I've had a passion for Weave and Wattle fences and boarders for about 20 years. Ever since my friend and colleague Laurie Fagan did a feature on a Weave and Wattle artisan using twigs to weave fences I'd fallen for the art form. I started cutting out pictures in gardening magazines and when Youtube and Pinterest came along I studied every possible style and technique. I loved the organic form of the Weave and Wattle, I loved the natural flow at the edge of a garden. I knew some day I wanted to have Weave and Wattle on the farm. The only thing ustopping me was time, or the lack of time.
So now I'm retired and it's time to make my dreams a reality.
Today I got my tools together. A shovel, a sledge hammer, long armed pruners, hand pruners, and wheelbarrow and headed out to the front paddock. I decided to start with a small project. Or at least what I thought was a small project. I would make a natural horse jump between two fence posts between the paddock in the front lawn and my jump field. I thought I'd make a 2.5 foot high Weave and Wattle fence that would act as a ground line and then plant some flowering shrubs behind it like roses or rhododendrons, that would be the jump.
I have a bunch of weed trees around the property so I set out and cut bunches and bunches of sapplings that I was going to use for the Wattle (that's the spikes branches that provide the skeleton) and Weave. That wasn't hard but it is boring mindless work and I found myself having to remind me that this is a project I've been dreaming about for years so don't give up as the fun is about to begin. Once I had all the branches cut I started trying to stick them into the ground. I thought I could just shove them in as the ground is still soft at my place and the branches are pointy. No such luck the bendy twigs just bended they didn't stick into the ground. They poked into my fingers and bent a couple of fingernails as well. So out came the shovel and slits were made along the row and twigs or Wattle got jammed into the ground.
At this point I had to take a break. My legs were tired from all the up and down and my knees were complaining that they'd never thought a Weave and Wattle fence was very interesting in the first place. So into the house and to sit down for a coffee and have a heart to heart with my protesting body about "no pain no gain" when it comes to Weave and Wattle. I do a lot of talking to myself since I retired. I find I'm rather boring but I do tend to pay more attention to me than talking with the cats and the horses. They think I'm dead boring.
Back at it after convincing myself that the Weave part of the job would be far more interesting than the Wattle. After about 10 minutes of trying to bend weedy twigs around weedy branches I realized it wasn't that much fun and that Weave and Wattle is just a lot of hard boring work. I stood up, and kneeled down over the next two hours. I snipped and wrestled with twigs, bending and snapping and pulling them into some kind of a basket type weave. I would go from one end to the other, over and over again until my hands cried out "Uncle". At which point I stood up and decided to take a photo of my work. I'm only one third done but it is actually starting to look something like the Weave and Wattle horse jump that I imagined....sort of. Now if I can walk tomorrow I plan on finishing off. I just have this to say, Weave and Wattle is bloody hard work. Rackin Frackin manual labour sucks.