Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wattle Fence

Sometimes I'm visited by inspirations that leave me gasping, such as the wattle fence.

When we moved to our Vermont house, I was fixated on the idea of having goats and chickens again. Forget the landscaping: I wanted critters! So we built a goat-and-chicken shed attached to the garage, and surrounded it with "livestock fencing"--wire fencing one step up from chicken wire, about 5' tall to hold in the goats.

Even when the goats were still here, I hated the look of that fence and the green metal posts that supported it. At one point I got my husband, who thought there was "nothing wrong" with the fence, to cut a bunch of saplings which we then attached to the posts. We also laid sapling trunks horizontally from post to post to give the whole a more rustic look.

But now that that the goats are gone, and we have had the woods behind the house cleared, and I am pooper scooping the yard, that wire fence gets more offensive every day.

At the same time, we are faced with the neat piles of brush that Our Forester cut and left in the woods. The plan was to leave the ones by the trail to provide shelter and food for the wild critters and eventually melt into the forest floor. The piles closer to the house, on the other hand, would be moved to an open area and burned, preferably while there is still snow on the ground, an operation that would take a couple of days.

This morning, as I was pooper scooping in my pajamas and rubber boots, I looked at the wire fence, I looked at the brush piles, and the two ignited into a single thought: a wattle fence!

Wattle fences have been around for millennia, to keep in livestock, to keep out predators, to define the boundaries of settlements. They consist of evenly spaced upright sticks with smaller sticks woven horizontally in between. These days they are fashionable among cottage gardeners and the environmentally inclined.

For me, a wattle fence is nothing short of divine inspiration. Here I have an ugly fence that I cannot afford to replace with something more aesthetically pleasing, and nearby, piles of sticks destined for a fire that will further pollute our atmosphere. I can take the sticks from the piles and weave them into the wire fence, and after a week or two of intensive labor, behold: no wire fence, no stick piles. Instead, with no financial expenditure, I will have a quaint wattle fence, and pristine woods. Could anything be greener and more satisfying to the contemporary soul?

I'll let you know how it turns out.

7 comments :

  1. I think it's a genius make-work project!

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  2. mrb, I know, it may take me the rest of my life.

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  3. Ooooh. I love wattle fencing! And you're right, even small ones are labor intensive, but so worth it! Wear good gloves. And Maybe we could have a picture when its done? Please?!

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  4. Bridgett and Jaimieb, I'll keep you updated.

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  5. Of course I had to look up wattle. Cool idea!

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  6. Dona, it is misleading, isn't it. Sounds like something to do with chickens.

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