Gate Watch 2014


There is the occasion upon which I am called to watch a gate.

GateKeeping

Yep, there it is. That there is a gate, and it looks mighty fine. Good job, let’s go indoors now!

Not so fast says Pete. There’s more to it than that. Gate watching does not accurately define the experience. You see, gate watching sounds like a pleasantly passive interlude. Something to do while reading a book or twining flowers in one another’s hair on a warm, summer day.

The HerdFor me though, it means pulling on my winter gear, skating across the iced-over farmyard, opening the gate to allow the tractor to drive in with an abundance of straw, all the while keeping the steer from running out in their quest for free pasture. For this, Pete arms me with…a stick. Thanks. 45 steer weighing approximately 1100 lbs. against one, little me. And he gives me a stick.

Number 23As it turns out, I don’t really need to use the stick. These guys are pretty cool. They might get overly curious and give me the hairy eyeball, or drool on my gloves a little too much. But mostly, they just carry on chewing, staring, and hanging with their brethren while we go on about our business. Or rather as Pete goes on about his business. I’m still watching the gate. And today’s gate watch went well. The steer got fresh straw, and I opened, watched, and finally locked the gate. All flawlessly performed in 14 degree weather. Which feels pretty balmy compared to the single digits and below zero temperatures we’ve been having.

In fact, Pete then took some time to sit in the sun with his entourage, Bowzer B. Dawg and Hans the Barn Kitten.

Petes Barn Friends(And between you and me, I think Hans is using eye liner. But that’s a subject for another day.)

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