The #1 Rule of Farming

barrelgoatjpgIf you open a gate, CLOSE IT! Three times I have made this mistake, despite having known this rule since long before ever setting foot on a farm.

Last week, I was trying to dig a drainage ditch of some kind (more on that another day), and opened a gate to the field behind the calf barn, since that’s the direction I meant to drain. Eventually realising the futility of this task, I gave up (until I am better equipped). For some reason, I thought this gate was beyond the fence blocking off the area the horses and big cows stay in. It’s not. Even if it was, why did I think it made sense to just leave it open?

Many hours later, I was trying to have a nap. The dogs started going ballistic because when unusual things happen,  like a COW ON THE LAWN, well, the humans need to be alerted. I’m amazed that it took as long as it did, and that only one of the six animals felt like exploring. Patches the Cow was escorted back through the gate, and I theoretically learned a lesson that I already knew. Yeah, in theory.

I think it was the very next day when I got distracted by SOMETHING and left the gate to the calf barn open. Again, a few hours later I came back and the barn (foyer??) was full of cow and goat. Mostly cow. Sangria the Cow had completely dismantled the hay bale I’d left there, making a nice carpet of hay covering the whole place. It was kind of cozy, in  a way. Shortly afterward, Sangria, probably high on the thrill of misbehaviour, went CRAZY. Bucking and jumping and hopping around, sideswiping and headbutting me. I thought to myself that she was behaving rather like a playful dog. I went to drive my car back down the road and she started CHASING it, running alongside. Just like my dog does when he thinks I shouldn’t be leaving! Dog: confirmed.

Sadly, that was not even the first time I left the calf barn open. I was feeding the animals one night, and I took the boy goats’ grain and hay to walk it down to their pen. Left the gate wide open, like a regular genius. When I came back, I discovered that an almost-empty grain barrel, when knocked to the ground, can completely contain one (1) angora goat and also fit the heads of two other goats! And naturally the rest of the goats were all over the place, trying to get at that delicious grain. I have never been so sore than after the night I had to physically wrestle all those goats out of there. At least the angora was small and also lying down so that I could just drag her out by her feet. The ones that just stuck their heads in there next to her, well they were a  LOT bigger.  And standing up! Goats do not give up easily. That was one heck of a trying time. I do not care much for goats… more on that later.


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