The fence rows on my neighbor’s old farm are a little run down and over- grown. The old weathered cedar fence posts tend to blend in with the natural surroundings. Even the rusty-orange barbed wire tends to blend in with the brush vines.
It’s true that the old fence doesn’t do the job that new, painted metal fence post and shiny new barbed wire does but it still seems to have some unique character.
The 6 to 8 feet of land along both sides of the fence is a good place to find interesting plants. A thicket of wild plum grows around the corner of the fence row. The thorny thick branches are woven together by the vines of wild grape. Around the edges grow tall grass and black raspberries. This is a place that is often visited by quail, pheasants and rabbits.
Some of the old gray fence posts have a few streaks of whitewash down their sides. This is a telltale sign that a hawk or owl has been perching on top. The thick dry grass along the fence row is a good place to hunt for meadow voles. The hawk watches patiently from his perch atop the fence post hoping that he will spot his breakfast.
On this sunny, crisp fall morning the old fence line showed its true colors. Growing between two old posts was a vine that covered both posts and wires. Most of its leaves had fallen and the now exposed bright orange berries of the bittersweet were exposed. This has become a special sight in recent years because of the loss of habitat for the bittersweet vine. It needs a place where it can be left alone. A place not over grazed or plowed under or sprayed with poison.
Farming practices like those used by organic farmers can help to save many native plants.
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