Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rural Reality

Just to prove that one never knows how animals will react to certain stimuli, this evening we had a covey of hot air balloons land on a farm (with the farmer's permission, as I took the time to find out) a few miles away. Melissa and I were in the back finishing up chores in the Big Boy's Field and we watched the whole show. The balloons weren't close and as far as our horses go, they never even noticed; one or two lifted their heads momentarily while the rest just kept grazing, completely unperturbed. But the whole non-incident got me to thinking about just how out of touch with rural reality some people have become.

Mostly, our immediate neighbours do a pretty good job of not treading on our property rights and in that respect we are pretty lucky. What many in our community don't get any more is that the pretty cows and horses out in our fields actually do more than enhance the landscape...they are how I earn my living. This is a working landscape filled with working farms. It is NOT a public park. Our fenced fields full of livestock are most certainly NOT somewhere we want you walking, riding your bicycle, drinking, landing balloons, hunting without our permission, etc. When something, someone or some nearby activity has the potential to seriously disturb my animals, I take it as a direct threat to my ability to continue to provide a living for my family and I promise that when I confront someone involved in doing any of these things, I react very strongly to it.

There is truth to the Robert Frost poem, "Good Fences Make Good Neighbours". Many of the folks in this neck of the woods that farm for a living (me included) keep excellent, sturdy boundary fences, if for no other reason than we can't afford to have our livestock running amok over the neighbourhood and/or up and down the road. I take boundary fencing so seriously that checking fence is the first job I impress upon ALL of our help, and all of our boundary fence at both farms is checked, and repaired if necessary, each and every day. Just as I don't want the neighbours using my farm as their unauthorized personal park, I don't want my horses and livestock dallying in their geraniums if I can help it.

Hope everyone is having a good week. I am sure enjoying spending my days at the new farm. With as much work as we have to do down there to continue building and finishing it out, I ought not to complain very much about being bored in the next little while ! :)


Funder said...

Did you know Nevada is still a fence-out state? If my horse gets in your yard and eats your geraniums, it's your fault for not having a fence up.

My neighbors seem quite nice but the boundary fences suck, so I've been pounding t-posts and putting up my own fence 10' inside my property line. I figure I can plant hardy trees in the alley and in 10 years it'll be gorgeous.

Jason said...

Yikes !

I didn't know that ! Your property certainly ought to be pretty with the trees !

Kate said...

We often have problems with people just wandering onto our property and wanting to pet the horses - even to the extent of opening gates or letting their children climb on fences. Part of the problem is that we're smack in the middle of a housing development and people feel "entitled", and partly it's that some people just have no darn sense - no it's not OK to let your small children run up to my horse screaming while I'm leading it!

Jason said...

On the rare occasions when I have to intervene, the intervention is almost always caused by members of the "five acre tract development" housing that is beginning to creep toward our current location.

The most unbelieveable story I heard actually happened to a neighbour who was trying to sell a restored antebellum home that sits on a corner of his 500 acre farm. He had a deal inked up with a potential buyer until the buyer learned that his son would not be able to ride his four wheeler all over the adjoining contiguous 500 acre parcel belonging to my neighbour. The deal fell through.

Well, honestly.