Fences of Shame

Everyone has dirty little fencing secrets. – Mary MacArthur, agricultural reporter

Each winter my parents go somewhere warm, which means I cow-sit for 12 days or so.

Every year there is some emergency fencing to be done. Cattle will occasionally knock down gates or snap barbed wire like a piece of thread.

When it comes to emergency fencing, my motto is “it only has to last long enough for Dad to fix it permanently.” This leads to some pretty sloppy stuff.

This year, despite having plenty of good-quality hay, the cows decided the few bales in the adjoining pen were more appetizing (even though they didn’t look appetizing to me). So they busted the top strand of wire.

This could not do, I decided. A lone coyote had been sleeping in that hay stack. What would he do if the cows ate his home?

So, once the stock dogs enthusiastically chased the cows out, I patched the wire with staples and baler twine.

I was a little embarrased about the twine, but it was on-hand. And a few ranchers on Twitter re-assured me that twine is the duct tape of the ranching world, so I feel a little better about it.

A few hours later I went back out, and sure enough, those cows had destroyed my patched-up fence. The dogs chased them out again, and I fixed the fence, and used a little more twine.

I’d like to see the cows get through that, I thought.

n retrospect, that was a stupid thing to think. I totally jinxed myself.

The cows not only busted my staple/twine patch job, they broke the gate, too. Just to teach me a lesson.

And the bales were annihilated. Poor ol’ coyote.

This was probably the worst fencing job I’ve done. But the second-worst fencing job is still standing.  You’ll note the top plank isn’t long enough to span all three posts.

But a year and a half later, that short plank is still there. It does keep animals on the right side of the fence, so I guess it’s a little better than my more recent efforts.