A long-awaited event took place this
past week; and I’m not referring to groundhog day, although a rodent
did play a part in the lead up to it. What happened that was so
special? Electricity was finally restored to my workshop—for the
second time since September.
Underground electrical service lines
are great. You don’t need to be on the lookout for them when moving
machinery around. They’re out of sight, out of mind. If, however,
you’re a burrowing gopher, that isn’t exactly true. In August one of
the gophers that had been living in our yard, and mildly annoying me,
apparently chewed into the underground line leading to my workshop,
shorting it out.
That left the shop out of service; no
welder; no air compressor, not even any lights.
Gophers aren’t the easiest things to
get rid of when they’re running around between machines, buildings
and livestock. When they’re in those surroundings, it’s difficult to
pick them off with my old .22; and you can’t leave poison lying
around the yard for dogs or cats to get into.
However, I did manage to selectively
cull the herd over the course of the summer. Every now and again it
was possible to shoot a few. But for the most part I chose to ignore
them, go about my business and let them do the same. The cat pitched
in and helped in the effort as well, catching one now and again. But
by mid summer there were still some who continued to have the same
postal code we do.
A workshop you couldn’t work in was the
price I paid for not paying attention to detail when it came to
After six weeks of cajoling a local
electrical contractor, a crew finally showed up to locate the break,
dig up the line and repair it. The cost wasn’t too bad, but every
project I had on the go inside the shop had been put on hold through
the nicest part of the summer. Those beautiful, mild, summer evenings
when you have the urge to go out and be among your wrenches and work
on projects went by as I watched reruns on TV.
But things did get back to normal—for
a while, at least.
In late November, I strode into the
shop and flipped on the light switch. I was two steps past it when I
realized the electricity was out again. The lights slowly came up to
a dull orange glow from a lack of voltage, just like the first time.
Now with the cold weather on us, I couldn’t even plug in the block
heaters on the tractors.
It’s hard to say if the the first
repair failed or there were other problems somewhere else. After yet
another delay—this time two months—a completely new service line
was trenched in through the frozen ground. Today, the shop again has
electricity, and I have yet another repair bill to pay.
In all, my shop was out of commission
for more than three of the last 12 months. I’m going to spend more
time hunting gophers this summer.
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