Using What You’ve Got On The Homestead

by Texas Homesteader 

I’ve tried & tried to plant fruit trees around my garden or in our yard. But for some reason they simply will not grow in those locations. Recently I decided I wanted to try a pear tree since back in ‘the day’ all homesteads in this area had pear trees, as they were very easy to grow & could produce lots of fruit for the household. I decided not to plant it in my yard – both for my poor backyard soil issue as well as fallen fruit messes.

Instead I planted it a short distance from our yard. But this area is accessible to the cows. You know how cattle are – they love to rub on trees. This little sapling didn’t stand a chance if left unprotected. I needed a way to keep the cows away from it long enough to give it a fighting chance.  But I like to repurpose what we’ve already got to serve a need whenever possible. So I put on my thinking cap & started looking around the homestead for supplies.

Using an old hay ring to protect a sapling tree. I'm glad that I'm able to repurpose items to another use - not only good for the environment but good for the budget as well. #TexasHomesteader

One Item Good For A Different Use

We had an old hay ring that wasn’t very helpful these days for feeding the cattle. Years of use had caused it to be missing some of the top retainer rings. So we turned it upside down and placed it around the tree. This would allow the cows to poke their heads in & eat the grass close to the tree but not be able to reach the tree itself.

Unfortunately we discovered the cows still rub on the ring and pushed it right over our poor little sapling. I guess when you have a 1,500 lb animal rubbing on something it really needs to be stabilized. But against all odds it looks like there are tiny buds trying to sprout on the tree again. I thought for sure it was a goner. But surprisingly it sprouted back.

Not to be deterred RancherMan installed two full-sized t-posts on either end of the ring, pounded deep into the ground. He then double-wired each of  them in several places along their length to the ring. He added rebar to opposing sides of the ring and wired them in as well, thereby anchoring the ring from all four sides. This should certainly keep this protective ring from moving.

Then I used some nylon baling twine that was left after feeding hay to the cows to tie up the tree to three sides of the ring so the strong spring winds that are so prevalent here won’t rock the tree too hard. This should allow this little tree to dig its roots deep into the soil and finally have a chance to grow strong.

Using an old hay ring to protect a sapling tree. I'm glad that I'm able to repurpose items to another use - not only good for the environment but good for the budget as well. #TexasHomesteader

This little pear tree has been such a trooper and I’m anxious to see how it takes off this spring.  And I’m glad that I’m able to give it a fighting chance by using items we already had on the ranch to protect it. Repurposing items to another use is not only good for the environment but good for the budget (and the TREE) as well.


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29 thoughts on “Using What You’ve Got On The Homestead

  1. Betsy @ BPhotoArt

    It’s so tough to wait for trees to get big and strong. My toddler helped me plant seedling trees (literally 2 inches tall) and I had to put them in a garden pot so we wouldn’t lose them in the garden! Thanks for sharing at Happiness is Homemade ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      You’re so right Betsy. I notice this little pear tree is sprouting from the bottom so I’m basically starting over with it but at least now it’s protected. ~TMR~

  2. daisy

    My, isn’t that a lucky tree to have such creative owners. We love using what we already have too.
    Thanks for sharing this on The Maple Hill Hop!

  3. The Quintessential Magpie

    Awwwww… I hope it makes it. Sounds like a fighter to me.

    I lived on a farm when I was little, and we had a pear orchard. I have always loved pears as a consequence. Barbed wire kept our cattle at bay. I have to smile at their determination to rub the railing and yours to stabilize it. Surely the little tree knows you love it and will provide pears for you for years to come!



    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Although sometimes I question my methods, I planted this tree in a pen we use to sort and transfer cows so it gets a fairly high volume of traffic. Barbed wire was going to be my second choice but it would just have to be large enough to circle this tree. Thankfully we had this ring and it wasn’t being used for anything else. It sure works perfectly here! ~TMR~

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  6. Candy C.

    Poor little tree! I hope it makes it and gives you lots and lots of pears! ๐Ÿ™‚
    We have a dwarf Kieffer Pear tree and it REALLY produces and I love the pears, crisp like an apple! We had to put corral panels around our Arizona Ash tree down by the barn to keep the horses and goats from eating it.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes Candy I’m hearing that these pears are delicious & crisp. RancherMan absolutely L-O-V-E-S my pear preserves & I’m hoping this tree will provide him with much happiness… ~TMR~

  7. Judy

    Our neighbor has a Keifer from back when his house was the farmhouse for this area. It seems to be impervious to disease and bugs. The fruit is hard but juicy and delicious. I froze chunks of the pears and that worked well. I love their tree and hope I plant one some day.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Judy, I kept the tag & would have to look it up but it seems like it was a Keifer. I contacted my local extension agent (pure GOLD in my opinion) and asked for varieties that do best in my part of NE Texas. Whatever she recommended is what I went with. It is a tough little tree. ~TMR~

  8. Patricia

    Oh my goodness!
    I had a chuckle at this for a couple of reasons. 1) been there and done that. Trying to get fruit trees to grow–Not the easiest of homesteading tasks!
    2.) while I like to repurpose as much as the next homesteader (I know nothing about HAY RINGS (old or new)…so question. Does that thing come a part? If not, how will you remove it once the tree is big enough to ‘STAND ALONE’… like the proverbial cheese?

    Now you see why I had a chuckle…. because my mind just takes off like a run away train, sometimes.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LOL Patricia! Yes, the hay ring bolts into 3 sections so it will be easy to remove once the tree is big enough to hold its own. Thanks for giving me my own little chuckle this morning… ~TMR~

      1. Sharon

        That’s funny…the first thought that crossed my mind when I saw the picture was exactly the same! Great minds think alike, LOL!


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