A Cowboy’s Faith: Good fence retains cattle

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It’s that time of the year when grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”

Wherever tame grasses border native pastures, there’s always a bovine sticking their head under or through the fence.

Woven wire surrounds a pasture on the highway to work, but still there’s pressure from livestock picking for green sprigs. Quality of fence is part of the determinant. When there are half-dozen tight strands of barbed wire with silver tinge showing, old cows aren’t as persistent. Still smaller calves always push under.

Despite continuous efforts to build fence, there’s miles and miles of loose rusted barbed wire fence. Only three or four strands, maybe 30 feet between posts, never were any stay wires. And then one old hedge is broken off, one wire’s broken and another isn’t tied to a post.

That’s common fence description here and many miles every direction. It makes pure happiness for those cattle scavenging for that tender new growth.

Fence isn’t any good in the first place, then calf goes through, momma follows, much of the herd is out.

A call from mailman or neighbors is unappreciated yet necessary evil: “Get ’em and cobble fence back together at best.”

One time out means they’ll be out again sure as the world. Even when steel panels plug the hole, those smart biddies just keep walking till another loose, broken wire lets them through.

When a critter gets out that entices another to follow and they soon find outside more fun than inside.

Always think about Lester’s milk cows. The two loose wires never kept those Jerseys and Guernseys in. There was every kind of yoke one might imagine concocted to help keep the milkers home. None worked.

The more acreage and the more livestock, fence needs multiple. There are a lot of fence builders and varied philosophies on what’s better than another. Yet when a good new fence is finally in place, little seems worse than it being destructed.

More than once, too close, poor driving, bad depth of perception tractor with mower has been culprit. Still, a smile came when another implement driver did it, too.

That new fence will never be the same again.

Reminded of Isaiah 17:11: “Carefully fence the pasture,” because Joshua 21:2: “The Lord commanded Moses to have pasture lands for our cattle.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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