After eight years of running grass-fed beef on our farm, the fence is in some need of mending. Cattle are just tough on fences. I remember when we first got cattle and I set up our pastures with two strands of hotwire; I was being really cautious considering my dairy farm neighbors used only one hotwire to keep the cows off the road. Our first batch of cows arrived, unloaded from the trailer and up and left. They had never seen a hotwire or experienced it, got a little shock and kept on moving. Now I was the one in shock. We spent the better part of that day rounding up cows and the better part of the next week building five strand barbwire fences to contain the critters. I am never going to leave a good night’s sleep to a few skinny strands of wire with electricity running through them. So we do our best to keep them in and fix all the obvious and potential “escape” routes.
This week we started fixing up the non-cow barbwire fence along the road. We used to run cattle along this part of the pasture, but now it mostly carries the hotwire to where the cattle graze during the summer. This fence was hammered last year, not by cows, but by cars. Yes, cars. Most of the time, when someone hits it, they back out and head on their way, with a few scratches to their car as souvenirs.
One time, I was walking out to my field and saw that someone had done a few donuts. This was a head scratcher. I thought that maybe my boys were having a little fun, but they had never seen the Dukes of Hazard. I must admit that I would like to do donuts sometime, just not when the field is planted! Well, it wasn’t a Klesick. Someone had driven through the fence into the planted field, spun around and driven back through the fence at a different spot. Two holes to fix!
My favorite all time story happened on one of those rainy October nights. I looked out the back windows of the house and I saw headlights driving through my field. A young man in a Civic had caught the edge of the road (he wasn’t drinking) and it pulled his car into our fence. He went right in between two fence posts and kept driving until his car got stuck. I was impressed that he was able to drive as far as he did. We towed him out and he came back on an agreed upon day to fix the fence with us. I am sure that having the Sheriff take his contact information was plenty of encouragement to return.
Well, as you could imagine, cattle are hard on fences, but teenagers are harder. So we are busy overhauling this fence and, hopefully, I might get a year or two off before I need to mend it.