Sunday, February 27, 2011

Electric Fences are Not My Friend

Mr. HH spent this past weekend putting up an electric fence around the new house.  The thing about electric fences is that they are kind of a temporary fix – as in they take 1/10 the time to put up but you spend 100 times as long fixing them and finding insulators.  We will eventually have a ‘real’ fence separating us from the cows, but for now this will let them graze the section of pasture next to the house and hopefully keep us from feeding more hay than we have to until Spring finally arrives.

Everyone should have at least one good electric fence story.  I actually think I could do a short series on them, but I’ll try to spare you the monotony by summarizing my favorites.

We once had a mare who was terrified of going through electric fence gates…she would walk through in a half-prance, half spinning frantic state as she tried to watch both her front and back halves to make sure the fence didn’t sneak up and bite her.  Thinking back on my own experiences, I can’t say I blame her.

I remember once when I was maybe 7 or 8 riding with Grandpa and a couple younger cousins.  Grandpa told ME to get the gate, which made me so proud of my little self…after all, I knew how to get an electric fence gate without getting shocked, right?  Well, somehow the handle had gotten cracked and as I grabbed it I broke away the remaining insulating plastic and stuck my tender little hand right against the conductive  metal.  Turns out it’s hard to look cool in front of your little cousins while sniffling tears into your coveralls.  I think Grandpa tried to cover for me by getting out and fixing the gate right then, which did give me a little time to regain my composure, but my ego-bubble was pretty damaged.

As humiliating as that was, it was not my worst shock.  My worst shock was when I was a teenager walking through the horse pasture to go get my rotten horse who had run all the way to the road just when I needed to catch him.  I guess the grass was damp enough to get my jeans wet, and in typical teenager form I wasn’t paying attention to my proximity to said LIVE electric fence.  I swear I only brushed my hand up against it, but apparently my wet legs were super conductors.  It’s the only time I’ve actually been knocked down by a fence – literally blown back onto my butt on the ground thinking, “huh, maybe that mare is onto something about these things…”

I don’t really know how this one ended, but I’m sure it was spectacular.  A couple of ‘city folk’ came out to go turkey hunting, and Mom and I were the only ones home when they came walking though the yard.  Mom gave them directions from the porch and the customary, “Watch out for the electric fence down there.”  Mr. City Hunter just chuckled and told her, “Oh, I know all about those.  I just grab onto them really tight and then they can’t shock me.”  Mom tried to tell him NOT to try it on our fences, which were intended to be strong enough to deter even a 100olb fur and thick-hide-covered mama cow, but he wouldn’t listen.  I’m guessing the laws of physics and that whole ‘shortest path to ground’ argument wouldn’t have worked either.  I don’t think they got a turkey that day, probably because the screaming scared them all away.  Maybe I should have introduced them to the mare so she could teach them a thing or two about proper fence etiquette.

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