My husband, Doug, and I have never been accused of being handy. We do, however, have a great passion for homesteading, so over the years we have learned and we have made it work! We watched our first goats, adorable and nimble as they were, hop through the holes in the field fencing and go gallivanting around the fairgrounds beneath the hooves of horses riding by. Since then, we have put up fencing with smaller holes, specific to goats. It works great for chickens and sheep as well. No more five inch holes around here. No matter where we are homesteading, we have found that field fencing is by far the most affordable, fastest, and easiest for a few non-handy (but very passionate) homesteaders.
We have had the great privilege of purchasing a little over an acre in the country. My husband works full time-plus to support our little farm (having learned early on in this journey that a regular income sure comes in handy), so we are limited to weekends to complete tasks. The first of our tasks was to separate the acre into thirds. The back third is left wild to honor the many cedars, wild plants, and animals that hop about back there.
A third for the future pet farm animals and their guard, the Great Gandalf. Part of that third, directly in the back of the house, was fenced off for a garden.
The front third will be medicine gardens and a corn field. There was a vineyard planned, ’cause a farmgirl can dream, but it turns out that we have need for more tomatoes than wine grapes so the vineyard got nixed for Amish Paste and Romas. (We will still grow some grapes for the table and juice.)
Next week’s task is to further separate a 30×30 area in the front pasture so that the chickens can have a bigger area. The front garden fence was intended to keep stray dogs out (they could jump the fence, I suppose, but usually a fence will dissuade dogs, and to keep cars out of the future garden. Folks see dirt and park wherever! Get off my imaginary garden! Fences keep some out and some in. A field fence easily manages that.
Ironically, it costs a bit to get started as a homesteader. For less than $500, including the post pounder, we were able to fence in what we needed of an acre. That is pretty good. Gates are important for pasture rotation, moving animals about, and ease for the farmer to get where they are going! Once we have the chicken area up, we will have six gates. Gates are the most expensive part of fencing, so if you can find some used, do that.
Setting up a homestead needn’t break the bank. We have been in our home going on six months now. We have put in a wood stove, put up a mini-barn, and fencing. Next week is chicken fencing, the week after will be the clothes line, and so forth. Keep doing projects throughout the winter as you can because come spring, the focus moves to the garden!