Thursday, June 25, 2009

Escape/Break-in Artists and More Work

I went out to get our dairy goat the other night only to find all of the goats in our yard decimating my wife's newly planted shrubs and plants. It sure doesn't take them long.

It turns out that Deb had felt sorry for the goats in their grassless paddock and wanted to let them out in our woodlot paddock to graze on all of the tall grass there. Well, they found the weak spot in the fence. I had opened up a portion to transfer firewood to our furnace shed last year, but never got around to building a gate for it. Instead, someone had just salvaged an old piece of plywood from the scrap heap and leaned it in the opening. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side, so they say.

Each day Deb poses the following question (usually several times a day): "Isn't it about time you ___________?" It's a farm, so it isn't hard to fill in the blank(s).

So, that day it was, "Isn't it about time you built a gate for that gap?"

Sigh. "I guess."

Now to come up with the lumber for the job. A few days earlier, the question had been: "Isn't it about time you replaced those fence boards that the horses have been gnawing on?"

And I replied, "I guess" with a sigh.

I can't be certain, but I have my suspicions that the horses are attending evening seminars presented by our North Woods beavers. They seem to have the gnawing part down pat. Now if they could only learn some engineering from those rascals.

So now in the barn, I had a modest stack of old hemlock fence boards that needed to be repurposed. OK. Now how do I design a goat-proof goat stopper out of old fence boards that lives up to Deb's aesthetic sensibilities?

After some head scratching and chopping and sawing, this is what I came up with:

I'm hoping they won't fit through those holes. So I used my universal stain around the farm: Any surplus, on-sale, discontinued, outdated can of deck stain that I can buy for two or three dollars a gallon tinted with enough lampblack pigment to turn it black.

Me cheap? Only when it comes to buying fancy cameras that are so big and heavy that they won't shake in my hand.

Well, I got 'er mounted in the hole and will have to put 'er to the test as soon as I get around to herding them out of the pasture with the cows.

I have no idea how they got out there this time.

"Oh Debra, dear. Have you by any chance been feeling sorry for the goats again?"


  1. This is a hoot. It sounds like the conversations my husband and I have. Good job on the gate; it should keep some of them away.

  2. We women always have a list a mile long, don't we? Thank goodness for you men!
    Love the gate. Hope it works!

  3. That gate looks good. Now can you have a chat with my husband about this issue?

  4. My hubs knows the "don't you think.... or do you remember when I asked..." list very well. I had him built me a picket fence gate for the inside of our home to keep the animals out of my sewing room. I drew him a schematic and off he went.

    I love my gate. And he likes me NOT pestering him.

    I like your gate!

  5. Wow, I'll say your horses are like beavers. I've never seen anything like that before. I loved the gate and I can really relate to what you said about something always needing to be done around the farm. We're reusing stuff all the time too in order to not spend money. Sure wish you were closer because we have a heck of a lot of lumber to spare.

  6. lakeviewer: Yes, these conversations are what I refer to as marital Esperanza.

    Sue: I was out with Deb and one of her single friends showing them the gate when the friend said, "Why are all of the good men taken?" I replied, "We aren't all taken. We're all used up."

    Dear Julia's husband: Julia asked me to have a conversation with you. I have one thing to say.... Sighs don't work.

    A Stitch in Thyme: I have built four picket gates, two for in the house, and two for in the building, and they don't keep Deb from pestering me. Would you have a conversation with Deb?

    Mountain Woman: To stop the wood gnawing we've tried paint with cayenne pepper in it. We've tried scolding them when we catch them in the act. Our vet said that he paints his fences and stalls with liquid detergent. The horses don't like it, and when they try it, the soap doesn't kill them. Until I get around to trying this trick, I could sure use some of your spare lumber.

  7. love that gate, you did a great job and it's not being cheap it's being effecient and environmentally friendly by repurposing
    We had goats till I thought my husband was gonna grill up roast goat for them getting out & eating his banana trees. Once they ever find a weak spot they keep looking for more.

  8. what a lovely gate... We always like reusing left overs too. No you are not cheap just going green..

    Big Sloppy Kisses
    Gus, Louie and Callie

  9. I love your gate. While we were installing our gate the goat, Edward, looked up at me and politely stuck his head through, then one foot, the other foot, his belly and finally his lower half. They are wonderful. You just have to love them. I will follow through on your idea about the wood chips for soaking up water. We have a lumbar yard near. I will give them a call. Thanks. I would like to add your blog to my list of reads.

  10. Maria: So you got rid of the goat? I'll bet that banana tree is a lot easier to keep fenced in.

    Gus, Louie and Callie: My dogs don't reuse leftovers, they eat 'em every chance they can sneak into the trash.

    Kelly and/or Alex: Yup. This gate design started as just a simple cross-buck gate, but the holes were too big. That's why it ended up looking like an Argyle sock. By the way, most lumber yards can give you sawdust, which is fine and dusty... too dusty for confined stall use, and it turns into cardboard in puddles if packed too thickly. Wood shavings from plants that use planers to make moldings or cabinetry are better. Not too dusty, and well-suited for stall use. What I am talking about for mud puddles are the products of the big limb shredders from the outfits that trim trees, or remove limbs after big storms, or clear the right-of-ways on highways of saplings and brush. Those wood chips are too coarse for bedding, but perfect for mud holes.

  11. That's why it ended up looking like an Argyle sock.
    Getting a Payday advance is just a few steps away