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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 PST

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

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.

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.

Bobsled Building Plans

Bobsled Building Plans

Here are two, old-style, heavy-duty, bobsled building plans featuring the sort of sleds you might have found in New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. (In fact you might get lucky and find them still.) These are designed to haul cord wood on the sled frame.

Mowing with Scythes

Mowing with Scythes

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Scythes were used extensively in Europe and North America until the early 20th century, after which they went out of favor as farm mechanization took off. However, the scythe is gaining new interest among small farmers in the West who want to mow grass on an acre or two, and could be a useful tool for farmers in the Tropics who do not have the resources to buy expensive mowing equipment.

John Deere No 12A Combine

John Deere No. 12-A Straight-Through Combine

from issue:

It is only natural for the owner of a new combine to want to try his machine as early as possible. This results in most new combines being started in the field before the crop is ready for combining. As soon as a binder is seen in the neighbor’s field, the urge to start becomes uncontrollable. When grain is ready for binding, it is not ready for straight combining.

Moving Bees

Moving Bees

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Moving beehives from one location to another is often a necessary step in apiary management. Commercial beekeepers routinely move large numbers of hives often during a season, to pollinate crops, avoid pesticide applications or to utilize specific honey flows. Beekeeping hobbyists may also move bees to distant honey flows or pollination sites, or to bring home a newly purchased hive.

Hay Making with a Single Horse Part 3

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In parallel with making hay on the ground, nearly every year I have also made some hay on tripods. The attraction of this method is that it only needs one day of good weather to dry the grass sufficiently before it is put on the tripods, and then the hay takes very little harm no matter what the weather, usually coming out green, dry and smelling of hay two weeks later when it can be baled or stacked.

Portable A-Frame

Portable A-Frame

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These portable A-frames can be used for lots of lifting projects. Decades ago, when I was horselogging on the coast I used something similar to this to load my short logger truck. Great homemade tool.

Ask A Teamster Neckyokes

Ask A Teamster: Neckyokes

I always chain or otherwise secure slip-on type neckyokes to the tongue so they don’t come off and cause an accident. Neckyokes unexpectedly coming off the tongue have caused countless problems, the likes of which have caused injuries, psychological damage, and even death to horses, and to people as well. Making sure the neckyoke is chained or otherwise secured to the tongue every time you hitch a team is a quick and easy way of eliminating a number of dangerous situations.

Build Your Own Butter Churn

Build Your Own Butter Churn

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Fresh butter melting on hot homemade bread… Isn’t that the homesteader’s dream? A cheap two-gallon stock pot from the local chain store got me started in churn building. It was thin stainless steel and cost less than ten bucks. I carted it home wondering what I might find in my junk pile to run the thing. I found an old squirrel cage fan and pulled the little motor to test it. I figure that if it could turn a six-inch fan, it could turn a two-inch impeller.

The Tip Cart

The Tip Cart

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When horses were the main source of power on every farm, in the British Isles it was the tip-cart, rather than the wagon which was the most common vehicle, and for anyone farming with horses, it is still an extremely useful and versatile piece of equipment. The farm cart was used all over the country, indeed in some places wagons were scarcely used at all, and many small farms in other areas only used carts.

A Horse Powered Round Bale Unroller

A Horse Powered Round Bale Unroller

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We had experimented with unrolling the bales the year before and had decided to make a device that would let us move them with the horses and then unroll them. I used square tubing to make a simple frame with two arms attached to a cross piece which connected to a tongue. Small diagonal braces made the arrangement rigid and the arms had a right angle piece of square tubing on their ends which allowed a pin to be driven into the middle of the round bale from each side.

Happs Plowing A Chance to Share

Happ’s Plowing: A Chance to Share

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Dinnertime rolled around before we could get people and horses off the field so that results of judging could be announced. I learned a lot that day, one thing being that people were there to share; not many took the competition side of the competition very seriously. Don Anderson of Toledo, WA was our judge — with a tough job handed to him. Everyone was helping each other so he had to really stay on his toes to know who had done what on the various plots.

Disc Harrow Requirements

Disc Harrow Requirements

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One of the most important requirements is disc blade concavity, that is, correct concavity. Further along we set forth the purposes of disc concavity. We feel it is important enough to devote the extra time and words in a discussion of the subject, because seldom is disc concavity talked about, and very few know that there is difference enough to cause good and bad work.

Snow Trail Groomer

Snow Trail Groomer

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Want to groom sled trails, freeze skid trails, or set cross-country ski trails? Here is a relatively inexpensive device that has numerous advantages over the conventional chain link fence, bedspring, log, tractor tire, etc. It is easy to construct, manhandle, and store. One of the major advantages over some other methods is that it allows the snow to stay on the trail rather than pushing it to the side. This action allows it to cover rough surfaces such as roots, rocks, and ruts.

New Buggy Gear Design

New Buggy Gear Design

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As long back as most of us can remember, the plain people were using buggies for transportation. Buggy frames were mounted atop wood wheels that turned on large solid steel axles. Today, more new technology is available for buggies. Torsion axles, fiberglass and steel wheels, hydraulic disc brakes, LED lights, and sealed batteries — the list could continue.

Between Ourselves & Our Land

Between Ourselves & Our Land

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Since being introduced to the straddle row cultivator last year in hilling our potatoes, I have been excited to experiment with different tools mounted under the versatile machine. Like the famed Allis Chalmers G or Farmall Cub my peers of the internal combustion persuasion utilize on their vegetable farms, this tool can help maximize efficiency in many ways on the small farm.

Barn Door Plans

Barn Door Plans

Good barn doors, ones that will last a lifetime of opening, sliding and swinging in the wind, require careful design and construction. In 1946 the Starline Co., a barn building firm from the midwestern US, compiled a book of barn plans. These two diagrams were in that book and presented excellent information.

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