Hard work. Big Rewards. Bigger blessings. Life on a South Dakota ranch.
They say good fences make good neighbors. Neighbors that come right out to fix fence that their cows and bulls have wrecked are even better neighbors. We have great neighbors. Good fences are a LOT of work.
I looked out my bathroom window a few days ago to see cows and calves lining a hillside in our far west pasture. We don’t pasture anything at our home place during the summer months. That could only mean one thing. We had a fence down somewhere and the neighbor’s pairs were in our pasture. Rats. I walked outside for a better look. My father-in-law happened to be out there working on a swather. He grabbed the mule and I ran back to the house for some telephone numbers. We then went out to take a better look. Before we left the Big Guy got home, too, and couldn’t see anything. He thought perhaps that I was losing my mind. Happy to report that I most surely was NOT.
We got to the west pasture to find that there were about 20 cow/calf pairs and one bull on one side of the fence, and another bull and another batch of pairs on the other side of the fence. Our first assumption was that the bulls had gotten to fighting and tore down some fence. Only, we couldn’t see any fence down. On closer inspection, we realized that the bull in our pasture belonged to our neighbor whose pasture was southwest of the pasture we were in, and belonged in that pasture. The pairs belonged in the pasture to the north of where we were and belonged to a different neighbor. The stray bull had made quite a trip.
We trailed the pairs up the fence to the closest gate. The stray bull, in the meantime, headed south– kind of back to where he originally came from– only would have to go a ways west, as well. When we got to the gate we found where the commotion had occurred. The gate was standing and not damaged, but the H-brace (while still standing) had all the wires tore out. The next fence post was broken off at the ground. The fence was completely demolished to the top of the hill– about six sections of fence from fence post to fence post. We got the cows through the gate with no problem. We were able to reach both the owner of the cows and the owner of the bull, which was amazing in itself. You can never get a hold of people in the summertime during the middle of the day. They both said they would be right out to take care of things. Hallelujah.
I ran out yesterday to pull some weeds around a windmill and water tank, check the fences, and make sure that everything was still where it needed to be. There was not a cow, calf, nor bull anywhere in sight. I STRONGLY cussed the creeping jenny and the rest of the weed crop that was flourishing by the water tank.
The fence was repaired and looking great. The broken fence post had been replaced with a steel fence post. I never did really find a spot where I thought the other bull might have come through, although did not go along the entire south or west fences as we will be back out there before our pairs start coming back home. However, I have no doubt that the neighbor owning the bull went along everything and fixed whatever was needed.