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Monday, September 16 2013


A farm can teach you a lot about physics. For instance, did you know that a 3 inch rain upstream can cause a sleeping little creek to become a raging river that drags trees over large boulders and smashes through any fence-like structure standing its way?

For instance, take these boulders:

Now let's imagine the amount of water it takes to lift an entire tree trunk through this maze of boulders . . .

 . . .

                     . . . to smash into this fence crossing.


In this part of Texas, it is called a "water gap." I might take a moment to wonder why it is called a "water gap" when it is a gap in the FENCE across WATER, but Other Half has advised me multiple times that I cannot call it a "fence crossing" since it is a WATER GAP.  Whatever....

(I might also add that when I have this conversation, I remind myself of Dr. Sheldon Cooper of "The Big Bang Theory.")

But I digress.

Back to physics: Apparently rain in parts unknown can cause tremendous chaos to fences downstream because in addition to leaves, branches, string, tires, and toys, large tree trunks also follow the maze of boulders down our stream and end up smashing through the WATER GAP, thus causing the need to repair the fence after any significant amount of rain.

Note: ANY amount of rain in North Texas is significant.

We have been cautioned by local ranchers to not put a lot of work into stout fences across this creek. Apparently fences across creeks in this area should be mere suggestions to cattle and not a 'challenge' to The Creek, because anything, and I mean ANYTHING, really stout will just be smashed to bits anyway and become debris that damages someone else's Water Gap downstream.  

Ranchers up here just expect that they will have to check/repair their water gaps after every rain.

Another interesting tidbit: I also just heard from another rancher that the law on the books in Texas states that fences are to keep livestock OUT of your property, not IN your property. Not sure about the truth in this but worth checking it, not because I plan on letting my cattle free-graze on the neighbor's land, but I just happened to be fascinated by that kind of trivia.

Anyway, take a peek at these boulders. To get to this gap in the fence, one of our cows must climb down a heavily wooded, very steep 30' bank, or follow the creek A LONG WAY threading through boulders as big or bigger than they are. 


 Will a cow try this adventure?

Probably. They're cows. They're not gifted with a great deal of common sense.

  And so, like every other rancher in the county, we set about repairing fence crossings/WATER GAPS!



Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 02:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
According to someone who knows - supposedly - some counties in Texas are "fence in" and some counties are "fence out" I'd guess your county is fence out then.
Posted by Susan on 09/17/2013 - 06:04 AM
on our watergaps here at our farm we face the cattle panels with old tin sheeting. meaning, on the upstream side of the creek, the side of the watergap that the water hits, we snugly wire on old sheeting to cover the entire length and height of the free swinging panels. it's a lot easier for debris and even huge tree trunks to just push through. it works much more like a giant flap that way than it does like a sieve which catches limbs and branches. try it!
Posted by connie on 09/20/2013 - 08:54 AM

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