Makin’ Bacon: Part 10: My Names Are Vetoed

I was as happy as a Curmudgeon gets. I was driving home with a trailer. I love towing stuff. The “payload” was small critters that can squeal like demons but would eventually become bacon. Everyone loves bacon!

During the ride I decided the critters needed names. I settled on the names en route.

The “pig containment area” was large enough and well built enough to hold a rhino. It was done on time and under budget (though it was hard work). My super awesome gates worked as they should. So did my wired electric “redneck lines” for beneath the gates. I drove right in, unhitched the trailer, and drove the truck out. I love it when a plan comes together.

The trailer was parked (in the corral) next to a crappy lean to I’d made for the pig’s shelter. Constructed out of old pallets and junk I’d made the shelter for the princely sum of about 75 cents. That what I figured a handful of 3″ Torx screws cost. Yay me! (At the end of the year I’ll probably burn it down and/or haul it away. There’s always more junk to make another one next year.)

I opened the trailer door to let the pigs free. I had room for 15 pigs and only three to occupy it. This was the biggest, sunniest, grassiest place they’d ever seen. The pigs wouldn’t budge. I climbed in the trailer and booted one in the ass.

They went apeshit and flew out of the trailer in a squealing panicked eruption of motion. Whew! Apparently you gotta’ train a pig to mellow it out? (Note: Now, many weeks later, the pigs really are “trained”. They come to you and like to be pet. They’re like dogs but smarter and less likely to chase a cat. Also they eat like teenagers and practically leap for joy if they get a treat. Much more pleasant that the screaming banshees they were at the start.)

The pigs tore around in a circle and then another. They were fast! After three or four noisy chaotic orbits they hid under the trailer. I decided to leave them there. The trailer wasn’t needed for a while.

On the way out I told them their names. “You are ‘Senator Robert Byrd’.” I said to the smallest one. The next smallest was “Solyndra”. The largest, a male, I dubbed “Bridge to Nowhere”.

Smiling I trotted to the gate. Mrs. Curmudgeon was waiting at the gate. She’d been enjoying the cute critters running around in the grass. I like to think she was awed my my masculine hunky bod… but it was definitely the piglets she was watching.

“You’re wrong” she said. “The pigs already have names.”

I shrugged.

“They are Tilly, Esmeralda, and Mr. Spanks.”

Well then, I stand corrected. Now you know their names too.

A.C.

P.S. I left the trailer in there a couple weeks. One day Foxinator called and said “you know that pigs will eat trailer wiring right?” I did not know this. Now I do. I got the privilege of rewiring the old trailer. Actually I don’t mind. The old wiring was sagging and patched and rusted anyway. Classic duct tape and bailing wire hillbilly compounding repair jobs. I spent a few bucks to get a new plug and put in new super waterproofed wires and routed it all nice and clean. To me that makes the world a better place. I’m pretty sure Foxinator doesn’t care about “good” versus “bad” wiring but I like to strike back against entropy when I can.

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For The Aviation Fans

Because I want everyone to be happy, I’m posting this photo of a B-18/F-22 Raptofortress which was also rebadged and sold behind the Iron Curtain as a B-14 Stroatohornet.

The Beechcraft Model 19 Sport sounds exactly like a really upset piglet.

The Beechcraft Model 19 Sport sounds exactly like a really upset piglet.

(Note: Mrs. Curmudgeon tells me that taunting OCD folks with fixed wing licenses is a bad idea because they’re smarter than me. She’s right.)

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Makin’ Bacon: Part 9: How I’m Like John Travolta

Piglets, unlike pizza, are not delivered. I’d be upset but then again you can’t get pizza delivered to my house either.

For equipment I’d borrowed the Foxinator’s “Pig Trailer”. Her “Pig Trailer” is an old horse trailer she uses for hauling pigs (and chickens, and goats, and God knows what else). The “Pig Trailer” is different from the “Pony Trailer” which is the handy little utility trailer I loaned to the Foxinator so she could drive it to a “My Little Pony” convention. That means her “Pig Trailer” was made for horses which she doesn’t have and I haul garbage and firewood on a “Pony Trailer” even though pastel cartoon ponies give me the heebie jeebies. Got all that? I can draw a diagram.

Because rural life is like it is, I bought pigs which were owned by, delivered by, and largely fed and raised by the Foxinator but the Foxinator wasn’t there to help me get them on the trailer. I was mildly alarmed because there were many dozen pigs and I was supposed to come home with three specific ones that had been jointly pre-selected by Mrs. Curmudgeon and the Foxinator based on age, breed, and cuteness. This had been setup on Facebook despite the fact that all pigs look alike to me and I don’t “do” Facebook.

Fortunately I had help. Because I’m paranoid about names, dates, information, and basically everything all the time (according to Mrs. Curmudgeon) I’ll give my friendly helper the anonymous nickname; “Pig Dood”. Pig Dood knew what to do. Pig Dood deserves a better nickname but I’m out of ideas. (You may think I write creatively. I don’t. I just stumble through life regularly falling face first into weird things and try to describe what happened. At least that’s my theory and it’s also why “Pig Dood” is the best I could think up and only slightly better than “Party A”.)

I rolled up with the Pig Trailer and looked around for a loading chute. I expected to back up to a chute, open an array of cleverly designed gates and shoo three pigs into the trailer. As you might have guessed, it was nothing like that.

There were no chutes and Pig Dood handed me a syringe. Being clueless, all I could think of was that one scene with John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.

Piglets remind me of John Travolta. It all makes sense to me.

Piglets remind me of John Travolta. It all makes sense to me.

“No thanks, I’m trying to cut back.” I chuckled. Pig Dood, because he is not a nutcase, didn’t get my joke. He opened the trailer’s door and purposefully strode off to one of several outbuildings. I trailed along holding God knows what in a scary pointy delivery device as if it was uranium. Also, where was the chute?

Pig Dood wandered into a smallish shed and I got my wits about me. A lot of farm veterinary stuff happens with injectors that look suspiciously like staple guns but that doesn’t mean a syringe won’t do the same job. Plus I want healthy bacon. I’m not some hippie that freaks out about chemistry and biology. I relaxed and wondered what Pig Dood was up to.

Then… all. hell. broke. loose.

Something horrific and clearly spawned of Satan started making a noise that was never meant to be heard in this universe. It was like dolphins trumpeting on a vuvuzela while Gilbert Gottfried rapes a bagpipe… in hell.

I’m sure you know that pigs squeal. I know that pigs squeal too but this was not squealing. Saying this was “merely a squeal” is saying the Hindenburg was a “minor mishap”, the Tower of Pisa is “slightly off center”, and Pompeii had some “geologic issues”.

I was struck by a wall of sound designed to let you know that the creature involved was convinced it was going to die and he was not going to go peacefully into that dark night. Pig Dood emerged from the shed with a kicking, screaming, bundle of terror, rage, and fury the likes of which should be coming from a F-22 hornet B-52 Stratofortress with aerial constipation and not livestock.

I stood there like a deer in headlights. The piglet never gave up. He tore the air to shreds and made damn sure that everyone in the county knew it was in mortal danger and that the end was night and that all hope was not lost because he was going to fight and scream until he’d spent every last bit of every cell’s energy.

I administered the injection (which gave the creature just one more reason to believe it was going to be torn to pieces any minute and therefore it should scream louder). Once in the trailer, the piglet shut right up. Whew.

We repeated the process with a second pig. It had seen it’s sibling torn from their happy home it had time to ponder it’s grim future and prepare to wail even louder. Which it did.

Then came a third pig which was a larger male in an outdoor pen. Pig Dood had to chase that one a while. It made less noise but struggled harder. I think this was the “cute” one.

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Makin’ Bacon: Part 8: Fencing With Politicans And Marines

Let’s discuss “Politicians”:

This is a cheap plastic fence insulator meant for nailing to a wooden fencepost. I didn't take this picture, I found it somewhere but it's about what I've got. Note; most insulators are meant for metal posts instead of wood. Buy the right kind.

A “Politician” insulator. I found this photo randomly on the web but it’s about what I’ve got.

The photo above is of a plastic fence insulator. Note that it’s meant for nailing to a wooden fencepost. Most insulators are meant to “snap on” to metal posts instead of wood. Buy the right kind. They come 25 to a bag (or more) with or without nails included. They’re cheap.

These sorts of insulators are dirt simple to install. All they really do is hold the wire away from the post so it doesn’t touch and short out. Wire, when strung with decent tension along a basically straight line, can more or less hold itself up. The “insulator” just maintains the position a little more precisely.

These kinds of insulators aren’t strong enough to hold wire at the ends where the  tension is created. They just sit fat and lazy in the middle of a long run; keeping the wire from flopping around and not doing much else.

These insulators are garish yellow, look more important than they are, only support a wire doing basically what the wire wanted to do anyway, and they’re hollow. Therefore I call this kind of insulator “the Politician”. I have no idea what they’re really called.

——

Lets discuss “Marines”:

This is the ultimate in old school. Hoorah!

This is the ultimate in old school. Oorah!

What you see there is a porcelain insulator that’s nailed to a post. (Not my post, I found the photo on the ‘net, but it’s about the same as mine.)

Notice a few things, first of all it’s goddamn stout! Wherever you nail it is where it’s going to stay. I used this for ends of some straight runs. I’d nail the son of a bitch in the wood, wrap wire around it, reef it tight and voila… that section  is done.

Because this is old school technology that’s fifty times tougher than the cheap plastic shit, and because it is plenty strong enough to make the damn wire go wherever the hell you want it to go and stay put, I call these insulators “Marines”.

“Marines” cost far more than “Politicians”. I think I was dropping $15 for a box of them? I can’t quite remember and the pigs ate the cardboard box.

Marines are plain colored, unobtrusive, won’t flex, and stay put. You can build an entire fence from anywhere to anywhere with “Marines”. If you try the same thing with Politicians it’ll collapse at the corners. That’s not an analogy, that’s physics.

Note these were relatively short straight runs. My corral has about a zillion gates and at each gate I had to break tension. For longer continuous runs the amassed tension increases at a rate that’s probably in a calculus book somewhere. At some point you have to go from hammering in a porcelain insulator to anchoring the wire with something more elaborate. It wasn’t needed in my situation.

One other note, I went out in my woods and pried some “Marines” out of old oak trees. I don’t know how long they’d been there but I suspect a well installed porcelain insulator will last roughly ten thousand years. Also in my forest were some “Politicians”, maybe I could have used them but I tossed them. Over time “Politicians” fade and it looks like they become brittle and useless. See why I gave them their nicknames?

——

Redneck Gates:

Grab the handle to remove the wire, grab the handle to return it. It severs the line's circuit.

Grab the handle to remove the wire, grab the handle to return it. Duh!

I never knew what these were called but I always hated them as a kid. The Internet says they’re called Spring Gates. The insulated handle has a spring so you can grab the wire, unhook it from a loop (thus severing the circuit on one side), step through, and then rehook. As a kid I called them “Redneck Gates” because I aways got tangled in them and once caught one in the gears of my bicycle.

As a kid I thought all awesome people had real pipe (tubing) gates and only losers used these. I haven’t changed my mind. Sadly I now have six spring gates stealthinly hovering 6″ above the ground beneath the shiny overpriced gates I truly wanted.

I’ve never seen these things strung beneath a regular tubing gate but it seems to work. I can unhook to drive stuff (like the pig delivery trailer) right in the corral and then rehook when I leave. Also when one pig tried to burrow under the tubing gate he got zapped and let out a squeal like I’d just walloped him with a sledge.

They learned and keep careful distance from the wire now. Money (and time) well spent.

——

Power:

Electric fences need… you guessed it, electricity. The means to supply this is a transformer.

I know someone’s going to ask so here goes. I installed an AC transformer. It runs on AC power delivered by smoke belching coal burning factories that deliver glorious voltage hundreds of miles on huge transmission lines all the way to my little homestead. All this  just so I can have bacon? Fabulous! Isn’t the modern world wonderful?

If’ you’re off grid you can get battery powered transformers or setups with solar panels and possibly mini-windmills and for all I know unicorn power. They sell all sorts of innovative stuff that seems a bit weird to me. Wouldn’t an off grid situation merit a non-electric fence? To me, an electric fence is an artifact of cheap plentiful electricity and a truly excellent infrastructure. If I were off grid I’d use barbed wire, boards, rocks, posts, hog panels, a sheepdog, etc… It seemed to work for the last few thousand years. Then again what do I know?

As for transformers, they’re not cheap and they come in a million sizes. The appropriate voltage is “as much as you can get” and the right transformer is “the biggest one you can afford”. Remember Jurassic Park!

Any voltage low enough that it doesn’t actually kill livestock (or me) is just fine. I read a lot of stuff on the Internet about the correct voltage for specific animals and ignored it all. If there was a transformer that could send a bolt of lightning from Zeus’s hand to a pigs ass I’d probably go for it. Make it hurt! Ideally, the critter gets zapped a few times and learns to avoid the fence.

In practice it’s working. Pigs, unlike humans, seem to learn pretty quickly. A few zaps and the critter knows the score. From then on further zapping is unnecessary because it has learned and it stops doing stupid shit. This proves that critters are often smarter than people.

I’m pretty sure by now I could turn the system off and my pigs wouldn’t dig out. Your mileage may vary. If your critters have been zapped a few times and still try to get out they may be more aggressive than mine (my pigs like me!) or possibly they understand electrical theory and are testing for a power outage when they can rebel against your despotic rule.

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Makin’ Bacon: Part 7: Jurassic Fence

Roughly 50% of funny homesteading stories start with “livestock broke out of the fence and then…” Whether the livestock gets in the road, craps on the neighbor’s Prius, or invades France, something weird usually ensues. It always happens at 2:00 am, in a rainstorm, on a holiday, when you’re not around. Things go downhill from there.

I’m a busy man and my bullshit tolerance is exceptionally low. So I decided to build a pig containment facility that was vast overkill for the task at hand. I felt that was a wise investment that hedges my bets against unforeseen future needs.

I call it the Jurassic Park theory, because those were some epic fences. Of course the theory doesn’t sound great if you reflect that in the movie the fences never worked and many people got eaten. Actually, now that I think about it “the fences never work” is an excellent lesson about homesteading.

This is the ideal fence. Also, get those damn SUV's off my lawn.

This is the ideal fence. Also, get those damn ugly green SUVs off my lawn.

Since the corral was made of totally awesome railroad ties with bitchin’ wood planks my work was mostly done. I’d already added shiny new gates too. All that was left to do was stop pigs from burrowing under the lowest plank (and at every gate). Pigs dig.

Ever spend many hours running “old school” electric fence line? I did. It sucks with a capital “S”.

I was too cheap to buy the small light modern filament shit. (I later regretted this.) I scrounged up some “scrap” two wire electric fencing from my forest (farmers leave shit everywhere… I’m still pulling metal out of every acre). I coiled it, straightened it, cut out any problem areas, hauled it to my corral, and set to work creating an incomplete circuit that’s just itching for a pig nose to complete the ground and addle his little porcine brain.

It was more work that I can possibly describe!

I ran the whole thing about 6” off the ground. Here’s a test. Six inches off the ground is the best way to string a fence because it’ll:

  • Fry the nose of a large burrowing mammal. (It’s not like a fat pig is going to climb over the fence.)
  • Twist your back into a pretzel.
  • Tangle the wire, which is supposed to be bare and untouched, with every weed, grass, and bramble in sight.

You’re thinking “all of the above”? Wrong! The best way to string fence is to pay someone else to do it and go back to stacking firewood. Have I mentioned that it was a huge pain in the ass? Unfortunately I do everything myself if I can possibly manage it. Sometimes I do things for myself when I can’t manage it. (For example, there probably won’t be corn this year.) I’m pretty sure if I were referred to a brain surgeon my first thought would be “is there a book on this somewhere? How hard can it be?

A smart person probably wouldn’t build onto existing stuff. They would buy all new materials (which are flimsy but much easier to use) and put it out all at once. A suitable pig pen could probably be assembled from new materials on my flat lawn (which I’m sick of mowing anyway) in 2 hours while sipping iced tea. That would have been 1000% easier. My method of adapting a railroad tie corral with six gates was maximum effort.

That said the final fence is pretty hard core. Aside from the transformer, I spent less than $30. I did it mostly in one day. It was a hard day but it didn’t take weeks. I did it all by myself. It’s not rocket science.

By the way the proper use of fencing pliers is an art and stout wire will do a job on your hands. I’m just sayin’.

Buy one of these. Even if you don't know what to do with it, you need one. Buy a spare because you'll lose one in the brush and find it a few months later with your lawnmower.

Buy one of these. Even if you don’t know what to do with it, you need one. Buy a spare because you’ll lose one in the brush and find it a few months later with your lawnmower.

More details: If you read on the Internet about electric fences you’ll see about eleven million bits and pieces and many more ways to assemble them. Books, plans, etc… They advise careful planning and thinking about materials and the animal in question and as far as I can tell hiring a team of Harvard Professors. Bah!

If you’re adapting pre-existing stuff  don’t do it like that. You’re thinking too hard! Instead buy some random shit, drop it in a pile on the truck tailgate, and see what happens. I over thought it too long. After I got started I just started at point A and adapted to corners, gates, etc… as I went. It turned out to be easier that way.

As always, I just did one area and folks who do hundreds of acres will have greater wisdom. They probably also have better tractors.

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Makin’ Bacon: Part 6: Ego Gates

Eventually I found a place that had cheap (Chinese made?) gates on sale. They were about half the cost of the original gates. All I needed to do was drive 50 miles round trip, buy gates that were 1 3/4” diameter “pipe” (tubing) instead of 2”, wait for them to go on sale, and gladly accept construction of cheap thin tubing instead of the studly critter stopping awesomeness I’d seen at the Feed Store. I could live with all that if they were the proper red color. The guy on the phone insisted they were red. (Apparently gates are color coded. Red means “cheap” and green means “there’s a bull in this lot”. You learn something new everyday.)

Even so, this was fun for me. At the “city slicker hardware store” I sauntered up to the counter with a 50# bag of chicken feed over my shoulder. (Ever wait in like while carrying 50#? I tried to look cool but it’s not easy.) At the checkout I leaned on the counter trying to pretend I was Cowboy McHardcore instead of like a fat old bearded blogger with some piglets on a decrepit homestead.

I had to wait a while. The checkout girl (I mentally named her “Checkout Drone”) struggled with basic arithmetic so much it made my teeth hurt. I was third in line and each person before me was delayed and left thinking sad thoughts about public schools. When oil filters are two for $10 and you can’t figure the price of one… well maybe you should have studied in school. Possibly that means you should have studied in fourth grade. She seemed nice but just way too dumb for a cash register. Luckily I was in no hurry.

On her third try she rang up the guy in front of me. It was my turn. The laser scanner gadget did the chicken feed just fine. She looked relieved.

Curmudgeon: “Also, I’m gonna’ need a gate. They’re on sale.”

Checkout Drone: “That’s fine. Just bring it here and I’ll scan it.”

Curmudgeon: “Um… that’s an issue.”

Checkout Drone: “It’s heavy? You need help carrying it to the checkout?”

Curmudgeon: “It’s a twelve foot gate. You want me to haul it through the store?”

Checkout Drone: Realizing what she was asking. “Oh my, we don’t sell those too often.”

Everyone else was buying extension cords and lawnmower blades. I, mighty Curmudgeon that I am, was buying cattle gates. How cool is that? For once I was a stud! I wished I’d planned ahead and worn overalls, maybe my straw hat too. You can’t be a farmer without a straw hat so Mrs. Curmudgeon bought me one. (Not surprisingly straw hats are really handy.) How often can a man wear a straw hat non-ironically in public?

After some mental gymnastics that clearly caused pain, Checkout Drone found the code to enter for “12′ Cheap Ass Gate”. She smiled when the computer totaled it up for her.

Checkout Drone: “OK is that all?”

Curmudgeon: Checking that the sale price rang up; it did. “I’ll take six.”

This gave her a double take. Yeah baby! I’m a cowboy and a macho dude; me and my obviously huge herds of expensive cattle. The guy behind me looked sheepish. He was buying kitty litter. I felt like a million bucks. There is nothing that men do anywhere that doesn’t have an air of competition. It was nice to be on the macho end of the scale for once.

Checkout Drone: “Six? You sure must have plenty of livestock.”

Curmudgeon: Shrugging “We’ll you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do right? Lets hope the weather holds.”

The Checkout Drone nodded like I’d said something with actual meaning. So did the guy behind me.

This was a lesson I won’t forget. If you’re a farmer (or posing as one) apparently you can say any old crap that comes to your head so long as you punctuate it with concern for the weather. This is probably how Congress created the Farm Bill.

My day was about to get better.

Checkout Drone handed me my receipt. “Take this outside and the guy will meet you there to unlock the chain and help you load your gates.”

Curmudgeon: “Thanks Ma’am.” (Oh I liked that. I wish I’d been raised in the South where people learn to say Ma’am and Y’all. It would go well with my straw hat.)

Checkout Drone grabbed a microphone and paged the whole store. “Mike, come up front, we got a guy that needs a gate.”

Go ahead. Stroke my ego more!

Checkout Drone looked at me quizzically. Clicking off the microphone she asked “How will he find you in the parking lot?”

Is this really a problem? I eyed my receipt. I assumed me and Mike could handle it. Yet Checkout Drone was clearly worried.

I described my truck and said I’d meet Mike at the gates. I smiled and hefted my bag of feed. On the way out I heard it, music to my ears, “Mike, meet the customer’s truck at the gates, a big dually 4×4.”

Yeah, I’m shallow. Who isn’t?

My big honkin diesel is an expensive luxury that I very much enjoy. It also carried the gates like it was built for it; which it was. I cruised home happy in the knowledge that I was carrying a load that would kill a Prius. It’s important to enjoy the little pleasures in life.

A.C.

P.S. I have fallen in love with the the phrase “You gotta’ do what you gotta’ do right? Lets hope the weather holds.” It’s a rural mantra that gets you anything you need; the farmer version of “these aren’t the droids you are looking for”. Don’t try it in Detroit and don’t try it if you’re driving a Prius, but if you’re driving a load of horseshit in Wyoming it’s the keys to the world.

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Makin Bacon: Part 5: Gates Delayed

My corral has seen better days but it was my intended pig containment area. It is ugly but basically sound. Oh whoops, didn’t I mention the gates? The locusts took every gate out of the corral! (When I say they took everything not nailed down I mean it. Hinges are no obstacle to the eye of a near looter.)

Bastards!

I don’t know what the original purpose of the corral was but it had gates everywhere. The reason for all those gates, like the purpose of Stonehenge, is lost to time.

I went to the feed store to buy a gate. Hopefully I can be forgiven for thinking a fence gates should be no big deal and they’d be reasonably cheap.

Curmudgeon: “I need some gates. How much?”

Feed Store Guy: “How long?”

Curmudgeon: “Twelve feet.”

Feed Store Guy: “It will cost THIS!”

Curmudgeon: “Ouch! That’s my left arm you just ripped off!”

Feed Store Guy: “Yeah, gates are expensive. I blame the weather.”

Curmudgeon: “The weather makes gates expensive?”

Feed Store Guy: “We’re farmers, the weather is the cause of every ailment. Also I’m going to take THIS!”

Curmudgeon: “Ow. You just tore off my leg. How much can a handful of gates cost?”

Feed Store Guy: “Oh, you want more than one?” He began to cackle with glee.

Curmudgeon: “Good gravy, I want to fence livestock, not put ‘em through college.”

Feed Store Guy: “Not to worry. We can extend farm credit.” He wheeled out a vice. “Stick your nuts in here and I’ll crank this…”

Curmudgeon: Running for my life, “Aaaaaahhhhhhh!”

Feed Store Guy to Other Feed Store Guy: “Must be a city slicker?”

Other Feed Store Guy: “Yeah, or maybe it’s the weather.”

———

Having fled the feed store I hunkered down at the nearest diner to drown my sorrows with coffee and a hamburger. I started drawing lines on a napkin. Soon I’d sketched out a wooden gate. Remember, it’s gotta’ be strong enough to last a while. That means crossposts and lag bolts and hinges, and six or seven pieces of wood about this long and several about that long and…

Well shit! That looked like a lot of work.

Ten minutes in a lumber yard confirmed that I’d be spending plenty on materials. Eventually I came to the realization that “pre-fab” farm gates, despite costing plenty, are just about cheaper than buying the wood to make your own. Plus making your own gate sounds like fun only if you make one. Making several sounds like a gold plated pain in the ass. It would kill a weekend at least.

Plus I really wanted red “pipe” gates like all the other farms. Yeah, yeah, if I were a real homesteader I’d go all Atlas Shrugged and chop logs out of the forest and lash together something with ropes and nails and make it work out of pure spite. I could do it and it would keep pigs in but it would be stupid and slow and ugly. Plus, I’ve got a day job.

This was a moment of weakness, I just wanted for once to have real equipment like a real grownup instead of screwing around with junk and a budget of zero. I couldn’t let it go.

It took weeks before I finally bought the stupid gates.

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