Everybody needs a fence friend. Jim Vanicek has told me that twice now. Bill met Jim within the first week that we'd moved here. Jim pulled up next to him at the stop sign near Selle Road, introduced himself and said, "Now, Jeff always told me when he had the electric fence on." I guess his comment was an overture for the Loves to do the same.
Well, our neighbors to the south don't need to worry. We're never going to tell them when we have the electric fence on cuz we're not going to turn it on, ever. Well, we will string a wire around Rambo and Casey's barn pasture up here by the house, and we'll turn on the charger occasionally, just to encourage them to stay away from the fence. We've followed that practice over the years.
All tolled, our fence charger usually works about two hours a year. That's about how long it takes for one of our geldings to hit the wire, recoil, look highly insulted and stay the heck away from the fence for at least a couple of months. We've usually had to turn on the charger once in the spring to establish ground rules and once in the fall when pasture grass has diminished and pickin's look much better in the lawn.
The previous owners had goats. So, the previous owners had a monster fence charger which ran mega jolts through five wires along the perimeter of the 20 acres and across every one of the seven pastures. The 4-foot high fences kept the goats in and the neighbors nervous. It's that last part that bothers me. Electric fence makes me nervous cuz it's taken only a couple of hits in my lifetime to know what a whallop it can pack.
We're NOT going to have that all over this place, I announced almost immediately after moving here. I know enough to stay away from those wires, but I don't even want to think about them. The set-up reminds me too much of being in a prison, not that I've ever spent any time there. The intimidation factor of a potential electric shock from a fence 30 feet away is more than I want to deal with on a daily basis. Therefore, we're on a mission to gradually replace all goat fence with higher non-electrified smooth wire.
So, neighbor Jim never needs to worry. He has a fence friend here at the Lovestead, and his kids can walk along their lane bordering our woods without worrying about that fence coming over and biting them.
Jim uses the lane between our place and his Yak pasture for his snowmobile and his motorcycle. He also mows it with his riding mower. That's what he was doing one night while I was out for a walk in the woods. While my dogs proceeded to dig a hole halfway to China, Jim and I talked and talked and talked and agreed we could be fence friends. He brought that agreement up again last night when I invited him and his wife Tracey to drop over on Halloween.
Jim's a fence friend and so are Bev and Ron. They're our neighbors directly to the south. We can see their house from ours, but both parties pretty much mind their own business. The other day, however, I was out trimming the witches' limbs from the lower parts of our trees when I saw Annie Dog walk through the fence. She had heard Bev and Ron walking along their driveway so she thought she needed to go visit. When I yelled at Annie to come back, they saw me and came over to the fence---very carefully.
"Is that thing on?" Ron asked.
"No, and it will never be on," I assured him.
"Good," he said.
We gabbed for about twenty minutes, during which they told me of their efforts to build a pond. Their hope is to provide a sanctuary for the dozens of deer who hang out in the neighborhood. They've also seen a moose travel through their land, so they're hoping birds and four-legged critters will find a nice place to spend some time. That is, if they can get the water flowing. The well digger had gone hundreds of feet yesterday without much luck. So, we'll see what happens.
In the meantime, I've learned that Bev makes a good batch of molasses cookies and that they're car nuts who belong to the Injectors Auto Club. I've also learned that they're very nice people. It was that fence visit that inspired the idea to invite my fence friends and other close neighbors to come for treats next week.
During their visit, we won't have to talk over the not-so-electric fence, but I'm sure the gathering will go far to make some darned good neighbors.