There was time when we have 5 Holstein cows…now we kept the cows in the woods, and their water supply was from a year round spring in the gully just below our barn.
The fence was electrified with a charger that hung on our garage wall, the charger was about 8 inches across, 14 inches high and 3 inches deep…it gave bursts of electric impulses…………it also had a large round red light on its face and every time it lit up, a pulse of electricity was being sent out…
At times, a limb would fall, or something rub against the wire, and it would be dislocated from the insulator and either be broken or spring against the fence post and “short out”. When the circuit was broken you could hear a buzz, buzz in the charger every time it tried sending out an impulse….also since it was an AC power source, you could hear an impulse buzz in a radio or see a electrical interference line across the TV screen.
It was a cold, dark night in the dead of winter…………….snow was a foot deep, the wind was howling and our coats weren’t warm enough… The Sterrett’s didn’t own the surrounding farm fields then, and where our present driveway is, and all the way back to the end of our woods there was another wooded area across the lane/road.
Dad was home, we were watching TV, we both saw the electrical interference on the screen…pulse, pulse, pulse, we got up went to the garage..sure enough, the buzz, buzz, buzz of an electrical short…
We hoped that the short in the wire was not deep into the woods, on a night like this. Dad decided it would be warmer to go by car, rather than tractor. He and I got into our 1963 white Chevy Biscayne Station Wagon and drove back to the woods, I had my window rolled down, hoping to hear the snap, snap of the wire touching a post… We came to the gate, no mystery here…the gate was down and tracks from a herd of cows heading down the tree shrouded lane. Dad drove slowly, keeping the cars’ headlights directly centered on their trail..
We came to the end our woods…………………to our right before us lay an open field, on our left was a fence row that parallels Sterrett’s present lane, a field lay to the left of the fence line…the fields were wind swept, but be could just make out tracks going through the field on the right….to the right it was!!!!! But the tracks were bisecting the field at a 45 degree angle across it.. We could see the tracks but no cows…..dad proceeded to the tracks… We got half way across the field and the car stopped!!! The car couldn’t go forward and wouldn’t go back……. We didn’t know much about these fields…but later learned that this one had a swale, it dipped down, but the snow didn’t….we were stuck….
We looked at each other….SOMEONE had to walk back to the house and get the tractor…. (now you need to realize, we had one tractor, sort-of like-game-boy, who could get to the toy first to play with it-but NOT tonight!!!)……”well dad, you were driving, you got us just stuck, you need to walk back for the tractor”, ….”ah, well son, when we pull the car out with the tractor, I need to be driving the car, because I’ve got a license”. It must have been a very very cold that night, why didn’t I ask, “who needs a license to drive in a field?” I was too busy grumbling about walking back…
I got the tractor, and drove to the field, our tractor was a Ford 8N, similar to my current Massey, but the Ford had snow chains for the rear tires. We hooked up the log chains and pulled car out…………now I got to follow the car back to the house, I’m following on the tractor…STILL cold, wind from the east… We’re home, but still missing cows…so now we get to repeat this process, on the tractor following the tracks………who takes over driving the tractor?????—NOT ME!! I get to ride on the back, standing on the draw bar, holding on to the fenders… We returned to the field, followed the tracks on across to the opposite woods, they turned left and followed the woods back to the road, (the road which now goes to Sterrett’s house) the trail rambles down to the lower fields we’re again shrouded in trees, dark and eerie , on went the tracks……Thankfully, going down this path, we were protected from the easterly wind. Down the lane the tracks meandered and at the bottom they turned right, along the base of the hill…we continued…..finally coming to our property, just below the barn….there at the gate, bawling to be let in to the water tank, were our 5 cows..
Dumb cows….they took the long way around to the water and made us follow after!!!