In which we use a Groundhog and a Dragon, and there are lots of Holes

We've been digging Holes in the farm.

Not "holes."
"Holes. "
Perhaps everyone has heard about the folly of planting a $20 tree in a $10 hole.
I am determined to avoid obvious follies, and we knew from previous experience that our ground has a fair number of rocks. Therefore, when our 50 railroad ties were delivered ($20 a piece!) we also rented a gas-powered auger to dig $20 holes.

This is a Groundhog auger. Nifty, isn't it?

Position the bit right above the spot for the hole.

Start the engine. It's a lawnmower engine, very simple design.

The auger drills down, and the human(s) pull it up periodically to clear dirt out of the hole. Jim and Willy did almost the entire field (about 30 holes) on Saturday, and decided to finish the last few holes on Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, on Sunday afternoon, after a day and a half of Groundhogging, Jim's back went *ping*. Jim has lived an adventurous life up to now, and some of his adventures have caused deterioration of the cartilage in his spine. These days, if he over-exerts his back, the muscles go *ping* and he breaks out in fits of cussing when the bones crunch into each other in a way that just cannot be comfortable.

Therefore, late Sunday afternoon, I got a fast-course in Groundhogging, because we needed to finish the task and return the rented auger.

"Drill down (oooooh, straight down, don't let it wobble into a sideways hole, oops) pull up, drill down, pull up."
The technique isn't difficult after the first few holes, but the machine outweighs me by just enough to make the process challenging. Still, we got all the holes dug!
Next step: planting the railroad ties. That will happen this week, so that the cement around the posts can cure for a few days before we string the fencing!
As soon as the fences are up, the horses can come home. At last!

Updates on other projects:

The hens continue to grow. They're almost fully-fledged now, with just a little bit of that fluff remaining. They spend their days in the FEMA tractor, eating grass and bugs and stuff. At night, they sleep in a penguin-pile in the livestock tank. Soon the Hen Tractor will be finished, and they can stay in that full-time.
I've been using the Dragon. No photos, sorry--it doesn't LOOK like it's doing anything, because the flame is so hot it doesn't show in daylight. It makes a huge roaring sound, though, and wherever I point it, the blackberries start to glow. I hope Lytha is right that I don't need to burn the vines to a crisp to kill them, because they WON'T BURN! They just hiss at me and shrivel a little bit. Humph.
Luna is, as always, Outstanding in the Field.


  1. Heavy duty equipment or not, that's a lot of hard work!

  2. I am curious about using railway ties as fence posts. Are they not dangerous for the horses to chew on? Or perhaps they are so noxious that the horses won't chew on them at all. Or perhaps you will protect them with a hot wire. Or perhaps I am missing something.

  3. It *is* a lot of hard work. Plus side: we are all getting much, much stronger!

    I've never had a problem with horses chewing on railroad ties. I've never tasted it, but I can't imagine that creosote tastes anything other than tremendously nasty. However, we do plan to run hot wire on top of everything just as a matter of policy.

    We want the treated wood because everything else ROTS so quickly here. At the barn where the horses currently live, they use untreated fence boards...which rot in place and turn gooey in a year. Untreated lumber is much cheaper at first, obviously, but it costs a lot more (in time and money) to replace everything every year.

    Ideally, I'd install a fence made by Rubbermaid. That would be just about perfect.


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