Burning the ditch bank involves taking down 3 lines of white polymer fencing and 2 lines of electric rope. When we bought this place, we had to tear out all of the 3 foot high, rotting wood fence. Horses are notorious for getting tangled up and badly cut up in fences. I chose the polymer fencing because it was supposed to be extremely "horse safe" and over the years, it has been. The worst injury we've had was some mild rope burn.
Most of the year, I love my fence, but it is annoying to have to take it down every spring so that we can burn without melting the fence strands. It does go fairly quickly, but still... I was down in Idaho Falls when Stable Boy called.
Me: Did you get the fence down?
Stable Boy: No, I'm just going to take it down as I burn.
Me (horrified): Please, please, please wait till I get home. I'll help you get it down before you light the fire.
Stable Boy: Okay, I've got to take the girls to their appointments anyway. (Kids 2 & 3 to the orthodontist, Kid 2 to the physical therapist-sore knees from track-- and Kid 1 to the chiropractor--back pain that started after the car accident).
I was so relieved! I've done the burning by myself the last couple years and I know that, while the fence does come down fairly quickly, it's not as fast as how quickly the fire spreads! That fencing material was not cheap!
Taking down the back fence also meant juggling the animals around. The back fence is part of what made the pen where we had Piper and Valentine. At first we tried just putting them in with Raven and Sweetheart, but when Raven pinned Piper in the corner and started double-barreling her with both hind feet, we realized we needed to do something different.
The momma goats and babies all got moved into the outdoor run of the chicken coop. Raven and Sweetheart got put into the goat pen with Leah the goat. Piper and Valentine got to stay in the central pen with Aspen.
Since we were out there, Stable Boy lit the brush pile as well. We weren't too concerned about that fire getting out of control, so to give Kid 4 the feeling of having an important job, Stable Boy put him in charge. Kid 4 was given a hose and instructions to make sure the fire didn't spread. Unfortunately, he was a little too enthusiastic about his job and wet everything down enough that only half the pile burned. Sigh. Oh well, the wind has already knocked down a slew of branches off of those infernal willow trees, so we'll be adding to the pile soon anyway.
In a few minutes, I'm going out to move all the horses temporarily to the front pasture. Stable Boy is going to rent a bobcat to scrape out the winter's worth of manure. I need to take down some panels to allow him full access to the pen.
I'll post more about phase 2 of our operation later!