Cliff and I went for our usual half-hour, 1 and 1/2 mile walk at the park, at 7 A.M. Had I known how this day was going to go, I'd have skipped it.
He's wanted to get the electric fence back around our upper hay field for a few days... we already got the one around the alfalfa, he and I. He was wishing for some help from a neighbor boy or two, but since school is out and they have friends to hang around with, they've pretty much disappeared, unless they want to air up a tire or something. When they do show up, it's the heat of the day already, and we've finished any projects. Like Cliff says, "I don't pay them anything; it I were them, I'd choose to go have fun with my friends, too."
"I can drive posts," I told him. "I used to do it all the time when I was raising bobby calves and relocating their hutches and pens myself."
Reluctantly he decided to let me try it; first we went to check on the cows, but neither had had a calf yet.
So, once back from our walk, after a little rest and a shot of orange juice, off we went. I'll admit it takes me awhile to drive a T-post into the ground in a drought, but I was getting it done. However, he decided he could get the job done faster with Brett, our daughter's boy, helping. So he went after him. I have to admit I was glad to turn the hammer and post-driver over to him.
Back at the house, I made hamburger and beans for the three kids and salads for me and Cliff. While I was doing that, Cliff came in with bad news.
"We turned the electric fence on and turned the horses out; the colt ran full-blast into the electric fence, broke it, and then all the other horses followed."
Now folks, even when Cliff is not recovering from major surgery, if horses need to be dealt with, I'm the one who does it. Cliff has the idea that horses should submit like little robots... or else have a shotgun used on them. So I set my salad back and went to get the horses in.
Blue and Jessica's new horse (Sassy up to now, but I think her name is going to be changed) were no problem. I walked up to each of them with a halter and led them back, one at a time.
Tude is always hard to catch, and now that he's adopted Snickers and her baby, it's worse. Snickers can't be depended on to let you catch her, either, when she's out in the big pasture; her baby, of course, wasn't a concern: where mom goes, baby goes. They were at the far end of a three-acre hay field. Halter in hand, hope in my heart, I headed out.
When I approached them, all three ran at a full gallop back toward the barn, where there was an open gate they could have gone through... but they did not. They whirled and returned to the far end of the field once more, once I had plodded all the way back. I tried approaching with the halter again, and we got a rerun of the first experience.
I did, then, what I should have done in the first place. I got a bucket and put a little sweet feed in it.
Now, Snickers is too smart to fall for that old trick, but Tude isn't the brightest candle on the cake, and he bit. He put his head in the bucket and allowed me to put the halter on him. I led him back to the lot and put him with Blue and Sassy. Then I took the feed bucket and headed for Snickers and her colt.
Now that she realized she had no adult company, Snickers decided to let me catch her, putting her head in the bucket. She's the brightest horse on this farm, and I'll guarantee you she knew I was going to halter her. She wanted to be with the other horses, but had too much pride to surrender. So she acted hungry and kept her pride. Good. All five horses are caught, and Cliff and Brett repair the electric fence and turn it on.
I put the halter on Snickers, open the gate, and start leading her out, figuring the others will follow. On the way back to the point where they'll graze, there's a sort of alleyway with electric fence on both sides, wide enough to drive a tractor through.
This is when we found out Jessica's new horse has never made acquaintancewith an electric fence before. She reached out her nose, got a mild shock and jumped back. Good. But when we got to the area with electric fence on both sides, she more or less panicked, not knowing where to go (straight ahead would have been a good choice, but that isn't what she did). She put her chest firmly against the wire, and feeling the shock big time, ran into it hard, instead of away... breaking the electric fence once again. And of course, the other horses all followed her, kicking up their heels with delight. At this point, if I were a cussing woman, the air would have turned blue. It was 90 degrees, I'd been walking after horses for over an hour, and I was pretty disgusted.
It was all a replay of the first time, except that I took feed with me the first time I went after Tude rather than just try and walk up to him. I easily got Blue and Sassy back in, then got the others back with the feed bucket.
Next I went to check on the cows, where nothing was happening that I could tell. I finally got to my wilted salad, but wasn't able to finish it all. Heat does something to a person's stomach.
The granddaughters wanted to go to the library, and all I could think was, "Air conditioning". (Our house isn't air conditioned.) So we did that. And then, back at home, I went to check on the cows and couldn't find them.
Beam me up, Scotty.