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Friday, February 19, 2010

Goats, horses, and fences.

The weather is wonderful today.  Though the forecast calls for a 20% chance of snow, the temperature will be close to 40--a heat wave!  There's so much to do before spring thaw!  Last week my son helped me build a partition in the chicken coop to separate the geese from the chickens, so they have a place to nest without being disturbed.  Okay, I helped him. He did most of the work and I was the go-fer.  Today I will put the door on and that job will be done.

Then comes the fun stuff:  finding the shorts in the electric wire.  It's always been a source of amazement to me that I can get a good charge at the source, and have nothing 5 feet down the way, and all the searching in the world won't show me a break in the wire or a place it's going to ground.  Does electric wire have a consciousness, one that snickers and snorts when someone comes out to make it goat proof?  I've taken to going out in the dark to see if I can find a spark every 2 seconds emanating somewhere along the fence line. I've tried to hone my hearing so I can hear the subtle snap, snap of a shorted wire.  The goats watch expectantly, especially Emily, who wants to escape into the wide world of the forbidden.

Someone should explain to me one day, in a way I can understand, why goats and horses can have 30 acres of pasture with excellent grass and browse, but what is beyond the fence--that is, the lawn and the rose bushes, look so much more inviting.  If there's a hole in the fence, Emily will find it.  If the gate is left unlocked for 5 minutes--unlocked, mind you, not open--Magic will suddenly come up from the pasture and push it open, then, kicking and bucking, gallop across the lawn, tail up, ears forward, celebrating her new-found freedom.  If the electric fence goes to ground, either Emily will slip through, or Magic will reach over to eat whatever is on the other side, regardless of how much feed is on her side.

I think 30 aces should be enough for any horse or goat. Obviously I'm missing something, so today I'll tackle the small orchard and give the goats something beyond the paddock area where they're now confined, pending better fencing.  It's a good day to do it, a good day to be outside enjoying the January thaw that showed up in February, a good day to imagine that spring is just around the corner.

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