Friday, February 10, 2012

#35. or, no dumb animals

       ****no dumb animals were hurt or injured in the making of this blog****

  Near our barn, or rather, where our barn used to be, was a pen of cattle. Not right there, but one small pen away. During the fire, they all were frightened and stood as far from the fire as they could. The watering bowl where they drink, happens to be as close to the remains of the barn as they can get without actually leaving that particular corral.

  A little bit about electricity. Electricity is quite a lot like water, it follows the easiest path it can find. When the barn burned, our breaker tripped off at the pole. It's supposed to do that for safety. When the fire finally went out, I taped off the ends of the wire that used to connect to the barn, (With electrical tape, not duct tape, but I'm sure that would have worked.) and turned the power back on. Now, I expected that the overhead wire that runs alongside the remains of the barn, toward the watering bowl I was just talking about, might have been damaged by the heat so I shut down the breakers near the bowl to avoid any electrical shorts at the bowl. (electrical shorts......sorry, my mind just wandered there a bit.)

   In an attempt to check for errant current in the water of the bowl, I took off my glove and stuck my finger into the water.

  I'm going to stop here for a second and say that right now, while I type this out, it doesn't seem like the brightest of plans, but I didn't get a shock so I assumed the water was fine.

  For the first day, no cows came to drink. I thought that they might still be spooked from the fire. On the second day they started to eat snow. They can do that and survive. I still suspected they might be a little traumatized  On the third day, being concerned for their well being, I did the finger test for the second time. Still no shock.

  OK, so, we had been discussing this for a bit, and my brother comes along and decides to do the finger test as well. In case, I guess, that my finger tester might have not been working properly. No shock.  Now, evidently, I had forgotten the second part of the finger test, where, while your finger is in the water, you stick a finger from your other hand into the ground. Guess what? He gets a crazy big shock!

  Apparently, the live wire had shorted into the ground wire and current was by- passing the second breaker box completely and running into the ground. We moved the cows to a new pen.

.............sometimes, cows might not be quite so dumb as you might think, I'm not saying anything about myself. Oh, if you need me later today, i'll be peeing on an electric fence to see if it's working.


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