Monday, August 30, 2010

fences on

Annie my a goat farming neighbor came to my rescue. Annie has a herd of goats in Cassyuna, fifteen minutes to the west of Jackson. We spoke briefly over emails—certainly we were strangers—but when the shit hit the wall with Finn I had a gut reaction to email her. The subject like read ANNIE HELP! GOAT EMERGENCY! within an hour she was on the phone.

I explained my worries and she said she'd stop by in the morning after I left for work to check things out. Then, after I came home that evening, we would attack the pasture with a proper double line of wire at head and chest height. Do this and my goat problems would be over she assured...for now.

She explained that I should ditch the nylon tape and get straight up wire and a stronger charger. That tape isn't goat proof, and in her opinion raw wire is the only way to get a goat to mind. So on my lunch break I picked up a 1/2 mile roll of wire and more t-post insulators and called my friends at Common Sense Farm to see if the offer to loan their spare fencer was still on the table? It was, and after work I stopped at their farm stand in Cambridge for watermelons and a 30-mile charger (the last one was 2 miles!!!). Now were were stocked and ready for honorable caprine combat.

Listen. I love Finn. But I understand now why people keep sheep and alpacas. I really do. It's humbling being outsmarted by something with four stomachs.

I asked her to meet me at the farm by six, but I was running late from chatter down at the farm. At ten-past the hour I pulled into the driveway and saw quite the sight. I was just as concerned as I was amused. There by the fence was Annie, a fit blonde in an orange chicken t-shirt, sitting with Finn outside the fence gate. They looked like kids on the bench at a little league game, playful. "He was just standing in the front yard when I pulled in a minute ago," Annie assure me, "He's a sweet boy." She seemed to take to him and I took that as a compliment.

Goats have very liberal interpretations of captivity. My four-foot field fence was a joke to him. At some point while I was at work he got bored and pulled it down enough to climb over. Probably walked around, took a tour. You know, the usual house warming. We put him back inside the gate and got to work.

It took us two hours but together we electrified that pasture. Finn and Sal were our shadows, following both of us around like our jeans were stuffed with hay. It was nice. It was also somewhat of a work bee. We spent the whole time talking about our lives, our animals, our farms and other farmers. I learned tonight if you want to make new friends in the country, get a goat. The sayings are true. Single moms may be strong, but it takes a village to raise a kid.

Her husband Joe and her are old hands at this stuff but she seemed willing and able to help me out. I thanked her over and over but it didn't seem like enough. Giving up a sweltering afternoon to electrocute a goat isn't many people's idea of a good time. God bless Annie.

We ran the fence both Finn and Sal took a shock on the nose. JUICE! I gave her a high five. Before she headed home I handed her some honey. I told her I would be coming by with pie later this week and arguments would not be tolerated. Thanks to her help I learned how to set up, ground, and work my fence. Finn is safe inside and away from the road and predators will have to really second guess hopping inside too. Tonight I go to bed with a little extra spark. Not from the new fences, but a new friend.

Not bad for a Monday night among hayfields.


Blogger ~ Janis said...

You deserve a good nights sleep!

Hope you took photos of setting up the fence, ground and charger for us that want a better "visual" of whats going on.

Animals sure do have a way of helping you meet your neighbors in the next 3 towns...

August 30, 2010 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

What a great post! Love that you made a great friend and she was so helpful. Too funny, your jokes. Just loved them!

August 30, 2010 at 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


August 30, 2010 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Excellent to read this, Jenna. I am so glad that you have a Finn-proof place and new buddy, too!!

August 30, 2010 at 11:42 PM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

And to think some people waste a Monday night watching football!

Gotta love good neighbors!

August 31, 2010 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Dani said...

Nothing like the country to meet real people - townies don't know what they're missing :-)

August 31, 2010 at 3:23 AM  
Blogger Bullwinkle said...

I'm sorry I don't comment more frequently (shamelessly shy) but I'm thrilled to wake up this morning and learn that you've got Finn safe. My years with an escape-artist Samoyed had me totally sympathetic to your plight, and fears.

August 31, 2010 at 5:01 AM  
Blogger sash said...

Yay. And even more yay is the community you are gathering, forming, enjoying. I wish for that many a day. Congrats on your success!!

August 31, 2010 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger daisy g said...

Glad Finn is now safe and you can sleep easy!

August 31, 2010 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Adventures like these may trouble your sleep, but it sure does keep your blog fascinating! What a way to re-introduce a main character in your story.

August 31, 2010 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's fantastic that you've got the fence under control now. Reading about your troubles with Finn makes all of us readers panic a little, so it's a relief to hear that it's all ok now. And truly, what a fantastic neighbour! It's always heartening to hear about people helping others simply because they want to. Annie has definitely earned that pie! :)

August 31, 2010 at 8:26 AM  

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