A huge project we tackled this summer was ripping out the rotting and falling-down fence that both circled and divided our land. Our property is two properties joined together, so having a useless fence split it down the middle was both annoying and an eyesore! It also showed us the transience of fencing--though it had undoubtedly been a HUGE amount of work to get those posts in the ground originally, they were rotted, falling apart, and had we tried to use them to contain livestock, we would have been livestock-less in short order.
But we now need some sort of fence! At the moment, our birds free-range, and our goats are on a picket lines, but this is not the ideal. We want to help heal this area through directed, intensive grazing, so eventually we'll need a way to both direct and hedge in animals. Enter the Osage Orange!
Though it will take a LOT longer to get established than a summer of fence-stringing, we've decided to implement a living hedge to both encircle and protect our property. The eventual design will use osage, cedar, and locust trees, and instead of decomposing, will grow stronger and denser with time and maintenance. We like knowing that farmers and ranchers of this area's past built their homesteads using the same techniques--so we're excited to carry on practice (and actually learn how to maintain it as we go).
So Andrew's starting a new YouTube series documenting our process and learning curve! Step one is identifying and collecting enough seeds to get started--watch the video HERE!
Osage Orange is a FASCINATING tree, by the way. The firewood has the highest BTU output of any wood in America, so all the trimmings from our hedge maintenance will keep us warm. It's also super-fine bow wood material, so our eventual hopes of making our own bows will also be supplied by these awesome trees! According to one of our bowery books, native people of the past were willing to trade a horse and a good blanket for a staff of Osage wood. Sounds good to us!
Do you have any ancient practices on your land? Have any of you ever used Osage Orange? We're still in the learning-how-this-works stage, so we'd love to hear from you!
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
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Simple Life Homestead