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Walkers Be Warned: Fences Mean Something!

, , , | Legal | October 8, 2021

I have a piece of land next to my family’s farm that is mostly waste ground. The problem is that it is infested with rats, not helped by constant walkers and picnickers trespassing, leaving food waste, and damaging the crops — despite the gates and many signs.

I am out with my shotgun, trying to clear the nests, when I see a pair of walkers in the middle of the field.

Me: “Can I help you?”

Woman: “Oh, no, thanks. We know where we are.”

Me: “Let me rephrase that. You are on private property. You need to leave now.”

Man: “Whoa, I don’t like that you have that thing.” *Points to my shotgun* “Can you put it down?!”

Me: “Down? In the sodden ground? No, sorry, I can’t do that. But it’s unloaded and not cocked, so it’s safe. Again, I will invite you, kindly, to leave this property before I call the police.”

Woman: “But we’re just walking. What harm are we doing?”

I begin ushering them back to the road.

Me: “Seeing as the whole field is fenced in and locked, you must have damaged something to get in. Again, last warning before I call the police.”

Woman: “We have rights! I’m calling the police.”

Me: “Fine, but do it on public property.”

They refused to move. The woman was getting hysterical and the man was being paranoid about the shotgun. I decided to wait for the police.

What happened next was months of legal issues. They lied about being threatened, meaning my shotguns were taken away; luckily, I had camera footage. They denied breaking the fence to get in and I couldn’t prove otherwise.

Eventually, everything was dropped, but I still had to pay for the repairs, and the walkers kept coming and finding their way in. It only stopped after I found their forum and got the moderators to remove all mention of my land under threat of legal action.

I’d Tell You But You’d Think It Was A Load Of Bull

, , , , | Friendly | October 5, 2021

I own a small acreage divided into two pastures. One is my horse pasture and I lease the other parcel to a neighbor every summer for his cows. Each cow and calf is called a pair.

I am explaining this to a guy who is visiting.

Guy: “How many cattle will be in the pasture?”

Me: “Ten pairs and a bull.”

Guy: “What’s the bull for?”

Me: “…”

It’s Hiding In The Back Along With All The Animals

, , , , , | Right | July 24, 2021

I work in the gift shop of a theme park and open farm. The business is connected to a working farm, and when I was a kid, there used to be a farm shop selling produce, etc. This disappeared years ago; by the time I started working there, it had been closed for four years. Two years into my employment, a customer comes in.

Customer: “Hello, I’m looking for the farm shop. Has it moved?”

Me: *Brightly but apologetically* “I’m really sorry, madam, but I’m afraid the farm shop actually closed about six years ago. We still sell local honey and a few other things in here.” *Gestures*

Customer: *Suddenly affronted* “But I was in there last year! Why has it closed?!”

Me: “I’m afraid it would have been longer than that. I can only assume it wasn’t profitable.”

The customer just blinks at me and walks out, grumbling that it must have closed recently. My manager overhears the conversation, and after the lady has left, turns to me.

Manager: “Does she think we’re hiding it somewhere?”

Insult The Farmers And You’ll Be Sure To Pay

, , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: USPO-222 | June 19, 2021

An attorney that I work with regularly as part of my job moved from an area with a very high cost of living to our rural community. He sold his $2,000,000 house — paid off and inherited from his grandparents — and bought over fifty acres with a huge house in a bedroom community that has a lot of dairy farms. He always used to say how it was much better living up here, both in terms of the lifestyle and monetarily, as his urban $2,000,000 house had property taxes in excess of $40,000 a year.

In addition to the huge house, the property was about forty acres of fields with a roughly ten-acre woodlot. After he moved into his new house, the attorney was approached by his neighbor, one of the area dairy farmers.

Farmer: “I had a handshake agreement with the former owner of your property. I mow the fields for hay two or three times per year and harvest a sustainable amount of trees out of the woodlot. In exchange, the old owner got 10% of the chopped wood, which is more than enough to heat your house all year long without having to run the oil boiler for anything more than hot water. I’d like to keep this arrangement going, as it worked out well for both of us for over a decade.”

The attorney thought the former owner was being taken advantage of and refused to do a handshake agreement.

Attorney: “Give me a week to draw up a proper contract.”

The farmer was not overjoyed with making this out to be more than a gentlemen’s agreement but agreed to come back the following week. The attorney decided that what would be “fair” was that the farmer should pay him $1,000 each time he mowed the fields for hay, since the farmer would feed the hay to his cows for “free” otherwise (completely ignoring that the farmer was using his own equipment and time to do the haying) and that the lawyer deserved 50% of the chopped wood, not 10%, or at least the 50% of the revenue the farmer got from selling the excess chopped wood (again ignoring the equipment and time investment of the farmer). As you can guess, the farmer refused.

This all happened in late 2019, when the fields were rather bare and the supply of chopped wood for the house was full. Well, then came 2020, and the fields started looking like garbage because none of the other farmers would pay to hay the fields. In fact, after speaking with the first farmer, the attorney found that all of the other area farmers were unwilling to mow the fields unless the attorney paid THEM $1,000 per mowing. And, of course, come wintertime, the attorney’s woodpile was depleted and he had to use the oil boiler to heat his entire home, costing well over $300 a month in winter heating costs.

Then we came to early 2021, tax prep season. The farmer, being a good and dutiful community-minded citizen, informed the town that he did not cultivate any of the attorney’s land for the entirety of 2020, nor did he know of any other farmers who had done so. Well, as it turns out, this was a big deal, because in our state, farmland is assessed at a much lower value than residential property and additionally has a separate and lower tax rate. The attorney’s land had previously been entirely zoned as farmland, except for the house and a few acres of lawn around it. The town sent out an assessor and rezoned the entire fifty-plus acres as residential, which more than tripled the taxable property value and imposed the residential tax rate rather than the much lower farm tax rate. The attorney was quite surprised and furiously told me, and everyone else we work with, all this past week how he’s going to sue the town because they now expect him to pay $50,000 a year in property taxes.

Horsing Around And Being A Horse’s A**

, , , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: Shifting-Parallax | June 4, 2021

I live in a rural neighborhood on five acres and my nearest neighbors are a sweet elderly couple about one acre from me. They’re perfect and we get along very well. I own my own home and have two horses and a cat, and recently, my mom has also moved in.

Here’s where things go south. My neighbors’ son and his wife and two girls — four and seven — live in the nearest city and don’t feel safe during the health crisis. I don’t blame them, and because my neighbors are saints, they open their home and the brood moves right in.

One morning, I’m letting my horses — a Clydesdale and a Welsh Pony — out into the front pasture, and I hear the most high-pitched squealing from next door. I pop my head out and the two girls are losing their minds. And I get it — little white pony and the horse from “Brave” — but still, they’re large animals they don’t know, so they should have the sense not to approach, right?

Pfft. Not a snowball’s chance in Hell. These kids sprint to the fence shrieking. The pony runs around in panic and the Clydesdale stands there with the same “WTF?” look I’ve got on my face. Then, the four-year-old starts to go under the fence.

H***. No.

Me: *Firmly* “Don’t you dare climb under that fence!”

I admit I’m kind of harsh, but I’ll be d***ed if I’m going to have my horses mow over a kid. I walk over to them and they look like they’re about to cry.

Me: “These horses are big animals and could easily hurt you. You must never climb under or over the fence.”

They go home and I clean stalls. An hour in, I hear someone banging on my home’s door, and I can see through my barn’s hatch door that my mom and the kids’ mom are having a conversation. The kids’ mom then storms down to the barn. I’ve never met this lady, but I know an entitled parent when I see one. Joy of joys. She starts going off on me.

Kids’ Mother: “How dare you make my kids cry?! They just wanted to see the ponies!”

She goes on and on, but when she takes a breath, I get my point across.

Me: “Ma’am, your youngest was crawling under the fence toward two large animals none of you know. That Clydesdale is a 2000-pound draft horse; he can literally crush you, not feel it, and do permanent damage. The pony looks cute but needs an experienced hand as he is very untrustworthy, flighty, and tends to bite. Your children are not allowed near them without my consent and heavy supervision, and they’re never allowed in the pasture with them. Do you understand?”

Kids’ Mother: “Well, if they’re so dangerous, why do you have them? Are you even allowed to have them? I should call animal control!”

And on she goes again, until I find a space to interject.

Me: “One, they’re my personal horses; yes, I’m allowed to have them. Two, your kids trespassed on my property; I’m trying to keep them safe. Three, this is not a petting zoo.”

She huffs off and I continue work. Later that evening when the kids’ father gets home, I explain what happened. He’s understandably alarmed. I explain how dangerous that situation is and he agrees. I’m optimistic about his reaction, but I know he’s often not home so I stay cautious.

Later in the next week, I’m working from home and I suddenly hear screaming — not excited screaming but scared little kid screaming. I rush outside and the four-year-old is bawling in the middle of the pasture. The pony is doing laps around the perimeter of the fence as my Clydesdale slowly approaches the little girl. The seven-year-old is crying outside the fence and calling for her mom, but clearly, their mom is not watching them. My initial terror recedes a bit because my Clydesdale is essentially a golden retriever in a horse’s body — the sweetest pushover in the world. He’s gingerly approaching her in a slow, friendly, way and being as non-threatening as he can. And with him so close, the pony won’t rush them. He’s probably about three steps from her, but I yell for him to halt, and like a good boy, he does. I make my way in with them.

Me: *To the four-year-old* “Are you hurt?”

She’s not, but she’s clearly scared, so I pick her up and walk out, making my Clydesdale heel to me just in case the pony gets a dumb idea.

The mom is STILL nowhere in sight, so I take them to my neighbors’ house. What proceeds is about thirty minutes of screaming and crying. The girls’ mother is the one to open the door, she starts screaming at me and firing off questions before my neighbors intervene. I tell everyone exactly what happened and my elderly neighbors BLOW UP — at her, not me.

Neighbors: “How could you be so irresponsible and negligent?! Your daughters could have been hurt!”

Kids’ Mother: “Well, if your neighbor didn’t have those horses in the first place—”

The mom keeps trying to throw the blame on me, but they aren’t having it. My neighbors apologize profusely and I go about my day until the father gets home. He comes by my place.

Kids’ Father: “I want to apologize for my family’s behavior and especially for my wife’s behavior.”

Me: “Thank you. I understand; they’re little girls, and I, too, know the allure of magnificent, fluffy horses! Their mom is at fault for not watching them. I’m just glad everyone is okay.”

The girls were still really shaken up, so I extended an olive branch. I was an overexcited kid who liked horses once, too, and I didn’t want this to completely traumatize them from being around horses.

So, the next day, I properly introduced them to my Clydesdale, with him in his stall with the inside hatch open and the girls being supervised by their father and me. They loved it and the Clydesdale loved the attention. Everyone’s happy, right? Well, except the mom, who took my olive branch as an offer to teach them horseback riding, give free lessons, and other crap, but her husband shot it down hard, and presumably so did my neighbors.

Since then, it’s been quiet. I did install a second electrical wire on the bottom of the pasture fence — not just on the top — just in case. And yes, they did test it. The seven-year-old got zapped pretty good and got in trouble with her dad. Aside from that, there have been no incidents other than them wanting to pet the horses when I drop evening feed once in a while. Here’s hoping it stays peaceful.