“Buffalo fence” Farm Life 101: Thing I’ve learned since marrying the rancher’s son.

To me “a buffalo fence” is a very funny farm term.  The first time I heard it, I thought it meant building an extraordinarily strong fence to contain the cows.  My father-in-law chuckled.  He seems to do that a lot when I’m around.  Then he told me, “buffalo” actually means a very wimpy fence.  “It’ll fool the cows to stay inside the holding area, but if they happen to push against it, it won’t stop anything.”

A few weekends ago, I was branding out at the in-laws place.  After thirteen years, I figured I understood the process well enough to climb into the holding area and help prod the mama-cows down into the shoots.  After all, it was easy to muscle around the little calves we just finished branding.  Hmm…what I hadn’t considered at the time was calves weight about 100-pounds while their mama’s weigh over 1000.  I know, not very smart, but in I jumped with my big, bad, fiberglass pole, ready to make those 1000-pound mamas do as I commanded. 

Ha!  I’m the biggest “buffalo fence” out there.  And those cows knew it.  Every time one would turn its head and charge, I’d scale the panels in haste, letting them through.  They went through the actual “buffalo fence” twice because I didn’t have the courage to stand my ground.  If it hadn’t been for my brother-in-law helping, (actually doing all the work) we’d still be there, hoping the cows would wander into the shoots all by themselves.  Next year, I’m taking the Hot Shot in with me.  It might not make me tougher, but at least then I’ll be able to shock them in the butt when the naughty buggers are charging past.

About janelleevans

I'm a sleep deprived mother of three. I create young adult novels from the voices in my head.
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