Starting to Fence the Back Field

One of the young men who has worked for me over the years has diabetes. He is the son of a good friend. Like my own brother who is a trucker, D is accustomed to stopping at McDonald’s and other fast food joints while on the road. When I was volunteering at the rental store I’d watch him unwrap some unholy confection at lunchtime and I’d chide him about his eating habits. He would make a face. “You ain’t my mother.”

By August I had become so concerned about his health that I proposed a trade: I would provide D with diabetic-friendly lunches if he would bring his excavator out to the farm someday. He agreed. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, he did not disagree. He looked at me, made a face — but ate the lunches I left at the shop.

This week, in the midst of the mastitis emergency with Katika, payback time arrived. D dropped off his mini-excavator on his way home from a job. On Tuesday evening after work he drove out and we set the first fence posts to begin enclosing the big back field.

The very first post would be the northeast corner, and had to be set in the tall raspberries behind the run-in shed. I had dreaded trying to dig this post hole by hand. The whole area is a sea of half-buried logs and rocks left when Allen and D himself stumped my land in 2005.

Even with the excavator it was not easy. As I struggled to hold the heavy treated 6×6 plumb in the hole I could hear D calling something to me over the roar of the machine.


“Ain’t no goddamn dirt here!” he yelled crossly, trying to re-pack the ground with the bucket.

“Who left all these logs here, anyway?” I yelled back, grinning.

Next we set posts for the top gate into the future pasture.

This gate is beyond the cabin, at the head of a short sandy lane Allen smoothed for me in 2010, curving behind the trees on the knoll. Someday this hard-packed entrance will be perfect for trucks and trailers.

Of course at the moment I have a lonely gate standing naked in the middle of an rough open field. Still, I am very excited. In one hour we’d accomplished what would have taken me three days to dig with a shovel and duct-taped hands.

The fencing of the back pasture is underway!

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