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Good fencing is crucial on the homestead for security and also for keeping livestock safe. Each fence you install will have a specific purpose, so it’s essential to know which type of fencing will work best for the job at hand. The fence you use to keep your chickens safe will be completely different than your perimeter security fence. You need to consider the behaviors of the animals you are trying to keep in, but also the ones you need to keep out (predators).

Here are some general tips to remember no matter which type of fence you choose:
  • Your posts must be anchored correctly. No matter what kind of fence you choose, it will be next to useless if the posts aren’t sturdy enough. You can get line posts that will just hold the fence in place, which is fine for some applications, but your corner and gate posts must be anchored in place with concrete.
  • Choose your gate placement carefully. Take your time when you are deciding where to place your gates. You want them to be convenient and accessible, but also in a safe location. For example, when we moved onto our homestead, someone had installed a gate right at the top of a steep hill. It was absolutely treacherous trying to get through that gate in the winter when it was icy. As soon as we could in the spring, we moved the gate over about 6 feet to a much safer location. The size of the gate itself matters, too. A four-foot gate works for humans and livestock, but you won’t be able to get a tractor through it.
  • Make sure you know where utility lines are located. Never dig without knowing where utility lines and water pipes are placed. And, while you’re at, be sure you know your property lines and local zoning laws, too.
  • The spacing of your posts is important, too. Generally, fence posts are spaced are spaced anywhere from 8-12 feet apart. Choose closer spacing for a stronger fence if you have critters that will test it. Ten to twelve feet spacing is usually reserved for large livestock like cattle or horses. No matter what type of fence you install, it must be stretched tightly between the posts, too.
Types of Fencing and Their Applications:

There are a lot of options when it comes to homestead fencing. You don’t have to use wooden fenceposts that will rot. You can get recycled plastic fence posts that will never rot and metal ones that are easier to install. And the fences themselves can be made of plastic or metal in all sorts of shapes and sizes for different applications. So, how do you know which one to choose?

  • One of the sturdiest, and best, multi-purpose options is woven wire fencing. The wire is generally woven into rectangles or squares in a variety of sizes. Often, a woven wire fence is topped with a row or two of barbed wire or electric fence. While this fence is more expensive and labor intensive to install, it is also very effective at keeping the most types of livestock contained. It also looks nice along the property line and as fencing around paddocks.
    Since it comes in a variety of hole sizes, you can choose smaller holes for poultry and larger ones for bigger livestock. When installing it for rabbits or poultry, bury the fence about 12 inches underground to keep predators from digging under it to get to your livestock. Topping it with a row or two of electric wire works great for keeping animals from climbing over it, and it also stops animals like horses from leaning over the fence to eat vegetation on the other side, which can weaken your fence over time. One major drawback is that it can be tough to install in hilly areas.
  • Barbed wire is a more affordable option, but it’s only good for some applications. Personally, I am not a fan of barbed wire and I don’t have any on my homestead. Although it is cheaper to purchase, it is only effective for keeping large animals like cattle and horses contained. Sheep and goats will go right through it, and so will predators. That being said, it does work well in hilly areas and can be a good option for fencing in a large cattle field.
  • Electric fencing is affordable and easy to install. It works well in hilly areas, too. Electric fencing is generally spaced at about 12 inches apart, but you can space it closer or farther apart, depending on the type of animals you are trying to contain. Depending on how you space it, it will work for just about any size of livestock. If installed correctly, it is very effective for keeping predators out, too. The drawbacks? You need to purchase a fence charger and have an electrical source available (there are solar options). And, of course it will also shock anyone who touches it, including pets or small children.
  • Portable, electric net fencing is another great option for small areas. I love electric netting for certain applications. It’s great for rotating animals like sheep, goats, poultry, or even pigs around your property. You can get it in various sizing and spacing, depending on what types of animals you’re using it for. It’s very easy to put up and take down by one person, so it’s a good option for an area that you want to fence in temporarily.
    The drawbacks include the need for an electrical source and fence charger and the fact that it can be flimsy. It’s probably not going to keep large, determined, or panicked animals where you want them. It’s not going to keep humans out either. I’ve also heard of animals getting tangled up in it, which could kill them if they’re not rescued pretty quick. You should definitely supervise your animals closely until you’re sure they aren’t going to mess with it.
  • Livestock panels are useful and affordable for smaller areas. Livestock panels are rigid pieces of wire fencing that are generally come in three sizes for cattle, sheep, or hogs. They are pretty affordable and they’re lightweight for easier installation. They are quite easy to move around to create a sturdy, safe fence around a small area. The don’t work well for areas where the ground isn’t level.

No matter which fencing option you choose, installing it correctly could mean the difference between a fence that sags after just a few months, or one that lasts for 20 years or more. Hopefully, this article has given you some good information to help you choose the right fencing for your homestead and the job at hand.

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Five Classic (And Fun!) Products for Your Retro Dressing Table

One of the hottest beauty trends is the vintage look of stars like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Lana Turner with their flawless complexions and beautifully styled hair. These iconic looks were created with beauty products that still work, and still have the same glamorous mystique. If you want to capture that old school glamor for yourself, here are five essentials your dressing table must have.

Max Factor Creme Puff

In the Golden Age of Hollywood, when Max Factor was the most iconic make up name of them all, no handbag was complete without a Max Factor powder compact. An elegant gloved hand would reach into the bag, the compact would snap open, and the powder applied in a seductive gesture, eyes peeping over the compact lid like Lana Turner. Sadly, Max Factor is no longer sold in the USA. The new owner, Proctor and Gamble, pulled the brand from shelves in 2010, due to falling sales. But the brand is still sold internationally and is available online. Classic items like compacts can be found on eBay and Etsy. It is worth tracking this powder down in compact and loose powder form, because no retro dressing table should be without it.

Ponds Cold Cream

Skin care used to be a simple affair. One cream cleansed, moisturized and served as a foundation for powder – Pond’s Cold Cream. On a lady’s dressing table it was an all round beautifier that helped keep the years at bay. International singing star Kylie Minogue swears by it, forgoing Botox and surgery for this simple but effective product. Cold cream is an emulsion-type recipe, combing water and fats into a light cream that leaves the skin feeling cool and refreshed, and disappears quickly when it is applied – hence the name ‘vanishing’ cream. Ponds Cold Cream was not only used as a cleanser, moisturizer and primer, it was also used to soothe sunburn, and remove make up. Born in the USA, and still available there as well as internationally, it is a retro essential that never goes out of date.

Elnett Hairspray

Those fabulous vintage Hollywood hairstyles, with their kiss curls, cute flips and smooth bouffants, didn’t get that way by themselves. There was artistry in hair styling in those days that was the complete opposite to today’s messy looks. Keeping every curl in place and avoiding flyaway tendrils was essential to the styles, and stylists reached for the hairspray as soon as their work was done. Hairspray has been the butt of many jokes in recent times, but the fact is that there is nothing better to hold every hair in place – and it doesn’t have to be hard and tacky. Elnett changed hairspray forever in 1960, when the French cosmetics company L’Oreal formulated a hairnet in a can that was neither sticky nor impossible to remove. Elnett was light, effective and most importantly, easy to brush out. It was banned in America until 2008, due to ozone concerns, but before that your stylist would have had Elnett stashed in the shop somewhere. As a dressing table item it is an essential icon – the can has hardly changed over the years and it is still the best hairspray on the market.

Yardley Fragrances

There are many classic perfume names, from Chanel to Jean Patou, but only one really brings back the heady days of the Swinging Sixties. Those were the days of Jean Shrimpton, Carnaby Street and all things deliciously retro, and no name was more iconic than Yardley. This British beauty company caught the wave of the London Look and rode it like crazy with great big smoky eyes, iridescent lipstick and sweet girlie fragrances that came straight from an English country garden. Rose, lavender, violet, lily of the valley – the names of the perfumes are as simple and evocative as the flowers they represent. New lines are being added to the Yardley perfume range, but it is the classics like rose and lavender that evoke the time when ‘swinging London’ was all the rage and everyone wanted to look like Jean Shrimpton. The singular spray bottles with their charming labels will still look great on a retro dressing table.

A Mason Pearson Hairbrush

A woman’s hair is ‘her crowning glory’, it used to be said, and to ensure that it remained shiny and glossy, it was considered essential to brush 100 strokes every night. The hairbrush had to be the best quality but until Mason Pearson created his handmade hairbrush at the start of the 20th Century, coarse bristle brushes could be agonizing. The Mason Pearson brush is especially designed to be comfortable to hold, and to massage the scalp as well as smooth out the hair. A Mason Pearson hairbrush is more of an investment than a simple beauty product, as it can be handed down to your grandchildren.

There is more to being a retro beauty than iconic products, of course, but while you are brushing up on your deportment and manners, these five essentials will certainly help you to get in the right frame of mind. Then, like Jean Harlow and Ava Gardener, go knock ’em in the aisles!

(by Gail Kavanagh 2015)


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