Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know how much pride Kim and I have taken in doing as many things ourselves as we can: bathroom renovations, flooring installations, workshop siding, new garden beds, hauling rocks from the quarry. Well, there are some times when it's just more sensible to stand back and let the experts do what they do best.
Yesterday we had a new fence put in to help us protect our growing orchard from deer. We tried caging each tree, but the cages are so cumbersome when it comes to mowing and weeding and mulching and fertilizing, and we questioned their ability to really protect the young trees from a determined deer. So we decided a while ago to put in a new line of fencing. The orchard is already fenced on three sides; two of those sides would have to be heightened by a couple of feet, but that's a job we could manage ourselves. All we needed was an 88 foot straight run of deer fencing. We had a very brief conversation with our friends at Cowichan Rental about renting an auger to dig the holes for the posts, but they very kindly and quickly talked us out of it: some tools are really meant for experts.
So we called around a bit, and everyone referred us to Gordie, who is a retired logger and heads a crew with three other retired guys. They work ten long days in a row, go fishing or camping for six days, then come back to start up all over again.
They arrived yesterday morning just after 8, and although we somehow thought they'd be around for most of the day, they were gone by 10. And man, were they a smoothly functioning crew. They got right to work, every man with a job to do. And did they ever have some cool tools! The best was a gizmo that attached to the front of their tractor, that pounded in the fence posts with 30,000 pounds of pressure. Our rocky Glenora soil was no match for this mean machine.
Runner-up in the cool tool contest was the metal bar they used to stretch the fencing material across the posts for nailing. It looked like a medieval torture device, but it sure did the job: the fencing was locked in with metal spikes, then the bar was hoisted to a vertical position and attached to the tractor with a big chain. They backed up the tractor, pulling the fencing taut, and then all the guys got out their hammers and started pounding in staples to attach the fencing to the posts. Lickety-split.
Now that it's done we're having a few second thoughts, mostly because it makes the fruit trees in look like they're in some kind of orchard prison. But Kim has some ideas for a homespun twiggy gate that we hope will tone down the penitentiary aesthetic.