Hi I’m Mike, today we are back to a project
that turned from two days to , well a lot more. We are finishing up a new portion of
fence in the corrals with some recycled methane pipe and solving a few problems along the
way today on our Wyoming life. A little over a week ago, I started a project
that seemed relatively straight forward. The goal was to remove a portion of fence in the
corrals that had already been mostly removed by some pushy cows, and we had been holding
together with a few panels. That section was then to be replaced with
a gate and a section of pipe fence. I decided to split it into two days, one day for the
gate and another for the fence. The gate, it went in pretty smooth but it
was the days between then and now that things got a bit, well screwed up.
We had our first calf of the season, a still born little girl and because dealing with
her and her mom happened on the Friday when this video was supposed to be done, we pushed
it back. Then we saw the ramping up of the covid 19
hysteria and pandemic. We made the choice to actively concentrate on our local community
who were obviously in need of it. We increased hours at our farm store in order to give customers
more options for food. We created sales for beef and pork so that they could buy more
to fill their freezers in this time of uncertainty, Erin took the time to up microgreen production,
a quick turn around locally grown vegetable option and we stayed busy and optimistic for
many who needed to have a cornerstone to lean on.
But, everyday I drove by or went to the chicken house I saw this project looking back at me.
And its not like I didn’t try to get it done, it just took a little time.
And heres why… Weather is always something to be dealt with
in Wyoming and with this fence project we are lucky enough to have just enough room
in the shop to start laying out what we need to get done to make it happen.
We are using 2 and 7/8 inch methane pipe, recycled from right here on the ranch. This
pipe was pulled out of the ground when the methane wells here closed down from lack of
production and rather than see the pipe go, we kept it here for projects just like this.
A few years ago, I cut a bunch of pipe over the winter to build our drive over gate that
we use daily on the ranch to head out and check cows in the gator and today, we are
going to keep using the pipe from that project. Each section is about 8 feet long, and each
end is saddled. That is just so that it will fit right in with another pipe.
There are a couple of ways to do this, one is to use a guide like this, one that you
can trace your saddle around the pipe. This requires you cut each pipe with a cutting
torch to make sure each one is perfect. I don’t have that kind of time. The alternative
is a metal saw, set up to cut at about 30 degrees, cutting each end of the pipe in two
opposing angles, creating roughly the same saddle.
My way may be faster, but its going to leave gaps that will have to be dealt with later.
In order to make this process easier, we will be building the entire pipe fence, all 24
feet of it right on the floor of the shop. This will allow us to make sure we are straight
and square before setting it in the ground. I will be tacking each piece together with
a strong enough weld to hold it together during transport but also not too strong that we
cant get it apart if we have to make any adjustments. Once one side is welded then its out of the
shop to flip it over to tack weld the other side together.
If it holds together during flipping then I can be fairly certain that it will hold
together long enough to put in the ground, get it set up, then come back and finish welding
it in the field. It should be said that this is the first pipe
fence I have built on the ranch. If this works then I can see a bunch more going in and saving
some time and money. Look that that she held and after heading
back into the shop to tack weld the other side of the pipe its time to take it over
to the corrals where it is really needed. A few warm days have removed most of the frost
from the ground. So my first thought is that maybe, just maybe I can push the new fence
into the soil. Skipping a set of drilling post hole and pouring concrete, but the ground
is still too hard. And the pipe is very unforgiving. And can
scare the crap out of you. Good thing is that now I have markers for
where I need my posts dug out and the fence can be set out of the way.
Its then that our tack welds break and the whole plan of having the fence together in
the shop to make it easier to install out here falls flat and is literally shattered.
That leads to a little pouting but the fence needs built so the bobcat pulls a quick change
and becomes a post hole digger and punches us a few hole about 3 feet deep.
Then it’s a plan to lift what is left of the fence into the holes and set it in place,
rewelding the welds that broke. More pouting, a little kicking and its again
a change of plans. Now we are down to one section that is still intact. That section
will go in next to the fence and the rest will have to be rebuilt on site.
Each post is set in concrete and the now lone posts are spaced out using a cross member
to make sure that all of our dimensions stay closely the same as they were in the shop.
A board across the top keeps our tops level and we are all set, once the concrete sets.
Plan C, or D, which ever one we are on to now continues when the weather lets up long
enough to head back out and rebuild our section of fence.
For this stage we will take a small mig welder out into the field. This welder, on loan from
our neighbor Gary is rated up to ¼ inch thick steel and hopefully we can use it to get our
pipe all back in place before heading back out with our miller generator welder combo
to finish the job. Also coming along for the ride, my new welding
helmet, and some gloves. Our concrete is now set, it has been for a
couple of days and we can start laying the pipe back into place. Using some of the same
techniques from the shop, a wooden block to hold our spacing we can start getting the
pipe where it is supposed to be and then welding it. And using a strap to apply some tension
I can take up some of the gaps. Our final piece, the solid top rail is then
put in place. And put in place, before being welded where its needed.
A slight curve is compensated for by strapping it in place and welding it where it needs
to be. With that, our fence is up, its not completely
done, we still have to come back with a bigger welder and finish it all up, but for now,
its standing, the gate closes, and even the peacock seems to think it’s a job well done,
well at the very least, he is impassive, which is sometimes just as good.
Time frames are like seasons around here and some come and go. We like to be on a schedule
but often real life happens and projects get pushed back but eventually we get them done,
and we can cross them off the list. Man that feels
good. Speaking of time, we have a brand new project
that we are going to be getting off the ground here tomorrow and while I can’t tell you
too much about it, I can say its probably the biggest project I have ever tackled here
on the channel. Its going to wear us both out, but in the end we are all going to see
a part of the ranch we have never seen before and hopefully everyone will feel like we got
something done. We are going to launch it with a special video
due out tomorrow we can explain it all to you and during our livestream on Sunday on
Beyond the Ranch we are going to discuss how you can help.
While the world does seem a bit chaotic right now, we have trouble finding where we fit
but we as always invite you to come along with us, explore the ranch life and escape
the ordinary and find a home, right here in our community.
Until I see you again, be safe, keep your family safe and thanks for joining us in our