“Good fences make good neighbours;” so says the narrator’s neighbour in the American poet, Robert Frost’s, poem ‘Mending Wall‘. It begins: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall…” a sentiment many farmers could agree with.
Of course, the wall in the poem is a drystane wall that the neighbours in question repair by hand each spring, a skill which it seems we are slowly losing over the generations; but the feeling behind it, and the job of mending fences, is one I imagine all farmers will be familiar with.
It’s been over a month since the farm’s springtime fencing was undertaken. All the fences were examined to ensure they were stock proof, rotted posts were replaced and broken wires repaired. The course of the years, the weather, the seasons and the livestock all take their individual tolls on farm fencing, and the combined efforts lead to one of the more time-consuming spring tasks.
Our fencing project today was one for which some high-spirited youngstock were largely responsible. The fence in question prevented access to a rather steep cliff in fact, and so was rather important (though perhaps not to our neighbours). The posts had rotted below the soil line and no doubt some youthful hijinks had encouraged their demise.
The perpetrators however, were entirely unconcerned:
And the wee farmer and I were quite happy to enjoy a day out in the sunshine while the big farmer was working!
The lovely views over to nearby Arran made it a good day at the office.
And although it was the hottest day of the year thus far, there was an acceptable burn for cooling down!
As Robert Frost suggests in his poem, where there are cows, good fences certainly make good neighbours, and the big farmers would no doubt agree. There’s been plenty of opportunities to express this maxim over the years, and no doubt there will be again. Until the next time, I will continue to be thankful to live out in the countryside, where doing jobs often provides you with a stunning backdrop which can’t help but improve the working day!