My attempts to repair the goat fencing were obviously inadequate. While we were at church on Sunday our favorite bad goat broke out again. This time instead of just dining in our garden he wandered over to the neighbors and sampled their plants as well. He thoughtfully pruned their rose bush and consumed a significant percentage of some other climbing plant. Fortunately, their vegetable garden was fenced. Even more fortunately for both us and Black Jack our neighbors are very sweet forgiving people. Rather than opt for one of the more usual responses to goat predation (I'm thinking of the song "Bill Grogan's Goat") they simply brought Black Jack home and secured him to prevent further unwanted pruning of their flowers.
I apologized profusely the following day and spent most of Monday working on some serious goat fencing.
I've been meaning to rebuild the goat pasture for some time now. I had already accumulated the necessary materials and simply needed a few days off to work on it. Black Jack's foray to the neighbors garden simply elevated it in my list of priorities. When I originally made the goat pasture I used fencing that I had purchased pretty cheaply at a garage sale. It would have been fine for poultry but it was nowhere near strong enough for goats. Goats spend a great deal of time testing any perceived weaknesses in their enclosures. They love to stand on the fence wires with their front hooves and thus quickly trash any fence made with substandard materials. They also have an amazing ability to fit their fat little bodies through holes that appear to be much smaller than the circumference of the goat. My initial pasture fence was made with various grades of welded wire. This time I used "field fence" which is much stouter. It doesn't use all of those welds which are easily broken down when the goats stand on the fencing.
The goat fence took more time than I anticipated. In addition to most of Monday I also had to take Tuesday off work to finish the job. Once again I am so grateful to have an employee so I have that flexibility. By 7:00 pm on Tuesday the goat fencing was finally completed. I am very glad that I don't have to do serious manual labor every day. Between driving the posts, stretching the fencing, securing it to the posts, and some leveling with a shovel, I think I got my exercise for the day. I was dragging a bit by the time the job was finished. Black Jack and Buster both had to spend the entire day tied up while I worked on the fence. I'm sure they were also very glad I had finally finished the job.
I took a break from the goat fence for a few hours on Monday in order to drive to Monroe to visit Beth and James and retrieve my orchard ladder. They have two cherry trees, one sweet cherry (probably a Bing) and one pie cherry (probably a Montmorency). They had borrowed the ladder to get their cherries picked. Beth hadn't picked all of the pie cherries yet because she wasn't comfortable on the upper rungs of the ladder. That gave me the opportunity to pick about a gallon and a half of pie cherries. I have to admit that I like the pie cherries better than the sweet cherries. I love cherry pie and they are so wonderful dried into raisens( or is that chersens). I also like the fact that pie cherries are self fertile and don't split if it rains. I have two pie cherry trees, but they are both still rather small. They both have cherries on them, but there aren't enough for a pie between the two of them. The tree pictured below is a Morello type pie cherry (red juice) named Surefire. I think I'm probably still a few years away from self sufficiency when it comes to pie cherries.
While in Monroe I also stopped by Del's, a feed store, in order to get more of the metal connectors used to secure the fencing to the metal posts. They had lots of them but they weren't for sale. Apparently they come free with the purchase of the metal fence posts. However, a lot of their customers are using the metal fence posts to put up electric fencing for their horses. That requires a different type of connector. As a consequence Del's has built up a very large surpluse of metal fence connectors and they gave me all that I needed for free. They were already my favorite feed store but that lengthened their lead over the competition.