By: Frank Green

Wendy and Gary Lowe live off the land- including the old telegraph wire they keep unearthing around their property.

Part of their land runs alongside train tracks, where there used to be telegraph lines along which everybody communicated, sending telegrams from their local train station. Nature has reclaimed most of the wooden poles, but the stout wire remains, tangled in branches or buried in the dirt. And the Lowe’s use it for small hoops to hold up the plastic on their greenhouses.

“It’s just laying there,” Gary Lowe said. “It makes perfect little hoops. You just have to be willing to do a little work.”

And they are, especially because they can’t find wire that thick in stores — it’s bygone technology. They’ve collected a couple thousand feet of it, Lowe estimated. Making use of it is part of their broader philosophy about being “sustainable and less dependent on other people and systems.”

“And it saves you money in the meantime,” he said.

The Ministries of Transportation and Industry begged off, not knowing who might be in charge of regulating the forgotten wire. It’s on railroad land, but Lowe said he didn’t think CN would mind.

He cited a derailment years back when a number of cars dumped several tons of wheat right by his property. He said when he called up the company, asking who he could pay to buy the fallen wheat, they said it was his for the taking — that it wasn’t worth their time to reclaim it.

“It turned out to be a really good bread wheat,” Lowe said.