By Tyler Trieflaff

Notes from the Chief

The world of farming is ever evolving. Over the years we have implemented “new to us” strategies for the cows, crops and pastures. The most recent change for us is a new fencing system and pasture rotation.  

Pasture rotation is a proven method to increase the output of the land with minimal input. We decided to get rid of the old crusty barbed wire and go with high tensile smooth wire, using an electric fencer to keep the cows on the property. We have used several different types of fencers over the years ranging from 12-volt batteries to solar power to plug into the wall models.  The main perimeter of the farm is getting a new 4-wire fence and the interior fences are 1 or 2 wire models.   

I will admit, when we started looking at the new fencing, I was a little intimidated by the high tensile wire installation. Once we cracked out the first couple runs of the wire, I can honestly tell you that soon there won’t be a stitch of barbed wire on the place. The smooth wire is so much easier to work with and goes up much faster than the old-fashioned barb wire. High tensile wire has a higher carbon content than other wire, making it stronger and less likely to break. High tensile can be put up with fewer posts too. I put the posts 16 paces apart versus the old 6 paces apart for barbed wire using two thirds less posts. The high tensile wire is strong enough that it has the ability to stop a skidding car without breaking the strands.  

We bought a new fencer this spring rated at 100 miles of wire. This plugs into the wall and has a little more zing than the solar or 12-volt battery fencers of old. Those fencers put out .1 joules and the new fencer puts out 6 joules. When you open the wire gate and lay the gate wire down, you can hear the snap of the electric pulse as it connects through the ground. This is a good indicator that the fencer is working. The cows won’t cross the gate wire if it is on the ground.

The cows also can sense when the fence is on, almost like they can smell the electricity. They will get trained to respect the electric fence so that we can split a paddock with a wire that is not hot and they will stay away.  

There is one small pen area that still has barbed wire around it and the bottom wire is hooked up to the fencer. It was quite a sight, I’m told, as the dog decided to crawl under the fence like he had done a hundred times before. I guess he took off across the pasture like he was shot out of a gun! I would pay good money to see that. That bottom wire also got dad and the boy. One seems to forget about the hot wire from time to time. More humor, I’m sure.

I was setting up a new wire and going to hook it to the bottom hot wire to make the pen a little more secure. I grabbed the top barb wire with both hands for balance and flung my left leg over the fence. The fence was a little tall for even my long legs and I wanted to be careful not to get caught on the barbs or the bottom hot wire. With my left foot on the ground, I swung my right foot over like I’ve done a thousand times before. There was a moment of silence before my left calf moved and touched that bottom wire. I let out a yelp that could be heard in Silver Leaf Township I’m sure. The left leg rotated ever so slightly and I was basically holding a grounding rod in my hands with the wire. The jolt went through my left leg, into my left and right hand, through my crotch, and out to my right calf that touched the top wire. 

I felt a pain I haven’t felt since Taser training. I was able to complete my fence crossing and had to ask myself what in the Sam Hill just happened. Both hands hurt, both legs were in pain, and there was a feeling below my midsection that I still can’t describe. It was like I woke up from a dream and could not comprehend what had happened. I think it took me a minute or two to get my bearings and I continued on with chores. Good gravy, I guess I know why the cows respect the fence the way they do. Have a nice week.  

Friday, Aug. 5

1:10 a.m. Report of a juvenile making threats against themselves. Juvenile was with mom. Officer, mom and child visited and things seemed to be better.

1:44 p.m. Party tent blew over into the street. Officer, city crew and good samaritan disassembled the tent and cleared the roadway.

3:50 p.m. Assist with a medical on US Hwy 10.

5:31 p.m. Remove road debris from Co Hwy 29.

5:36 p.m. Assist a damsel in distress who lost her keys while golfing. Most likely had the keys the entire time, she just wanted to hang out with the Chief.

9:28 p.m. Assist with a medical.

11:40 p.m. Welfare check on an adult female. Female was ok and advice on services given to adult daughter.

Saturday, Aug. 6

4:52 p.m. Elderly female out wandering around. Officer called husband and they were reunited.

Sunday, Aug. 7

3:47 p.m. Assist with helping a teenager who was locked out of her apartment.  Landlord arrived to help.

6:37 p.m. Civil issue involving male and female. Female found the property she was looking for and left. 

10:11 p.m. Report of a vehicle hitting a construction sign. Signs were in the parking lane.

Monday, Aug. 8

1:50 p.m. Report of someone on a go cart on school property. Officer talked with male driver and asked that they stay on their own property.

Wednesday, Aug. 10

2:57 p.m. Assist with a gas leak on S Lake Street; Construction crew hit a gas line.

5:11 p.m. Report of elderly female lost. Husband contacted to pick her up.

Thursday, Aug. 11

2:15 p.m. The Chief was guest BINGO caller at the Frazee Care Center again.

7:31 p.m. Report of some kids messing with the construction stakes on S Lake Street. Officer found some kids in the area, warned them to not mess with the construction area.