Being relatively poor, all the fences here at Lantanaland are of the electric kind. There was no real cow proof boundary fencing when we got here and to put that sort of fencing in requires serious money. I'd hate to think what sort of money goes into fencing at a proper farm. Proper fencing requires long term vision and planning as well. You have to think of all the possible ways you might want it set up, not just how you want it set up today. Once it is in it is expensive and time consuming to change. Electric fencing is pretty good as long as you stay on top of it and has one real benefit that fits in with my permaculture principles.
Permaculture has a theory that you learn with the land. That is the longer you are on a piece of land, the more you understand the most effective way to work it and make it work for you. Electric fencing is fantastic for this because it is really easy to reconfigure. Just pull out and bash in some star pickets and give that way a try. I think I have reconfigured the 'home paddock' about ten times already to get the best out of the set up. Learning the way the cows behave, building a chook pen and now setting up for a vegetable garden has all influenced how I build the fences.
The latest little permaculture program I have started is the veg patch. I've been watching the River Cottage Veg program and it made me realize that one of the reasons that I don't cook more veg is that the stuff from the supermarkets is fairly uninspiring, flavour wise. When I broke it down, the reason I don't grow more veg is that, well, I suck at it. I forget to water it, or feed it or don't have good enough soil. Hopefully the new patch will solve all these problems.
I have used tyres to build the beds because they are free and modular. That lets me do a bit each day rather than waiting for a whole free weekend to build beds with materials I can't really afford. The beds are just outside the chook pen and right next to where the cows come and wait to be fed, the best source of rich broken down soil. It's also gives me a super enriched fertilizer, the water from the duck pool in the chook house.
I redid the fences so that there is a little buffer between the beds and the paddocks so the cows can't reach those dexterous tongues through and munch on the tasty plants. I walk down past this garden every day to milk and there is always water down there for the cows so there is no chance of neglect. That is probably one of the most important things for me. If it needs daily attention then it had better be somewhere I have to go every day.
The next bit of refencing was around the tree and tank above the house. I have a little paddock there that is too steep for the ride on and I extended it round the big fig and second tank, down to the aquaponics. This little slope is a pain to slash, so getting the cows to do the work for me seems like a smart thing to do. It also means they can come down and say hello when we are on the deck or in the spa, something that Dolores will like. She is a very friendly cow.
All in all for a couple of hours work yesterday and today I have increased my pasture, got a secure vegetable garden in and started, fixed up another fence and moved Laf and Buster the bull into there. All done, until something comes along and gives me an idea and I change it again. All part of the fun.