Country Living Series

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Let there (not) be light

This is a street light.


It's a particularly annoying street light because it's located smack in our driveway, right near the house. (I believe the more accurate term is "yard light.")

It was annoying because we couldn't turn it off. It came on automatically at dusk and turned off automatically at dawn. This meant it illuminated the entire driveway area. In this photo, I caught a couple of deer going by.

The light also blotted out the stars, shone into bedroom windows, and probably drove the neighbors nuts. Why would anyone want one of these beasts in their driveway?

I had a friend in college who grew up on a dairy farm, and a bunch of us spent a week at his farm one summer. It was the first time I'd seen a yard light on private property, and in the case of a dairy farm, I "get" it. Nighttime light is crucial if you have situations that need immediate attention, such as farm emergencies.

But out here at the back end of nowhere? No way. We're not living in the city anymore. We refused to put up with unnecessary light pollution.

So we called the local electrical provider and requested it be turned off. The customer service lady was puzzled and wondered why. "It only costs about $8 a month to run," she said persuasively.

But we were undeterred. So about a week later, a couple of electricians came by and used what literally looked like a television remote control to turn off the light.

Now it's nice and dark. We can see the stars. We don't have light shining in bedroom windows. I'm sure the neighbors are happier. It's been delightful.

 Update: I went outside at night and braced the camera against the deck and snapped a photo. This was the result.

25 comments:

  1. I was going to suggest a pellet rifle. - lol

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  2. I just hate too much light at night. However, my yard was pitch black after the light in a neighbor's yard was cut off. I had been accustomed to being able to see the back yard from the light that luckily just filtered through the trees.

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  3. I had a couple on my small farm down in Alabama, but I had the electrician wire a switch up by the back deck in case I had to check on my goats, or when working late in the yard area when night fell. I did have a small overhead in my kidding pen.

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  4. Ahhh...I'm with you. I am imagining how nice your evenings will be from now on.

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  5. Used to be a big thing when they were electrifing Rural America. I hate them too.

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  6. Yep, I agree with the pellet rifle! Ha!

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  7. I'm so glad you were able to get rid of it. We bought 5 acres in very rural Missouri and our neighbors have one of those lights and we hate it!! It's probably 500 feet from our house, but it's still awful.

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  8. We built our home on the backside of no where as well. When our electricity was brought in, we were asked about the yard light being installed. My question was "why"? "So you can see the deer and other critters at night" was the response. "No thank you, I see plenty of deer and other critters. I want the stars". Zero light pollution is harder to find than you think. I love the night sky with seasonally changing constellations and am unafraid of the dark. It terrifies some people reiterating the fact that our lifestyle isn't for everyone. Thank goodness!

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  9. We get it, had ours pulled including the pole years ago. Planted a tree there. But the houses around us still have theirs on.

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  11. I sometime wonder if you an I are on the same path. When we moved here I had the same situation, street light in the middle of the driveway, one of those that has a bit of an orange hue. When it was on it of course lit up the bedroom so it reminded me of a hotel room. When I called the electric company I requested that it be taken off, she told me that the previous owner requested it there. I also was undeterred and advised that I would take it down myself. they came and took it. The pole however is still there, it has our electrical line on it. That will be our next expense to have it placed in a more appropriate location. Now I just have a little solar light for the path to our door, I can turn it off myself with a button. Every inch of savings you get in cutting electricity is always good.
    Rita Miller

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  12. I am truly surprised that you had to contact the power company to do this if it is on a non-county road or private property. Also a bit surprised, I suppose, there was not an other switch to do so.

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  13. You must understand some people do NOT want to have any darkness as they may be very frightened by it. I have a neighbor who has one and I don't like it as it kills my night vision. I can see better at night without lights on. Besides the lights shadows hide things I would want to see such as deer, turkey, fox, etc. lraude

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  14. $8 per mo. is $96 per year. I am sure you can come up with a better use for that money.

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  15. Maybe it keeps the Bigfoot away

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  16. We had our light and light pole removed after a few years here, planted a tree there. Our neighbors around the area choose to keep theirs.

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  17. When we were looking at remote properties we came across a few that had these yard lights. You're right. Beastly things. We prefer the stars.

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  18. City dwellers moving rural can be part of the problem.

    Locally, a NYC couple put up an ugly cyclone fence around their property, installed enough lights to be seen from outer space, and black-topped most of their yard because they missed the sound of rain falling on their NYC sidewalk.

    They drew so much ire from their neighbors that they moved back to the city.....oh, did I mention that someone rammed their truck into the cyclone fence, knocking most if it down. I believe there was also some b-b guns aimed at those hideous lights.

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  19. Here in the Sovereign State of Mississippi, that is known as a “booger light”.

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  20. We call ours a farm light and while it was already here, be kept it as it helps us continue to work from 4 to 7 pm in the winter. In our area the farm owner has to request the light be installed or uninstalled. Our bill is $6.00/month.

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  21. I hate em to and have had them removed from prior residents' an bought this place way, way out in the woods 21 years ago hoping it would remain secluded. It did until 3 years ago. Every little piece of property has been bought an settled on an I have light pollution from new neighbors..... :/

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  22. I did the same thing with the one at my house when I bought it--I think I asked the EMC to disconnect it on the same call that I asked to have service transferred to me. Mine wasn't as modern as yours, apparently. They brought a bucket truck that disconnected it at the top.

    Yard lights are very common in my area. Most people seem to have them. Many of them are the orange sodium vapor lights, which I think would be hideous as well as light-polluting if I had one.

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