February 20, 2019



Corb Lund has a song titled “You’ve got to have cows around,” or something along that line. It tells of how you’ve got to have cows around and how that interferes with everything else. They get out or have problems at the most inopportune times.
I’ve got good neighbors. Always have had. There is a saying that “good fences make good neighbors.” My neighbors know that I am not a great fencer. I would have to improve to be a good fencer. Truth be told, I’d rather ride than fence. But my neighbors pretty much accept me for what I am.
Winter is a poor time to be fencing. You can’t possibly put a post in the ground. And just stretching wire up and trying to patch things together is tough. Especially when the wind is blowing out of the southeast and the wind chill is minus 30 or 40.  
I was gone to a cattle sale last week and Shirley was in charge. Now she is pretty dang good at getting things done. You never need to worry that the cows, bulls, calves, horses, colts, cats, or dog will not get fed. You never need to worry that the ice won’t get chopped or a tank will be froze over and something will go a day or two without water. Over the course of our nearly 50 years together, I am completely comfortable leaving her in charge. Maybe that’s why that lady from California wrote me years ago stating, “If you were my husband, you’d be either dead or divorced.” That’s harsh. That is really harsh. I have feelings too.
Anyway, the snow got a little deep against a fence by the neighbors. The cows went over that fence and got in the neighbors hay. There wasn’t much hay. Only a handful of bales. But a couple hundred cows in a handful of bales makes for short work. Shirley is worse at fencing than I. She tried. But once those cows got a taste of that fine horse hay the deal was sealed.
When I got home, I surveyed the situation. There was no real good way to fix that fence. But being smarter than a cow, I would find a way. Electricity would be the way to go. I would string an electric wire over the old fence. An hour job took half a day. I was using old wire that had been rolled up by hand. It would tangle and kink. My hands were numb from the cold. I couldn’t get the charger to ground. The cows were getting anxious for feed. Just after noon everything came together. I found where I was losing the current. Cows were fed.  
At four o’clock, I took Shirley out to survey my work. I was a proud man. The cows were content and laying on hay. Shirley didn’t think the fence was working, but she wouldn’t touch it to check. She’s kind of chicken that way. I unrolled a straw bale to give the cows a little treat since it was going to be a cold night. It was 4:15. We got home, fed the colts, went in and poured a well-deserved drink. It was 4:30. My phone dinged. It was my neighbor. The cows were in his hay. You’ve got to have cows around.
They say you are lucky in life if you’ve had three things. A good wife, a good horse, and a good dog. I’ve had two of the three. I won’t say which because I’m that kind of guy.