So after those two fluffy posts I made before this one I realised that I needed to express something a little more substantial or this would be the worst blog ever. So today I am going to talk to you about the importance of a good fence in an urban homesteading environment.
There are lots of things that get in the way of even trying to live sustainably or trying to homestead. Things like wild animals eating what you’ve grown or laws that don’t permit you to own certain animals or certain numbers of animals. Ultimately this means there is a LOT of lawns out there that will never be used as anything but a really poorly kept bed of grass.
However, there’s a far bigger problem than any of these things with urban homesteading and that is neighbors. Neighbors don’t like it that the wild animals come feed off of your garden and poop in their lawn afterwards. They don’t like it that you keep animals on your property or have a compost pile. Keeping animals outside is a crime to many urbanites. (Sometimes actually IS a crime even if it’s a bred sleddog that loves to run in it’s back yard all the time, thrives in weather below freezing and starts over-heating when you bring it indoors during the winter time because of it’s thick coat.) And processing animals is simply unthinkable to many of these people despite the fact that many of them shove processed pork, violently shoved into intestine casings, dripping with fat and grease and seasoned so you can hardly taste the meat any longer down their throats on a regular basis. (And don’t get me wrong… I eat Italian sausage too. I think it’s very tasty, in fact.)
Some of these people even come from environmental radical groups. There have been a number of stories lately of animals being kept in backyards and farms as meat breeders being stolen here in ohio. Rabbits tend to be highest on the hit list for these people (being cute and also fur commodities). This often results in the animals being taken from spacious living conditions where they can feel the sun and wind while still seeking shelter if they see fit and being moved to sketchy shelters where they are kept in cramped cages in poorly lit rooms for days on end eating whatever low quality food they can scrounge up while having invasive surgeries preformed on them such as spay/neuter (a surgery that is pretty much pointless on adult animals that do not live in direct contact with others of their species).
A fence serves two purposes. Yes it keeps your animals in but it also keeps unwanted people out. A homesteader’s fence should be as tall as reason and city regulations will allow (this is, unfortunately, typically only six feet). It should be backed up with tall bushes, trees and other plants to help obscure the view from a neighbor’s home. This will also help keep any of those telling sounds and smells inside your own property. A fence like this should NOT be able to be seen through even up close. A good fence has strong hardware and can be locked very solidly. (We will have a padlock on ours.) With these things in place you may go many months without other people even knowing your animals, gardens and compost piles are there. And if they went months without knowing there is no way they can complain about your animals, gardens or compost being a nuisance or danger. This is a huge advantage.
A fence serves another purpose in keeping out things you don’t want. Both predators and prey can ruin a homestead, especially one as small as ours. We live in an area with monstrous foxes, possums, coons, coyotes, deer, skunks, rabbits, moles, rats and mice, groundhogs, squirrels, hawks, stray domestics (Dogs and Cats) and even the occasional bobcat. Most of these will kill your hens, rabbits or ducks… Even a goat is at risk with these animals. The rest will devour your crops. Deer are especially rampant where I live and it’s completely normal to walk out your door in the morning to let your dogs pee and see several deer grazing on your street, unmoving even when they see your dogs. They will devour every single plant in sight that isn’t diseased or covered in thorns and this will destroy whatever crops you plant. But a six foot privacy fence tends to keep out even our bold deer. It also helps against stray dogs, coyotes and foxes. Most of them would have to dig under the fence and with all the wild rabbits around it’s just not worth it.
We are fighting Nature’s clock to have our fence built before the frost sets in. This fence will mean more than just protecting our animals and letting our dogs run. This fence is the housing and security for our entire homesteading operation. Without it we would be processing animals in public, leaving our animals open to thieves and ridicule and allowing our gardens to be destroyed. I hope we get our fence in on time!