Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Deer Fence

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Already past 8:30 PM and the sun is down and there is a red hue over Peacham Pond. The forecast for the balance of the week is not encouraging but work goes on at the new property....so much so that this blog as well as The Vermont Gardener both suffer.

Although I have been trying to purchase 10 foot metal t-stakes from the new Tractor Supply on the Barre-Montpelier Road, I have to say they are an interesting bunch learning their new duties with a curious attitude. They haven't gotten to the lesson plan on customer relations and follow through and as of today can't tell me if and when my order from the end of June will ever arrive. In my mind I have set the bench mark of this Friday. No stakes, goodbye Tractor Supply.

Years ago while studying the restaurant business I learned that an unhappy customer tells at least 10 people of his problem. A customer who had a bad experience but received some kind of satisfaction from the offending party was said to only complain to 4 people. With those kind of ratios, people were taught to avoid things that caused problems but if problems occured, seek quick resolution for obvious reasons. I have never forgotten that lesson. The Internet has obviously changed these figures but the lesson should remain firm with any business person.

I purchased 30 pressure treated 4X4X10's and Michelle's friend Mark was available for two days and we got 660 feet of fence up. There's still cement to pour in places for added strength and some wires to tighten and staples to add but the part that benefits from another helper is underway. We have mapped out the balance of the Route 2 fence and I have finally figured out how to deal with the Winooski River boundary.

Folks keep asking what is deer fence so I figured I better explain via a couple pictures. This is plastic extruded fence available wholesale from a Connecticut company for about $175 a 330 foot roll plus shipping. It's also available retail from a number of suppliers who promote themselves as deer specialists.

The rolls are about 7.5 feet tall and are manufactured by a company in Israel. I am sure it's not used for deer fence there but I'm not up on Israel's agriculture and economy. A lot of US growers protect their fields, vineyards and orchards using this fence and it has a good record with deer control if properly installed. That means that the bottom has to be secured tightly to the ground and the top really needs another top wire at about 8.5 feet as deer are jumpers that make Santa proud.

If you are interested in pursuing any agricultural endeavor where deer are a potential problem, don't call the Vermont Fish and Game people for assistance. They listen well but are very clear that the deer are your problem. You are permitted to make a complaint of deer damage, call in the local warden and gain permission to do some deer disposal if you are of that persuasion. I don't know if you can use a hired gun or archer and I don't know how many you could take before someone would complain. I guess until the deer stop bothering your crops. Make sense?

I recall one time there was a very hard working man who took over twenty at a Shelburne, Vermont orchard and it didn't set all that well with the local people. My theory is that if a business was a real business, not a hobby, and if the state paid to have fence properly installed, then the taxes that business would pay the state the very first year would more than pay for the fence. Vermont isn't too good with how it handles small business and with fence you not only buy it yourself, you pay sales tax on it to protect your investment from the deer the State controls by law. I'll always remember hearing the male employee laughing in the background when I called to the government deer folks to try to get some help. Made me feel like new business was really wanted in Vermont.

Anyway we have two of seven rolls pretty much up and wish there was a way to levitate the other 5 into place. Once this is up, we'll check for tracks and probably start planting. Just the thought gets me tired!

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where a barred owl continues to call for company while the outside temperature reads 62.7.

Many thanks to people I don't even know who honk encouragement as they pass by the new project!

George Africa

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