Tea Party winners: Elaine Marie Cooper's novel goes to both Ashley Penn and Mary Ann Hake:, Carrie Fancett Pagels' and Gina Welborn's Blue Ribbon Brides collection goes to: Melanie Backus Carrie's O' Little Christmas Town Collection goes to: Cherrilynn Bisbano

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nathaniel Griffith's Fences

I am glad to have you back to my humble farm. For those of you who are new to me, I am Nathaniel Griffith of Newport in the Rhode Island Colony.

I see you are eying my fence. Aye, it is simplistic, but effective. Here you see I have laid logs on top of crosses held together with strong rawhide ties in some places and rope from hemp in others. This is a temporary fence for now. Not strong, but will do until I can manage a better one.

If you look yonder there by my barn, you’ll see the stone fence I made. When I cleared the land each spring, preparing to sow, I would separate the stones into sizes, keeping the flattest rocks for the top. What stones were not level, I would shim it with a flat one. The basic rule is to lay one stone over two and two over one. As you can see the end result is a fair picture.

Aye, I see ye are noting the lack of nails. Yea, the iron needed for nails is expensive. I’d not waste a shilling on a nail for a fence if I can help it.

See there, by the trough, I have made a more permanent fence than the log and cross one here. My brother-in-law and I dug holes to place the fence posts into the ground. You’ll notice two posts for each location with the rails stacked between them. This takes a lot of wood, as ye can see. ‘Twas good that we had much trees to clear and could make the rails.

Now ye can see my gate. A solid one for it crosses a township road. You’ll note the metal hoop that links over the post. Because of the gate’s use, I felt I needed to pay the extra bit for the metal. And ye’ll note the hinges are merely loops around the other post. But I spared myself a shilling or two by putting the rails through holes I carved from the end posts. I used a tree-nail to hold it in place.

Now some of my neighbors build their fences differently than I. Around their gardens some have what you might refer to as a picket fence, but we refer to them as paling fences. Some have zigzag fences, called snake fences.

Well now, I see Dr. Clarke coming up the road. I have some business to discuss with him. Seems the people of Warwick have yet to pay their debt to him for his time in England on behalf of the Rhode Island colony. I hope to travel with him and convince them of their wrong.

I bid you Godspeed. May God bless you richly, dear friends.

4 comments:

  1. Love your posts done in character especially, Lynn! Thanks for helping us understand more about the types of fences. This was really neat information.

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  2. You're welcome. :) I love the old stone fences. Interestingly, the Indians used a form of fences to hunt deer. They'd chase them into a funnel like fence and then kill what they needed.

    The plains Indians, however, often chased the buffalo over cliffs called 'buffalo jumps'. In some cases they would use rock cairns as markers creating driving lanes that would funnel the buffalo (aka bison) over the cliff. Growing up as a child in Alberta, I quickly learned that these jumps were the best locations to find arrowheads.

    When the Europeans came, re-introduced horses into North America, the buffalo jumps were slowly abandoned. So you see, the colonists (primarily Spanish) even affected the plains Indians. :)

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  3. Love the paling fences, Lynn, and everything else. I do use paling fence in my books. It has an old-fashioned feel to it:) Oh, to have your horse sense!! Like Carrie said, your posts done in character teach so much. Thank you.

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  4. Thank you, Laura. I've always wanted a white picket fence, but alas my husband does not like them. :)

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