Robert Frost wrote poignantly about the meaning of fences in rural life, but fences have other significance for me. On a farm with animals on a trafficked road, they are critical, they set the tone and dimensions of life. On Bedlam Farm, where I have had sheep, goats, cows and donkeys, my fences have stood the test. No animal ever got out (except a few of the old sheep who crawled under the upper pasture fence where the dirt had eroded from rains) no predator – cept for the fox – ever got in. The last thing in the world you want to see is a sheep or donkey or cow in the road. Not only can the animals and people get hurt or killed, it is a continuing source of tension and difficulty.
And you sleep a lot better on a farm with good fences.
Todd Mason is a worker, like Ben, and he runs his driller like a maestro. Someone pointed out that Red is like Waldo in that he seems to be everywhere and that is true. Red is at ease everywhere, and never gets in the way. He is always around me, keeping an eye on things. Hard to imagine life before him. Todd is a like like Ben. He comes to work, not to play or shoot the breeze. He listens and makes sure the customer is getting what he wants. And he is also honest. I asked him if he loved his work, and he said, sure, otherwise he wouldn’t be doing it.
When the fence is done, the farm will feel like ours, and I will trust it be able to plan life here. This is the pasture where Red will herd the sheep. The donkeys can come in to graze, but I suspect they will have great donkey fun eating the brush and scrub in the back of the farmhouse. I am not thinking of money, books, anything but getting the farm in shape this week. We need to be there. It is our place, or chapter, our destiny. I feel it.