If there is one thing that I have learned from living on a farm for 4 and a half years it’s that you need to have a sense of humor to survive. But when you put your blood, sweat, and tears into something and all the sudden the manure is hitting the fan, it can be extremely disheartening. As farmers we can’t make it rain, we can’t make the sun shine, we can’t make the grain markets go up, and most importantly, we sure as hell can’t control the minds of our cows.
I learned very quickly when Delilah the cow came into my life that poly wire fencing I had for the horses was NOT going to work for her. Even if I tried to keep it electrified one touch of the horn and homegirl was headed to the neighbors. This year I decided to replace the easy-to-escape poly wire with high tensile wire. When talking my plan over with ScubaSteve he was ADAMANT that barbed wire was the way to go. “It’s so much easier to put up!” he says. “Trust me, I’ve been doing this for 60 years!” he says.
Y’all, barbed wire SUCKS to deal with. Especially when you are a horse girl from the suburbs that has no clue what she’s doing. I have scars. I thought I gave myself tetanus. It was a horrific experience.
But eventually I got the fence done. Boy was I proud of myself. 3 strands of hot barbed wire. Get out of that you stupid cows!
Fast forward to the first day of early goose season this year. Ring, ring, I hear my phone going off at 4:41 in the morning. MyFarmer is on the other end of the line close to melt down status.
MyFarmer: “Your cow is out!!”
Me: “Wait, what? Oh, *words I won’t put in writing*, which one?”
MyFarmer: “The little one!”
Me: “*words I won’t put in writing*, I’ll be down in a second.”
Luckily for me, Faycee is about as laid back as they come. She walked back into the barn and through the gate without a fuss. Whatever, cows get out sometimes, it’s a fact of life, I need some coffee.
Fast forward about 4 hours, MyFarmer comes stomping into the house.
“Your cow has completely destroyed the mum pad!”
I go down to the mum pad and the apparent carnage was far worse than the actual carnage. There was probably about 15 mums knocked over and scattered about, but only about 6 out of the 800 were actually damaged. Shew! That could have been so much worse.
Being the pun-loving person that I am, I had a “Stampede Sale” on Facebook and got those trampled/ate mums sold first thing the next day. Everyone got a kick out of it, no harm, no fowl. (Get it? Goose season?? I crack myself up!)
Life was grand for a couple of days until I noticed that Miss Faycee was spending more time OUTSIDE of the pasture than in. She was just going in and out as she pleased. At this point it was obvious that the fence was NOT hot, so I set out troubleshooting the issue. (If you’ve ever had electric fence you know the multitude of tiny things that can be wrong that will cause your fence to not work.)
Of course the fence tester I had was broken, so first things first, take the solar charger to TSC, have them test it, and pick up a new tester. Well, the poor guy electrified the crap out of himself attempting to test the charger, so we know that it is working properly. (I still feel bad that my first reaction was to laugh, not to show some kind of concern.) So home I go with my new tester and a working solar charger. With minimal effort we get the middle strand of the fence working. ScubaSteve and I decided as long as Faycee got zapped by one strand she would stay put. We get everything back together and ScubaSteve yells, “She’s getting ready to put her head through! Quick turn it on!” I run to the corner and flip the switch. “YES! Got her!” laughs Scuba.
With great pride we walk away from the fence thinking we have tamed the escaping heifer beast.
Our victory was short lived. 45 minutes later we look over and Faycee is out in the soybean field on the other side of the pasture.
We herd Faycee back into the pasture and commence to getting the bottom strand working as well. Right about dark we got it working. And *knock on wood* I haven’t SEEN the heifer hanging out on the wrong side of the fence since. Guaranteed she will be out today when I get home from work. Because that’s how life works.
I post most of my ridiculous tales on social media, because, well, I like laughing at myself and I figure the rest of the world should laugh at me too. But the truth is, if I didn’t laugh I would have drowned in my own tears by now.
This life I live is a hot mess y’all. But it’s my hot mess. And I love it.
Laney Hotmess Snider