"Is that your animals over there?" Asked our neighbor.
Not the words I wanted to hear. Not the mules I wanted to see on the wrong side of the fence!
Over there was nearly 200 acres of woods and cropland that belong to my west side neighbors. Willy, Pedro, and the crazy mule, Mr. Red, were out. I thanked my 'up the hill' neighbor and trotted down into the pasture to see where the other mules were.
I found LeRoy running back and forth braying.
Breakout! I found the place where they'd gone through. The old line fence of barbed wire was still somewhat up. The hot electric fence that we'd put up on this side of the old fence was laying across and into our west neighbor's beef pasture.
The weeds had shorted the hot wire, and the fence looked pretty frayed too.
I'd like to blame it all on fence failure, but I couldn't. I should have remembered to come down to this area and check the fencing. But I didn't because we'd been busy with the house remodel and I didn't think about it.
Rich and I did some quick fixes to the fence and I went to get some grain in a bucket to get the wayward mules home.
They were no longer in sight. Crap. And a few other unsavory words.
It looked like I was going to have to hike to go find them.
I went to the house so I could call my west neighbor to let them know we had 3 mules on the loose.
My phone was wringing.
It was the neighbor.
She laughed and asked me if I was missing something. I said "YES!"
"Come on over, perhaps we can herd them into a paddock here."
We eventually moved them into Gary's holding pen for his cattle and decided since it was so late we'd come back with the horse trailer the next morning and haul them home.
I went at the weeds that were impeding the fence with my very friendly and useful machete.
I soon discovered that the best bet would be to replace the hot wires, they were old and worn out.
So Rich and I got up early and went to stringing new fencing. The old braided rope we had up had been in place for nearly 15 years.
That fencing is guaranteed for almost 10 years.
We use Premier 1 1/4" rope fencing. And yes, it is worth the price.
The old fence still held a charge, but was stiff with age.
Another line was frayed and had been retied too many times...
So we restrung hot wire and tested it. A few other places along the fence got some repairs also. It was a fencing type of morning.
Just before noon we backed up the trailer to the neighbor's cattle pen. The mules loaded and we headed home.
We released them into the mare's winter pasture which had a nice new growth of grass.
Plus the escapees wouldn't go down to the place where they broke out and try it again.
At first they were wild and ran willy nilly.
After a bit they settled down.
Thus the mule escapee Saga has ended.
Hmmm, that was our second escape this summer! Lil' Richard's tie out broke a couple of weeks ago.
He never fails to go directly to Linda's farm and stand in her barn.
We go retrieve him with a lead rope and lead him out the vehicle window to return home.
He hasn't had an equipment failure for two years!
Life on the farm, at least it isn't dull.