Why I hate my crazy neighbor (or The Fencing Project from Hell)

I love my crazy neighbor because he is an enabler.  He has enabled me to buy new fences and nice new horse shelters.  He enabled me to begin building a turnout area—I mean buffer zone—protecting the horses from his stallions.  He even enabled us to buy a tractor!  What a guy!  And now (by the laws of deductive logic), he is enabling us to buy all sorts of implements for our tractor.  Those of you out there who own tractors know what I am talking about.

A typical trip to the feed store:
Me:  What is that implement thing out there on display?
Feed store guy:  It’s a Lurminator.
Me:  I need one.  What does it do?
Feed store guy:  It Lurminates.
Me:  How much does it cost?
Feed Store Guy:  $700
Me:  Here is my credit card.

After this, I go on my merry way, secure in the knowledge that A.  If I ever need to Lurminate, I will possess the correct implement and B.  Any tractor implement under $1000 is worth having.

We bought this blade.  But it couldn’t be just any blade.  David did his research and it had to be a Swiss Army Blade that will not only fold, spindle and mutilate, but has those teeny-beeny tweezers in a pocket so that you can pull out any annoying little splinters.  And we bought an auger, which it turns out consists of several parts (sold separately) such as the “arm thing” and the “spinny things,” which come in several different sizes—small, medium, tall, venti, and ridiculous.  Buying an “arm thing” without at least two “spinny things” is kind of like buying Malibu Barbie without also buying the Malibu Convertible, Malibu Ken, Malibu Beach Mansion and optional Malibu Sunglasses (for both Barbie and Ken, naturally).

So we drove home triumphantly from the Tractor Supply Company store with our latest kill and, somehow, David managed to assemble the whole shebang.  (Little known fact:  Albert Einstein died of old age while trying to assemble the “arm thing” for his tractor.)  And we drove the tractor to a place on our property that I had scientifically determined would be the absolutely correct place to put a fence post and we drilled our first hole!  And it was one foot deep… Because after the auger went down about a foot, it hit a layer of soil that geologists refer to as “concrete,” and then it just sat there spinning happily away, but not actually doing anything useful in terms of what geologist refer to as “digging a hole.”  And now you know why I hate my crazy neighbor.  I am quite certain that he is down there living in his disgusting, filthy trailer with his stallions running around loose because he has crappy falling down fences, looking through his expensive high powered telescope at us struggling to dig post holes—and LAUGHING AT US!  I’ll bet he lets his stallions out every few weeks just so he can come up and laugh at our feeble efforts at erecting a fence to keep them out.

At first, we worked really hard at this project.  We would dig any time we had a spare day.  We began by drilling the 12” holes for the big posts that would be our corners and gate supports.  These holes needed to be 4 feet deep, so you can see that a 1 foot hole just wasn’t going to cut it.  We discovered that by pouring water down the 1 foot hole, we could soften up the soil and a few days later, we could drill it all the way down to 15 or even 18 inches deep—progress!  We also discovered that through the use of backbreaking labor with a “rock bar” we could loosen up the soil for the auger and make another inch or two of progress.  And occasionally, we were lucky enough to actually dig an entire hole at which point, we would put a post in it and celebrate.  Our property began to look like we were sprouting a random crop of railroad tie trees.  We also had to purchase an “extension thing” for the auger because, at first, it would not dig a 4 foot hole—silly auger.  (I guess you could call that auger augmentation.)

And we discovered the existence of “shear pins.”   A shear pin is an evil piece of equipment that is designed to protect your auger from being bent (HA! We’ve proved that one wrong) by breaking anytime it thinks the auger might get damaged by hitting a rock or a tree root, or if it’s a little stressed that day, or if it had one too many cups of coffee or has PMS, or somebody sneezes or a rabbit runs in front of the tractor.  We discovered that it is not humanly possible to possess enough shear pins to get through an entire post hole digging operation, because due to Newton’s fourth law of Shear Pins, you will always have one fewer shear pin than you need to finish the hole!  We now measure our hole digging efforts in terms of SPU’s or Shear Pin Units.

“That was an easy hole—it only broke four shear pins!”

And then we stalled out…

And when I say we stalled out, I’m talking about “for several years” stalled out, not just for a couple of weeks or months.  We were killing ourselves physically, not to mention wiping out the shear pin population of Northern Nevada, and we still had some holes that we had made ABSOLUTELY NO progress on.  There were these divots on the ground where holes were supposed to go and that was as far as we could get.  There was one corner post where we had hit a rock about 3 feet down and we absolutely couldn’t get around it without dynamite or some sort of tactical nuclear weapon.  Oh, we had tried a few different “tricks” that our “friends” had told us about.  (Like pouring very diluted battery acid down the hole to dissolve the clay?  Ignoring our fears about poisoning the environment on the theory that it would be worth it to create 6 legged horned toads if we finally had a fence, we tried this—it didn’t do diddly squat.)  We think now that our friends were down at Tom’s using his telescope and laughing along with him.

And then Providence showed us the way…  Our neighbors down the hill decided to put in a fenced yard for their dogs.  They didn’t actually do it themselves—they had some fencing guys do it for them.  I watched this project unfold over several days driving to and from work and finally had to stop and ask—“HOW THE HELL DID THEY DIG THOSE POST HOLES!”  I probably said it a little more nicely than that, but that was the gist of it.  It turned out that they had used a Bobcat.  The difference between the Bobcat and our tractor is that the Bobcat possesses a mysterious, magical force known as downpressure.  This would be like having a second tractor jump up and down on top of the auger while the first tractor was digging the hole—BRILLIANT!

So we rented a Bobcat—actually a “Skid Steer” (because it is made by Case and not Bobcat).  Whatever it was, it was pretty reasonable to rent—only about $100.  Of course, it cost $200 to have it delivered and picked up, and each of the two augers cost about $100 to rent, but it was still worth it.  The Skid Steer had downpressure and it didn’t have any shear pins on the theory that if you got it stuck enough to bend one of these augers, you would create enough force to spin the planet Earth off of it’s axis causing global devastation anyway.  And we dug 52 holes in two days!  I sure hope Tom happened to notice that we were out digging and thinking to have himself a knee slapping afternoon, glanced through his telescope at which point his eyeball must have shot cartoon like out the other end of the telescope in amazement—take THAT!

We don’t, at this point, have any actual fences yet.  All of the wooden posts are in, though.  They march along in straight lines instead of random patterns, beckoning to me.  Now all we have to do is install all of the H’s, drive about a gazillion T-posts and string fence.  And now I can truly say “Thank you Tom, for enabling us to go out and buy a T-post driver implement for our tractor!”

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2 thoughts on “Why I hate my crazy neighbor (or The Fencing Project from Hell)

  1. Howdy! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give
    a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?
    Thank you so much!

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