By: Blonde Two
If ever there was a perfect opportunity to display my Blonde side then helping Norm with the farm fencing has to be one of them. Let us be clear here, by fencing I am not referring to jumping around with a snazzy looking sword and a wire attached to you (although this is good fun, to be admired and not as easy as it looks). Fencing here at the New Zealand farm, involves wooden posts, wire and a host of confusing and similar looking tools.
The tools are a bit of an issue for me as my job is generally to pass the right ones to Norm when he needs them. If you can name all of the ones in the picture above then you are a better Blonde than me and if you know what they do then you are probably a Kiwi farmer! Yesterday, as we set off across the paddock with a box of these tools in the back of the ATV, I asked Norm if he was sure that we had “the thing that you forget, describe carefully to me and I go back to the shed and can’t find“. This was because, in true Blonde form, whenever he asks me to go back to the shed for “the thing …“, I can never find it, am usually in the wrong shed and often bring the wrong “thing” back. This time “the thing” turned out to be the roll of wire which, thankfully, I recognised despite going to the wrong shed first!
It sounds like I don’t enjoy fencing, I do though, it is interesting and has helped me to have an appreciation of the work that goes into maintaining the boundaries up on Dartmoor. Fences, walls or hedges, they all need looking after and it is often the farmers who do it.
I do, however, have one other serious fencing issue. It is the addition of electricity to the mix. All of the fences on the farm are electrified – not all of the wires are and I have at least learnt how to tell which are hot and which are not. Once, when I was working with Aunty years ago, I had to make a horrid choice between an electric fence and a grumpy bull. I choose the fence but it has given me a lasting trepidation about them. In order to be persuaded to climb through or even touch the fence, I have to have seen it be turned off in the shed and then (I am ashamed of this one) I have to get someone else to touch it first.
As well as passing tools, the other jobs that I am currently qualified for include untangling wire (I am pretty hopeless at this, it is like those Christmas cracker puzzles) cutting up old wire to throw away (always wear safety glasses doing this, it is bouncy stuff) and bashing things to make them come out of fence posts. Both of these jobs are quite satisfying but I am hoping that one day I will progress to winding bits of wire together and using the “walking up the wire” tightening tools. Technical stuff for a Blonde but you never know. On that note, I am currently trying to persuade Norm to let me cut one of his really big trees down – I did have chainsaw training once but that was 27 years ago!