I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Takedown and Hog Rings

It was time to let go of Christmas, so the chaos began yesterday.
 I realized that I only used decorations that were in my closet, because I was sick, and not the multitude of Christmas boxes out in the rafters of the garage. This is the second year that I have not pulled out all the boxes of Christmas things in the garage. I have decided that maybe I don't need what's out there anymore. What I used from the closet was enough and the revelation is mind boggling. Sometime this year, I will tackle the boxes in the garage and PURGE.
We took the lights down from the outside edges of the house....
The old Prospector put them up, this year, without his usual baa humbug, "Do I have to do this?" speech. Maybe he took pity on me because I was ill. He used the pretext that people in Mokelumne Hill (the little town east of us) would miss seeing the only Christmas lights across the river on the western hills. But, sadly, on Wednesday, he went out and took them down. I kind of miss the colored edges of the gutter coming on in the morning before the light breaks and at night as I sat in the living room knitting. It's the old fashion ones, individual and multi colored. No flashing on/off or icicle fakery, just soft color around the porch and across the back of the house where they can be seen from many miles. I will miss them.
Yesterday, in the late afternoon, the Prospector asked me if I would help him fix the goat fence below the house. The wire fencing had finally given way from the goats incessant reaching for the "greener" grass on the other side. This section, if they broke through would lead right up into my front garden and disaster would ensue. So, we corraled the dogs, much to their dismay....
and laid out the new piece of fencing, with SMALLER holes that the goats couldn't get their heads through and began the arduous stretching and attachment of a new piece of wire fence. We decided to leave the old fencing in place and attach the new shorter section right to the old one.
We laid out the new piece of fencing and cut the length we needed. I held the piece up on one end while the Prospector snaked an old t-post through one end and attached the "come along" to it. This is a very nifty device that lets you stretch the wire fencing tightly so you can attach it to the fence posts.I don't know how any fencing could be done without one.
We just needed to pull this new piece tight enough  so that we could attach it to the old fence.
That's where these little guys come in. I was in charge of the HOG RINGS. Now, I don't want to offend any of my readers by going into detail about what the real purpose of these large rings( heavy staples) are for but if you really want to read about it go to this site and it will explain. Please don't if you are into animal activism or don't have a pig farm. Don't tell me you went to the site and now you're offended. I told you ahead of time and you had a choice. Raising farm animals is a learning process. If you want to learn something... then go take a look. Now I know why I wouldn't want to raise pigs. I couldn't do this to them.... and maybe you don't have to. I believe that some of these practices are a bit old and barbaric. I'm glad we were using them on fencing.
OUR purpose for the hog rings was to attach one fence to another as a temporary measure until we can afford a new section of fencing below the house. They are crooked little staples that get all tangled up in the box.  My job, after we got the fencing stretched out, was to untangle them and hand them to the Prospector, one at a time, so he could attach the wires of the fencing to the old one using these nifty staples and his (what else) HOG PLIERS. It all works quite well with two people. We were quite a team. Those old goats won't know what happen. I can just hear them now. "Hey, what happen to the holes we made in the fence? How come we can't reach the grass on the slope.? FARMLADY......"
The fog was coming in over the hills to the west and the wind was picking up. We finished the "patching" as the sun disappeared into the fog and the air got really cold.  We cleaned up, closed the gates and  dragged everything up into the garage.Time to go inside and have some hot chocolate.
It was a day of accomplishment. It was a day of putting away, cleaning up and fixing here on the farm. I like that. Together, with this man that I live with, we make a good team. We always have.


  1. :) I know what hog rings are, having grown up and around farms...kind of like the staples I had in my belly after having to c-sections LOL well kind of...beautiful post Mrs. C!

  2. You and the Prospector make a good team, whether it comes to fencing or Christmas lights.

  3. Sounds like you got a lot accomplished. You and your husband are like my husband and myself we work well together and have for 56 years. Hopefully the goats will not make holes in this new fence. Have a blessed day and I hope you are completely well now. Madeline

  4. Hog rings... hog pliers... I've had 'em all. I never used them for their intended purpose though, and doubt if I ever could.

    I broke with tradition this year and started taking my Christmas decorations down on January 2nd, but admittedly, there wasn't much to take down. It's time consuming and fiddly though, and I dislike doing it for any reason.
    Now girl... if you decide to purge the boxes, keep me in mind, eh? That is, if you don't share amoungst family members. I can have 'em picked up and paid for, so keep me in mind, okay? I will have NOTHING, come June, so I need to start in again. ;)

    And earthquakes? Honey, I ain't skeered of no earthquakes! I'm a Calaveras girl, remember?

  5. I hope your year is filled with many accomplishments for you and The Prospector. I am looking forward to reading more about you on your blog. It is always so refreshing.
    Happy New Year!

  6. I'm right there with ya, Connie...took down all my glitter today as well...Don't be so hasty about the goats...in no time I bet SOMEONE will manage a new hole!

  7. Another beautiful post. We went to your favorite town for our anniversary. It was every bit as magical as you said it was. My husband LOVED it which says alot seeing as there is no ocean and no surf. He would go back tomorrow. We stayed at the Union Inn. Thank you for leading us to Volcano.

  8. Dear Farmlady,

    The lovely, poignant and oh so true comments you mad on my book posting are exactly the way I feel about books, bookstores, ...everything.
    I loved it. We're on the same wave length.

    Sending a big hug,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  9. a busy day on the farm. I didn't go to the site to find out what hog rings are for. I can't stand misuse or abuse to animals or people. makes me sad.

    have a great week!!

  10. ......and so begins the new challenge of the goat clan. (search and recover our holes) ......not to mention the new challenge of the Corgis. (Take hole lessons from the goats). That should keep farmlady and the prospector busy for the months to come. Loved your post, as I always do.

  11. I actually cleaned out my decorations too! There were so many that I have stopped dragging out, only to have to take them down. Are we getting lazy... or smart... in recent years! I gave the houses from my snow village, and my mother's too, to the granddaughters. They will enjoy them in their own homes and their moms can enjoy putting them up, not me!

    I sure hope Pa doesn't read your blog and discover you help with fencing. I could be in real trouble!

  12. You always make me smile...

    I purged my Christmas decorations this year. Went through everything and if I didn't "awwww" or have a special memory...to the Goodwill they went. I've down-decorated for the past two years also and it seems to work just fine :)

    Agree. You and the Prospector are perfect for each other!!


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