Yesterday and today we fenced. We have some old, crappy fencing that keeps me awake at night while I figure the many possibilities of one or two of our young, sweet heifers (read “fucking heifers”) getting out. It turns out number 78 or 64 is playing with the temporary zappy fence. Bitch! She bobbles it around like the x number of volts snapping her head means nothing. Ug. But for the last two days we’ve not had any herding-fun-with-heifers™ so things are good. I think the girls are digging their new rectangle. Gordito gets out all the time, but quickly runs back to his mum. Brent says this is the way it works with the little ones. They sneak out for the good grass and then get back with the herd without issue.
Now let me tell you, I’ve never fenced in my life. I’ve never thought about how one would fence. I’ve never researched or googled “fencing.” I basically know nothing. And it turns out, I have no natural ability to fence. BUT, with Brent’s coaching, I’m starting to pick up the little tricks with running a line of fence. I’m not talking about a little Seattle backyard fence. I’m guessing I could figure that out, no problem. No, I’m talking about fencing 400 meters or so of fence (that’s 1,312 feet to you and me) where you can’t see the corner post you’re trying to get to. As we started doing this, I quickly reminisced of second grade math “word problems” where Farmer Bill needs to build a fence around so-and-so acres with blah-blah feet between posts, how many posts will Farmer Bill need? Who knew second grade math would hit home so late in life?! I remember thinking to myself, “what a bullshit question. Like when in the hell will I ever use this? This is bullshit!” Here’s the drill (now mind you my little, sweet (read super sweet cute) newborn is safe and snuggy warm near us napping. The minute her eyes close our fencing effort is on) The heifers are close by looking like they want to break through the flimsy temp wire we have there continually challenging their “grass is greener” urge. Newborn sleepy == good. Heifers in their rectangle == good. With each post I check this state is valid. The posts are laid out and we start at the beginning pushing them in with the tractor. Brent drives the tractor and I work out the post. So, my husband drives a very large, very heavy vehicle at me while I give him super clear instruction on when to stop and when to lift or go down. He drives at me while I hold the post, I signal “come closer.” If I want him to go back I signal “go back.” When he’s in the right spot I signal “go down” which means lower the fork to touch the post. If it isn’t aligned, I signal “go up” so I can realign. After many posts in and out, Brent got very good at alignment so I’d simply do a thumbs up sign as to tell him “all was good” but that looks very much like “go up.” Thankfully after twelve years of marriage, he knew what I meant. The first two posts gave us an incredibly steep learning curve and then we knocked them in fairly quickly.
Both of us being perfectionist, we slipped our “cheap, peasant farmer” hat on which answered the question “what would a French peasant farm do?” that allowed us to loosen up our strict line and post depth. At that point, those babies went in quickly.
Very little of the farm is fenced so I’m working with Brent to do the bulk of the fencing in while our little one is laying around whacking toys. When she gets all mobile, it’ll be a huge challenge to get this stuff done. After the few episodes of heifer herding, I’m hoping to get a nice solid three wire perimeter fence up. That way, if the cows get all crazy, it’ll be our own damn fault and we won’t bother anyone else. Someday, not sure if it’ll be Gordito, we’ll get a bull and I’d like to keep Mr. Man with his bitches. There are a few neighboring farms and I hope not to run into any bull-meets-bull situation. But before that magical moment, we’ll use Artifical insemination. Which means I will hire a guy with a long glove to get jiggy with it. No, I will not be wearing the long glove myself. Mark my words. …