Of Fence Rows & Character Building

We have some very overgrown fence rows.

I guess that’s the downside to buying a run down farm.

beforeThe quick and easy way to clean a fence row is to hire a bulldozer to push it down. The problem with that is  1. We would lose the mature trees. 2. It leaves a huge mound of fence posts, dirt, trees, and barbed wire that is both an eyesore and impossible to do anything with and 3. It’s expensive.

Good thing we have lots of cheap labor. 🙂

The children and I spent hours in the fence rows in the last weeks.

It was a huge job that seemed daunting when we started out.  I wish I could say that Jan and I were confident that we could finish – but we weren’t.

Neither were the kids. They gave us one of those “Are you kidding me?!” looks when we gave them clippers and told them to get started.

"To find the little woodsmen.. in me"We cut wild raspberry thickets, gooseberry bushes, small trees and an unnamed green vine that is covered with the biggest nastiest red thorns ever.

We raked and piled and hauled off trees and branches.

Little by little we made progress.

You could look back and see what we’d done. Our paths were marked by piles of brush.


We were hot, sweaty, sore and scratched up. But proud of what we had done.

It reminds me of a passage from the classic book Where the Red Fern Grows. Billy is honor bound to cut down a very, very large tree.  It takes him days and he is tired, sore and discouraged.

Then his Grandpa starting talking, “‘You know Billy’, he said, ‘about this tree-chopping of yours, I think it’s all right. In fact, I think it would be a good thing if all young boys had to cut down a big tree like that once in their life. It does something for them. It gives them determination and will power. That’s a good thing for a man to have. It goes a long way in his life.’

Determination and will power. Smart Grandpa.

We not only cleaned fence rows – we built character.