When an extension cord breaks, for some reason, you tend to keep the ends just in case you need them later. John Huston, farm manager at Mississippi State University’s Prairie Research Center, found a way to use those ends to modify an electric fence. Mr. Huston keeps a few weaning calves close to the house, but his wife didn’t like the idea of a permanent electric fence so close to the yard and house.

Mr. Huston wired the female end from a partial extension cord to the fence charger, which is plugged into an outlet in the garage. Then the male end of the extension cord is wired into the electric fence. A good extension cord connects the two. “This makes for a nice, temporary fix that can be disconnected whenever necessary, like when there’s a lightening storm or there are small children around. Plus, I didn’t have to dig a ditch and bury a line.”