Monday, 1 December 2014

Good fences make good neighbours.

 So, December has arrived.   You could be forgiven for thinking it was still dull November if you looked out of the window, for it is dark, dull, misty and thoroughly miserable out there.  I can't believe that yesterday we were lucky enough to go out over the top of the Pennines in such glorious weather.

Most of the cattle are gone back to their owners for the Winter.

All the rest are
 in our loose housing waiting the birth of their calves (our neighbour's milking herd).   But this does not mean that farm work is done for another year.   The farmer disappears after breakfast and returns exactly on time for his lunch (12.30).

Today has been his day for inspecting all his hedges, fences and stone boundary walls.   Cows are pretty ungainly, heavy creatures and can easily dislodge a few stones from the top of a wall, or knock over a couple of fence posts and barge through the wire fence in order to get at what looks to be a delicious piece of grass.  Sheep , on the other hand, take delight in pushing through hedges - I suppose their wool protects their skin if the hedge is sharp and prickly.

But whatever the reasons, Robert Frost was right when he said 'Good fences make good neighbours' in his poem 'Mending Walls'.  The farmer is making notes, measuring, weighing up, and tonight he will be making a list of the stakes and rails and wire netting he needs to make his repairs.   Once these come, he will wait for a reasonably nice day, tootle out to the field on his tractor and make the necessary repairs.

Then he can let the sheep into the offending fields and (hopefully) they will stay exactly where he put them.   But don't bank on it.

12 comments:

Terry and Linda said...

We are close to working on fences here also. We have several we want to move and those that must be fixed. Then the cows come. BUT first the corn must go...........

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/?s=The+Adventures+of+Fuzzy+and+Boomer&submit=Search
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

angryparsnip said...

I love when you write about the very naughty sheep.
How are the chicken doing ?

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

There is always work to be done on a farm and some animals have a knack of escaping from their designated field.

Joanne Noragon said...

My mother used to say "It's not the original cost, it's the upkeep!" Applies even to fences, I see.

Rachel said...

Farming always seems such fun when you write about it. It never is really. Ask the farmer what he thinks.

MorningAJ said...

Sheep are such silly animals. They'll work their way out of anything - particularly if it's there for their safety.

Cro Magnon said...

I once re-fenced a whole several acre field for a friend who had horses. I checked my work carefully, then let them into the newly secure field. They escaped almost at once.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Is the farmer a man like my father who could arrive exactly on time for lunch without the aid of a watch?

Gwil W said...

I went to see 'We Come as Friends' at the cinema last night. Outside a South Sudan village a white man built a large timber house, large that is compared to local huts, and then he put a fence round it which prevented the local people from grazing their goats wherever they felt like as had been the custom since time immemorial. Frost, whatever he claims, is looking at fences in the narrow aspect of his own back yard and personal comfort zone. Nut in the film worse was to come. A company from Texas purchased a 60 years lease on 600,000 hectares for $25,000. About $20 per hectare incl. trees and minerals and the right to grow palm oil. Be fenced off I expect. Oil part anyway.

Gwil W said...

My Nut should be But.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments. Today the weather is sunny and dry again so fencing is on hold (waiting the arrival of stakes and rails) and the farmer is slurry leading.
Gwil's comments are interesting.

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