I have been making some progress on the food raising front. I got two Dunham chestnuts from Hari Bhakta which brought my total of nut trees planted to 17. There are all in the ground, mulched, and cages built around them for deer protection. Without the cages the whole endeavor would be an exercise in futility as the ubiquitous deer would eat off the buds, if not this summer, next winter.

I had some T posts left from my market gardening days that I used when staking tomatoes. I used tomato cages made from concrete reinforcing mesh wire and would put in a T post every 4 cages. We will be doing at most a couple of dozen tomatoes this year so I had some to use for deer cages.

I made about a 5′ x 5′ cage around each tree. I used two T posts on opposite corners and bamboo on the other two. I would have needed to buy more T posts to use 4 for a cage and still have left for other needs but prices have gone way up and they now cost at least double what they did. I am already funding this project with credit cards and wanted to contain costs hence the bamboo.

I have some cured pieces I harvested last year and cut them into suitable lengths. The T posts I could pound  with a regular T post pounder but the bamboo wouldn’t hold up to being hammered into our heavy soils. I first pounded in a piece of rebar to make a hole then hammered the bamboo into that.  Some still splintered a bit but got them all in 15-18″ so they will be functional.

The question is how long will the bamboo last. Hopefully long enough so the trees can grow up above the height where the deer can bother them. I hope that would be as soon as 4-5 years, but I may end up having to replace the bamboo at some point.  I am not that certain of the growth rate of these trees or the lifespan of bamboo in dirt but until the nut trees’ lower branches are higher than 4 feet they need protection.

I used 4′ high chicken wire. Deer won’t jump into a narrow space so 4′ high is sufficient. This also has a limited lifetime because, even though it is galvanized, we are in the Rust Belt and chicken wire oxidizes within a few years. I suspect about the time the chicken wire rusts through it will no longer be needed.

I bought two 150′ rolls. As I was on the last cage when I came around unrolling it to the third side I started to get a sinking feeling it was going to run out 2 inches too short. The famous two inches too short we all seem to run into all the time in the material world. This would mean having to buy another roll, meaning a trip to town,  and leaving the project dangling unfinished for another day.

Well, it was two inches too short, as I usually would go past the last T post and tie on the other side of it. I couldn’t do that but it was just barely long enough to tie into the wire I had wrapped around the post to start the cage so I was able to finish. Krishna was just messing with my head.

I am now back to working on the 8′ foot garden fence. Yesterday I finished 4 of the ten brace stations and have most of the steps finished on the other 6, just lacking the final touch of wiring it together, should finish them today if the rain showers aren’t too bad. When I was young I would work in the rain but I have become weak now so wait for the breaks in the weather.

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