A Cowboy’s Faith: Time to fix fence – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Time to fix fence

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

So, it’s time to repair the fence before livestock gets out or makes larger holes in the weak fence areas.

Many farmers and ranchers try to check most of their pasture fences before turning livestock out to spring grass. Depending on the acreage and quality of the original fence that can be a major task.

Methods of transportation vary from operation to operation. Likely most of the fence repairing is done from the pickup because of the ease of hauling equipment and materials.

However, some farmers prefer to drive a mechanical cart, while real ranchers will ride their horses. That can become a problem having enough of the right equipment and materials along to repair the fence issues.

Basic tools are fence pliers, a hammer, and wire stretcher along with wire staples, barbed wire, and smooth wire. Typically, steel driving posts, and a post driver are needed along with wire clips. Of course, there will always be something needed that’s forgotten or left behind.

Often that is an axe or preferably a powered chain saw, because without exception limbs have fallen on the fence. Sometimes that will become a major ordeal if an entire tree has been blown over.

What is expected to be a few-minutes job can require half a day or sometimes longer. The tree must be sawed into pieces and piled out of the way. Often posts are bent or broken and must be repaired or often replaced.

Generally, without exception one or often all the barbed wires are broken. They must be mended back together with extra pieces of barbed wire and stretched tight again. Whenever a barbed wire fence has been broken, it will never be as strong and tight as the day it was built.

Water gaps are always a major issue when checking fences. Even though there hasn’t been a major rainstorm, creeks can receive major upstream water overflow. Often it is accompanied by brush pushing out the fence leaving a hole for livestock to walk through. The brush must be removed, wire replaced, and tightened until another storm.

Fencing repair is a major job that most livestock owners never get completely done.

Reminded of Job 19:8: “He hath fenced the way that they cannot pass.”

Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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