Fixing Fences and Art


Fate kept me company as I put up the mesh fencing yesterday.

I filled the wheel barrow with everything I thought I might need to put up the mesh fencing.  I was stringing  it along the wire fence that’s already there.

In the spring the sheep are always looking for greener grass and will go though the fence to get to it.  I can always find where they get out, because there’s wool wrapped around one or two wires.

Our four strand wire fence used to be electrified, but there’s so much water in the pastures now, it just shorts out.   And ever since the electric company came and cut away the brush from the power lines  that runs along the same border as our fence, there are more places in the fence for the sheep to easily get through it.

The mesh fencing works well.  I stick the poles in the ground and tie them to the fence that’s already there.

When I was about an hour into it, I saw the heart in the tree.  Then I spotted the wildflowers.  I hadn’t put my iPhone in the wheelbarrow, so I went back to the house to get it.

The heart in the tree

It was a beautiful day, and I was glad to be out in it doing good work.   I was enjoying putting the fencing up, figuring out where it needed to be, how to best tie it, and making the property secure so we don’t have to worry about the sheep getting out.

Good fences are  so important when you have animals, especially if you live on a busy road like we do.  And there are always problems with fences, no matter how secure you think they are.  With the freezing and thawing ground, the flooding streams and wetlands, fences and gates are constantly shifting and moving.

The Wildflowers growing on the fence line.  I think they may be Anemones.

As much as I was enjoying the work I was doing, it is tedious and after a while, can get boring.   But what keeps it interesting for me, was discovering those things like the heart in the tree.  In the five years we’ve been here, I’ve never seen the wildflowers that grow along the fence line.

I went back to the house to get my phone, because it wasn’t enough for me to just see these things, I wanted to share them with all of you.

When I saw the heart in the tree, I knew I had to put a picture of it up on my blog, that so many people would like to see it too.   I also knew that if I put  up a picture of the wildflowers, someone out there would be able to tell me their name.

And once again, I see how the boundaries between my art and my life are fluid.  So even when I’m crawling through thorn bushes and  picking ticks off my stomach, while putting up a fence, I’m thinking of my blog, my art.  I’m thinking  of sharing my photos and writing about my experience.

When Jon and I first got together over ten years ago, I didn’t want to be responsible for doing any of the farm chores or maintenance on the house.  I had a part time job and wanted to spend the rest of my time focusing on my work.  Gradually over the years I’ve found those things I can and want to do around the farm and house.

This morning Jon and I walked the fence line.  I wanted to show him what I had done.  I was proud of my work.  Fixing the fence is not the same as making art, but the pictures I take while doing it, writing about it and posting it on my blog, is.

Wool (and a vine) caught on the wire fence where the sheep got out.




8 thoughts on “Fixing Fences and Art

  1. Earth and heart are both spelled using the same letters. How appropriate that you should find this HEART on EARTH day and also that the word ART is contained in both of the other words!
    Happy Spring to all on Bedlam Farm!

  2. Hi Maria
    The wildflower is Sanguinaria canadensis (aka Bloodroot) Beautiful flowers that last a few days with unique leaves. Very lucky to have it in your forest edge. Traditional use was for red dye and some medicinal treatments. From a horticultural point, to establish a new planting, tree, shrub, perennial, water well, about once a week to give the new plant about an inch of rain/water per week. The reasoning is to stress the plant sent so its roots grow deeper to establish a good deep root system that will anchor the plant and also have the roots establish deep underground to be able to find water when needed in times of drought. When plants do not establish deep roots, they are more prone to blow-over and drought stress as they mature. If the summer becomes dry (not getting about an inch of water per week) water it deeply right through the fall until ground freezes. I was a horticulture educator at Cornell Co-Operative Extension for many years and I ALWAYS want to see plants do well!

    1. Wow Marianna, thanks for all this information. Bloodroot sounds so exotic, I’m going to look into it further. And I never heard that about planting a tree. It’s really good to know. Thanks again. I’m with you about wanting to see plants do well!

  3. Maria, your land must be a constant source of delight to you, especially witnessing the changing seasons. The ‘heart’ in your tree is brilliant, and the perennial wildflowers around the tree must have been such a pleasant surprise! When I lived in Virginia I explored the 4 acres sloping down behind our house in search of trilliums (the flower of Ontario where I was born) or any other interesting wildflowers. I discovered many, along with beautiful ferns on the forest floor, but never found any trilliums. Perhaps it was too hot in Virginia for them to flourish. The nicest surprise, however, was my discovery of a creek running through our property at the bottom of the hill! If it wasn’t too hot, I’d take Belle, our beautiful Saint Bernard, out with me where she loved to drink and frolic in the creek just like Fate does! Thankfully we had a walkout basement where I could lead her into the walk-in shower afterwards to clean her off. I’d go in and shower with her, soap her all up, rinse her all over, then dry her with the hair dryer or brush her dry outside if it was a warm day. She loved the water!

    How nice it is to have plentiful sources of fresh water around you, but not so close that there is any danger of flooding. I’m currently reading a novel set in Australia during a terrible drought discovered by the main character when he returns to his little town after a 20-year absence. He is appalled and devastated to stumble upon the dried-up riverbed alongside his old farmhouse where the great river had once flowed through as a beacon for him, where he had gone fishing with his father, and where the water had once been deep enough to close over his head. We are very lucky here to have the Great Lakes as amazing sources of water and so far not have to worry about droughts.

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