The hook had been set and the Foxinator had landed me checkbook first. Bacon was arriving; some assembly required.
It was time to prepare for the new arrivals. In fact it was past time… I was late!
Lucky for me, my homestead came with a “corral”. It would be a perfect place to raise pigs. Unfortunately for me, the corral had been pillaged.
Many years ago, I bought my homestead from the cheapest skinflint known to man. He was only the most recent in a line of leeches. I only found the place after the poor dump had been auctioned and cycled through a series of increasingly cheap bastards until the farm was a shell of it’s former self.
Buying an “abused” property is rough. No regrets; I knew what I was getting into. Even so, the damage a gaggle of cheap bastards and shortsighted nimrods can do to real estate is as impressive as it is hard to rectify.
After the locusts were done (and before I bought the place) anything that was not nailed down was long gone. This mystifies me. How dumb can an owner (any owner) get? If I had a property (which I do) I’d try to keep the place properly maintained and outfitted (which I do). Should I choose to sell it (which I won’t) I’d endeavor to sell it as habitable, functional, and complete. Who is so foolish they’ll wind up selling a gutted wreck?
Don’t say anything because I know precisely who’ll wind up trying to market a wreck; the people from whom I purchased the place. I know darned well they weren’t happy with the price they got. But it was self inflicted. If they hadn’t trashed the place they wouldn’t have painted themselves into a corner. The place, in good repair, would have merited a fine price; well out of my league. Instead they had to sell cheap to a bottom feeder like me. Morons.
Not only the house, but the outbuildings and even the adjacent forest was raked over the coals. Various (presumably well meaning) relatives brothers, uncles, aunts, in-laws, and probably random strangers played their role, each one taking some “minor” item with them. Each doing a little more damage. You can steal a city a brick at a time.
Collectively they literally took every object, large or small, that could be conceivably construed as potentially having value in this or any possible universe. They took stuff I wouldn’t have considered worth the effort to pick up if you dropped it at my feet. The place was picked clean. (The good news is that farms accumulate garbage, old cars, tires, etc… most of this was carted away too.)
One example was light bulbs. When you’re dropping eleventy zillion dollars on a house and land, the price of a light bulb doesn’t mean shit. It wasn’t a deal killer for me. The house had lights enough for a real estate agent to show it, but not one single unnecessary fixture had a bulb. Why? Apparently there are people so goofy they’ll go through a chunk of real estate hoovering up used light bulbs. That’s a level of cheap beyond logic and reason. An old bulb is worth what? Maybe a dime? Who has time for that? My theory is this; losers.
Included in the pre-sale bloodletting was the corral. In times long gone the place had a superb corral. It was likely proud in it’s heyday. I imagine it filled with big fat profitable cows that (because it’s my imagination) all look like Ferdinan the Bull.
Whomever was raising cows long ago didn’t screw around. He put up an agricultural Stonehenge. I’m not a farmer, I’m not even sure why one needs a corral. I presume a good corral makes managing cattle a easier but I could be wrong. It sure looks cool.
The corral builder (who is clearly a better level of individual than the lightbulb locusts) built it from used railroad ties. They’re sunk deep in the ground. (Not set in cement of course. Nobody in my rural county would spring for a bag of cement for a fencepost unless you put a gun to their head, and probably not even then.) Even so, railroad ties are bad ass!
Most of the corral fencing, as ancient as it may be, is still more or less straight. This makes me happy. Sure, one section tilts like it belongs in Pisa but the rest is fine provided you can accept a certain about of graceful lean. I can.
Despite the wood being pretty rough, it would take some serious doing to remove the ties. The lighbulb locusts couldn’t pull them out without a backhoe. So the ties remain.
The crossbars are good news too. The long gone and totally forgotten farmer went all out and exceeded the usual standard of barbed wire. He hammered up beefy planks with big friggin’ nails.
The planks are delightful. They were obviously locally milled by an amateur. The boards are rough cut and sized in actual dimensions of inches. None of the “nominal dimension” horseshit us hapless rubes accept as our fate. When you see a board that is honest, hefty, solid, thick, strong wood, of generous dimensions you know that most of the crap they sell in a lumber yard is abhorrent even before they perversely shave 1/16″ from random surfaces. I love those boards!
The lightbulb locusts were just barely sane enough to refrain from attacking the fence with a crowbar to get the wood. A close call indeed.
So the corral, built tough in an era when people meant things to last, persists amid real estate that’s been picked over by vultures. I tip my hat to the unknown farmer. I wonder if he raised bulls? Based on the construction I suspect he raised velociraptors.
There’s even a chute. I’m not sure what to do with a chute. I’m guessing they herded critters through it? Presumably cattle were shuffled through the confined space and injected with some sort of veterinary voodoo? For all I know they just groped ’em for the heck of it. Isn’t that what the TSA does?
It makes me happy to own a chute. Who else has a chute? Nobody. That’s right folks, I’m a studly chute owner!
At any rate, it was time to undo a wrong that had marred our fair world. Someone, I don’t know who, decided to tear out the corral gates and cart them away. I assume he’s in hell where he belongs. It fell to me to rectify the mayhem. After all, a corral is an asset and a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit. A corral without gates is just an empty promise that’s a bitch to mow. My gateless corral, all show and no go, was an insult to agriculture and as far as I’m concerned, civilization itself.
Oh yes! “Nominal Dimension” lumber, like the 12 oz pound of coffee. Planing 2×4’s for a smooth, relatively splitter free finish might be remotely plausible, never mind they sell the sawdust as pellets of Feline Pine, but losing 4 oz from each pound of coffee? For what? I suppose Juan Valdez personally taste tests each can. Maybe that’s why he tirelessly walks the hills looking for the freshest coffee beans, he can’t go to sleep.
So I’m about to embark on a project that requires 4x4s sticking out of the ground, and I was going to cement them in. But you say no one in your county does this. Is it a bad idea? Seriously, I’m a city boy with ten undeveloped acres out in the boonies and generally don’t have any idea what I’m doing.
Cement is an excellent idea. I’m just saying that farmers are cheap and possibly not too over-worried about quality. For example whomever owned my house didn’t use a level… ever.
You can pour dry sakrete (TM) into a hole and then add the water. YMMV.
It is not possible that the hole is too big, the post too huge, or to use too much cement. We’re rich fat Americans… build big and build strong. I’ll tell you about my “tree stand sometime”… it’s tougher than my house (and more level).
I would have stolen the boards.
I got a little woody just sitting here daydreaming about the awesome rustic furniture I could have built if I’d been around to pry those boards off the corral.
The pun was completely unintentional, but damn, I’m a funny guy.
I will ship you the boards. You pay shipping. I only use FedEx. I get half the furniture.
Yeah, I think that’ll work for me. You in? 🙂
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