Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do Over


I had a post almost completed and ready to publish...one about how we've had these little odds and ends projects going on around the farm.

And then I took a call from my husband in the other room, and when I returned, I saw THREE of our five bovine residents in the pasture. I knew instantly that Tabor the bull had broken through or otherwise compromised the paddock fence somewhere. And I was home alone.

We're not terribly surprised by this annoying development. Sometime overnight between Friday and Saturday last weekend, when we had house guests visiting, he broke through the fence between the garden and the paddock, so that when I got up Saturday morning and looked out with my cup of coffee, all five were hanging out in the garden. Thankfully our outdoor projects as of yet haven't touched the garden (they're planned for this week), so they didn't damage anything...other than the fence. The fence is a tangle of broken wires and holes. It's currently patched with a wooden pallet and some baling twine, with a wheelbarrow creating a bulky presence on the other side to hopefully deter them from coming through again.

It worked, sort of. Now that Tabor knows how easy it is to get through that type of fencing, he's cased the joint and found the weakest places. I struggled to get everyone back in by myself, which first resulted in capturing Tabor temporarily only to have him JUMP back out over the fence, and then resulted in Sheila, roped by the horns to a fence post, jumping THROUGH another spot in the fence. By the time Paul got home, I had Sheila roped and tied to the barn and was trying to figure out what to do next. We got Tabor in again with Sheila, but Tabor made a run for it and jumped OVER the fence in a new spot. It was then we realized keeping the cattle in the paddock tonight is impossible, and we left the gate open and left them to their own devices.

Bridgit and Annabel were in the yard this whole time, watching the action, and both ran with glee, jumping and kicking, once they got out to the pasture. It seems the green growing grass is too enticing for anyone to resist. We're hoping that the hotwire and barbed wire in the pasture fencing will hold everyone in. Please, please, please. Tomorrow, Paul and I will add at least one more hotwire to the pasture fence, and then we'll wire the INSIDE of the paddock fence in the hopes that once we get everyone back in there, they'll stay.

What's the big deal anyway, right?? Aren't cows supposed to eat grass? Yes, but in Western Washington the grass is dormant from November to April. Per the Conservation District, we're not supposed to let them back out until we have 7-10 inches of fresh green grass for them to eat. The grass has only started growing, and it is off to a good start (probably thanks to the fertilizer we finally spread a couple of weekends ago), but no where near tall enough. Oy.

At least our neighbors got a good show from the safety of their house...


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