Sweden is awesome! Part Two

So on Monday I mentioned my geek out about emissions ratings on new cars. Brace yourself for another geek out–this time about FENCES. If you’re thinking about those people with skinny swords who go around stabbing each other…

(I found this photo here: http://sassyfencer.blogspot.se/2011_07_01_archive.html and I have no idea what the context is!)

… I’m not talking about that kind of fencing. [Note: fencers! don’t be offended! I just get more worked up about the stuff that keeps livestock contained.] In fact, I’m talking about this kind of fencing…

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This is nice, right?

The first thing I noticed in Sweden that seemed distinctly Swedish was this type of fencing. This probably says that I pay too much attention to fencing… but this fencing is very distinctive, hard to miss. It works equally well on level places or going on slopes which is ideal for this kind of terrain. It works well with a variety of livestock, including goats. Since goat-proof fencing is basically a gold standard, that says something.

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None of the poles are spectacularly strong, I suppose, on their own. In this formation, however, the fence makes an excellent visual barrier, meaning that it is less likely to be tested (by animals pushing against it). Additionally, the way the fence is put together makes it very sturdy while still being composed of lightweight materials. Even better, making these fences requires few tools.

It does take a certain amount of skill, however. The two vertical sections of the fence are bound together with what appears to be a strip of bark/young wood wetted, wrapped, and dried into a cross piece. The horizontal poles rest on these. Although it is a clear design, it requires a certain knowledge of the appropriate materials to make it strong and long-lasting.

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As with many things, when the skills are lost (or limited to very few people), the work can become very (even prohibitively) expensive. The materials for these fences are readily available in Sweden (LOTS of trees, I have never seen so many trees!), but the skills may not be. Although the fences are quite different from typical fences in the U.S., the issue of a somewhat dying skill is familiar. Happily, it seems that more people are taking an interest in learning how to do this, so it should be a skill that remains.

 

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