While working on the new chicken yard I figured I would go the glorious route and do as much as possible by hand.
In our age of machinery we lose appreciation for hard work. I wanted to be able to say yes, I have set fence post by hand. This included everything from digging the corner post hole with diggers, to notching out the H-brace by hand with hammer and chisel.
After setting 5 post I said “screw this, it is taking too long”, and called my uncle who has a tractor auger. I still have around 15 corner post to set. Doing everything by hand is taking too long and I have a lot to do before winter sets in.
Since I am using telephone poles for corner post, a regular 6 inch auger was going to be too small. It just so happened my uncle as a 12 inch auger bit.
My aunt and uncle live about 1/2 mile through the woods. If you take the road is it around 3 miles. My uncle asked me to drive over and help him hook the auger up. Man oh man, the gearbox of that auger was heavy. Instead of being on a boom, the auger mounts on the side of the bucket and runs off hydraulics. I was rather impressed with the setup.
We drove over to my house and went to work. My uncle did in 5 minutes what it took me about an hour to do. In 15 minutes he saved me at least 3 hours of work. I think that 3 hours is a very conservative estimate. More like my uncle saved me a full days work in just 15 – 20 minutes.
Now I can put my time and energy into building H-braces, driving t-post and running the field fence.
Now for the bad news
The land where the chicken yard is going slopes down towards a creek. One side of the yard is probably 3 feet higher than the other side. The holes on the low side backfilled with water after being drilled.
Even though the poles are pressure treated they will not last in soil that goes from wet-to-dry on a regular basis. I am torn between using poles dripped in creosote or cementing them in place.
I really do not want to use creosote poles. The chickens and goats may be eating grass and weeds around the poles. Which means the chickens and goats may be eating creosote contaminated grass and weeds. The chemicals will be passed through the eggs and milk to my family. The idea of eating creosote contaminated eggs is not very appealing.
The eco-friendly solution would be to cement the poles in place. The cement will act as a buffer between the wet soil and the pressure treated post.