There I was, having ‘a moment’, staring at the fence post still firmly entrenched in the dirt. I had dug out around it, all the way down past the top of the wider blade that helps stabilize it in the ground. I had rocked it back and forth. I had spoken to it about its stubborn attitude. Now, I was taking in a ‘certain tone of voice’ while speaking to my husband, explaining to him that he can’t be the first of us to die, as is his plan, because I am obviously helpless. But he wasn’t listening, since he wasn’t home from work yet.
When he did get home, he kissed me and said I needed some leverage. He went to his work shop and brought out a heavy, six foot long chain and a steel pry bar, about an inch in diameter and roughly five feet long. Then, he looked around for a good sized rock or log. I found him the log.
The log was placed on one side of the fence post. Next, one end of the pry bar was set on top of the log so that it was up against the fence post. The chain was twisted and wrapped around the pry bar and the post. The trick was to use some figure eights and to try to get the chain links to catch on themselves and the bumps on the side of the fence post. When the chain was sufficiently gripping the post and itself, the other end of the pry bar was lifted slowly, using leg power (and not back power). The fence post slowly slipped up, out of the dirt. He made it look easy, but now it was my turn and there were three more fence posts to extract.
There was more of a slope near the next fence post in the row. He pointed out that I would get better leverage if I was downhill from the post. It took me a few times to get the chain to stick in place, but finally I was working the bar …. like a girl. I kept the force steady, not giving in to the exasperation of feeling wimpy. I did not want to to be the item that went flying or got skewered from this thing called ‘leverage.’ As I exerted myself against the bar, I had to assume a variety of positions and different angles with my arms, but I made sure that most of the power, such as it was, was coming from my legs. I made progress, though, and it wasn’t too long before the fence post had been worked loose.
My husband went in for his late dinner, leaving me to the two remaining posts. I kept refining my chain wrapping techniques and was soon enough on to post number four. That is when I saw my neighbor in my peripheral vision, making a bee line for me.
This friendly neighbor had seen me through his window and decided I was going to hurt myself. He is a rancher, semi-retired, and knows a lot about fence posts. He was ready to take over, but I told him, “No, I need to to this myself. Greg is teaching me about leverage.” The neighbor laughed, then told me that D&B Supply sells a neat tool that makes removing fence posts very easy. Unfortunately, his neat tool was at the ranch. I said that since I only remove a few fence posts every few years, that might not be a good investment for me. He agreed and watched in amazement while I worked that last fence post free.
I can’t say I’m excited about removing more fence posts, but I am happy they are out, and without straining my back or catapulting me to the next county. It was a simple, inexpensive method that can be applied to more situations than just fence posts. And, maybe I’m not quite so helpless anymore, but I’m still not saying that my husband has my permission to die first.