another post…   needless to say, this fence is solid, for now.  If we can, we’ll fence it before snowfly with good wire fence.  If not, well, next spring.  And we’ll have a nice big bonfire of pallets!!!




Once we got to the eastern side, we found a good deal of disappointment.   Yes, there is fence, but it’s totally rusted and broken.  It’s not worthy of being a livestock perimeter fence.  Maybe the sheep might stick around for a bit, but the goats would be through it in a heartbeat and into our neighbors corn or soybeans.   And they would probably get sick or even die after gorging on all that fodder.  That’s not gonna happen on our watch.   Plus, it’s kind of rude to have your critters in your neighbor’s crops.

As you can see, he had cleared away some of the underbrush on his side, and made a big staging area for his harvests and such.   Which is nice, but yet, not nice…  We could possibly run a fence on that more clear area, but from what we could see, it didn’t follow the property line very nicely, and to be honest, we like the idea of a hedgerow between us and him.  It’s just a nice divider and an amazing habitat for birds and other critters and such.   There are wild grapes, blackberries, flowers galore all growing in our hedge and we love that.



This is along that eastern side, looking north.  We have a beautiful weeping willow that I would like to keep, and some other big trees to the back of the wood lot.  A whole bunch of summac, hopefully not poisonous, but doesn’t look like it.  Wild roses, Queen Anne’s Lace, purple coneflower.  It’s very pretty.  It would be wonderful to be able to get some paths back there to be able to walk and enjoy it, but right now, I’ve never been back this far, and neither has Jessy.   Maggie said she walked it once but it’s so overgrown, it’s almost impossible.




This is a section of the fence.  As you can see…  not good enough.  Plus it’s broken in sections, and just plain gone in others.  I think we will have to enlist a bit of professional help to cut a pathway about 10 feet in from the border, where we can ultimately put a fence in.  And hopefully, with the goats and the weed whacker and the mower, we can work to keep that pathway on the inner side of the fence cleared.  That’s the plan.  It’s about 150 feet on the north side and about 75 to 100 feet on the eastern side.



Look at all the wild grape!  And some other small whiteish berry…  not sure what that is, so I didn’t try that…  (smarter than I look, eh?)  But I did try the grapes and WOOOOoooeeeeeeeee!  Sour!!!  I guess they are not quite ready?  We were told that the originating family had quite the little vineyard going and I imagine all the wild grapes might be partially from that original endeavor.   They are all over the place.   The animals pretty much strip them clean for us!



This was a pretty site.  One I’ve never seen before!  It’s on the north side, looking through a little gap in the hedgerow, looking at our big barn!  Just pretty.  The picture hardly does it justice.  I think it would be delightful to notch out a few little sitting spots in the back woodlot area…  just areas that we mow back a bit and we can put a log bench or something like that to be able to go and just be.  Relax, refresh and see what you might see.  On our field trip, Jessy and I saw lots of butterflies, birds and other little critters scurrying about.



And of course, we saw Luna and Duke in the soybeans!  haha….  they were very funny.  The beans are so high and dense that they could not see each other well.  So they would call out, back and forth to find each other!  Sort of like a game of Marco Polo or something!  Luna was doing a good job of keeping up with us as we wandered and explored.



Evee was thrilled to be along for the walk.  We try and do things individually with the dogs now and then, sort of a reward and something interesting.  Ratchet had gotten to go to the salvage yard earlier in the week, so Evee got to go way out back on our field trip.   Isn’t our neighbor’s corn high!!!  I think it’s doing very well this year.  I hope so, because last year was a near wash for most of the farmers in our area.  His soybean field to the north of us is doing nicely as well.



Kitties of the fields…   Duke and Luna like to go on walkabouts with us.  It’s fun to have our little friends along for the walk.




As you can see, we are very good weed growers.  Haha… perhaps I should reword that.  We grow the finest bull thistles in the county, if you ask me.  I’m so disappointed…  Fayette has a bull thistle festival and they have a contest to find the tallest.   I drove by and saw the winners and they were only about 4 or 5 feet tall at MOST!  As you can see, we have nearly 8 footers!!!   Next year, I’m going to enter that contest and WIN!!!  I’m sure we’ll have a few in the hedgerow still growing…  they were originally ALL over the property, but now we only have them in the weed patch.   And hopefully, next year, we will have them all conquered…  we’ll see….  but I’m gonna leave a few on the edges…  won’t that be special?  To be the reigning bull thistle champions of the county???  Yes, it helps to have dreams, you know.



Luna says… can’t we take a break???   Her little tootsies are tuckered out!!!

We did take breaks… it was hard to walk in the tall, tangling weeds!  I only took one tumble when a vine just got the best of me and down I went.  Thankfully, it was a soft landing!



Can’t you just see the goats and sheep out here?  They would ADORE it…  Granted they don’t like stuff too tall, usually.  But right now, they have pretty much eaten down all the other pastures and are looking for fodder, so I think they will work on this with delight.

Our plan at the moment is to finish the fence line on the eastern side just about to where that willow tree is.  And then come straight back, up along the summac is to meet up with our back pasture fence, behind me, in this picture below.  There is just no way we girls will be able to fence all the way back into the woodlot right now.  Not without help and heavy equipment.  Still…  if we fence in about half of this large space, and wait for die back to cut the pathway, we’ll be able to pull up a section of this fence and refence once it’s all done.



Sure, it would be great to just wait and do it all at once, but we just don’t quite have it in our budget right now and the longer we wait, the more we will have to start feeding hay and such.  So the two step approach will work nicely.  We can fence what we can afford, and get them out here for another month or two…  saving on feed and letting them do all the heavy lifting of pasture control.  We can take that time as well to begin removing all the bull thistles.  As you can see above, they are not in this back half of the pasture, but more just in the front half.  Maggie says it will be a fun project for her as she gets back on her feet.  I suppose she’s right!  If she just hacks back a half hour’s worth a day, she’ll get pretty far in a week or two without too much of a strain.  She’s eager to start doing some more chores now that she’s walking again without crutches!!!  (Yeah Maggie!!!!)




We returned about an hour or so after we left.  Not too shabby…  it was a tough little hike!  Luna was ready to take a nice little nap!  I’ll admit, I needed a little sit down…  We needed to discuss our fact finding mission, anyway, and we talked about it with Maggie, telling her what we found.   She was still on two crutches and there was just no way she could have navigated back there without falling.  It was really really overgrown!!!  (In some places… others… well, tolerable….))



Maggie has been taking over a lot of her old chores now and wow, that’s a good thing.  First of all, she loves it and it’s good for her.  She feels like she hasn’t been helping out and we are fine with it all, but you know how kids can be sometimes.  She’s just bored from sitting around for 2 months and wants to help out.  She knows to take it easy and we’ve made it a bit easier anyway, by reducing our flock a bit and moving things around some.  So now, she just has to feed and water the little coop chickens and make sure the pigs have water daily.   Not too much at all.  Jessy and I are taking care of the rams and also making sure the flock has water at their big trough.  Not hard at all.



Me and my rooster boy, Raven.  He lost his job as main rooster for the poultry barn flock when we sold them.  I really don’t think he minds at all, he really likes being a free range rooster now.  He’s one that I raised two winters ago in the screen porch…  since there were only a few chicks, he got a lot of attention.  He likes to be held.  He actually will hop up on my lap when there’s not many people around, but if not, he doesn’t mind if I just pick him up.  He loves to be petted and cuddled.  He’s a weirdo.  The other roosters watch us very suspiciously.  I don’t think they approve of our little relationship.




Well, the next day, armed with the weed whacker and a goat, oh, yes and some big knives and weed clippers, Jessy and I head out to start a pathway for our first phase fence.  There was no way that we could just try and fence through this all.  We needed to cut out and whack a pathway so that we could easily get the fence to set properly on the ground.   If you fence too high, sheep will push right under it easily.  So, whack away we did!

It didn’t take too long, once we got the weed whacker going strong.  Had to be careful, the tall weeds kept wanting to bind up the spinning head and then it would die.  Jessy went ahead and she cut out the tall thistles, and some of the more viney, tall stuff.  I learned to make a high pass and then a lower pass to clear the pathway.  Daisy came with us, mostly because she can still squeeze through parts of a field fence!  She’s getting bigger and soon, won’t fit, but it was kind of fun to have with us.  She was eating like a starved child!  A little of this and that and here and there and just going nuts.  She had a huge little belly in no time and was all tail wagging and happy!




Where’s Daisy?   As you can see, it’s very overgrown in some places!  Can’t wait to let the goats out here for a few weeks…  I plan to take some pictures through the time, just to show the transformation of the area after 14 animals graze it down…



Here I am, outstanding in my field.

Whacking away a pathway.  Thank goodness for about half of it, there are no thistles!   Just tall meadow grass.  Everyone is going to have a good time out here for sure.

Have I said how much I love our weed whacker?  It’s almost an unnatural thing, how much I love that thing.  It has saved us so many hours of labor… oh my gosh.  I can’t wait to get a chainsaw…  I hope Santa brings us one.  Of course, then, the weedwhacker will be jealous… but it will be in it’s winter slumber mode so hopefully it will understand.



Isn’t little Daisy so cute out here?  She was just so happy, oh my gosh.  Goat heaven, that is what this is out here.  Lots of weeds and such that goaties love.  The sheep will eat the grasses and Cody will enjoy it as well, but the goats will simply devour all the weedy tall stuff.  Can’t wait to just bring a book and a little ice tea in a jug and hang out with everyone as they munch, munch, munch…

A few days later, we came out to start putting some posts in the ground and work with a big roll of fence we have that is about 100 feet.  I really thought we might be able to get pretty far, maybe even half of the way we need.  We’ve been gathering up a group of posts from here and there, pulled from the garden and other places as well as a few that I bought at the tractor store.   They were all in a nice little pile by the sheep shack out back.  But apparently, the farm fairies were using them one at a time for this fence or that coop or what have you.  (Those fairies being US….)  and when we went out there this morning… there were 4 left.  4?  Hardly enough to get started with.  Durn it.  Of course, as I thought about it, I knew that we had used about oh 7 or 8 of them in the last two weeks!  There are three in the garden that we had used in the fence around the chicken tractor, but apparently we Amazon women had some grudge to take care of, and we pounded them nearly 3 feet into the ground!   Now that it’s much dryer, we could not get them out to save our lives!!!    Going to have to stick the hose in there for a bit and soak the ground…  too much work, so we gave up for the day and went to do other things.  We’re hoping for a bit of cash from some various hard work we’ve done the last two weeks and if all goes well, we will be buying about 10 posts or so and probably another 100 feet of fence.  Our goal is to get that back weed patch totally fenced and ready for grazing within a week.   We’ll see how that goes!!!

Hope you enjoyed our field trip!!!

And just in case you wondered where we went to…. here is our little map of the farm so you can orient yourself!


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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


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