There’s a time to build, and a time to tear down.
That’s an old philosophy, sometimes hard to comprehend. Everybody wants to progress, but taking away often isn’t that pleasant.
Reminder came to us as we’ve been tearing out three fences we helped build more than three decades ago. They were constructed at different times, as we converted uphill gumbo cropland into tame grass.
Corner hedge posts survived the test of time, although not standing straight. However, because the fence hadn’t been expected to contain livestock for years, wire and line posts were in disarray.
Everything we’ve done has generally been on a tight budget. Dad and Uncle Elmer grew up in the Depression, so we had the best teachers in making do with what was available.
There were a jillion kinds of wire used in the compilation, much of it rusted before being installed. With hundreds of mending splices, the wire was still broken in many places as we disassembled it.
Every type and length of factory-made steel post ever sold, along with varied diameters and lengths of pipe, bed railing and other steel pieces, were used as line posts.
Intermingled through the fence were sharpened hedge posts cut from a hedge row nearby. Many other wooden posts had deteriorated drastically or were non existent as we were deconstructing. The 2×4 lumber and electric-arm posts were rotten below the surface, but posts made by splitting electric poles survived due to creosote coating.
As we were finishing the clean-up, just yards away, a modern-day commercial construction crew was completing a five-wire barbed wire fence that gave little resemblance to the fence we built years ago, even on the day we finished it.
The new fence has steel corner posts, with tightly welded braces, all set in concrete. Shiny matching steel line posts have three-inch diameter steel pipe posts set in cement between every group of five to support livestock pressure.
It is a fence that Dad and Elmer could not have envisioned, but it will likely be standing strong for our great grandchildren or longer.
Of course, we remember Ecclesiastes 3:3: “A time to tear down, and a time to build up.” The lesson is repeated in Jeremiah 1:10: “Some you must uproot and destroy. Others you must build up and plant.”