Since we're planning to adopt a few dozen chickens, a piece of our land needs to be fenced. Not really to prevent that this wildfowl envades the surrounding cropfields - if they're Born To Run, they have to run - but rather to offer them a neutral area 'chickserland' where they can't be chased by one or other nugget-ivorous dog. Or one that thinks that you have to shake them very fast left-right-left-right-left-right to get free eggs (one thing that I learned about dogs is that they don't exactly think like humans, but they can be surprisingly creative).
So holes need to be drilled, poles planted, wires stretched and fence attached. No big deal, I hear you say 'wazzamatta', since we're living in a world where (powered) soil drills are as common as electric corkscrews & toothbrushes.
Nice knowledge. But what to do if you don't have such a drill? Even not a manual one.
Welcome in my reality.
Buying one? I had only 20 poles to plant, so it was really not worth the cost. And money is for beer.
Asking my neighbour? Asking creates obligations. I hate obligations.
Trying to make one? Thàt sounds like a lot better!
As always, the absence of the right tool boosted my creative brainstuff for a while and so I came up with this 'soil gouge'.
Agreed, it looks like a 'Nimbus 2000' with a jet engine. Sounds nice. I like it!
Whatever. It's been tested, it's been approved. I enjoyed the building of it and I enjoyed even more the using of it. It worked just perfect for what I had to do. What else a man can ask more from something he built with his own hands?
And I got my arms & shoulders workout for free. Which is, honestly, the very basic cro-magnon-ic reason why I became so eager to build this device. We are all cro-magnons. Most people just have lost the knowledge how to deal with it.
Step 1: Gettin' Supplies
The idea is to make a giant 'gouge' which you'll smash in the ground, again and again and again, from which you'll remove the soil core and that you'll smash in the growing hole again. Smash, remove, repeat. Do this a few times and in ten minutes you'll have a nice pole hole almost two feet deep.
To build this awesome tool you don't need NASA's workshop - just a piece of big steel tube, a piece of toolwood and a bunch of basic tools.
Why making holes first?! Because our ground is so dense (high clay content) that it's quite impossible to drive poles in it without pre-drilling. And also because I'm using old poles that will split if you would drive them in the ground like new ones. I tried, I failed.
Step 2: Prepping the Tube
- clamp the tube and cut it to length (60 cm aka two feet)
- draw a line parallel to the side from the bottom till halfway
- cut a straight groove and hold the line
- use whatever you want to enlarge that groove, a burin works just fine
- if you're lucky to have a big bolt, insert it in the pipe and smash it as far as you can(it will open the groove everywhere the same)
- drill two holes in the ungrooved half of the tube, straigth through
- sand and sharpen the edges
- use goggles, earplugs and dust mask
Step 3: Prepping the Handle
Try to find a piece of tough wood (or recycle an old shovel handle), cut it to length (4 feet) and sand it. I used my very last leftover of the hughe amount of hazel I harvested last winter, so happy that I finally found a decent destination for this 'ugly duck' of the nest...
Step 4: Assembling
Put A in B by smashing on the top of the handle with a wooden hammer while YOU HOLD THE HANDLE (of Nimbus) FREELY (i.e. not placed on the ground). The chisel will move upwards and the sharp edge won't be damaged.
Do it, you'll see.
Step 5: Work Out!
Hold Nimbus with both hands and smash it in the ground - because of its weight this goes surprisingly well! Again and again. Remove the soil trapped inside the gauge regularly and repeat this workout until the entire gauge is beneath ground level.
Rain Update: when it rains, it works even better!
To plant that pole: poor some water at the base of the pole and in the hole (this will act as lubricant). Insert the pole in the hole and smash it with a wooden sledge hammer till it's anchored.
Seal the pole by smashing the hammer on the ground at the base of the pole.
Rock solid! Time to do the next one!
Hope you like it, and thanx for watching!
Step 6: Off the Record
Beside an excellent garden tool and a fast way to fly me from A to B, I discovered that this device has a lot of bonus features.
It appeared to be an excellent weapon against Balrogs - since I made it I haven't seen those creatures in our garden (coincedence?). Hit it on the ground and shout the magic words. Do this several times a day.
It's also extremely effective against zombies. You can use it sideways 'baseball-style' or frontways 'snooker-style'.
It can even be used against mosquito's - just set in on 'flamethrower'-mode.