Adventures With Electricity

Spouse writes: Ben Franklin ain’t got nothing on me, at least in the electricity test-subject arena. I don’t even have to fly a kite in a thunderstorm to test electricity. I just need to walk out to the side yard where we keep the electric poultry netting/fence. The electric poultry netting is 4 feet high and surrounds the chicken/goose night-time pen in a rough circle 250 feet in circumference. The fence is battery powered and solar charged. The energizer (marketing-speak for the thing that zaps the hat off your head) is made specifically for securing chickens from predators. Of course this means it costs twice as much as your garden-variety cow/horse/stupid-nephew fence zapper. [Yes, Uncle Lynn – I am looking at you. I will NOT test a fence for you ever again.]

There is one downfall to this electric fence. Since it operates by shocking anything that completes the circuit (i.e. anything touching the ground), grass and weeds will short out the fence and reduce the hat-knocking-off effectiveness. So we need to mow or weed-whack the area under the fence regularly. To check the fence at the furthest point from the zapper to see how well it is working, I usually test with the back of my hand. Since I usually wear rubber soles shoes the zap is mostly harmless.

Last night, however, was a different story. We had come back from our neighbors’ wonderful Halloween party (D.A. can write that post) around midnight. While checking on the geese and chickens I noticed that the zapper was not turned on, so I flipped the switch. Bandit, our faithful yet attention-starved dog (from Bandit’s point of view anyway), came up next to me and nuzzled my hand for some scratchin’ behind the ears. As I obliged I guess I brushed up against the electric fence. I say "I guess" because all I remember is blinding pain and then loud yelping from Bandit. It appears that four dog paws on slightly wet ground is a good conductor. The shock went from my hand - that grazed the fence for testing - through to the other hand scratching poor Bandit. After yelping several times in surprise and pain, she took off running.

When I found her later she did not appear amused.

My dog glance translation is a bit rusty, but I think she said that if she ever finds my shoes without me in them, she will deposit a generous amount of processed dog food in them.


  1. Ah, fun w/ dogs.

    Reminds me of a time I visited a college pal of mine in Wichita. Her husband wanted to show off his (then new, then fast) Mistu 3000GT-VR4. It was in the attached garage, so out we went. Well, their little dog wanted to go too. Ok, let's go for a ride!!

    It turns out that they had an invisible fence that surrounded the yard - as well as ran in front of the garage opening to keep him in. Did you know that invisible fences give off a tone before they zap? He's backing out of the garage, from the backseat we hear a mystery tone and the dog starts flipping out. As we crossed the fence wire.... ZAAAAPP!! (Howls, dog cursing, etc.)

    That's how the test ride began. It "ended" w/ him getting a ticket for 70 in a 35 zone.

  2. Poor Bandit! (and poor Spouse too!)

    Side note: I see you guys are still able to link to the blog on facebook. For some reason, I haven't been able to since I got back from Dallas. The link button won't open the box where you paste the link. Then when I tried pasting the link into the message itself, and hit share, suddenly the blog picture and teaser appeared, but there was no more share button, so I lost everything. So frustrated!!!

  3. @VAloflyby: poor puppy! Was there some sort of cargo carrier for the dog on the motorcycle?

    @Hill Country Hippie: NetworkedBlogs is a pain in the @ss. It will list my blogs, but I can't get it to "share" anything. Keeps saying I have to reconnect to Facebook, then it brings up a blank dialogue box (frakking Flash widgets, I hates them.) Trying to repost a blog, NB lets me choose, but the "share" button is greyed out. Used to be able to logout/login and get the share button, but not anymore. Feh.

  4. omg. Can we call you Mr. Science now?

    When I was a wee tot, I performed some unsupervised maintenance on an aunt's electric water heater - I don't remember it but it almost gave my aunt a heart attack.

    In semi-electrocuted solidarity, glad you and Bandit survived


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