Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Who Guards the Guard?

Last night Herb put Misty in the Home Pasture with the sheep before he went to bed.  A short while later I heard her booming bark in the front yard.  Sure enough, she had let herself out!

Back in grade school I saw a movie of the Berlin wall that showed a guard leaping over the Wall to freedom in the West.  The narrator asked, "But who guards the guards?"  That line and that image have stuck with me for years, and I thought of them today as I worked to make the Home Pasture gate escape-proof for Misty.

It may have been mid-morning nap time for everyone else, but I had work to do.

I had help, too, especially when the dogs realized the work was going to happen in the newcomers' pasture.  Typical dogs:  Since they couldn't sniff the sheeps' rear ends, their preferred method of getting acquainted with new animals, they settled for their second choice.  "Rambo and Obaama, meet Hero and Zephyr."  (Staring at dogs.)  "Hero and Zephyr, meet Rambo and Obaama."  (Eating sheep poop.)  "Great, now you all know each other."  Yuck!

Misty tried to be friends again, but she stopped as soon as the sheeps' heads came up.  That's exactly what she's supposed to do!  Her job is not to push them or herd them, but to keep them safe, and as soon as they don't feel safe, she stops approaching them.  Pretty amazing for a dog who was trained to guard chickens and had never seen a sheep in her life.  This is one of the amazing things about God's creation, the instincts that He gave different animals!

"No go, sheep?  I'll go watch Mama."  The gap at the top of the gate above the wire panel is where Misty escapes.  She stands up on her hind legs and wiggles through there.  I haven't seen her do it, but we've found her hair on other gates where she goes through.  For some reason, if we wire that area closed, she doesn't climb any higher to try to get over the gate.

Excuse the bad photo--I took it myself!

I used the tool belt to carry the fencing tool, a tin snips, a large needle-nosed pliers and a pliers.  That left my hands free to carry a roll of chicken wire and a length of wire for fastening.

It took two lengths of chicken wire to close each gate, and the left hand one took an extra piece because it's longer.  I learned that if I counted off 30 hexagons of chicken wire before I cut it with the tin snips, that gave me plenty to fold over the top of the gate, wire to the gate at the bottom, and still have enough ends of wire to fold into each other for a nice fit.
It's really hard to see chicken wire in the sunlight, but here's an attempt.
I learned that if I cut through the thicker, twisty parts of the chicken wire, it was a bit harder to cut, but it was easier to fold the cut ends in on each other for a less ragged bottom.

Here's the finished Misty-proof gate.  There's a gap at the bottom that will need a heavier-duty solution that will involve Herb's muscles, but for now the extra chicken wire wedged under the gate should do the trick.

I made sure to put a straight, uncut edge of chicken wire next to the place we have to stick our hands through to chain the gate shut.  I don't like getting my hands scratched when I try to shut the gate!

You might be able to see that I also reinforced the chicken wire with a small piece of wire woven through the hexagons of the chicken wire.  This will help keep the chicken wire from breaking either due to Misty's paws or our hands repeatedly reaching through.
Misty didn't think much of my handiwork.

"Seriously, Mom?  How am I supposed to get out now?"

"I know there's got to be a way out of here somewhere!"

"I'm looking . . . "

(Sigh!)  "I guess I'll just have to lay here and take a nap!"

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