Outdoors Column: More Power

I told earlier about putting up an electric fence to protect my garden. Today, I can report of the success. Last year, my garden provided a smorgasbord for all the local furry creatures in the neighborhood. There were deer tracks where they had walked straddling rows of green beans, keeping them pruned close to the ground. The low hanging tomatoes had chunks gone from the rabbits eating them. This year, it is a whole different story.


A few years ago, during a drought, I had trouble with the neighbor’s cows crossing the end of the lake and coming over to my place. It is pointless to run a permanent fence as the next time it rained, water rushing into the lake would remove it. I decided to put up an electric fence with a solar charger. These solar fencers are rated in strength by how many miles of wire they will electrify. Since the space I needed to cover was a couple hundred yards, I got the fencer that would carry a charge for twenty miles. I thought this ought to be strong enough to convince any cow. The water level is up to normal level this year, so I do not need an electric fence on the water gap. I decided to use it on the garden.


I ran three strands of webbed wire around the garden. One strand was placed a few inches off the ground to stop rabbits and raccoons. One strand is just over waist high for the deer. I put one wire in between to discourage anybody jumping through the gap.


The beans have grown, produced green beans, and we have gotten to enjoy them this year. The tomatoes are ripening, and none have been eaten by rabbits or anything else. The true test is the sweet corn. Raccoons are famous for waiting until the day before a person is going to pick sweet corn to come into the garden and eat half of each ear that is ripe. Our corn has not been touched. I am sure anything that has come into contact with my electric fence, did not do it a second time. I speak from experience.


A couple of week ago, I was mowing the lawn around the garden. It had rained the day before and a few slippery spots remained. There is a bit of a slope on the one side and I started sliding toward the fence. Hoping to gain traction, I accelerated, causing the mower to spin out and drop into the soft soil in the garden. The electric fence stretched tightly across the downhill side of the mower. Since I was not being shocked while on the mower, I did not think of the consequences as I stepped off. As soon as my foot hit the ground, I was hit with a jolt that caused every muscle in my body to contract. I dropped to the ground and for a moment, wondered what happened. I felt like I had been by a truck. My falling down had cleared me from the electrical circuit so I was not being shocked until, somewhat dazed, I grabbed the mower to help myself up. The jolt stretched me out on the ground again. Even in a somewhat confused state of mind, I did not do that again.


I am sure the power on the fencer is strong enough to protect the garden. The deer passing through the yard give it a wide berth. If I see any confused rabbits with curly hair hopping around, I will know they touched the fence. I am sure they will not do it again. Nor will I.