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Good fences make good neighbours. Anuirean peasant proverb.
A fence is a series of upright poles hammered into the ground with bars crossing the uprights to create a barrier. The bars generally fit into carefully cut notches as nails are expensive. Fences keep livestock from wandering (in the main) either to keep them on a given patch of land or to keep them from a hazard. Fences are also used to mark territory. Any person can easily climb over a fence but it acts as a marker to make clear where the border lies and stops livestock straying. Fences generally have stiles to allow passage. These are steps or gaps designed to allow local people to pass, but not livestock, and so vary in design to suit the local animals.
The classic design, found across Anuire and Brechtur is the two-step stile which places two benches in an 'x' design through a section of fence. A more complex stile is the bastard stile which has a half gate (which is designed to close by itself) or the collapsing stile which allows the bars of the apparently normal section of fence to be pushed down at one end (the post at the other being carefully split to swing up). At its most simple a stile can however be a simple 'v' cut into the fence by the use of two uprights next to each other at slight angles to the vertical.
Fences are common where laying a hedge would be too time consuming, wood is fairly common, or boundaries are fluid and the border markers must be capable of being moved easily.

[top]Hurdle making

Hurdles are hinge-less field gates of light wood that are joined together to make rectangular enclosures for sheep. The hurdles are then used to 'fold' the sheep ? enclosing them first in one part of a field, and then slowly moving them across the field in an orderly fashion by adding and removing hurdles. So a square of hurdles might start in one corner of a field, a day or so later when that part of the field has been grazed (and fertilised) by the sheep the hurdle enclosure is moved. To move the enclosure three hurdles are added to one side of the hurdle square to form a second square, the common side is then removed, the sheep are driven through into the new square and the common side is replaced. The three sides of the old hurdle are then removed and placed on the other side of the new hurdle square to repeat the exercise the next day.
Hurdles are generally nailed into the ground to hold them in place, a sheep handler thus often carried a heavy mallet, and a fold bar, a vicious looking metal spike which is hammered into the ground to make a slot for the stakes at each end of the hurdle, but also has a circular bulge which fits over the top of the hurdle to protect it when it is hammered.
Key rules of hurdle making are:

[top]'Gate' type hurdles

  • 1. Tapering the tenons (horizontal bars) so that they push tightly into the uprights.

  • 2. Nailing them tightly whilst the wood of the bars is still green to prevent it from splitting (which it would do if dry).

  • 3. Shaping the heads of the tenons and the morticed holes in the uprights so that the pressure of the taper is exerted up/down, not side to side which would swiftly split the upright.

[top]Wattle (woven) hurdles

  • 1. Round (un riven) hazel is used for the first and last few inches, and also (for taller) hurdles intermediate bands to give strength to the hurdle.

  • 2. Riven (flat strips) of hazel is used for the rest of the hurdle to keep it light and because riven willow is easier to weave.

  • 3. Round hazel is also used for the end 'sails' (upright poles) as these again must be stronger.

  • 4. A hole is left through which a pole can by inserted to allow the hurdles to be easily carried over a shoulder.

  • 5. A mould is used until several rows of weaving has been done to give strength, the mould is slightly curved so that the weave tightens when the hurdle is straightened.

  • 5. The mould is generally made of a riven log, and has space for ten sails each 6-8 inches apart.

The type or hurdle used depends on the conditions (thick soils require stronger uprights, wet areas deter the use of woven hurdles) and type of animal to be contained (mountain sheep need woven hurdles to stop them from straying).
Hurdle making is generally done in summer by coppice workers, wattle hurdles are made and replaced more frequently, their makers carry bill-hooks to rive the willow, these are vicious looking long curved knives which easily rive the wood. Gate style hurdles require the use of a mortice drill, and a twyvil or chisel to then turn the drilled hole into a proper slot for the bars. A twyvil is a 'T' shaped tool, the cross bar of the T being shaped metal rounded at one end and sharp at the other to gouge out the wood.

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