Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Friday, April 5, 2013

A to Z "E"

E is for electric fences.

Most of the farms around where I grew up had barbed wired pasture fences with electricity coursing through them. A "fencer" was standard equipment on a farm, simply put, it alternated the current on, off, on. off, basically a pulse. This renders the electricity painful, but not lethal.

Back in the day, and when I say back in the day, we're looking at nearly half a century ago, kids sneakers had rubber soles. Real rubber soles. And farm kids learned young that we could grab a hot fence and push it down to step over it--if we had on insulating, rubber-soled sneakers. And there was always a reason to be on the other side of a fence. A shorter way home, the best berry brambles, or the horse that you planned on riding was inside the fence and you were on the outside.

Sometimes, the fence was just too high, in which case, it was time to hit the deck and do a belly crawl underneath it. And on rare occasion, the best way through the fence...was going through the fence: lean over at the waist and carefully lift one leg up and through between the two strands, then set it down on the other side and follow through with the other foot. In time, we learned where every good crossing place was in the pasture fence around the family farm.

Our house was in the middle of the fenced in "hollow" aka valley. So, we (and visitors) had to drive through a gate in the fence to get to the house. Yeah, I know. I wasn't born in a barn, but it could be argued that I DID grow up in a cow pasture. Sheesh.

The gate was nothing more than the fence wire crossing the lane attached to a piece of rubber garden hose stretched over a spring with a hook at the end. To open it, a person grabbed the hose and tugged to stretch the spring,  and then unhooked it from the loop on the other side.  Then the process was reversed after the car had driven over the fence laying on the ground.  Not difficult, but it was intimidating to a lot of people who visited.

Electricity was part of life, and we developed a  healthy respect for it at an early age.

Odd fact to share: You know those highline electric lines-- (think  power line supported by big towers, carrying high voltage from substation to substation? If you hold a fluorescent light tube high enough beneath the lines, it lights up?

Have a good "E" day, all. :-)

I added this later because of the interest in fluorescent light under electric lines.



16 comments:

  1. Sounds kind of scary! Then again, I was almost always the chicken in the group—the only one who wouldn't go along with the rest. LOL

    I'm so enjoying your stories!

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    1. Thanks, Dana. :-) Chickens learn a lot by watching others, lol! :-)

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  2. I touched an electric fence once, to see if it was an electric fence. It was, but it didn't announce it at first.

    The electric pulse came a fraction of a second after I touched it - just long enough for my brain to decide it wasn't an electric fence after all, and that I should hold it tighter. Dammit.

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    1. lol--I'm laughing with you, Ash, not at you :-) Humbling. :-) Thanks for visiting.

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  3. Yup. I grew up around electric fences and barbed wire fences. We masterd getting through the barbed wire ones, but the electric ones were much tougher! I'm stopping by from the A to Z Challenge, and I'm a new follower. :)

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    1. Thanks, Margo. Yeah, different world. :-)

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  4. I'm curious about the light bulb. May have to test it.

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    1. Hi Nana. The powerlines glow when there is a wet snowfall or a light, misty rain. :-) Thanks for visiting. :-)

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  5. I have never touched an electric barbed wire fence but I have been electrocuted by a toaster before. What a weird feeling. When you were a child, did you ever get electrocuted while going through a fence?

    Chontali Kirk
    chontalikirk.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh, my--yes, shocked going through a fence! I despise the feeling. My reaction is anger. Very unpleasant!. My husband worked on a line crew, up and around electric wires all of his adult life. It was a happy day when he retired and I no longer worried about that.

      A toaster? Ouch!

      Thanks for visiting. :-)

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  6. We had lots of those fences around where I grew up. Fortunately, we also had a lot of roads and paths, so I never had that pressing need to put those kinds of shock-avoidance skills to the test.

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    1. lol... Lucky you, Ian. The boonies had few roads and even fewer paths ;-) Thanks for visiting.

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  7. I have a pylon on the farm,I'm trying that light bulb test, my son will love doing it, hope it works.Thanks and happy A to Z.

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    1. Thanks, Maggie, I was inspired to post a YouTube after reading your comment.

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  8. I think the animals learned how to deal with the electricity too / they still got out

    glad we had those sneakers...


    visiting from a to z

    Moondustwriter

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    1. Thanks Moondustwriter! :-) Yeppers, glad we had those sneakers! :-)

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