Dear Farm Journal,
Today I continued my animal inquisitions. I called my father and my grandmother to get their advice on acquiring some laying chickens and dairy cows. Both have past farming experience, and I knew they would give it to me straight. Not surprisingly, both of their warnings had to do with dairy cows getting out. They mostly passed over the chicken conversation, saying they were relatively easy, but to be diligent about protecting them from predators and keeping them out of the gardens. As for cows, my father’s remark was that good fences make good neighbors and that the first time the cows get out and I have to chase them all over the countryside, I will rue the day I thought a dairy cow was a good idea. My grandmother cautioned not to even think about dairy cows until we had fool proof fencing. Our current fencing is foolish at best and laughable at most points. My grandmother has related many hysterical tales of chasing cows for weeks, losing shoes in the mud, having her dress ripped off by a fence post, clobbering cows over the head in frustration, and keeping her children out of school for days to help get the cows back in. These stories are incredibly entertaining, but she assured me that no one was laughing at the time. So maybe what I should be researching is fencing.