altThere is nothing quite as alarming (or embarrassing) as getting a call from your neighbor at three o’clock in the morning because your cattle are out in their yard.

We got that call just last week and I’m pretty sure we now owe everyone on our little county road some huge favors.

We have our cattle herd divided between two farms. The momma cows are at a place we lease with a herd bull and the heifers have their own bull over here by our home place.

There has to be a farmer’s proverb about when the grass starts turning brown, cattle will inevitably find a hole in his/her fence. If there isn’t, there should be.

We haven’t had any rain for several weeks and we’ve begun to feed hay. Anytime it gets like this, our cattle seem to find a way out of the pasture. The afternoon of my husband’s birthday barbecue, everyone was late. It wasn’t like our friends to be late so I checked my phone. I had several missed calls and text messages. They were all backed up on the road because our cattle were out.

By the time my husband made it up to the top of the hill, these weekend cowboys and cowgirls had gotten our heifers back where they belonged.

The fences were checked and temporarily mended and all was right with the world – for the time being.

He had already started working on some new fence to rotate our cattle over to another field with more grass but it wasn’t quite finished.

No one attending the birthday barbecue thought a fence building party sounded like fun. So we shot skeet and watched the kids play instead. The fence still wasn’t finished.

Later that week, the early-morning phone call came because our cattle were out again and this time they’d made it up the road into someone else’s yard. The neighborhood dogs created quite a scuffle. My husband bolted into action as he threw on some clothes and revved up the RTV to herd them back in. I covered my head and pretended to be asleep. By the time he got them in and made it back home he was ready to have a big conversation about it. I kept pretending to be asleep. He eventually got the hint.

This past weekend, my husband, neighbor and some farm hands helped him finish the new fence. It’s beautiful. The gates were hung on Sunday and after a whole lot of labor pounding posts and stretching wire, it was finished. He turned our cattle loose in the new field. They seem to be content.

Who says good fences don’t make good, neighbors?


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