Sunday, January 24, 2016

We needed to replace that fence.

    Fall semester had been a busy and stressful one at work.  We had decided to try to slow down during our winter break and actually try to relax.  This, of course, could not start until AFTER Christmas because I was working and giving exams right through until Christmas Eve.   So December 26 we were sitting around the table, eating breakfast, and the doorbell rang.  One of our tenants was there to tell us our llama had escaped and was visiting the neighbors, because apparently someone had driven through our  pasture fence.  Actually, "driven through" is not the correct phrase - they took out half of the fencing along the road and  then continued through the pasture to take out more fencing perpendicular to the road.
     Grabbing coats, boots, etc, we raced down to the farm to see a bunch of people there: one of the tenants,  the father and son who live next to the farm,  a farmer who lives down the road,  and a complete stranger who had  the llama back in the pasture and eating grain out of a bucket.  The fence was just a tangle of wire and pulled out posts, the tire tracks ran through the field, across the driveway, and across the front lawn of the house, and pieces of the offending vehicle were  sprinkled across the grass. The well head had the paint scraped off of it by the vehicle's tires, but was not cracked - so we were lucky in that.

We were lucky he did not  damage the gate.
We called the police, and the State Troopers came right out.  A couple of really sweet guys, they spent several hours looking in parking lots, in the trailer parks, as well as going to the auto parts stores to see if any silver vehicle had come in  needing part of the  undercarriage and the passenger side mirror replaced.  We knew from the parts that it was American made,  and I had found  paint chips across the grass so we had been able to narrow the search field, but they told us not to expect much.  
      We  started the work of  cleaning up all the ripped up wire,  pulling out the cracked fence posts and gathering the metal ones that had been bent. 

We were very lucky because around here, the two days after Christmas were warm enough that the ground had not frozen, so we were able to replace the fence posts without trying to dig through frozen ground.  We were also very lucky in our neighbors.  The young boy next door spent most of Dec. 26 helping us replace the posts.  Digging fence posts in rocky soil is no treat, and the three of us kept shifting through using the post hole digger, and smashing or prying out larger rocks with a very large metal pole. 
    The police stopped by three times to update the progress of the search - no luck.  Then about 3 pm or so, we see one of  "our" troopers racing down the road, light flashing, and bam!  He got him!  The guy who had caused the damage drove by, in the damaged minivan, and the police had luckily been sitting in a nearby driveway interviewing neighbors when they saw him.    
    An hour or two later, the owner of the vehicle stopped by to explain what happened.  He had fallen asleep at the wheel Christmas night, ran through the fence with three of his kids in the car.  He knocked on the door, but the tenants were at their folks homes, so  he took his very upset children home.  Discussions for reparations were had, and the  work continued.
     It took us two and a half days, and the 27th it rained ALL DAY, so it was nasty, muddy, wet work, but we replaced the sections that had been destroyed and were able to let the llama out in the  pasture after two days of being cooped up in the barn with the sheep.   The third day, it got very cold and windy.  Again, we were lucky - trying to stretch a fence in that would have been much more uncomfortable.  We  spent much of the third day running new electrics and went home, tired but  assured that the animals would be safe. 

not perfect, but pretty good

fairly straight fence.

We were very lucky in this entire incident - it could have been much worse all around.  People, animals, the house and the barn all escaped injury.  Our kids were fantastic - running to McDonald's to grab lunch for us the first day.   When we came home frozen and wet the second night - we had been working by flashlight and headlights to finish stretching and clipping all the fencing the second night - our children and our daughter's boyfriend just made us dinner, brought it out to the living room where we were sitting in front of the fire trying to warm up.  When we finished and had fallen asleep  with the dishes still in our hands, they just took them away and covered us with blankets.
     I am hoping 2016 is a gentler year at the farm!

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