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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

Horse Powered Snow Fencing and Sleigh Fencing

Horse Powered Snow Fencing and Sleigh Fencing

by Tony McQuail of Lucknow, ON

We were planning on having our cattle out in a sheltered field for the winter but a busy fall and early snows meant our usual fencing tool was going to be ineffective. Through the grazing season we use a reel barrow which allows us to carry posts and pay out or take in wire with a wheel barrow like device which works really well. But not on snow. I needed to put up some temporary fencing to move the cattle to their winter pasture and I needed to put up some more permanent high tensile wire to define several of the boundaries of the field. This was the motivation for turning our sleigh into a “snow fencer” or a “sleigh barrow”.

Horse Powered Snow Fencing and Sleigh Fencing

Using a team of horses to lay out both sides of a temporary winter laneway to and from our winter pasture with two-strand fences for both sides — a top of polytape and bottom of maxishock.

My sleigh has a board around it on the sides and back. I mounted an inch and a half U-bolt on the back board half way up the board. I could then hook a portable fence reel to this. I put line extensions on the lines so they reached to the back of the sleigh and loaded portable fence posts into the back of it. I pulled the sleigh to where I wanted to start the fence. Hooked the portable wire to an end post and started driving the horses along the line of the temporary fence. If the snow was not too deep I’d walk saying whoa on the twelfth step so we would stop at 15 and I’d put in a post. The system worked well. When moving, the tension on the wire would pull the reel up and away from the board, and the wire would pull off smoothly. When we would stop, the reel would fall back against the board and be braked, so the wire would stop paying out. For the straight parts of the run I’d use steel tread-ins with plastic screw on insulators and at curves I’d use pig-tail tread-ins. At the other end I simply attached the reel to a post — tightened up the wire and used a jumper with alligator clips to connect it at both ends to existing fencing.

If the ground is frozen you can use a sledge to drive the steel posts in or a portable electric drill with a 1/4 or 5/16 inch masonry drill bit to pre-drill a post hole in the ground after using your foot or a flat shovel to clear the snow off the ground.

After the success of the temporary fencing I decided to use the sleigh to put out the High Tensile wire as well. I used another U-bolt to mount my high tensile spinner on the side of the sleigh. I used my chain saw to cut a shallow groove on the inside of the board for the anti rotation pin of the spinners base. The spinner base was thus held securely in a vertical position and unable to rotate. I had to cut the groove because the side board was wider than the space between the large ground spike and the anti rotation pin. With a smaller side board I could have just dropped the spike through the U bolt on the outside and have the pin engage the side of the board on the inside to keep the base from turning. I could then set the top of the spinner with its load of high tensile wire on the base and was ready to go.

The first piece of fence I needed to put up was along a road so I drove the sleigh to where I wanted to start. I used polyethylene rope to tie an insultimber dropper to a tree, attached the high tensile wire to the middle hole on the dropper and then drove the sleigh along the snow covered shoulder of the road putting in posts and putting the wire in insulators as we moved along. I used tread in steel posts with screw on insulators. When I got to the other end of the fence I again tied an insultimber dropper to an appropriate tree and tied off the high tensile wire to it in the same hole as the other end. To do the second wire I turned the sleigh around, attached the high tensile wire to the top hole on the dropper and strung the second wire. I found that I needed to use my hand to brake the spinner when I would stop to put in posts or insulators to keep the wire from over spinning and developing slack. Once the second wire was attached to the end dropper I turned around and put daisy wheel tighteners in the middle of the wire run and pulled the wire snug. This was fine for awhile but we soon realized as the snow kept coming in December and the plow started pushing it over the fence that we needed taller posts so I ended up taking the sleigh back out with T-posts, T-post insulators and a post pounder. I loosened the wire and replaced the tread in posts with T bars and raised the 2 wires above the growing banks.

Horse Powered Snow Fencing and Sleigh Fencing

Sleigh set up for winter fencing with a high tensile wire holder/unroller mounted on the side.

The other area I needed to high tensile fence was the property line which was in a wooded area. I parked the sleigh with the spinner positioned as close as I could get it to the fence line. Cross tied the horses between a couple of trees and set off into the woods pulling the high tensile wire which I had attached to a dropper. I pulled it to the road corner where I tied the dropper to the tree. Then I returned to the sleigh, cut the wire and attached it to a tree. I took in tread in posts and strung the first wire and then repeated the process for the second wire and again tightened it up with daisy wheels.

I used temporary fencing that was a combination of polytape and maxishock to make gate ways into the field and used alligator clip jumpers to connect the various sections of fencing together. By dis-connecting a jumper cable I could easily check if power was feeding around the fence. It could also help me determine which section of the fence had a short on it. The boundary fence was particularly at risk of serious shorts because of lots of old fencing wire abandoned in it.

After using the sleigh for winter fencing, we use it when we want to put up a large amount of temporary fencing in the summer. The sleigh lets me carry a much larger selection of posts, wire and tools than I can with the reel barrow and the sleigh slides, and is lower than my wagons, which makes it handier for walking behind and putting in posts. I found I could mount the reel barrow in the sleigh so that I could pay out several rolls of wire at once. ( I haven’t figured out how to use the sleigh to roll up several wires at once — but that is where I use the reel barrow on it’s own.) The sleigh as a fencing tool has proved a pretty useful implement both winter and summer.

Spotlight On: Equipment & Facilities

"Work Horse Handbook, 2nd Edition" by Lynn Miller

Draft Collars and How To Size Them

It is difficult to accurately measure a horse’s neck without fitting. In other words, there are so many variables involved in the shape and size of a horse’s neck that the only accurate and easy way to size the neck is to use several collars and put them on one at a time until fitting is found.

The Milk and Human Kindness A Look At Butter Churns

The Milk and Human Kindness: A Look at Butter Churns

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from issue:

Finding an old butter churn at a flea market, one that is still usable can be a lot of fun, and because there are so many types, it’s good to know a few tips to help you find one that works well for you. For one thing, the size of your butter churn must match your cream supply so that your valuable cream gets transformed into golden butter while it’s fresh and sweet, and that your valuable time is not eaten up by churning batch after batch because your churn is too small.

Pferdestarke

German Version of Horse Progress Days: Pferdestark

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There is a rather neat phrase in German – ‘wenn schon, denn schon’ – which literally translates as ‘enough already, then already;’ but what it actually means is ‘if a something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. That would be a fitting description of Pferdestark, the German version of Horse Progress Days. For sheer variety of different breeds of draught horses, regional and national harness styles, or for that matter, languages or hats, it would be hard to beat Pferdestark.

Shed and Barn Plans

Below is a short piece from Starting Your Farm, by SFJ editor and publisher Lynn R. Miller. Click the links below to see Chapter One of Starting Your Farm and to view the book in our online bookstore. “You may have purchased a farm with a fantastic set of old barns and sheds. You, on […]

New Idea Manure Spreaders

New Idea Manure Spreaders

from issue:

There is no fixed method of loading. The best results are usually obtained by starting to load at the front end, especially in long straw manure. To get good results do not pile any manure into the cylinders. The height of the load depends upon the condition of the manure, the condition and nature of the field. Do not put on extra side boards. Be satisfied with the capacity of the machine and do not abuse it. Overloading will be the cause of loss of time sooner or later.

Ask A Teamster Perfect Hitching Tension

Ask A Teamster: Perfect Hitching Tension

In my experience, determining how tight, or loose, to hook the traces when hitching a team can be a bit challenging for beginners. This is because a number of interdependent dynamics and variables between the pulling system and the holdback system must be considered, and because it’s ultimately a judgment call rather than a simple measurement or clear cut rule.

The Magna Grecia Hoe

The Magna Grecia Hoe

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Last spring I put a handle on a curious gardening tool I picked up at the FALCI company in Italy. Ashley, our 17-year-old (a seasoned gardener and enthusiastic digging fork user), was first to try it. She came back excitedly in a rather short time with a request: “Call to Italy right away and have them send us more of these.” “These” are the Magna Grecia hoes, popular in the Calabria region of South Italy but, interestingly, known in very few other places.

The Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge

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In the morning we awoke to a three quarters of a mile long swath of old growth mixed conifer and aspen trees, uprooted and strewn everywhere we looked. We hadn’t moved here to become loggers, but it looked like God had other plans! We had chosen to become caretakers of this beautiful place because of the peace and quiet, the clean air, the myriad of birds and wildlife! Thus, we were presented with a challenge: how to clean up this blowdown in a clean, sustainable way.

New Horse-drawn Side Delivery Rakes from Europe

New Horse-drawn Side Delivery Rakes from Europe

In Northern Italy the two agricultural machinery manufacturers MAINARDI A. s.r.l. and REPOSSI Macchine Agricole s.r.l. produce a vast range of haying equipment with pto and hydraulic drive, also hay rakes with mechanical drive by the rear wheels. The majority of the sold machines of this type are currently used with small tractors and motor cultivators. The technology of these rakes is based on implements which were developed in the 1940s, when animal traction still played an important role in Italy’s agriculture.

Farm Drum 25 Two-Way Plow

Farm Drum #25: Two-Way Plow

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Lynn Miller and Ed Joseph discuss the merits of the two-way plow, what to look for when considering purchase, and a little bit of the history of this unique IH / P&O model.

McCormick-Deering No 7 Mower Manual in English & French

McCormick-Deering No. 7 Mower Manual in English & French

Instructions for Setting Up and Operating the McCORMICK-DEERING No. 7 VERTICAL LIFT TWO-HORSE MOWERS — Instructions pour le Montage et le Fonctionnement des FAUCHEUSES A DEUX CHEVAUX McCORMICK-DEERING No. 7 À RELEVAGE VERTICAL

Shoeing Stocks

An article from the out-of-print Winter 1982 Issue of SFJ.

Rebuilding the New Idea Manure Spreader

Rebuilding the New Idea Manure Spreader

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To select a Model 8, 10 or 10A for rebuilding, if you have a few to choose from – All New Idea spreaders have the raised words New Idea, Coldwater, Ohio on the bull gear. The No. 8 is being rebuilt in many areas due to the shortage of 10A’s and because they are still very popular. The 10A is the most recent of the spreaders and all three can be rebuilt. The 10 and 10A are the most popular for rebuilding as parts are available for putting these spreaders back into use.

Mini Horse Haying

Mini Horse Haying

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The first mini I bought was a three year old gelding named Casper. He taught me a lot about what a 38 inch mini could do just by driving me around the neighborhood. He didn’t cover the miles fast, but he did get me there! It wasn’t long before several more 38 inch tall minis found their way home. I presently have four minis that are relatively quiet, responsive to the bit, and can work without a lot of drama.

John Deere Portable Bridge-Trussed Grain Elevator

John Deere Portable Bridge-Trussed Grain Elevator

from issue:

When bolting the sections of elevator together be sure the upper trough ends overlap the upper trough ahead, and each lower trough is underneath the trough ahead, so the chains will slide smoothly. Bolt the short tie plates to the underside of troughs at the embossed holes in the middle of trough. When bolting on the head section, have the end of scroll sheet underneath the upper trough section. The lower cross plate in the head section must bolt on top of the return trough.

Homemade Beet Grinder

Homemade Beet Grinder

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This is my small beet grinder I built about 6 years ago. It has done nearly daily duty for that time. The beet fodder is added to my goat and rabbit rations which are largely homemade. Adding the pulp to the grain rations has aided me in having goat milk throughout the winter months. My beets are the Colossal Red Mangels. Many grow up to 2 feet long. I cut off enough for a day’s feed and grind it up each morning. Beets oxidize like cut apples. Fresh is best!

Choosing a Gas or Coal Forge for the Small Farm Shop

Choosing a Gas or Coal Forge for the Small Farm Shop

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After you’ve built a small farm blacksmith shop, one of the first decisions that you’ll need to make is which type of fuel you’ll be using. Most people choose either gas (propane) or coal, however, wood fired forges are also an option. All three fuel types have pros and cons. The final decision will likely be based on the type of forging that you plan to do and the local availability of the fuel.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT