Sunday, November 17, 2013

Coyote Fence Building


Weather: Storms moved overhead, leaving a sense of gloom without much water; last rain 11/15/2013; 9:29 hours of daylight today.

What’s still green: Juniper, arborvitae and other evergreens, garlic, yucca, cholla and other cacti; leaves on Apache plume, roses, fern bushes, Oregon holly, hollyhocks, winecup mallow, dog violets, Saint John’s wort, vinca, coral bells, bindweed, oriental poppies, scarlet and blue flaxes, Dutch clover, sweet pea, bouncing Bess, moss phlox, snakeweed, anthemis, grasses.

What’s red or turning red: Raspberry, coral beardtongue leaves.

What’s grey or blue: Four-winged saltbush, snow-in-summer, pinks, catmints, chocolate flower, golden hairy aster leaves.

What’s yellow or turning yellow: Cottonwood, weeping and globe willows, German iris, golden spur columbine leaves.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums, aptenia.

Animal sightings: Small brown birds, probably goldfinches.


Weekly update: Fence building is still a highly individualistic activity.  Common styles, construction techniques, and underlying principals are variously combined.

A man down the road has been working on a coyote fence for several weeks. He began by setting rail timbers in the ground for uprights. Then he drilled holes to thread through rebar, the ribbed steel bars used to reinforce concrete.


The man across the road from him use pipe uprights with pipe and bar horizontal pieces.


Still others get more elaborate, with block stone pillars. A few, in the past, have used no frame, with unstable results.

Although the smallest standard length for rebar is 20', the man probably has been setting his timber uprights on 8' centers. The span is still too wide to be stable. He’s been setting a center post about a foot into the ground and wiring it to the rebar.


Every time I’ve seen him, he’s been working by himself. He doesn’t want his fence to touch the ground. To stabilize the edifice while he’s working he places the most recent log on a piece of concrete block. Then he ties it to the rebar with wire, looping the wire around the two.


When horizontal bars aren’t use, men have woven two pieces of wire around the posts like basketry. When men have used wooden braces, they have also tended to use nails.


When he finishes a section, the man is piling earth around the posts to create a barrier, although not one that will do any good against rabbits or ground squirrels.


In the village, one man has determined automobiles are now the more dangerous predator.


Photographs: All have been taken in the general neighborhood or village.

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