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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: How-To & Plans

Horse Powered Snow Fencing and Sleigh Fencing

Horse Powered Snow Fencing and Sleigh Fencing

by:
from issue:

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. This was the motivation for turning our sleigh into a “snow fencer” or a “sleigh barrow”.

Blacksmithing Secrets

Blacksmithing Secrets Part 2

by:
from issue:

One of the main advantages of having a forge in the farm shop is to be able to redress and make and temper tools like cold chisels, punches, screw drivers, picks, and wrecking bars. Tool steel for making cold chisels and punches and similar tools may be bought from a blacksmith or ordered through a hardware store; or it may be secured from parts of old machines, such as hay-rake teeth, pitchfork tines, and axles and drive shafts from old automobiles.

Horseshoeing Part 1A

Horseshoeing Part 1A

Horseshoeing, though apparently simple, involves many difficulties, owing to the fact that the hoof is not an unchanging body, but varies much with respect to form, growth, quality, and elasticity. Furthermore, there are such great differences in the character of ground-surfaces and in the nature of horses’ work that shoeing which is not performed with great ability and care induces disease and makes horses lame.

Log Arch

Log Arch

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The arch was built on a small trailer axle that I cut down to 3 feet wide and tacked back together. This was done so that I could keep the wheels parallel. I cut the middle out after construction was complete. I used heavy wall pipe from my scrounge pile for the various frame parts. It is topped off with an angle iron bar for added strength and to provide a mount for the winch and some slots for extra chains.

How To Dry Up A Doe Goat

How To Dry Up A Doe Goat

You are probably thinking why would I want to dry up a doe? If the plan is to rebreed the doe, then she will need time to rebuild her stamina. Milk production takes energy. Kid production takes energy, too. If the plan is to have a fresh goat in March, then toward the end of October start to dry her up. The first thing to do is cut back on her grain. Grain fuels milk production.

Horsedrawn Plows and Plowing

Setting Up A Walking Plow

Here is a peek into the pages of Horsedrawn Plows and Plowing, written by SFJ editor and publisher Lynn R. Miller.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

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As we start, consider a few things when building a pto cart. Are big drive tires necessary? Is a lot of weight needed? Imagine the cart in use. Try to see it working where you normally go and where you almost never go. Will it be safe and easy to mount or dismount? Can you access the controls of the implement conveniently? Is it easy to hook and unhook? Where is the balance point? I’m sure you will think of other details as you daydream about it.

The Use and Construction of Home Made Implements

The Use and Construction of Home Made Implements

by: ,
from issue:

It is now possible to purchase a make of machine to suit almost any condition if the money is available. There is no doubt that eventually they will be quite generally used. However, the dry farmers are at present hard pressed financially and in many instances the purchase of very much machinery is out of the question. For the man of small means or limited acreage, a homemade implement may be utilized at least temporarily.

Farm Drum 32 Blacksmithing with Pete Cecil

Farm Drum #32: Blacksmithing with Pete Cecil – Finishing the Hook

Pete Cecil demonstrates basic blacksmithing techniques through crafting a hook in the forge.

Building an Inexpensive Pole Barn

Building an Inexpensive Pole Barn

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The inside of the barn can be partitioned into stalls of whatever size we need, using portable panels secured to the upright posts that support the roof. We have a lot of flexibility in use for this barn, making several large aisles or a number of smaller stalls. We can take the panels out or move them to the side for cleaning the barn with a tractor, or for using the barn the rest of the year for machinery.

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 […]

Livestock Guardians

Introducing Your Guard Dog To New Livestock And Other Dogs

When you introduce new animals to an established herd or flock, you should observe your dog’s reactions and behavior for a few days. Since he will be curious anyway, it is a good idea to introduce him to the new animals while he is leashed or to place the new animals in a nearby area.

Book Review Butchering

Two New Butchering Volumes

Danforth’s BUTCHERING is an unqualified MASTERPIECE! One which actually gives me hope for the furtherance of human kind and the ripening of good farming everywhere because, in no small part, of this young author’s sensitive comprehension of the modern disconnect with food, feeding ourselves, and farming.

Harvesting Rainwater

Harvesting Rainwater

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Collecting rainwater for use during dry months is an ancient practice that has never lost its value. Today, simple water collection systems made from recycled food barrels can mean a free source of non-potable water for plants, gardens, bird baths, and many other uses. Rainwater is ideal for all plants because it doesn’t contain dissolved minerals or added chemicals. One inch of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot roof yields approximately 600 gallons of water.

Eggs & Their Care

Eggs & Their Care

from issue:

Egg quality is the combined elements of an egg which increase the market value to the producer, the keeping qualities to the distributors, and the nutritive and eye-appeal value to the consumer.

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!

Eighteen Dollar Harrow

Eighteen Dollar Harrow

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This is the story of a harrow on a budget. I saw plans on the Tillers International website for building an adjustable spike tooth harrow. I modified the plans somewhat to suit the materials I had available and built a functional farm tool for eighteen dollars. The manufactured equivalent would have cost at least $300.

The Horsedrawn Mower Book

Removing the Wheels from a McCormick Deering No. 9 Mower

How to remove the wheels of a No. 9 McCormick Deering Mower, an excerpt from The Horsedrawn Mower Book.

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