Cow Problems January 2012
Dakota in her element herding cows - the young bulls always presenting her with a good challenge

During December we spent many of our productive hours flushing the cows out of our forest and off of our section of land and although it was the highlight of Dakota's day, it was becoming a little tedious for us.

The last straw was arriving one Saturday morning to find the foundations we had dug the previous weekend totally wrecked by the herd passing through during the week.

Here's four of them nasties just outside our forest area
  The herd was also getting quite large - now about a hundred strong. That's a lot of cows to move off sometimes twice a day because often while we were working in the back area they would sneak around the front where we couldn't see them. There was something about our forest area that they really liked!

It was time for the fence.

  The Need for Power

But before we could get going on the log fence project we needed some power for the electric drill and grinder which would be needed to drill the holes for the crosspieces and cut the threaded rods that would be used to hold everything together. We had the option of buying a smaller generator for this job or something bigger that we could later use permanently on the farm. The bigger ones we saw were just too expensive but our timing being just right there was a 5.5kW Ryobi RG-6900 on special at Game - but it had no wheels or electric starter.

So we made a little bit of an unwise compromise and bought one anyway. I should have realised when we were trying to get it into the boot of the car at the shopping centre that it was not going to be as "portable" as we would have liked. Pull starting was not really a problem but we regretted our decision every time we had to carry the 80kg monster out of the house and load it onto the bakkie every weekend for three months. On the positive side it would probably not need to be moved when it finally had it's place on the farm.

Starting the Log Fence

So all work on the lapa was put on hold and we made a determined start on getting the fence up. There was just no way we would be able to do anything constructive without being able to keep the cows out. We also still had some clearing to do to get our new road through the forest so as the fence would be running right next to the road, we could tackle both jobs there at the same time.

The first uprights planted and first top crosspieces bolted on


Each pole levelled and soil compacted around it
  We bought a few treated logs at a time for the uprights from our local Houtkraal log supplier as we needed them and ordered a bulk load of untreated logs for the crosspieces from a supplier out Pretoria way.

We made our start in the eastern corner. The post hole drill did a great job of the holes as the ground was still fairly soft from regular rains.

We kept the generator on the back of the bakkie and moved the bakkie a few poles at a time as we needed it to drill holes and cut the threaded rods.

When we started off we first cut a whole lot of threaded rods into 30cm lengths but found that due to each log being a different diameter, we would end up with excess rods that would sometimes stick out quite far. We then improved our system by drilling the holes, pushing the long length of threaded rod through both poles, put on one side washer and nut, then cut the rod to the exact size before cleaning up the thread with the file and putting on the other side washer and nut. This finished the joint off better and saved us considerable threaded rod.