As I was driving home last night, I thought to myself, I really need to move that fence, BUT I also need to process rabbits to feed the cats. When I got home and looked at the area where I had the cattle and sheep fenced I decided they needed to take precedence over grinding rabbits. I fed out what I had left of the ground chicken (not much) and then mixed part of a bag of Wysong Archetype with some raw eggs to keep the cats busy while I was moving the fence.
I got the fence up and loaded on to the wagon along with the mower, gas, extra fence posts, the sledge hammer, charger, my insulated cup with water, cell phone and iPod. As I was loading, I heard the dogs out front barking. I stopped to look to see if someone was coming down the drive. Yes, “someone” was coming down the driveway, Miss Fern. She was running up and down the driveway racing the dogs fenced out front. I called her to me and chained her rotten butt to the ATV until I finished loading.
When I started the ATV and turned it around, both dogs fired down into the back field. I called them back because I needed to move the sheep and cattle (who were loose grazing by the pond) down back with me so I could keep an eye on them. Got Gel and Fern back and behind the livestock and we headed down back. I really need to get a video of Fern working the sheep. She’s coming on very nicely.
Anyway, got everyone and everything down in the field and I fired up the lawnmower and started mowing a path. Not too long after I started mowing, I saw Fern out moving the sheep on her own. Darn her! Gel was lying by the ATV waiting for me to ask him to do something. I called Fern back and again she got her butt chained to the ATV and that’s where she stayed for the duration.
I only use three rolls of ElectroNet. My charger will run four rolls (and I have four rolls), but it pushes it. I keep the extra roll aside as a spare. Each roll is 160 feet long and you’d think that they’d space it apart 10 feet with 16 poles, but for some reason, there are 13 poles. The trick is getting a square using three rolls. I got the first three lines set and as is always the case, the ElectroNet is beating me every time, I miscalculated and couldn’t get the last line to meet up. I had to take down sections of the two adjoining lines, re-mow the last path and get it to connect. My nice straight square now has one zig-zag line. Oh well, it’s set. When I was almost through setting the fence, I sent Gel for the cattle who had drifted to the far side of the field. He brought them up and held them while I loaded the mower, gas and poles I didn’t use. The sheep had already started drifting back home. By this time it was 8:30 and starting to get dark.
I started the ATV and headed home. Gel was driving the cattle behind me. I wasn’t sure where the sheep had drifted to so I moved quickly out of that field to find them, expecting that Gel was going to keep the cattle going on his own. Fern came with me. We found the sheep and I stopped the ATV and waited for Gel to catch up. When neither the cattle or Gel appeared after a reasonable amount of time, I drove back down to see what was up. They were in my landlord’s garden! Luckily my landlord’s garden has turned into a jungle and I was able to get the cattle out of it without there being any evident damage. I got after Gel for being so lackadasial. He knows darned well what his job is and he didn’t keep the cows going as he should have. I got on him when we got the cattle going again and made him really push them (which he hates) all the way home.
Meanwhile, I could smell gas. I looked back at the wagon and discovered the cap had come off the gas container and gas was splashing out all over the wagon. Lovely, at almost $4 a gallon, I’m coating my wagon with gas. I fixed that and we headed home.
When I got there, my landlady and her daughter were down by my sitting area. When Gel saw them, he thought he was through with the stock, which he wasn’t and I made sure he understood that. We put the sheep and cattle up and then went down to the pond to sit for a few minutes. By then it was almost 9:00, I was sweaty and tired and hadn’t had any supper.
Got back in the house and discovered the kittens were using a corner of my living room as a litter box. I know it’s the littlest ones doing it and I can’t blame them too much. I gave them too much freedom to quickly. I washed the floor and put up obstacles to keep them from that area.
That morning I had washed my sheets and put them in the drier. When I took them out to put them on the bed, I discovered they hadn’t all dried completely. I put them back in the drier.
By now, it was dark. When I was outside I noticed that the rooster and one hen were up in their night pen. I figured I had better go out right away and try to locate the other three hens so I could get them up. I put Fern in her crate and took Gel out with me. Luckily we found the missing hens without any trouble and I put them up, then we put up the ducks.
Here it was 9:30 and I still hadn’t had supper. I felt like a ton of bricks had fallen down on me. I was exhausted! I decided to not make the bed, wrapped a sheet around myself and fell into bed and was asleep within minutes.
This morning when I got up, I felt like I had been beat up last night. Taking up and re-setting ElectroNet is a lot of work to do on your own. Dealing with the aggravations of Fern, the cattle, the chickens, the cats and even Gel just added to the difficulty of the task. I filled up water containers in the wagon, started the ATV and we brought the sheep and cattle back down to the field where the ElectroNet was. Luckily, we got them down there with no issues AND Gel kept the cattle going even though we had gone on ahead of him. Fern did a nice job of getting the sheep into the ElectroNet, especially since three of them broke off to the side when she put them through the gate. She was able to go back around and pick up the three without muss or fuss. Good girl. Gel arrived with the cattle and he put them up.
I had to bring my wagon up to Red’s to see if he could fix the front wheel base which got bent a few weeks ago. I had loaded it up with lumber. It was not attached to the ATV at the time. The load was so heavy, it made the wagon roll down the hill and flip over bending the wheel base. It was still usable, but it was bothering me to look at it so I decided to bring it up the Red’s to see if he could bend it back.
Got back and had to deal with hungry cats. I was not in any mood to process rabbits so I took one out of the refrigerator, skinned and gutted it and then hacked it up with a cleaver and put it down for the cats. I only have one cat who has difficulty chewing large chunks of meat, Oleander. She did okay with it though. They make messes when they consume large pieces of meat so I will have to continue to grind it for them.
I am hoping to only work part of the day today. I am off tomorrow. I think I’m going to go home and sleep! Gosh, there are times when I wonder why I have got into this farming business. It’s hard, often frustrating work. It sometimes seems like I spend so much time taking care of animals that I don’t have time to use them for what I have them for. Granted, Fern and Gel are getting daily work moving the livestock around, but it isn’t real training. Maybe this is telling me something though, is training imperative? I don’t know sometimes. I do enjoy my life, but sometimes I wonder …