Monday, April 13, 2009

Lessons in electric fencing... or "Take off yer duck boots"

I had Good Friday off so we spent most of the day putting down mulch on all the landscape beds. Another project I had planned was to fence in my perennial bed with electric fence. After two years of battling the deer, I've just had it. Time for some deer training.
Last fall I picked up a solar fencer on sale. We figured it would need some time to charge so Hubby and I built the fence, installed the fencer, then let it go. On Friday, it had been charging for 5 days so we figured it was ready to go. We fiddled and diddled around with the fence, but couldn't get more than a tickle. Hmmmm. OK. Maybe the battery is shot after a whole winter of not being charged? Hubby promised to spend some time trouble shooting. So, today he went to work. He rechecked everything and drove a couple more ground rods in. Still nothing. He went and got the plug-in-the-wall fencer and put that in. Still just a tickle. Hmmmm. Must definitely be something with the installation of the fence. He put the solar one back in and went back to his trouble shooting. He wired the corner post to a tree to steady it. He made a very neat installation of the wire from the fencer, and the ground wire. Sometime in his careful fence neatening up, he happened to drop a wrench on the ground. Squatting near the ground, holding the fence wire in one hand, he reached down and picked the wrench up off the ground. I only wish I had been there to see what happened next. When he grabbed that wrench, he said the jolt from the fencer knocked him flat on his butt. Ahhhhh! It works! Confused, he knelt on the ground and grabbed the hot wire again. Wham-O. Knocked flat again. Then a light dawned... his rubber duck boots had been insulating him. Anytime he touched the ground and the fence, he got zapped full strength. Leave it to my husband not to wise up at this point. He says he touched it at least twice more. Then, he called the neighbor over for a demonstration. Again, the neighbor was insulated by his duck boots... until he went to set his beer can on the ground so he could think better and figure out why he didn't get zapped. (Evil snicker)
So, we have solved the mystery of the electric fence installation. And I only wish I would happen to catch the deer reaching through it to trim off my tulips...