One of the few really nice things we inherited here at Cairncrest when we took possesion of the farm last fall was a really good stock fence around 40 acres of hill pasture. Of course, as with everything else here it wasn't quite right. So three days ago Garth and I set out to make the fence on our pasture whole again. In 2008 the previous owner of our farm had some loggers take out a bunch of trees from the various stands of woods at Cairncrest. One of the more obnoxious things they did while extracting trees was wreck a section of said high quality fence. They snapped off a fence post and tore out nearly 100 feet of fence. Worse than that was the gate. They tore the gate off, pulled down the post it hung on, and then proceeded to push topsoil and subsoil and entire small trees into the gap where the gate belonged. They did this to build up a naturally boggy spot so their skidder wouldn't sink as they pulled the saw logs out of the woods.
Correcting this mess took a long time and more diesel fuel than I would have liked. We attacked the mound of dirt between the gate posts with shovels and the bucket of our tractor (in the first picture you can see a mound we pushed up on the outside of the gate to be dealt with later) The soil there is very clay-rich so it stuck to everything, making for a muddy job. In fact it was so mucky that the buried vegetation and organic matter in the topsoil fermented anaerobically. The whole jobsite stank like a manure loaded barn once we opened the top few inches of dirt.
The buried trees made the digging nearly impossible with either machine or shovel since the trunks and branches impeded every move. They made the job exponentially more difficult as we had to unearth them at one end or the other by hand, then pluck them out with the bucket on the tractor.
All this wrestling with "somebody else's mess" afforded me ample opportunity for reflection on resentment and what I signed up for. I had moments where I was ready to curse the spirits of the loggers and the prior owner who bequeathed us this problem spot. Ultimately I managed to let go of that charge of "justified resentment" and accepted the fact that it simply is what it is and I have to deal with it now. I'm quite certain that the future holds more moments when I will have similar feelings and thoughts arise, and I hope to let them too slip off in the world of letting bygones be bygones and we'll slowly but surely set things right around here.
The gate isn't actually hung yet, but we're finally close to having put up replacement fence mesh and scavanged a gate from down by our barn. Once the gate is actually hung we'll be ready for cattle...