Fence Project - Phase One

Large sections of our fence nearest the barn were and are a disaster. At nearly 30 years old it was simply rotting away. Certainly not safe for good horsekeeping. The question was: Do we repair the fence or replace the fence? 

Photo by Chris
Repair of a single section would take 2 or 3 weeks. The cost would be minimal. But it wouldn't last more then a few years and would then need to be replaced anyway. We decided to invest time and money now to replace, rather then repair the fence.

For the corners we used posts that are 6 to 7 inches in diameter and 8 feet long. For the line posts we used posts that are 4 to 5 inches in diameter and 7 feet long. All are pressure treated.

The corner posts are sunk about 43 or 44 inches below the surface. I pour about half a 50 pound bag of  Quikcrete around the post, douse with a bucket of water, then back fill. I use a 7 foot line post for a cross brace and anchor them with 4 inch galvanized lag bolts. Finally, I crisscross steel brace wire and twist it as tight as possible. That pulls the posts together.  The line posts are sunk to a depth of about 32 or 33 inches. I put them in as deep as possible while leaving enough up top to staple the fence securely. No concrete is used.

We use "OK" brand Max Tight fence.  Phase one included removal and replacement of about 350 feet of fence and took 7 weekends.  Although there's about the same amount of fence, phase two may take longer. There's a lot of brush to clear before the old fence can be removed and to make way for the new posts.
I didn't get a "before" picture. This video shows the area after removing the old fence and posts and after installing new corner structures and line posts.  Now we have a fence that is safe and strong. It's sure to last at least another 30 years. 


Everyone's NOT an Expert

Photo by Chris Howell
I'm going to throw out a half-baked theory.

Media, especially radio and cable TV, should stop doing almost all interviews with non-experts. If the first duty of a news organization is to create a better informed electorate, then the non-expert interview is not helping and in some cases hurting.

You've seen or heard these people mostly on MSNBC or FOX or NPR. Talking heads giving their opinion.  They are given air time not because they have some sort of special knowledge but because of who they are. They could be from the White House. They could be political pollsters. They could be Senators or Representatives.  They are asked to give us their opinion, to tell us how they feel. In almost every case it's not informative. Outside of knowing how someone feels, the listener doesn't get to the end of the interview with any new or useful information.

If new employment numbers come out, have a guest who can tell us what the numbers mean. Interview an expert who can tell us why employment is up or down and what it means for the future. So we can decide if we agree with the policies our political representatives are promoting. Expert analysis informs us when we go to the ballot box.

Don't air the lies of a White House staff member about how the president's policies are responsible for increased employment (when employment is down).  When you do I'm a dumber voter. ESPECIALLY DON'T INTERVIEW SERIAL LIARS.

Whenever a claim is made, reporters should demand proof.  As a listener you should employ Hitchen's Razor.  "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"  The burden of proof regarding the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim, and if this burden is not met, the claim is unfounded, and its opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it.

These interviews should be with real experts. Someone as far from politics and as close to science as possible. Show us the interview subject's experience and credentials so we can decide what their bias may be.

I would allow very limited exceptions to this rule for the man on the street interviews. Man on the street interviews should be done rarely and only by local media. They should be broadcast only if they give the listener a fair representative sample of how most people in your community feel.  It's not easy to do. But do the hard work. As a reporter you have a duty to inform!

I'm not encouraged that media outlets will suddenly stop interviewing non-experts so they can help create a better informed public.  One, they have all that time to fill. And two, each outlet has carved out an audience who already agrees with their slant. Having someone on TV spout an opinion you agree with makes you feel better, keeps you watching and therefore, sells more advertising. Unfortunately, it's doesn't help make better informed citizens.

P.S. Yeah, the above screed is just a theory and my opinion. I don't know if I'm an expert but I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from The Ohio State University and more then 20 year's experience as a writer and radio news reporter.


Feeding the Cranes

I was reminded last week how much I loved my old Flip video camera. I had the first generation back in 2007. I was surprised to find some refurbs still for sale on Amazon at very reasonable prices. So, I bought one just for fun. I got the Flip Ultra HD. It takes two hours of HD video and had 8 GB of built-in memory.
The face of welfare dependency. Photo by Chris

I took it for a spin this morning and captured the crane family that's been hanging out here for a few months. A mother and father and their "teen" crane are in this clip. They have this cute thing where they "purr" a little when I come out with bird seed.