Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Country Morning

It would be nice if farming was always as peaceful as our pictures make it out to be. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Weeds grow in the garden, bugs eat the plants, tractors break, it rains for weeks on end and animals get out of their fences. We know these mishaps are part of living on a farm, and usually Farmer John and I can handle them calmly. Sometimes we can’t.

Saturday morning started as it normally does. We were sleeping in because Farmer John didn’t get home until 3am from a trip for his real job. I got up with Badger around 8am and we went for a walk. During the walk, I saw two cows out of their new fence. They were deep into the hayfield munching away. This was frustrating, but I figured I could get the two of them back in without bugging Farmer John.
Before I go on, let me explain the new fence. Our helpful visitors from a couple weeks ago helped us put it up. We wanted to get the cattle on some fresh grass for a little while, so the fence was meant to be temporary. The posts are fiberglass, with an insulator in the middle and a topper. We strung two lines of electric rope, attached it to the electric fence and that was that. Happy cows on lush grass. (There was a chunk of time spent untangling a giant knot of electric rope. A knot that only 8 hands and 6 college degrees could untangle.)
Back to Saturday morning- I walked back towards the field with good intentions of putting the cows back where they belonged. At which point I discovered that the ENTIRE length of new fence was down. Toppers were not on top of the posts, the electric rope was all over the ground, and the rest of the cattle were grazing their way into the hayfield. Obviously, cattle, deer, or some other crepuscular individuals thought it was a good idea to string our new fence, and all the insulators, across the new pasture. This job called for teamwork!

Down into the pasture rode Farmer John on his trusty four-wheeler, in a blaze of cattle-rage. His hair was red, his eyes were red, his blood was boiling and a tapestry of swear words came coursing out of his mouth. He herded ALL the cows back to the proper side of the fence. And let me just say that being in a wet hayfield, with cows running around, horns swinging, and a noisy four-wheeler zooming past is not the way I like to start my mornings- especially when I haven’t had my coffee yet!

Here’s how the rest of the project went. Farmer John stood guard as I searched for missing insulators and re-strung the electric rope. He chased the cattle back to their pasture many times. For some reason they were in the mood to stampede. One of the red cows was especially persistent in trying to cross to the hayfield. Finally, the fence was back where it belonged and so were the cows. The fence was plugged in and Farmer John checked the voltage.
Then it was time to have some coffee and change out of our pajamas and muck boots.

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