Using the boots in the closet

The rubber boots in the closet aren’t put to use too often. The last time I wore them was on Ocracoke Island the week after Hurricane Sandy. We’d gone by boat out to Portsmouth Island, south of Ocracoke, to olivia6-25 Page 4A.inddcollect shells dredged up by the hurricane from the bottom of the ocean. We needed the boots because the water closer to the beach was too shallow for the motor to be used and we all had to jump out and pull the boat ashore.

The boots will be in use this week, even though the torrential rain has finally come to an end. We have to go out into the woods and check the pasture fence.

There are lots of pines and other trees in close proximity to the fence line, and periodically after heavy rain and high wind some trees will come down, often atop the top strand of wire. It takes an entire day to cut up an entire pine tree and remove it from the fence, but it has to be done.

It’s also likely that since the ground is so soft some fence posts may not be completely upright, as the weight of the tree may bend them over.

If this event in the pasture on Fowler Farm was being covered by Jim Cantrell, he would say the fence has been compromised by the heavy rainfall.

Although we only have three horses now, and their brains are reported to be the size of a walnut, they clearly believe the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and will leave their comfy home to find out if this is true.

On the brighter, side it is possible they may not notice the fence has been breached, but you never really know.

So inevitably after a weather event, it’s necessary to do a complete fence surveillance.

Hence the boots.

You may wonder why the boots are necessary after the rain has stopped. Should you care to walk through the soft ground surrounding the hay barn, you would soon have the answer to this question.

It is not unknown to have the shoes sucked off your feet by the heavy gumbo around the barn.

If that happens and balance is lost, it is possible to fall flat on your back in the mud and remain there until a rescue operation can be mounted.

It is not my life’s ambition to list among my achievements that a tractor was used to pull me from a mud bog.

Granted, it would add to the collection of family farm history to be able to include such an incident, but it’s my belief there’s already a pretty complete collection of similar stories.

And so it’s a good thing there are rubber boots in the closet. It’s always better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.