Roads Become Gullies

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might remember a few posts where I try to determine where old roads run on my property. I have one official county road through my property, and one 4-wheel drive federal road that connects to that road. Even though I can trace those roads back 80 years or so, they weren’t the first roads on my property.

From satellite photos, I can see the remnants of other older roads that must have gone through my property over 100 years ago. I managed to capture one in the correct light and get a picture of it in my my post, “Mystery of the Forgotten Road.”

Forgotten Road Across Dove Ranch
One of the old forgotten roads through my property.

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Boundary Survey

I’m working on a fence, but haven’t known exactly where the property boundary is, so I’ve been looking into getting a boundary survey done. I figured a survey of my 80 acres would be as expensive as the property was. That has scared me away from getting the survey done. However, I really needed a survey if I am going to put up a fence along the property line.

I ended up finding Boundary Consultants. I liked their website, and they sounded like they had a lot of experience, so I asked for a quote. David Hawkes quoted me $2500 for the survey and said he could have it done within a week. He included the boundary survey and line stakes every 100 feet, so I would know where I could put my fence.

That quote happened to be exactly what I had saved up, so I went ahead and had them do it.  I needed the peace of mind a survey brings.

Cropped Boundary Survey
Bridget and I paid for a survey of our property, so we’d know where to put the fence.

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Setting My First Terminal Post

So my wife told me I couldn’t go up to Dove Ranch this weekend, because I’ve been up there every week for the last month. But I got all this new fencing material, and it’s like a new toy. You can’t just go two or three weeks without playing with a new toy.

So, yeah, she relented and I went up while she was working. The kids were all out of the house for the day, so it was a solo trip. Sometimes, it is nice to do a solo run to Dove Ranch.

For such a remote location, Dove Ranch and Dove Creek Road keep changing while I’m not looking. When I went to water the trees this weekend, all the mulch I had put around three or four trees had been swept away. That means water at least knee deep and likely closer to thigh deep came through the wash.

I have no idea when a flash flood will come through the wash or what kind of rain triggers it. I would have thought a flash flood would have come down on the day Bridget and I did the hike up the Dove Creek Hills, but I checked and none came. I can’t seem to catch flash floods with my trail cam. They never trigger the motion sensor, or their is fog or raindrops on the lens when flash floods come. I’m dying to get some good pictures of flash floods in the wash, but it’s really hard to capture them on camera.

Cattle Guard
Looks like Dove Creek Road is getting a shiny new cattle guard.

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My Fence Came

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m constructing a barbed wire pipe fence at Dove Ranch. I ordered the first set of parts from Hoover Fence online, not because they were cheap, but because they had all the parts I needed in just one location (their web site.)

Pipe Fence Parts
My barbed wire pipe fence has arrived!

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Designing the Barbed Wire Pipe Fence

Dove Ranch sits in the middle of open range land. What that means is that it is my responsibility to keep cattle off my land, not the cattle owner’s responsibility to keep the cattle contained. I’ve determined I want an all metal fence instead of a metal fence with wooden posts, mostly because of the brush fire risk in Utah. Finally, I realized what I wanted for my ranch is a barb wire pipe fence.

Think of a barb wire pipe fence as a hybrid of chainlink fences and barb wire fences. They’re a little pricy, but very sturdy and fire resistant. Barb wire pipe fences aren’t really documented well on the internet. I’ve searched for months for information, and I finally had to just go look at some to figure out how they’re done.

What I really could have used when I started thinking of creating a barb wire pipe fence was a good set of diagrams with part lists. I’m sure someone that works in the industry could have figured this out in less than a minute, but I’m a newb, so it took me months to figure out. When I started looking at them last year, I didn’t even know the metal posts were simply sold as “pipe.” I did mention I was new to this, … right?

Terminal Pipe Post Diagram

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Barbed Wire Pipe Fence

I’ve been torn between doing a traditional barbed wire fence with wooden posts and a barbed wire fence with pipe for posts. Pipe is going to cost a lot more, but if some idiot starts a brushfire up near my ranch, a pipe fence will survive far better than a fence put together with wooden posts.

Brush fires are a real possibility at Dove Ranch, and could easily undo a year or two of fence work in a matter of minutes. Yeah. I’ve talked myself into doing a barbed wire pipe fence. The problem is that even though they’re common in this part of the west, finding documentation on how to do them is not well documented. So, I’ve taken it on myself to put together some documentation on how to do them while putting together my first 100-ft section of barbed wire pipe fence.

Barbed Wire Pipe Fence
Barbed wire pipe fence I used as an example.

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Thank You UDOT

I can’t wait to visit Dove Ranch next spring. I already have tons of work I want to do, and every weekend that I have an extra eight hours, I wish I could go up there. However, Dove Creek Road that runs through my ranch is unmaintained even though it is a county road. That means there is zero snow removal. Also, it means there are plenty of places you can get a vehicle stuck for months on end in the winter without anyone coming by to give you any help. Still, I just can’t wait to get up there when the snow melts, and the road dries enough to be passable.

My dilemma, … I have to drive a six-hour round trip in the spring just to find out if the snow has melted enough that I can get to my ranch. I’m a pretty busy guy between working on my fiction blog, my shogi app, and my writing app. Oh yeah, and don’t forget 40+ hours per week on that pesky day job. Six hours for a wasted trip to find out Dove Creek Road is still unpassable is not my idea of a great Saturday outing.

UDOT Camera
A winter sunset on a remote stretch of state route 30 near Rosette.

Spring snow melt isn’t the only time snow is an issue. In the autumn, I base my last trip to Dove Ranch by whether the snow has come down to 5000 feet in Rosette, Utah. But, I can’t know about the snow in and around Rosette without doing the six-hour round trip drive. I don’t know anyone in the area that I can call up and ask for snow totals and weather updates.

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Buying the Land

We got the land!

My wife and I signed for it, and the county recorded it. We’re the proud owners of 79 point something acres of dirt and sagebrush.  It’s actually closer to 80 acres, so I’ll probably call it 80 instead of 79 acres most of the time.

Funny, I was looking for just over one acre to grow some fruit trees, and all we could afford was 80 acres. All the 1+ acre parcels we looked at were four to ten times more expensive than this 80 acre parcel. Life works out that way sometimes.

Ranch Outer Dimensions
The ranch measures 1/2 mile by 1/4 mile. It totals nearly 80 acres. It’s a real fixer upper.

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Finding the Farm

I’ve been dreaming of buying my own chunk of dirt for almost 20 years. You’d think that growing up in a rural community I’d be thinking, “Hey! Why don’t I start a farm?” But really, I just wanted somewhere to stretch out and have a few apple trees.

Originally, I was thinking of buying a piece of land back in my home state of New York. I watched real estate there in the mid 1990’s. I found several multi-acre chunks of land for very reasonable prices. I fantasized about purchasing one, then I watched land prices inflate beyond my ability to purchase more than a small bit of an acre.

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