In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Damage Control

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shortly before our wedding we installed a new wire dog-fence because our dogs loved to visit the neighbors.  Our neighbor across the street always has a buffet of two week old garbage hanging around their back door so, since Shyla is such a garbage hound (and part beagle so, therefore, a wanderer), we figured we'd be better off by setting up some sort of fencing.  We didn't really like the idea of the shock collar but had few options as we couldn't afford to fence in our entire yard and both of our dogs need lots of exercise so we couldn't just make a small yard for them.  So, we gritted our teeth and gave it a try. 

It worked gloriously for the first few months.  It only took one or two corrections before they got the idea and they stayed in our yard without incedent.  But, much to our dismay, the town came mowing along the roads a few months ago.  This wouldn't ordinarily be a problem as this wire is typically buried.  Well, notice I say "ordinarily" and "typically".  Yeah, we hadn't buried the wire yet, just tucked it deep into the long grasses until we could rent a ditch-witch to make the task a little quicker.  So, as you can imagine, the mower did a nice job of tearing up a section of our wire and at some point the dogs realized that they were free to go where they pleased.

A few weeks ago I walked into our family room and asked Kyle where Shyla was.  He was busily scanning Craigslist for anything and everything as he muttered something along of the lines of- oh she's still outside.  It was a cold and drizzly morning and this dog doesn't normally like to be outside on a good day.  Ollie was happily chewing on his new stuffed animal- a bunny whose eyes and nose had recently been removed- so I knew they weren't out playing in the back yard.  I went to the front yard and there she was, nawing away at something undoubtedly stolen from the neighbor's trash.  Great.  Later that day Kyle got a reminder for why we don't like letting the dogs get into trash...all over the living room floor.  That spurred the current project that has been occupying our time for the past few weeks.

We immediately went out to patch the line where the town's mower had taken its toll and walked back up to the house to turn the receiver on, not even thinking that it might still not work.  Well, much to our disappointment, it just wasn't going to be that easy.  We walked the line, looking for more breaks but found nothing.  Last week Kyle decided he was going to pull it all up and re-do it all.  Great idea, that is what I was thinking.  But still, not that easy.  Apparently some of the wire was so hopelessly tangled (I didn't ask HOW) that he had to cut the wire, which just created more possibilities for bad connections.  Sure enough, when he re-ran the wire the loop indicator on the receiver was still screaming at us that it wasn't happy.

Now, we could spend $60 on a boundary wire break-locator, but that didn't really make me all that excited.  Confucius said "When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them."  So today I have decided to abandon our crappy wire and re-ordered another 1,000 feet of wire (for less than the cost of the break-locator) so we can just re-do it.  And I can tell you, THIS time we are going to do it correctly.


  1. Donna Mae Says:
  2. Wheeeee! Maybe we should just get collars for our boys for when they come visit you...

  3. Melissa Says:
  4. That is a good idea! :) Although if Ollie and Shyla get back into the habit of not wandering your two BIG boys can wear Ollie and Shyla's collars when they visit.