Don’t Fence Me In~Paty Jager, guest blogger

A rousing wildflower welcome to Paty Jager today! Paty lives on a real-life ranch and writes awesome western romance. She’s taking Tanya’s place (who’s recovering from Hawaiian jetlag!) and giving away a copy of Davis: Letters of Fate to one lucky commenter. Please check back tomorrow to see whose name flew out of the Stetson!


Fence- that partition between yards that makes for good neighbors. A fence keeps the neighbor’s animals from traipsing through your garden, yard, or field. It’s also a good way to make a clear distinction on boundaries between properties.


Fences have been around for thousands of years. The first ones were built of stone, wood, ditches, and growing plants. When people came to America, they brought with them the types of fences they knew. You’ll find many stone fences in the eastern United States that are still standing.


But as people moved west, they found areas without rocks and few trees. They had to come up with fencing that could be put up quickly and easily and was easy to transport.

There were a handful of men both in the U.S. and Europe who started designing a better, light-weight type of fence. Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio was issued the first patent in the U.S. for barbed wire. This was in 1867. It was found that the sharp barbs or strips of metal wound into the smooth wire was the best deterrent to keep cattle inside fences.

In 1874, Joseph F. Glidden of Dekalb, Illinois received the patent for the modern version we see today.

Depending on where you live you’ll see this cattle corralling wire called by several names: barbed wire, barb wire, bob wire or bobbed wire.

Not only did the early farmers and ranchers put up fences to keep their animals in and others out, they also could section off areas, moving animals from pasture to pasture when the feed became short, allowing it to grow back. Fences made animal husbandry easier. It also took away jobs from cowhands. With the fences, less men were needed to keep the animals in an area while they grazed.

Fencing in the 1800’s required a shovel to dig a hole for the posts, wood posts, barb wire, and fence pliers. The holes were dug, the posts “planted”, and then the barb wire was stretched from one corner of the fence to the other and stapled to the posts.

In the early 1900’s they came up with a post hole digger. It had two handles and basically two shovels that you shoved into the ground, pulled the handles apart, and scooped the dirt out of the perfectly round hole. My family used this type while I was growing up and my husband’s family had one.


These days there are many auger type post hole diggers. But the way my husband and I put corner posts and gate posts in the ground is with a backhoe. We use reject power poles for our brace posts. They can be as much as 12-18 inches in diameter.20160906_154324-3

When building a fence you need good sturdy brace posts. These are at corners and gates. These posts need to be set in the ground well to withstand the tension of the stretched wire. It’s a good idea to have a brace post on either side of the corner post. It helps to keep the corner post from being pulled one way or the other by the tight wire.

The first book of my Letters of Fate historical western romance series, Davis, deals a bit with fences and one rancher who uses fences to gather more land than he owns.


Davis: Letters of Fatedavis-1018x1600-5

Widowed with two small children and a ranch to run, Mariella Swanson knows she needs help, but isn’t sure her heart, or neighbors, will accept her marrying a stranger. When the greenhorn shows up, smoking a pipe and wearing a derby hat, she can’t help but wonder if agreeing to this marriage may prove to be her biggest mistake.

When Davis Weston receives a letter from his sister asking him to marry a friend, he scoffs at the idea. However, losing his wife and son has left him a lonely man, and the whispers from others that he didn’t do enough to save his family has gone on long enough. His arrival in Oregon may be worse—these neighbors are doing more than whispering. Guns and horses aren’t his forte. He’s willing to learn, but is he willing to love again?

Historical western filled with steamy romance and the rawness of a growing country.

Windtree press





Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. She has garnered a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure and received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what readers have to say about the Letters of Fate series- “…filled with romance, adventure and twists and turns.” “What a refreshing and well written love story of fate and hope!”

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22 thoughts on “Don’t Fence Me In~Paty Jager, guest blogger”

  1. Enjoyed the post. Up until a year ago I still had a set of post hole diggers like the one you pictured–we called them clamshells.

    • HI Estella, As a child I remember the post hole digger pictured. It was noted in the research I found that they could also be called clamshells. It probably depends on what region you live in. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

    • Hi Debra G. Yes, As with everything else, fences have improved over the years. They even have fancy things you can hook to a tractor to put the roll of wire on and then drive your tractor along the fence line. Hubby and I use a metal rod in the middle of the spool and we walk along the posts. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

  2. I love those post hole diggers! I wouldn’t have been able to put up our fence as fast without them. Great “post”! 😉

    • Hi Susan P.,
      My hubby and I have used post hole diggers a lot. In fact, one of the handles broke on ours a few years ago and we had to buy a new handle. Though these days we put in more steel posts and wood. So we use a post hole driver. That would be whole other post. ;)Thanks for stopping in and sharing your post hole adventures!

  3. Hi Paty, so nice to see you here once again! I wish you tons of success with Davis–that’s some inviting cover and great blurb! I live in a beach suburb so enjoyed learning about ranch fencing. xo

  4. Great post! Good fences are a must! Pesky cows love to find weak spots in fences and out they go. Mending fences is hard work but it’s got to be done. Riding the range and checking fences…a full time job!

    • Hi Melanie, Yes, there’s always at least one cow in every herd that likes to find the whole and tell everyone else this is the way out. LOL Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  5. We have a post hole digger like the one above. It works well in most cases, but the red clay soil here in TN is difficult to cut into. We were only fencing off a 25 by 60 ft garden, so we didn’t have to put in that many. When we built the peacock pen, we had 4 x 4’s to sink and that took some doing since they needed to be a bit deeper. An auger or backhoe is the only way to go if you are working on pastures for cows and horses. Our daughter and her family borrowed ours as well as the “pounder,” I really don’t know what else to call it, to drive in metal fenceposts. They work fine for her sheep and llamas.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

    • Patricia B.,
      It does make a difference what kind of soil you have for how well the diggers work. Where we lived before there was so much rock you had a jarring experience every time you sunk the digger in the ground. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  6. Enjoyed the post, Paty. Putting in fences must have been slow, hard work. Looking forward to reading Davis.

  7. Great post Paty, we still have a set of fence post here and yes we have used them a few times over the years. We still have a lot of rock fences here in this area. So they are still use some today.

  8. Hi Quilt Lady!
    We have to use rock cribs at the corner of pastures to keep the wire tight because the sandy soil does hold the posts tight. Thanks for stopping by. Haven’t seen you around for a while.

  9. Interesting post, Paty. My family had a post-hole digger as pictured. I’ve no idea what happened to it. Hmmm! What struck me was your comment that with fences there was less need for cowboys. I think automation, computers and robots have made our lives easier but also eliminated many jobs. At least there are still cowboys in some parts of the US.

  10. Paty – Enjoyed your post about the post hole diggers. No matter what kind of fence you are working on, it’s a lot of physical work. Those critters always find a way to get through a hole somewhere. Your book sounds awesome….marrying someone you don’t know, you have to be desperate, in those days a lot of women were. Thanks for a chance to win a copy of your book.

  11. Hi Lois,
    That’s true animals are always looking for a way out. Many people back in the 1800s were desperate to keep their way
    Of life even if it meant marrying a stranger. Thank you for stopping in and commenting.

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