It's been years since we've made any real attempt at clearing out the dead branches and trees that litter our two properties. With the drought taking its toll, there are more of them than ever. A modest amount of deadwood can make an area look woodsy and natural. Jumbled heaps of them everywhere are just depressing (as well as being a fire hazard).
So I decided to repurpose the ones I could use and burn the rest. And thus began my New Project: The Stockade. Last summer one or more deer figured out how to leap over the eight-foot fence around our orchard garden. The temptation that sent them over the fence was the small pear tree that taunted them from behind the wire with its load of sweet, golden fruit. One late summer morning I discovered that most of the tree's branches had been snapped off and every pear was gone. Fortunately the tree has survived and is bravely flowering in a lopsided sort of way.
The deer are just trying to make a living, but they have to be stopped. I already had some branches wired to several small sections of the fence, so it didn't take much thought to decide that this was the way to go. I liked the idea of a project that recycled the wood that we already had to haul off the hills anyway. The downside to this project is that sorting through and preparing the branches for being wired to the fence is slow going. I work with a saw and pruners to trim down the twigs and trunks. Wiring them up isn't hard, but fitting the branches together takes thought. I'll admit to getting more artsy with the look of the fence than is really practical -- sometimes I'll try the same branch in two or three locations before I'm satisfied.
I'm also a bit worried that the combined weight of all the branches might serve to knock the entire fence inward. Wouldn't the deer get a laugh out of that. At this point, however, I'm too far into this to change my mind.
Besides, I love the rustic, twisted look of my slowly spreading fence. This picture is from the outside looking in.
And this one is from the raised berry beds looking out. The new height should give a bit of additional shade to the garden when the heat of summer slams down on us again.
The above pictures make it look like this project is almost finished. It's not -- I'm less than a fourth of the way around the garden I still have over half of one of the long sides to complete and then almost all of the stretch along our driveway. But I'm carrying on like a little worker ant emptying a grain sack, one small piece at a time.
The hope of this two-legged ant is to get the stockade completed before the next pear crop ripens.