Murphy’s law of fencing

A variation of Murphy’s law often favored by geeks is: The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum. Today, this proved true of our fencing endeavors.

The task was pretty simple: add a brace post and cross brace to the chicken lot corner post nearest the house. I wanted to time the operation, as I’m building up a time and materials list for this fencing system. The brace post needed to go in the likely path of our well pipe and wiring, but this seemed a small risk. I’m digging a 6″ hole in a 10′ to 20′ area that might have the well pipe, right? Wrong. At exactly one foot I hit a decent root. I didn’t examine it too closely, as building code requires well wiring to be 3′ under ground. Two good strikes with the post hole diggers and the root sheared with a … big spark?

Uh oh.

Obviously I went wrong when I assumed the former owners did anything to code. I’ve ranted about this before–our state fights for draconian building permit requirements as if it protects people from bad work. Who are they kidding? Nobody who’s doing bad work is going to get a permit anyway.

The well pipe was immediately under the cut wire, so the post hole was shifted by 2 inches. I’ll just have to cut the cross brace to fit. I then dug a series of shallow holes on either side of the post to find both ends of the wire. Since we plan to reroute all the well plumbing and wiring anyway before the summer is over, I fixed the well wire temporarily with two lengths of 3 conductor cable and a bunch of wire nuts. The result is shown on the right.

It isn’t pretty, but before anyone gets too worried let me remind you of the pump controller and pressure valve assembly that we inherited with the house.

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3 Responses to Murphy’s law of fencing

  1. Lynn says:

    Be careful!!!!!!

  2. John says:

    Where’s those painted lines you always see when someone is digging???

  3. lee says:

    Yeah, you can call the county to come out and mark where services are before you start digging. Unfortunately, that only applies to public utilities such as phone, power, cable, etc. Home well wiring wouldn’t be on the plan. I’m told the convention is to bury colored tape about a foot above the wiring or plumbing, but since this was only put in 1′ deep … perhaps it blew away.

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