From Pipi’s Pasture: Following the orange twine |

From Pipi’s Pasture: Following the orange twine

From Pipi's Pasture

I never have had much upper body strength. That coupled with my arthritic hands and wrists has always caused me problems when shutting wire gates on the ranch. You know how you have to put your arm around the post of the loose gate and pull and push while holding onto the wire loop on the other gate post in order to shut the gate? Well, over the years, before moving to Pipi’s Pasture and while on summer pasture, I’ve often found wire gates too tight to close.

So, when I know I’m going to be out on pastures by myself, I’ve taken to filling my pockets with orange twines, left from bales of hay. That way I’ve always had a way to temporarily close gates until some stronger person—usually Lyle or my brother Duane—could close the gate properly. Over the years people have always been able to tell where I’ve been—by just following the orange twines.

Here at Pipi’s Pasture we don’t have any wire gates, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t make use of the orange twines. There are piles of twines down at the corral where I feed hay so they’re handy if I find a sagging fence wire where a cow has been reaching through onto the other side. To assure myself that the cow can’t keep reaching and reaching and the fence keeps on sagging until she can crawl through (and it’s happened more than once), I tie up the wire with twine.

Now there’s wire at the shop. It’s only a few steps away. However, the twine is handy, and besides, it’s easier to work with. So here and there orange twines decorate the fences here at Pipi’s Pasture. However, it’s the gates that get most of the twines.

The gates at the corral close by hooking chains into a metal notch or by some other hook. The problem is that cows love to rub and rub and scratch and scratch until the chains finally come loose and the gates open up. So guess what? I reinforce the gates with a twine (or more). I drive my family members crazy with this habit because they’re always having to cut twines when they want to open gates.   

More recently the cows in the pen at one side of the corral tried to reach some hay that I had piled in the “loading dock” just outside of the corral. I knew that the cows couldn’t reach the hay, but what I didn’t count on was that one great big cow was able to get her head through one of the rungs of the gate to the dock. This had never happened before in all the years we have been here. Anyway, she is so big that when she pushed and pushed, she was finally able to reach the hay.

Guess what happened? The aluminum gate bent—boy did it bend! In fact, it bent nearly in half, although it remained closed. I was worried the gate might break in half. So I used wire to patch the big hole. Eventually I ran out of wire, but there was plenty of orange twine right next to the corral. The gate was quite a sight, but cows stayed in the corral until friend Tom Clevenger reinforced the gate with a panel.

To find me, just follow the orange twines.

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