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Happy Independence Day!


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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Night the Lights Went Out in Cow Town


Father's Day was great. Everyone was over for dinner and the day was packed full. That evening I was pooped! A lot of cooking and etc. I finally hit the sheets around midnight.

At 2:15 AM Farmer's phone rang and when I opened my eyes I could see that it was lightening - or so I thought. I can't remember what Farmer said on the phone but whatever it was it made me get up and look out the window. Fireworks at the farm!

Sparks flying and white hot light flashing. I knew there was something going on with the wires.

As I was jumping into pants and a shirt I heard Farmer calling our electrician. 

Finally, as we are heading out the door I get some of the story. A wire was burning at the farm. Well, I could basically see that.

This is what we found.
When we arrived, Son #2 and his family were out by the shop and the whole farm was pitch black. We milk around the clock so there is always activity.

The main pole has electric coming into it from Consumers and we have wires going out from the source to different parts of the farm. The wire that powers the parlor was burned and the parlor was out for the count. That means the cows weren't being milked, the fans weren't running and the tank holding the milk wasn't being cooled. And, all of that adds up to trouble.

My son had turned the power off at the main pole. 

As a side note - when Son #2 woke up with the light flashing in his bedroom he too thought it was lightening. That is until he heard the Zzztttt. 

He was much closer to the pole and it looked like it was sparking off the wire going into his house.

He woke his wife up, told her to get the kids out of the house and then proceeded to run down to the main box and turned the power off. He could tell it wasn't his house at that time but needed to cut the power.

When the power was cut so was any semblance of light in their house. So, my poor daughter-in-law struggled to get kids out in pitch dark. 

They laugh about it now, but it was tricky at the time.


The first thing we did was to gather lights and portable generator. The plan was to cut the wire going to the parlor and start the electric back up for everything else. 



Our electrician arrived within minutes and he confirmed what had to be done, I mentioned that we voted him to do to the cutting. He had planned on it anyway but appreciated my vote of confidence.





We also got our boom truck thinking we would need it.

Once the wire was cut we started up the electric to the rest of the farm. But, we still had a major problem. We have a generator that is large enough to run the farm which we have used when a storm rolls through. The problem is that the generator is stationary on the pole where the main source of electric comes in. And since the wire feeding the parlor was cut, our generator was useless.

We had another portable generator down the road in another building but didn't remember if it was large enough to help. So, Son #2 and I went down the road. We could only get the door open about 3 feet or less. (We found that something had fallen into the top of the door and it wouldn't allow the door to be opened.)



We belly crawled into the dark with 2 flashlights. I prayed fervently that I wouldn't see any beady eyes looking at us. 

After tripping over all the treasures in there we found the generator and it wasn't large enough. Back to the parlor we headed.

A phone call was made to get a generator delivered ASAP.

The guys that were milking had opened the gate manually and let the cows back into their pens. Knowing that the generator's arrival would take time, we wanted to get the parlor ready for the restart. I held the flashlight while the milkers washed off the milkers and put them on the stands so once the electric was returned the parlor equipment would be washed and sanitized before we started milking again.

We then sent them home early.



Meanwhile, outside the boom truck was moved to the pole closest to the parlor and our electrician did some prep work - beats me what it was though.




Too many  hours later the generator arrived and was hooked up.




The parlor was washed, sanitized and ready for milking. We were down about 6 hours. It will take a good day or more to totally get things back in sync as far as the milking schedule is concerned.

The wire was ordered and should be replaced within a day or two.


Things look different in the day light.


This is the burned wire.


The dead part of the wire fell in between the two free stall barns.


The boom truck is in place waiting for the new wire installation. 



For the time being we are still running on the generator. Even though it's a pricey fix, it's a fix that we're grateful to have.


Celebrate the ordinary

Today is the only day you have. Don't wish it away, worry it away or plan it away. Your ordinary days add up to life.



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