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Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

After more Bull On Road sightings, and the white electric but not energised tape more or less ran out of intimidation factor, the time is arrived that we needed to attend to fences.


Off-line for a couple days, probably not noticeable to those friends of mine who’ve been off to Dragon Con this weekend, possibly noticeable to those who weren’t. We’ve been mending fences, and activity which led to some meditation on platitudes, proverbs, and cliches. Now, we literally mended fences, places where branches or trees fell across and the fence propped up after removal. Places where along came bovines and worried the fence for the purposes of crossing to the other side. Sometimes, even the same places.

And the thought occurred to me while doing this, since our intention is to keep the young bull inside the fence until he may achieve the pay-back of some genetic diversity in our small herd before he becomes beef stored in freezer rather than on hoof, where the whole source of the intent behind the phrase mending fences is from. Because while we were not salving any problems between neighbors, we are preventing problems between neighbors, and that’s a good thing.

So is preserving that beef on the hoof for a bit longer, rather than paying for repairs to someone else’s vehicle and possibly person.

Still, I am here telling you that working on approximately one-eight mile / 200 metres of fence, particularly since we doubled back over most of it with barbed wire fencing, is quite a workout. Interesting enough my legs (which I’ve been exercising with daily walks too and from parking garage and Hospital, as well as up and down stairs at Hospital) are not complaining at me. Near as my legs are concerned, it’s only more of the same. My shoulders and particularly right arm, as well as hands, are all telling me I need more upper body workout please.

Also, Herself skipped her big SCA event for Labor Day weekend, Coronation. Because this work needed doing, and she’d rather skip the event and keep young bull inside until time to put him inside freezer. We’d not be done yet if she’d left it to me along. Teamwork. It does a lot of good.

On the other hand, we’d also been telling ourselves the work needed doing, and hoping that the bovines didn’t push the issue until the weather got a bit cooler. Pretty much, this happened. Now, it’s all relative. Temps while we were out there working, both Saturday and Sunday hit the high 80s F / low 30s C. Which is cooler than the middle to high 90s F / low 40s C. Noticeably cooler. It did not hurt that a major portion of the work is located in the shade of a tree-line. Brings its own aggravations to the chore with brush undergrowth. Contributed part of the cause of the work with those branches and trees that fell on the line.

Also gave rise to some appreciation and humour looking at certain things. We used a type of post called ‘T-Bar’ along a good portion of that line as it is easier to put in than wood posts (requiring post-holes) what with all the tree roots. Possibly as many as a half-dozen of those steel t-bars were driven a full third of their length deeper into the ground by those same falling branches. Another handful were twisted quite ... intriguingly ... considering they are steel.

Fences are tension-compression structures. The fence fabric (whether field fence or barbed wire) needs to be stretched taught, then fastened to the posts. Staples and twists compress the fabric to the posts. Without proper tensioning, it is only so much fold-able wire. Cows scoff at it and walk across. With tensioning, however, it becomes a barrier. With barbs on the barbed wire, a barrier that bites back.

Trust me, that wee bite back of the wire is far preferable to getting smacked by a couple tons moving at 55 mph / 90 kph velocity. For all concerned.

I will coddle my hands and shoulders for a bit, since young bull is looking disconsolately at the loss of his wandering ability. As well as the other consolations for ourselves; sound of the wind in the trees, listening to an approaching rainstorm (short, only a cloud really), butterflies wafting through the woods, photographs of odds and ends, some sketchbook, some particularly interesting.

Houdini hung in there with us for all of Saturday and most of Sunday, and again all of this morning. Other than the pile-driver type tool used for the T-bars (Loud and Clangy, Houdini and he would get up and move another 30 metres further down the line) he did quite well. Yesterday when Herself went back to the house to restock our water bottles, he went with her, walked into the bedroom and lay down next to my side of the bed... and went to sleep. Nap Nao.

I could use one, I suppose.

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