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Country view: Good fences

"Country view" asks you to address subjects on which you are the experts. This month you shared your best fencing stories.
Fencing projects cease to end on the Lahr family's constantly growing Minnesota acreage.

Fencing for animals, Bad fences, good neighbors

Fencing for animals

Kathy Lahr, Glenwood, Minnesota

Right after we moved to our acreage, my husband and my 12-year-old daughter started a fence-patching project. She loves horses and was so happy when we were able to purchase the two Arabians from the past owners. Since then, we have added donkeys, goats, and chickens. With each new group of animals we added, we have needed another area fenced. Then I decided I should start an apple orchard. The cost of the 8-foot fence was a little bit higher than a goat pen, so we recycled. Our neighbor was going out of the buffalo business and sold us his fencing for half the price of new.

Our current project is to fence about 1 mile of the property to add to the horse-grazing area. I now have a team of Percherons, plus three other quarter horses. My husband has gotten very good at fencing over the last three years, but it hasn't always been perfect. It took many attempts to keep the goats where they should be. The horses have been great at escaping also. But I think they are all set for now.

Bad fences, good neighbors

T. Ellen Davis, Starke, Florida

We had recently taken over an old farm and were in the process of replacing barbed wire with horse-safe fencing. In one large pasture the wire was so covered in vines that we felt safe in turning our six geldings out until we fenced the other pastures.

For about three months, we worked on re-fencing 54 acres while holding down full-time jobs. One day, I left work a bit early hoping that with a little preparation we could complete the job that night. Imagine how upset I was to come down the drive and see no horses in the field. Slamming the truck into park, I hurried to the barn to collect halters, ropes, and a feed bucket, knowing I would be hunting loose horses. When I came out the other end of the barn, all six horses were in their field, watching my husband's truck come down the farm road.

With further inspection, we found that there was a narrow hole in the fence. The neighboring landowner said that as soon as our trucks went out the drive each morning, all six horses would shimmy through the slight gap, graze and play all day, and then, about 10 minutes before we came home, they would line up single file and slip back into their field, one by one. The retired farmer loved the idea of horses on his empty field, assured us the area was safe and fully enclosed, and said he didn't mind the "mowed" grass or the extra fertilizer.

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