Ha. Farm life. It's definitely not much on the glitz and glamour. When I'm asked if I thought I would be a country girl, my answer is a fast no. I love the farm, I would never change it, but it definitely was not in my plans. Thankfully, His plans are not my own.
This last week on the farm we set out to contain our Livestock Guardian Dogs. Starbuck and Apollo (extra nerd points if you know where they got their names) are both Anatolian/Pyrenees mixes and they love their sheep... but they wander. They lately have been wandering up to the house, down to the cattle fields and dangerously close to the road. So we began researching electric fencing, in ground fencing and just we wired shut just about every nook and cranny we could find in their existing gates and fences. This only proved more discouraging with the relentless October heatwave we were having and their creativity for finding new ways to escape. A friend and fellow farmer told me about her containment fencing which uses the in ground pet wire system, a static collar and just hangs the wire on the existing fencing. We decided that we would go this route to train the dogs to respect fences, hopefully allowing us to wean them from the static correction eventually. So away we went! Kevin and I hung nearly 2100 feet of wire in 95 degree heat. It was hard, it was sometimes frustrating (when one end of the spool of wire pops off - tangly messes ensue, but it got done. We plugged in the system- it told us we had power and a loop and we cheered! And then we tested the collars... which didn't seem to work. Tears. Swears. More tears... and then the sun went down and we went back to the house defeated. I googled for hours... tried every single troubleshooting solution I could find. Nothing worked. Called customer service. They found that our transmitter box was a dud. Back to the store we went for a new box. Came home, plugged in it in- now it was telling us there was a break in the wire. We checked every splice, walked down much of the wired path- couldn't find any problems. More tears. More swears. Sun went down a second time.
Around midnight, I found a few videos on youtube that showed how to find a break in your pet fence wire using an AM radio and your lawnmower. I know it sounds bizarre and I was not excited to try it for fear of how many other things I had already tried and how disappointed I was- but like a crazy person- I rigged up my lawnmower- a bit of extra wire and the AM radio (which was actually the hardest part to get my hands on!) and to my astonishment- it seemed to work! I could hear the buzzing of the lawnmower engine through the static on the AM radio and after an hour- found my break! There was a part of the wire that had gotten snapped in a tree in a remote part of the fence line. Again tears- but out of sheer relief and joy that I wasn't going as crazy as I felt.
Went back to the box, plugged in the transmitter and got a solid loop light.
Tested the collars, accidentally got a static shock myself- but I didn't care (and I also was reassured that it wouldn't hurt my dog- just correct their action a bit!).
We are going on almost a week of no escapes... a week of letting the sheep stay out at night which they are loving with these cooler temps (finally!).
And here is me- thoroughly please with a hard earned win.