Thursday, January 12, 2012

Perimeter Patrol

I use descriptive titles for my management work that usually suggest a more complex activity than is perceived by the casual observer.  The typical passerby will identify my actions as mowing along the fence.  They don’t see me inspecting the fence for physical damage, clipping invasive trees and shrubs, picking up trash, searching for signs of invasive species infestations, or doing any of the other management activities that I attach to the job of mowing the fence line.  I like to call this my Perimeter Patrol.

DR Brush is the machine of choice for working up close to obstacles.  The DR is lighter and more easily maneuvered than JR.  It will finesse its way around fence posts and caress fence wire without doing the least bit of damage.  DR Brush has no trouble clipping off shrubs like these raspberries that grow almost directly below the fence wire.  The DR is also slightly narrower than JR and can slip through some of the tight places between trees and fence. 

I make two passes along the fence.  One pass would be sufficient, but the easiest way back to the barn is the way I came out, so that gives me the two passes.  It’s just the road fence that gets this extra attention.  The road is a prime source of unwanted things entering the property and I want to make sure that anything threatening the field is identified before it can do too much damage.

There’s always at least one fallen tree resting on the fence.  The trees between the fence and the road aren’t large enough to do any real damage.  They’re just a chore to deal with.

The area between fence and road contains the trees that fell in past years.  The remains of the original field fence run right along the edge of the road.  I’ve removed most of it so it wouldn’t be a hazard to passing vehicles.  I didn’t think that was a very good location, so I built a new fence farther into the field.  There’s really no reason for anything or anyone to be traveling in the area between road and fence, so I think that’s a very good place for old trees to rest while decomposing.

I keep most trees away from the fence so the growing tree doesn’t swallow the wire, but I have left several young oaks.  It’ll be many years before the trunk diameter increases enough to touch the fence.  Assuming I’m around when that happens, I’ll slip a board between the fence and the tree.  As the tree grows, it will push against the board and force the fence wires away.  Future fence managers won’t have to worry about these oaks having fence wire trapped within their trunks.

I found an especially heavy load of litter along the fence this year.  I usually gather it up and take it along with me as I mow, but my litter bag filled too quickly, so I had to leave the trash to be picked up later.  Besides what was actually up against the fence, I could see a lot more closer to the road.  I’ll have to come back soon with one of my big bags.


  1. Litter just amazes me,on a windy day if a gum wrapper drop from my pocket,I run to get it. Remember the Native American with the tear falling from his eye?

  2. Hi Rick. I also chase down any scrap that gets away from me, even if I'm chasing through other people's litter to catch it. I remember seeing that anti-litter PSA when it was first on TV. I wondered then why anyone would have to be told that it was wrong to litter.