Surprise visitors

The girls headed outside to get a few things done before heading to bed for the day, and were soon messaging me to let me know we had company!

Two of the renter’s calves had gotten into the outer yard.

The girls made sure the gates into the inner yard were closed, and found plastic covers we’d used in the garden and put them over the Korean pine in the outer yard to protect them, just in case.

The calves were very nervous when I headed over to switch out the memory card on the gate cam. They kept going for the fence into the hay yard – they are normally on the other side of that fence! – and I was concerned they might get spooked and hurt themselves trying to barrel their way through the fence. I made sure to move well over in the other direction, and they eventually followed the fence line back towards the barn. After switching out the memory card, I found them near the shed by the barn. As I came closer they went for the chain gate on the other side of the barn and simply slipped under the chain – and the electric fence wire on the other side! Clearly, the wire did not bother them at all.

I had already messaged the renters to let them know cows had gotten through, so I messaged them again to let them know it was just the two calves, and that they were back on the other side. I also let them know that I couldn’t see any breech in the fence. At least as far as the overgrown grass allowed me to see.

Later, after helping give Leyendecker his meds, I headed to the post office before the store it’s in was closed for their weekly inventory. I was just parking the vehicle back in the garage when I could hear a utility vehicle coming along the outer yard fence. The renter had come to check the fence, so I went over to chat with her. Oddly, she found it had been shut off! As far as she knew, she was the last person to check the fence. The power was low on the fence, so she’d come over with her little ones and a gas powered weed trimmer, cutting the grass and weeds away from the wire, and making making sure nothing was touching where it shouldn’t; she’d found a couple of places where the wire had gotten caught on the barbed wire of the outer yard fence. She told me that when she was done, it running at full strength, and she was sure she had left it back on before leaving. She thought one of their farm hands may have come out, though it they did, we never heard their utility vehicle.

The chain gate runs between two large gate posts near the garage, spaced far enough that large farm vehicles can get through. It used to have a barbed wire fence. I’d cleared the remains of it away from the opening and set it aside, long ago. The only thing keeping the cows out was their electric fence wire, so I’d made a rope gate. After that got broken – along with the electric fence wire – by deer jumping through in the winter, I replaced it with the chain we’d used at our main gate until we fixed the damage from our vandal. It has worked well enough, but with the flooding we had this spring, one of the gate posts was leaning most of the way to the ground. I now understand just why all those fence posts are so rotten! Until this year, I had no idea the area could get so flooded.

While we were talking, I pushed the gate post upright and propped it up with a scrap piece of fence post that was lying in the grass. She told me her husband was thinking of rotating the cows out again, soon. Remembering a comment I’d made the last time we spoke, she asked if perhaps we wanted the cows to be allowed into our side of the fence for a while, first, to help graze down the grass at least a bit. I told her I’d be fine with that. He may not do it, but just in case he does, we’ll keep the inner yard gates closed up. He is also still wanting to replace the outer yard fence. Part of the rental agreement is that they are responsible for the fencing. It would be good if he could get that done, once the cows have been rotated out. Right now, there is another deliberate gap in the fence, next to an old collapsing log building, that the cows sometimes gets through. As near as I can figure, the gap in the fence is for access to the expeller for our septic system. There is a low area next to it that the water drains into, all of which still has the remains of old, fallen barbed wire fence to keep cattle out of it. When they do replace the fence, I have suggested they may want to fence around the the expeller in some way. I also mentioned I’d like the fence to go straight to the road, instead of turning towards the driveway and around the old hay yard. They would loose a small grazing area and the low spot that I’d like to turn into a permanent pond again, but it would also mean quite a bit less fencing to replace. Certainly enough to make the cost difference worthwhile, I think. It would also mean the cows wouldn’t be getting into the junk behind two sheds, including the one with the roof that collapsed under the weight of snow this past spring. I think it would ultimately be a win-win situation.

But it’s up to him, in the end. Whatever he ends up doing, we’ll work with it.

I also told her about wanting to get all the scrap cars and stuff cleaned up, but that I’m still expecting our vandal to appeal the court’s decision against him. She was just shaking her head about him being so possessive about such junk. My mother had wanted to have it sold as scrap metal to help pay for a new roof, but it’s all so bad, I doubt it would bring in even half of what a roof would have cost, back when we got the initial estimates in 2019, never mind the estimate we got this year.

That reminds me. My brother had asked me to contact one more company for an estimate – someone my SIL knows personally and vouches for – so he would have 3 estimates to go over. I did that last night by email and got a quick response saying he’d call this afternoon, but so far, no call. Hhmm.

Well, whatever we end up with, we’ll see if my mother will follow through on her promise to pay for a new roof. I suspect she’ll renege on that. She’s been teasing about paying for a new roof for years now, as a way to manipulate my brother, so I’d actually be surprised if she follows through. Still, if she does, a decision has to be made quickly; these estimates are only good for 30 days, because the prices change so quickly. Even if the work can’t be done right away, if a deposit is made, that locks the contract until the work is done. Still, it would be awfully nice if we could get a new roof before winter! It would make a significant difference on our heating bills, too.

The Re-Farmer

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