Big plans, big jobs in 2024 for our livestock pens

Most of our livestock fencing went in about 10years ago, but the East side of our land is rock hard in summer and a quagmire in winter, so our fencing is showing it’s age. Over the last few years we’ve been replacing posts quite frequently, but recently we’ve had pigs escape from their pen and go roaming around the site (fortunatly at a time of year when there wasn’t much veg to much on).

We’ve taken the big decision that rather than keep repairing this fence it’s time for a complete replacement, hopefully we’ll then have a number of years where fence maintenance is at a minimum.

We also want to open up and expand our top paddock (sheep, goats, pigs, geese – we’ll decide later) which has gotten rather overgrown.

Amos and Harry assess the area to be cleared, all the brambles and old fencing needs to come out.
The paddock will become wider at this point. You can see the sorry state of the fence here.
After an extra ad-hoc work day we’d removed the fence between pens and already made a huge difference.

Renewed energy for 2024

Our first workday in 2024 was a very positive experience with some ex-members volunteering and some prospective members come to give our project a go.

It’s great to see so many new families getting involved.
We made good use of the extra hands to both continue clearing the old fencing and extending our dead hedge.
Good thing we had a builder and competition weight lifter to do most of the post bashing.

So what is a dead hedge?

Clearing the land and keeping on top of our tree maintenance produces a huge amount of waste wood. So we use any roughly straight pieces as posts and drive them in in two parallel lines, then pile all the waste wood inbetween.

Well most of us piled the waste wood in there, but Martin wove the branches carefully.
Not sure what’s happening here, but it looks like Connie (not bossy at all) is telling Martin how to do it, he’s taking it all in and it looks like her dad has had enough and is about to whack her on the head with a log.
A dead hedge serves multiple purposes: use up our waste wood, create a haven for wildlife, proved a boundary what when entangled with brambles will be a useful security deterrent.

The dead hedge is now about 40m long, roughly half of which we did in just a few hours with a lot of people, some clearing areas and some adding it into the hedge.

The younger ones also really enjoyed the day.
Clementine looks after Ralph – very cute.

Our first work day in 2024 was a great way to start the year, very positive, lots of hands made light work and as a team doing hard work together is much more rewarding as you can see big changes in a small amount of time. Everyone seemed to enjoy having a very specific goal that we could all work on together.