Friday, October 21, 2011

About Fencing

Not the action kind that involves swords and sabers and Zorro,(though the old electric fences could certainly give that effect, and I can verify that personally) but the kind that kept the cows corralled. Most fences around the farm yard were made out of wood rather than the fancy pipe ones they make now, which improvement I applaud. The wood fences had to be painted over and over and over. Though it seemed we painted them all every year, Dad told me once that he bought a 5-gallon bucket each spring and painted til it was gone. Sometimes it was red paint, and sometimes it was white. Somewhere I have a picture of my two oldest boys "helping" Grandpa paint. Apparently not all five gallons went on the actual fences, and my suspicion is that the painting did at least as much to keep us occupied and out of trouble as it did to improve the looks of the wood.

Well do I remember Dad's diligent upkeep of those funky cedar fence posts. They were famous for tipping one way or the other, causing the wire staples to work loose. He kept a tin can with fence-mending material and a hammer on hand on an every-day basis. There were also some wire-stretchers for more major repair. Somewhere along the line, he developed a real interest in collecting old barbed wire, probably because it was a visual symbol of hard work, with some creative ingenuity thrown in.

He had some of his own wire, people learned of his interest and gave him some they came across, and he would take his metal detector on rides to old places to search for stuff like that. It was one of his few hobbies, that and reading.

He mounted them on a shed wall, then later on something more mobile. One time he was asked to show them at a library or school in the Logan area and give a small presentation to some kids. I remember that day; he dressed up in a long-sleeved shirt, shined boots, bolo tie, and ever-present hat. It pleased him that someone would care about what he had done. It was always his pleasure to learn and teach others about historical and conservative things.

After my dad passed away, a caring craftsman built several professional wood-framed panels, all labeled and covered with glass, to display Dad's barbed wire collection. That would have pleased my dad, and did me as well. I agree that these should stay in Clifton, but I don't think they should become part of anybody's private collection. They should be displayed openly so they can retain their purpose of educating and bringing joy to many people.

When I was at Papa Jay's in Clifton recently, eating lunch, I noticed some walls there that could be a decent place to display Dad's collection. Another possible alternative might be at the Moyle Center. I think that would just add to the town's ambiance, and many more people could enjoy and learn. Like fine paintings and other art, such a tribute lifts the observer and thus, should be open to all.


  1. I love reading your blog. I too was raised on a farm in a small town. Even though it was a couple decades later it seems like I can really relate to so much of what you write. You were always my favorite person at the court and even though I only worked with you for a couple of months I will always, always remember you, and cherish those memories. You truly are a special lady.

  2. I remember Ted's barbed wire collection -- hanging in the tool shed out in the yard when i was a kid. I agree -- it should be displayed somewhere...