About this time last year we were looking everywhere for old split rails to make a fence around
the vegetable gardens and flower beds.
A few years earlier, we had seen them in stacks all over the countryside. Farmers and ranchers were taking them down and putting up taller and sturdier wire fences to keep the deer and elk out of their crops and hay fields.
I was thinking then how lovely they were stacked high, weathered and mossy.
Now that we had a good use for them, there were none to be found.
We thought of Craigslist!
Did you know that you can find anything on Craigslist?
I have gotten pallets of used brick, heritage chicks, turkies, heirloom herbs and plants.
Anything and everything, all for sale or barter.
One chilly winter evening by the fire, a look through building materials and antiques for sale
we came across a small ad by a rancher 140 miles to the east of us.
He was selling his split rail fences.
We emailed him and found that he had a few miles of fence...
at such a wonderful price we couldn't get the truck and trailer loaded quick enough.
The next morning, after driving for nearly 3 hours on snowy roads,
we at last arrived at the ranch.
Like many of the old cattle ranches that we passed along the way,
it was old old old.
Beautiful and weathered, we were sure it was the same as it had been for nearly 200 years.
Driving along muddy roads through gates and streams and cattle pastures
we arrived at the ranch house,the old fella was waiting for us.
He came out and introduced himself and his dogs and pointed to the hills beyond his place and said,
"the fence is along that creek past the scrub willows and oaks..".
sure enough, there it was, still standing.
He followed along behind in an old hay truck with the dogs holding on for dear life on the back.
When we reached the fence, I could see it stretched quite aways in both directions.
Beautiful country and a beautiful old fence. Mossy and weathered. Still standing.
I asked him about it, if he had built it...
He said, "nope", he didn't build it, but his great- great grandfather who had come from Scotland
to raise cattle here had built it himself.
I knew then that times must be very hard for this old fellow.
to be selling his great grandfather's
hand split rail fence...
I told him how I dearly loved old things.
That his great grandfathers fence would be loved and taken care of. He smiled and said, "good thing...that'ns an old one for sure."
So we carefully loaded each rail...and piled on as many as the truck and goose neck trailer
We paid the old fellow in cash with a little extra besides.
I asked if he'd like to see a picture when we got it put up again and of course he said yes.
I wanted him to know for sure that it would be made useful again, loved and cared for.
So this week the old fence is going up again, along the east side of our garden
where it can be close to where it came from.
I've got 50 asparagus crowns coming that will be planted alongside it. It'll be a nice place for the heirloom pumpkins & herbs I've got started in the green house,too.
I know I'll be thinking of that old fellow and his Scottish great-great grandfather
while I plant and hoe and dream in my garden this summer.