Walking the Line

“If you’re going to take a walk, you might as well walk the fence,” he said. “And I know it’ll be down, so better take clips and a hammer and nails, and a spool of barbed wire in the Ranger, and I better come with you.”

I put my book away, switched out my boots, and got a hat and gloves. 

The thing about fencing is you have to keep so everlastingly at it. 

We had saved our trees and money on fence posts by running the fence through the woods. This was what one might call a heart and not a head decision, and we’ve paid for it with our hands. Trees fall, limbs break and you can add barbed wire to the list of things that aren’t what they once were. If we find an old line from a hundred years ago, we can often still use it, but our new lines may not last ten years. The cows walk the fence looking for a weak spot, and when they find it, they lean on it. It is such a peaceful form of undermining–just a weight and a give in the line, day after day until the line sags and the smaller ones get through. Then, all hell breaks loose.

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