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I knew that while I was away in Florida, it continued to snow in Hadley. I also knew that the goats realized they could just hop over their nearly buried fence.

This did not please Maggie, who was left up here.

But, ever the resourceful one, she erected a creation, with the help of Daughter Unit Margot, to stop the goats.

When she told me about it, I could only imagine.

My imagination was not disappointed when I came home to a fanciful barrier constructed of twigs, skis, dry branches, bits of wire, concrete reinforcing wire and, most importantly, baling twine.

It was crazy looking. She said she wondered how mad I would be when I got home and could see her work in its full glory.

Let us say that when I saw this tangle, I became concerned about how I would ever get rid of it, short of a bulldozer.

On the other hand, the goats thought it was magnificent, and decided in Maggie’s honor they would not breach this marvelous fence — for at least three weeks.

They just seemed to gaze on it lovingly. They could easily push right through it, as they now have. But they gave that time.

Meanwhile, I started construction on a more conventional, albeit temporary, fence, next to the work of art.

I am basically putting a wire fence above and next to the real fence, and next to the work of art — ski poles, twine of orange, green and blue, twigs and branches normally used to grow peas on and so forth.

All around the goat yard, while trying to put up wire fencing, I’m post-holing through snow that’s between two and three feet deep. I’m also getting entangled in the work of art and being assisted by numerous helpful goats.

On the other side of the mountains, I’m seeing fields nearly clear of snow. It would be easy work there, for what I’m doing.

Here, not so easy. Just another Herculean task. And a task that will have to be revised constantly as the snow melts.

I could not actually get the T-posts through the frost layer, nor could I get the fencing to go much more than a foot into the snow.

Things seem to be holding up for the moment, but I can assure you that Hazel Goat, who is an expert at such things, will find the weak spot and teach her fellow goats to take advantage of it.

A few days ago, while attempting to install my emergency temporary fence above a fence, 12-odd goats were standing at the end of the driveway. They received a beeping rebuke from a passing neighbor and all ran to the front door for solace.

I came over and told them they were bad goats. So, they all walked around back to the hay storage, except for little Moon, the littlest milking goat in the world.

Moon, a tiny, old goat who is never bad, was so excited by the mischief that she stayed in front with the young kids and jumped up onto a pile of hay several times in a way that had her land on her back as she frolicked and capered about.

I was thinking about Maggie’s fence. It certainly was cheap enough to build, and heck, if goats think it’s special, it must be.

Perhaps if all of us northerners donated our old skis, pea fences, binder twine and, of course, Maggie’s exceptional design skills, we could build border barriers for almost nothing, while satisfying all concerned.

What a life!

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Forrest Hartley is scratching his head in Hadley. You can leave him Forrest a message at


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