Plan B

I worked hard every minute of the weekend and made a lot of progress. Just not enough.

I still have five reports to write this morning before work, thirteen more finals to grade, and classes to prep for. Meanwhile yesterday I didn’t get a single panel up on the sheep paddock.

The panel that meets the barn runs up a slope of gravel. This gravel is frozen solid. Chips of ice and rock stung my face and ricocheted off my glasses. At one point I thought my lip was bleeding.The pickaxe was striking sparks in the cold. Why, oh why, did I not do this job in October? I spent an hour on this two-foot section and chipped away only about two inches. That small hump is holding the entire fence panel four to six inches off the ground.

There is so much more work to do for this project: eleven more panels to hang, ten more t-posts to drive. This doesn’t even count cutting two panels, straightening (how?) a fence post that one of the cows rubbed and pushed out of plumb, rerouting the fence wiring, or building the necessary barn door. It is due to snow 4-8″ tomorrow and drop below zero Wednesday night. I realized yesterday in the gathering dark at 4 PM that I would never be able to finish if I kept trying to do the job properly.

My new plan is to drive all the t-posts today after work and then tack the panels to the wood posts with a single staple in each end, not worrying that they’re not perfectly straight and level. I’ll secure them for the winter to all posts with zip ties, pile rocks along any gaps (rocks will freeze to the ground; just collecting them will require a sledgehammer to knock them free), and correct everything next spring.

Rocks and zip ties were never part of my plan for this paddock, but as the saying goes, “Needs must when the devil drives.”

Back to reports!

One Response to Plan B

  1. Elaine Murphy says:

    If only you could thaw the ground with hot rocks from a fire. Hitting the frozen ground with a pickaxe has to hurt, besides being exhausting.

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