Resurrected fence

Part of the section of fence my father-in-law started more than 30 years ago.

One day a couple weeks ago I’d arrived home after picking the boys up from school to find my husband already home. This was unusual since he normally doesn’t get home from work until much later most nights.

His dogs were tied up outside and he was nowhere to be found. Confused, I texted him and asked where he was. He was driving the pasture to see the condition of the grass. I could tell his disappointment in the texts that came after I’d replied.

I didn’t sleep much that night. I woke up multiple times worrying about how we’re going to make it through the year. We’d just culled our cowherd and bought new replacements. We’d bought some bulls in March to put on the new cows, hopeful for a new year and to actually have all the cows in our names (well the bank’s for now) instead of leasing part of the herd and owning the rest. It was a big leap of faith on my part. My husband was ready to expand and branch out more with the cattle.

And now here we are nearing the end May. By May 19 we’d only gotten 2.67 inches of rain according to the National Weather Service office in Dodge City on May 19. A normal year is around six inches. The grass is still very short, and we’ve had relentless wind. At least once a week in the past month we’ve had a 20% chance of rain, but have gotten very little.

I’m glad my husband thinks the way he does. When faced with a problem he goes at it head on. He works to find a solution. Me? I relent into my brain and worry myself awake at night.

Two weekends ago he was home early again and gathered us all up to work on the fence around 13 acres we hadn’t really been using since it didn’t have a permanent fence around it. The stretch of fence already had some hedge posts in place and some wire that had been mostly pulled down.

While resurrecting the old fence, my husband commented he was near our youngest son’s age when he and his dad were building this exact stretch of fence. I couldn’t help but think it was some how fitting as we were getting it back into shape that my father-in-law was sitting up in heaven with a cold one being entertained by his son teaching the three of us the finer points of fence building.

In the last weeks we’ve drilled holes, rolled up old barbed wire, replaced posts and strung out new wire. By the end of the day May 23 the fence was all but done. It’s pretty impressive to think with some scrounged up posts, some wire that’s been sitting around since the 2017 wild fire and some hard work we had a new-to-us fence. That sure beats writing a check and having someone else do it.

By the end of the day May 25 we received some glorious rain. It was less than an inch, probably close to .70 inch, but I can’t be sure since we don’t have a rain gauge out. It’s definitely not a drought buster by any means, and by the end of this week they’re already predicting 100-degree temps. But hopefully this moisture is enough to get the grass growing since it probably wont have any cheat grass or weeds to compete with as they’ve started to die off.

Now that the fence is fixed, we’ll run around the rest of it and get it patched up enough to eventually turn the cows out on it sooner rather than later. My husband has already come up with a pretty reasonable plan for our herd for the remainder of the year. As with all aspects of agriculture, the key is flexibility, and even though I’m the least flexible of the operation, I’m pretty good at going with the flow. Here's for just enough rain to keep the grass growing the rest of the year.

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