Sunday, December 4, 2016

If We Build It They Will Come

Cyrus Lawrence was the greatest high school football player that I ever saw. Fast--yes, strong--without a doubt, but so were a lot of players. What was so puzzling watching him run the ball was what would happen when single players tried to tackle him.

Slamming his body into the tacklers as he ran--he was more of the hitter than the hittee. In many such collisions--there would be that pause of a microsecond that always occurred just before the running back went down--but he did not go down. Instead, he spun with the power of a wild boar and the tackler would come off of him the way a wet hound shakes off water.

Run hard-hit-be nearly stopped--spin hard and then run harder than even before.

If you keep your eyes open there are learning experiences all around you--insights that provide solutions to the crisis of nearly being tackled.

Now I do not like to worry about money, but in the last few weeks that worry has been hitting me hard. Gwaltney Frontier Farm is a 501(c)5 non profit breed conservation program. We have no paid staff--all volunteers. Last week we had a deep well dug and the watering system that will attach to it will insure year round water for the horses and will provide for irrigation for the pastures. It is an expensive endeavor that will greatly improve our pastures and benefit our horses.

Last month my wife and I purchased the nearly twenty adjoining acres the use of our program. It was a pasture up until about 15 years ago and much of it has grown up in pine, sweet gum and cherry trees. To clear the land commercially and to convert it back to pasture would cost about $1,000.00 an acre. A simple woven wire fence with treated fence posts would cost about $2,500.00 to $3,000.00.

We are clearing it ourselves. Wendell purchased a brush buster. The machine cost him a fortune and he has walked many miles behind it in the last few weeks. Program participants and a few outside volunteers have been of tremendous help.

I could not stand to waste all of the lumber that we were cutting down so I started a pole fence. The pole fence costs us nothing but the nails and the treated fence posts to hold the poles. Those posts are not cheap.

We were squeezing along with the donations that we had received and were on track to be able to pay for the fencing and the water system. Then we were hit with some large ticket items all for this same month.

I had run hard, hit hard, but I was about to be tackled. Yesterday I decided to spin hard, very hard and keep on running. Sweet gum will not last for even a few seasons as fence posts. Pine is better but still is not really sufficient for even a temporary fix.

No one uses wild cherry for fence posts because no one has access to enough wild cherry trees to cut any significant number of posts...

But we do. Wild cherry lasts on average about a decade when used as fence posts. I knew that it would be hard work to cut and remove sufficient wild cherry trunks to get the job done. Yesterday was brutally difficult but we cut and stacked about 200 cherry fence posts.

Skeptics will say that the posts will not work. Skeptics also thought that we could not build this fence with the work of a bunch of kids and a handful of volunteers. Skeptics thought that we could not teach little children to tame and train wild horses.

And time after time, as it looked like his knee was just about to touch the ground, skeptics thought that Cyrus Lawrence was about to be tackled.

1 comment:

Dianne W said...

How soon do you have to have the fence. The posts will last longer it you let them cure. I don't know exactly how long that will take, but I think at least several months.