My local area boasts a number of small, family run farms. Many of these farms proudly display their name on a sign out front. On the road I use to commute back and forth to work, there is a farm without such a sign. That is okay though, because in my mind, this farm has a name. Over my years of commuting, this farm has become known to me as Fence Fail Farm.
I am not completely sure what the situation is: either the farmers have no fencing skills or the animals are brilliant escape artists. Maybe it is a combination of both, I don’t know. But I know one thing for sure. On Fence Fail Farm, the animals escape their pens whenever they feel the need to do so. And apparently, they feel the need to do so most of the time.
This farm has become the backdrop for many interesting scenes in the past few years. There is often a ATV roaming around the barnyard, herding the livestock back into their assigned places. I have had the opportunity to route an entire herd of cows simply by saying, “Hi there!” (The stampeding cows then frightened a herd of wayward sheep, so really I killed two birds with one stone that day.) I was also able to bike alongside a cow that had chosen to clomp along the road.
This farm is exciting. Every day that I pass by, the chickens and donkeys and sheep and cows and dogs and pigs seem to be hanging out in different locations across the countryside. (Well, I haven’t seen the pigs in awhile, I think they are finally being contained successfully. In a freezer.)
Today was no exception. The sheep had chosen to graze right by the road.
“Guys, what are you doing?” I asked sternly.
Animals are great. They can graze peacefully by a roadside for hours while cars and trucks rush past, but let a single cyclist pass by and…
“Ahh! It’s a thing! We are going to DIE!!!”
These sheep, predictably, had this reaction when they saw me after turning to the sound of my voice. They scrambled back to the safety of their pen, beginning to leap over the sagging wire fence, one by one. It was a hilarious sight and I pulled out my camera to capture the moment. Alas, it was at the bottom of my pannier and by the time I had it out, the sheep were all back in their pen, looking at me, eyes filled with guilt.
As I took a few pictures, the sheepdog-a border collie, began to bark at me.
“Hey, I just did your job for you, you should be thankful!” I retorted.
He was not thankful or impressed and he continued barking at me until I left.