Our fences need fixing. Oh boy do they. It's been a constant battle to keep the damned cattle where they're supposed to be.
Right now our herd is split. The bull, steer, and cows/heifers without calves are in the woods. The cows who have calves are in the driveway so they don't get sucked down by the knee-deep mud the constant rain has produced. (It's only ankle-deep in the driveway.)
But those delineations are by no means perfect. The Brat Pack -- our term for the yearling calves -- long ago learned that fences are merely suggestions, not orders. Accordingly they move in and out virtually at will. Amazing how well a yearling can jump a fence when she has a mind to.
But having the animals moving between the woods and the driveway area is no big deal. The big deal comes when assorted animals go gamboling across our neighbors' properties, heedless of boundaries and happily kicking up their heels. Grrrr.
For the last month we've been patching and mending and doing whatever it takes to keep the beasties where they're supposed to be. When the bull got out after we'd fixed the lower fence, we found he'd bulldozed ("bull" is in that term for a reason!) his way under the fence. Grrrr.
So we went down and pounded in a couple extra T-posts...
...and even utilized whatever natural anchors were already in place.
With a fence line this superb, you wouldn't think even a chicken could slip through, right?
And apparently it worked, at least for the bull. He hasn't escaped since. But our Houdini-inspired Brat Pack still gets out. Every day. Sometimes twice a day.
"Is there a problem, officer?"
"Yeehaa!!! Whee! Can't catch us!"
Eventually they'd get nervous being so far away from the rest of the herd, and would docilely allow us to scoot them back home, the little turds. This was getting to be a twice-a-day occurrence. In a word, OLD.
So anyway, back to fences. The stretch along the road was merely four strands of barbed wire. Contrary to popular belief, barbed wire is functionally useless as a deterrent to a bunch of snotty adolescent cattle who want to raise a ruckus on someone else's land. What helps deter them is when you screw these twisty things called droppers or stays down through the strands of wire. The droppers hold the strands of wire rigidly in place so a recalcitrant cow can't push the strands apart.
But, naturally, droppers are expensive. And we'd need a couple hundred of them. Cha-ching!
So Don, ever frugal, did some research online and learned that a stout stick laced through the strands of barbing and then wired in place would serve the same function. That's one thing we have in abundance around here -- stout sticks!
So on a day the girls and I went into the city for music and gymnastics lessons, Don put on mud boots and gloves and gathered sticks. Then he started wiring the sticks through the strands of barbed wire. He got about halfway done -- an excellent job!
Except, of course, the Brat Pack just pushed through the part he hadn't yet done and went gamboling about on the neighbor's land. Grrrr.
Meanwhile the weather was disintegrating once more into endless days of endless rain, making outdoor work nasty and uncomfortable. But faithfully, twice a day, the four of us were out on our neighbor's property chasing the %$@#$% Brat Pack back inside the fences. We really needed to finish patching the road side. But the weather was so nasty...
So this afternoon while Don disappeared into the shop to work on some nesting boxes for the chicken coop, I gathered the girls and we snuck into the woods and gathered stout sticks, despite the rain. Loading them into a wheelbarrow along with wire and nippers, we completed the half of the road fence Don hadn't had a chance to finish. He didn't "catch" us until we were finished, hee hee. We got soaked and freezing cold, but it was worth it!
Tomorrow will be the test to see if the Brat Pack manages to slip through our efforts...