Monday, August 13, 2012

Adventures in Learning

We took a hike in the woods today.  Well, that's what it ended up being although that wasn't necessarily our intent. 

We've been looking to acquire a little acreage out in the country where we might be able to run a few cows.  So far, we haven't been able to find the right place or the right deal or something.  I guess it amounts to an exercise in patience.  Eventually we will find the right place.

Anyway, we went out to check out a property listed for sale that we had driven by a few times.  It's one that I have kept coming back to as other properties fell through.  I wanted a serious look and so I got the combination for the lock box from our realtor and this evening we went out to look it over.

It is grown up in weeds and brush and although it is being leased for grazing we were only able to find a handful of cattle on the place.  We drove a short distance into the property following the faint trace of a road that once was.  It wasn't even as clear as the cattle trails but it got us about 100 yards into the place before we decided that we would just walk.

My goal was to get a feel for the boundaries of the property -- how it lay and what the grass looked like.  I knew that there were a number of shallow watercourses that crossed the land because they were choked with trees and brush.  Interspersed between are areas that were once pasture but are now grown up in weeds and brush.

We hiked toward the back of the place looking for the back fence.  And we kept hiking.  And we hiked some more.  No fence.  We both felt sure we were beyond the boundary of the place when we came upon a road through the pasture so we followed it a ways.  Sure enough, it led to the neighbor's house on the place behind.  Well, sort of. 

He came out to meet us in his pasture and said he figured we must be lost.  Seemed like a nice guy and was very helpful when I explained what we were doing.  He kind of laughed and said, "You won't find many fences in the woods of East Texas -- at least not ones where the wires are up on posts and that will keep the livestock in.  You gotta look at the ground to find any fences around here.  They've all fallen down years ago."

He went on to explain that the dry creek we crossed actually belonged to the state and was considered navigable waters....remember, I said it was dry.  Then we had crossed another small tract that was landlocked and he didn't know who owned it.  It was probably claimed by the county for failure to pay taxes.  Then we had come across a portion of his land.  Not a single fence.

It's no wonder we didn't see many cows.  They are probably scattered over half the county.  I think the place would be a great project but, it would take more investment to get it into shape than I'm willing to put into it.  I guess we'll keep looking.


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