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.)
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.