A hunting I will go
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 extermination efforts.
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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