Sunday, January 30, 2005

“Lefty” and the Snake Rail Fence

Parts of the fence line along the north side boundary are sections of either post and wire fence or snake rail fence. Snake rail fencing is quite simply the stacking of usually cedar logs split to a 7 to 10 cm. (3 to 4 in.) diameter and layed in a zig zag pattern. Each log would be stacked alternately with the log in the ajacent section until it reached a height of about a metre (~ 3 feet.) The length of the logs were generally less than 2.5 metres, (~8 feet) long. Although not very sophisticated, it is quite an old practice used by the pioneers in Canada.

While walking along the snake rail portion of the fence I came across scratch marks on a trunk of a cedar tree that closely resembled scratches left by a cat sharpening its claws. Figuring that there must be an animal nearby, I looked up, obviously and saw above me a 15 to 20 kg. (33 to 44 lb.) Porcupine high up in a clump of cedars. One digit on the left front paw of the poor animal was bent upwards as though it was broken and set wrong. The creature had pretty impressive claws on its front paws that were easily 2 to 3 cm. (+/- 1 in.) long.

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