The Case of Houdini is Finally Solved
by Brent Gill
SPRINGVILLE IN THE FOOTHILLS
March 8, 2006
A bull and a heifer calf have been escaping the pasture into the yard for several weeks. Many efforts have been made to cure the problem. Each time, I smugly thought that now I had found where they had been getting out. And each time, they showed me otherwise.
This fence looks very secure ... clear to the corner!
Well, I'll be ... there's the hole!
Having been gone over the past weekend, I was unloading the car, and I glanced out in the field for my two Houdinis and the old Momma Cow. Nobody to be seen, either down by the barn, or up by the other house. Nothing. No bawling, nothing.
Being a worrier, I started wondering if maybe I had caused a problem by installing the twister Fence Stays that I described in the previous tale. My step quickened when I spied the old Momma Cow standing near the fence.
Immediately my mind began to race. Oh man, had one of those stubborn calves started through the fence, and was hung up and could not go either forward or back?
As I got where I could see, I discovered the little heifer standing merrily on top of the rocks, as if she were a goat nipping at the nice green grass growing in and around the big granite boulders that are common in this part of the Sierra Nevada Foothills.
A quick check of the fence assured me nobody was hung up, and the fence was secure and tight, just as I had left it last week.
But, there was the heifer. I stepped up onto the rocks, and there was the little bull, down along the bottom of the rocks, next to the fence, munching away on the tall grass. Obviously this was much more tasty because it was where they were not supposed to be!
The fence appeared to be able to turn anything and was still in perfect condition. But, here were the two calves on my side of the fence, outside the pasture. Obviously they had not levitated over. The fence was definitely not high enough off the ground to allow them to go under. So how in the world did they get in here!
I opened the nearby gate back wide open. Then I eased down over the rocks to a spot in front the little bull, to start him up toward where the heifer was standing, and ultimately put them both back in the pasture.
He took one look at me, decided that the fun was all over and promptly showed me how they had been getting in, all along.
He walked directly back along the fence, toward the corner where there is a big oak tree acting as a post for the barb-wire fence. The fence that I had laboriously put the Fence Stays in comes down the hill and ties into the tree. And, the fence at the bottom of the rocks goes along the downhill side of the tree and over to a corner 40 feet away. That fence is tied securely to the oak tree.
Or at least I THOUGHT it was tied to the tree. Looking from the top, everything looked in place. Both fences tied into the big tree, making a very secure corner. I thought.
The little bull walked back along the fence toward the Oak Tree. Suddenly he was passing BETWEEN the lower fence and the tree! Right back into the pasture he went. Of course, just to show that he was so smart, he kicked up his heels and made a small circle into the pasture.
Well, I’ll be a son of a gun! THERE it is! All those Fence Stays, and my efforts, had been nice … but sure had not solved the problem. And from the looks of the ground, they had been coming through this way all the time.
I still had the heifer to get out, so climbed back up toward her, and had plans to get her out the waiting, wide-open gate. Of course, she had other plans, bouncing down the rocks, toward the bottom fence, she followed her friend back through the hole, and not to be outdone, also made a little kicking, circle in the pasture.
So … now I have to go apply staples and some wire to the fence BELOW the tree, and cure that hole. Finally, the mystery is solved, and at last the leak will be cured.