Fence Post Work Brings Job Offer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 21, 2013

I turned down the job offer last week, even in this difficult economic climate, deciding to stay put and ignore the death sentence pundits have predicted for newspapers in the Internet age.
He wanted me to be his fencepost tamper, a plum job.
Fence builder Jeff Shore rolled to a stop in his pickup truck and admired my work — 40 neatly set creosote posts forming a barrier for the cows. It had taken me a month to dig the holes on evenings and weekends, and Shore quickly figured I was not serious competition. He liked my style, however, as I tamped the posts securely in the ground. He thought I might want to boost my income.
We didn’t discuss an hourly rate. Didn’t have to. This is a younger man’s job.
I look at fences differently now.
Forty years ago when Spillman Road was paved, my summer chore was to set the cedar posts that still form most of the old fence. Many of the posts have rotted and now sway loosely, holding back the cows mostly out of habit.
Deer are the great enemies of farm fences these days. They smack right into them. I watched a group of eight assault the same fence line last year. Three jumped over. Five went through the barbed wire, barely slowing down.
On a whim, I bought a posthole digger at a hardware store’s going out of business sale a few years back … just in case. After the rains of January, I decided it was finally time to try it in the softened soil.
How deep do you dig?
I thought 30 inches was about right. Since the digging was easy, I went three feet only to discover the fence post would be just waist high. Refilling the holes was painful.
Humming “Desperado” to myself (“He’s been out riding fences ..”), the job has gone smoothly except for occasional rocks and a weary back. I worried about a telephone box and had the underground wires flagged. I was not the cause of a brief interruption of Yadtel service during the Super Bowl.
Motorists and joggers have stopped to offer plenty of free advice … but no assistance.
I now examine every fence I pass on the highway. Is the wire taut? Are the posts leaning? How much did that fence cost?
I hope the cows and deer will respect my barbed wire.

Beyonce’s Last Name

Savvy subscriber Jacqueline Williams of Huntington Park, Calif. has come to my rescue, answering a question from a couple weeks back: Does beautiful Beyonce have a last name?
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