"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A paddock in the making - part 2

Given the length of time that has elapsed since I last posted (we've been busy - very, very busy from sun-up to sundown, 7 days a week for over 2 weeks), I'll refresh your memories as to where I left off the previous post...

"But, our local unofficial sawmill has ran out of suitable scraps of wood, so, on our way to purchase "chicken" wire from the nearby co-op I had a brainwave..."

There is an enormous "official" sawmill, "Sutherland Sawmills" in Swellendam, our closest town.  I asked RMan to take a drive passed it prior to entering the wide open doors of Co-Op once again.

All we were looking for was the off-cuts - the "unwanted" scraps of wood that were unsuitable for sale to wood merchants.  Wood that the sawmill would happily "give away".

We were in luck - they weren't prepared to "give it away" but they were prepared to sell it to us at a ridiculous price.
Sutherland Sawmills - a local sawmill which
processes the wood from invasive pine trees
It was wonderful to visit the sawmill - they use every scrap of wood that they can get out of a tree - be that for beams, planks, poles, wood shavings and even sawdust. 
Bags for sawdust in the foreground, piles of wooden
planks ready to ship to the wood merchants in
Cape Town behind that, and our "planks" in
the far background.
Some of the scrappy pieces (similar to those which we purchased) get used in the making of trugs.

Large trugs with 3 "feet"...
The smaller off-cuts are repurposed into
attractive trugs
...and smaller trugs with two "feet".
The smaller trugs which are manufactured
by Sutherland Sawmills and then
transported to garden centres in
Cape Town
The "larney" wood is cleaned, holes are cored, and it instantly becomes spiffy fencing poles.
Pukker "larney" fencing
But, we weren't iterested in the "larney" stuff - we wanted to repurpose their off-cuts - their junk wood.

And, they had piles of it - far to much for trug orders :)
One of four trailer loads we relieved the sawmill of :)
Four trailer loads later...
A close-up.  As you can see, there is nothing
wrong with the wood - it was just waiting for
someone - anyone - to put it to the use for which
it was grown :)
... we had what we needed.  And at a fraction of the cost of conventional wire fencing - be that barbed wire strands or chicken wire type fencing.

Our fencing stretches for approximately 120 linear metres (excluding the two "stables" we have erected), and each metre had roughly 5 - 6 (sometimes 7) "planks" - thus 720 linear mtrs of fencing alone.
The white dog in the foreground is the cause of
our using "sometimes 7" planks on the fence :)
"Sometimes 7" was because we had to prevent Natasha's Pekinese, Griffin (I call him Muffin), from gaining access to the paddocks at ground level.

But, taking an average of 6 planks / metre of fence at a total cost for the installed fence of ZAR4000.00 = ZAR33.36 (ZAR5.56 X 6) / metre (at today's exchange rate) that equates to €2.43 or US$3.29 per metre - wood, whole and split gumpoles, screws and petrol for the genny.  We couldn't have found a cheaper way of fencing off the paddocks if we tried.  And that is without amortising in the cost of all the wood used for the 3 X 2 mtr and 2 X 2 mtr stables either!

And, as RMan said, "We're re-using wood that wasn't wanted"!  I'm proud of him :)


  1. I like that fencing...a lot! It reminds me of living on a ranch. As RMan says great reusing of the wood :)

    Griffin is a cutie :)

    1. Tania - Exactly the look RMan wanted to create - ranch style :)

  2. I never thought of there being many trees in South Africa. In my mind, it was low rolling hills with just marginal vegetation. But if they have saw mills there must be a surplus of trees.

    You folks work hard on your place. It's sure looking good .

    1. Harry - We have dry area's (the Little & Great Karoo) and wetter area's - mainly along the coastline.

      We even have a giant yellowwood tree in the Tsitsikamma Forest (http://wikitravel.org/en/Tsitsikamma) and the forest near Knysna is home to the Knysna elephants :)

  3. You and Rman sure have a pile of energy to go along with all your reclaimed lumber. Glad you're putting those invasive trees to good use. Gosh that's some project. I am eager to see what 4-footed beasts will inhabit that new place. Don't overdo, dear. You and I aren't at 100% anymore - watch your back (literally) !

    1. Kris - LOL - yeah - we're both being careful... But, time was of the essence, so it was quite a rush.

    2. That's what happens here, too. "Boy I'm wasted...but the window for this (or that) project is NOW! Soldier on!" LOL

    3. P.P.S. I've got a hunch what's going in the paddock.... ;-D Bet M. is excited....

    4. Kris - We placed the order for the "occupants" and the delivery daye was set - so we had a deadline to meet...

      Yeah, Mike is tickled pink :)

  4. Hi Dani, I haven't visited for ages! Life's been so hectic. Now the kids are a bit older I take on more and more. I'm happy to see you are as resourceful as ever! Inspirational! Wonder if I have a saw mill nearby?

    1. Linda - I know you've been very busy - I don't know where you get the energy from...

      Finding a use for waste always uplifts me - there is beauty in that too - and not only in the "perfect" specimens :)

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