Keeping Geese on the Family Farm

An Iowa woman relates the story of how keeping geese on her family farm was an electrifying experience

| Good Old Days

This is a rather "shocking" story. We were keeping geese in the old hog house on our family farm. We gave them water in a round metal pan that we placed on the ground near the windmill. One day we noticed that the geese didn't seem to want to drink out of that pan. They would stick their necks out to get a drink, and then all of a sudden jump back.

About the same time we were having trouble in the house. When Mom and I used the sink in the basement bathroom we got a shock. We kept telling Dad about it, and he just laughed. One day Dad used that sink when he had bare feet. He came flying upstairs saying, "You know what? I got a shock from that sink in the basement." We said, "That's what we've been telling you." Dad decided right then and there to call an electrician.

The electrician found a short in some wiring on the windmill. The windmill was probably 600-800 feet from the house. After the electrical problem was fixed, we had no more trouble. We couldn't figure that out. How could a problem at the windmill affect the house when it was so far away? The windmill wiring had nothing to do with the house wiring, and the water was not piped to the house either. I still don't know the answer, except that when I dowsed for water, I found that the vein of water from that well went right under that corner of the house.

After considerable hesitation the geese went back to drinking out of the metal pan.

Joy J. Palmer
Forest City, Iowa

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 

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