My property is a mess.
The place was completely unmanaged for decades when we bought it. The owners lived in Missouri and likely hadn’t stepped foot on the place in at least ten years. It was originally an Cherokee land grant given to a little girl in the 1920’s. She and her family fenced it and cared for it. I see volunteer wheat come up around the place, so I reckon they farmed wheat here. I also see her lilies, irises, and other flowers around the old home site in the spring.
After she left it changed hands several times. I reckon mostly people wanted the place to deer hunt on. They let a hay lease on it year after year, allowing the nutrients and carbon from the soil to be hauled out of here by the trailer load, never replacing them.
None of them did anything to speak of with the fence. Neither did the neighbors. The fences are falling down. Most of them are probably over 30 years old, and from the looks of the old drill pipe and sucker rod posts in some sections it is 50 years old or more.
The fence is rotten. Over the years trees have fallen on it. The old cedar posts are completely gone. When we got here there was no fence lane. It looked like temperate rain forest. Saw briars (smilax bona-nox) hung out of the trees like kudzu. Trees have grown up in the fence, essentially becoming the posts. In some sections there are cedars and hackberries 6-12″ in diameter every 3 feet that have grown up around the wire. It’s rough.
I’ve cleared a fence lane around the south 30 acres. This lane is about 10 feet wide and is nearly one mile long. There’s more work to do on this lane, but it’s close to complete, with a few trees to trim back with the pole saw.
I’m going to build a 5-strand, high-tensile electric fence around the place. I was about ready to start installing the fence set off of the old fence about 18″.
Then Greg Judy told me I needed to roll up all that old fence and do it right.
Just the idea of cutting all that wire out of those trees and rolling up 5 miles of barbed wire makes me ill. Mr. Judy is right though. We could build that fence and it’d be OK, until a deer jumped the fence and kicked some wire onto our hot fence and grounded it out, then our cattle escape. Or an ice storm knocks a limb out of a tree into the old wire, or a thousand other things happen that cause that old wire to short out our new fence.
So we’ve been rolling up the old wire, pulling the old posts when we can and making as clean a start as possible.
It’s going to hurt our 4th quarter FY21 results. It’s costing money. It’s costing time. It’s frustrating.
What’s the ROI? There may not even be a possibility for a positive financial ROI. It might be a dead money loser. If there is a positive cash return to be had it is decades out. I’m sure of that. This is a bad financial decision.
It would be much smarter FINANCIALLY to hurry and get the fence done and get the cattle on the land and grazing ASAP. The cost of pulling all this fence out could pay for A LOT of break fix.
Mr. Judy is right. (I’m pretty sure Greg Judy is always right.) We are supposed do things properly. Period. Do them the right way. It’s it’s own reward. It does pay, but not in ways that the modern world is built to measure. It’ll pay when we don’t have to worry about animals getting out. It’ll pay when the fence is easy to maintain and gives us and our children decades of good service. It’ll pay when the wife and I go for our daily walk around the fence lane and the fence just looks RIGHT.
Doing it right pays in the right ways.