Cattle Still Respect Two Hunded Year Old Fence

My farm has many fences, from modern page wire, and four-strand barbed wire to early cedar rail constructions kept standing by constant vigilance, the application of more wire, more rails and earnest hope the cattle won’t notice the weak spots.

Root fenceYet there is still one fence that cattle won’t try.

It’s two hundred years old, at least, for it consists of the roots of the original trees cut down to clear the land. There are axe marks bitten into its sides. The wood still contains the sweat and cuss words of men and teams straining to rip the stumps from the rocky soil. Before there was time to split cedar rails, the settlers laid the twisting roots side by side to fence in their cattle and horses.

Though made obsolete by the barbed wire nearby, my root fence keeps on doing its job, a testament to folks who built things to last.   Wouldn’t I love to come back in another hundred years to see whether 22nd century cattle still back away from the pioneers’ spiky barrier.

Gail Hamilton’s books.

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