Friday, 20 October 2017

How many gates have you got?

I remember a couple of years ago Sue, who now resides in The Cottage at the End of the Lane, when she still lived on a smallholding, mentioned that she possessed around 30 buckets. This was not, I assume, the result of an obsessive compulsive tendency but rather they served different practical purposes around the smallholding. I can understand this as I have a fair few buckets myself. 

In the same vein I thought I would have a count up of how many gates we have. What prompted this thought is that I've constructed, in the spirit of self-provisioning, quite a number of gates myself and a couple of weeks ago I had to quickly make another one. Davy, our Wiltshire Horn ram, was becoming a little feisty as his hormone levels were rising shortly before he was allowed to re-join the ewes. He kept head butting the gate in question and eventually broke it into pieces. It was quite an important gate because it led into the vegetable growing area and could have resulted in a big feast for Davy but not for us. The replacement gate I made was much more robust in its construction and I hope Davy-proof.


Some of our gates:-


Standard 10' field gate
4' access gate








                               




Self built 8' field gate
Self-built 6' gate to vegetable plots,
replacing the one Davy demolished











Anyhow, we currently have 23 gates on our 4 acre holding. I'm not counting doors into outbuildings or animal housing of course. This sounds a lot but we have not excessively sub-divided the land which essentially comprises three grazing fields plus a few smaller areas for other functions. However, if you keep livestock an ongoing concern is to keep them secure for their own well-being and away from areas that are out of bounds for ours. 

The importance of shutting gates becomes ingrained and forgetting to do so results in a lesson quickly learned. Having to round up sheep, for example, and persuade them back to where they should be is a time consuming nuisance when there are other things to do. Never make the mistake of thinking "it doesn't matter because I'll be coming back this way in a few seconds". You notice something else needs attending to, and then another thing, and then you go a different route. And just as you sit down later for a cup of tea you see through the kitchen window a flock of hens raking up the flower beds and wonder how they got there. If you open a gate, shut it again straight away.

If you are walking in the countryside, do remember to shut any gates you go through.