Mending Fences – South Platte Sentinel

When I was a peasant girl we had two pastures. Both were surrounded by rusty old barbed wire fences. They also had electric fences as double reassurance that our herd of cattle would stay in the enclosed area.

Dad often noticed cattle reaching over the top of the fence after summer rainstorms accompanied by the wind. They had a “hey day” chewing weeds on the other side. He knew the electric fence wasn’t working and would choose two of his children to find and fix the problems. I didn’t like the job because it wasn’t fun.

We called the pasture where buffalo grass grew our upper pasture. The electric fence rarely did not work in this case. The problem was usually in the pasture we called ground pasture. Lush green grass grew in it.

We unplugged the fencer and headed for the pasture, hoping the electric wire was caught on a strand of barbed wire. It was an easy solution. Usually the problem was with a bunch of weeds touching the electrical cable and grounding it. Then we had to tear off the tips of those weeds, and that was time consuming.

After working our way around in the pasture, we went to our pump house. The fencing box was located there. We put it in and hit the test button. It was a relief when there was lightning. That meant it worked. If it didn’t light up, it wasn’t working. We were disappointed knowing we had to go back to the pasture to better find out what else was grounding the electrical cable.

We absolutely had to have the electric fence repaired. Papa didn’t like it when our cattle parted.

There was one time Dad had to fix a barbed wire fence and it was all my fault. I drove our pickup over our upper pasture and through our neighbour’s pasture to pick up the mail. We have the Journal Advocate in our mailbox. I took one look at the main story and was very excited. I wanted to start NJC in the fall and wanted a job as a working student. The title stated that the college received money for the program.

I started the pickup and drove off. I couldn’t wait to get home to read the entire article. I started reading it and ran clapping into the neighbour’s barbed wire fence. It damaged the wire, but I managed not to hit a wooden fence post.

Cattle grazed nearby and I was afraid they might get off on the Peetz Highway. I rushed home and was glad Dad was in the yard. He wasn’t happy with me. He grabbed his tools, jumped into the pickup, and hurried off.

Cattle fences aren’t the only fences that we need to fix in our lives. When I was younger, I sometimes said or did something that hurt another person’s feelings. After I had time to think about what I had done, it really bothered me. I felt the need to apologize to them. After telling her (him) that I was sorry, I felt a lot better.

We all have personal relationship fences from time to time that need to be fixed. It’s best to fix them while we have the chance.

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