Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Gated Community

Farm gates that is.

Were installing farm gates. It will make passing through the fence lines a lot easier than the ubiquitous barb wire and pole gate.

We have five of them on the property and I want to convert them all to steel gates. A barbwire gate simply consists of the fence line attached to three or four light posts and stretched across a fence opening to be held by a couple of loops of wire at one side top and bottom. Just nasty things. Although economical I always end up fighting with the things despite stretching the poles and wire before attaching them. When the snow mobiles go through the riders invariably leave them down as they are such a pain in the ass to put back.

The first thing was to remove the old posts and roll back the wire. Pretty easy with a skid steer with a four -in-one bucket. Just have to be careful not to chomp them in half if we want to re-use them.

We are installing steel gates that we bought at an auction last year. Now there's a whole 'nother post. We discovered that a lot of the auctions around here are not quite on the up and up. Buyer beware to the max. We paid more for the "made in China" gates than we would have by buying them at the local feed store. And the feed store gates were better quality. When I asked the lady at the feed store what her gates were going for to see what kind of deal I got, she said: " why did you just buy some at the auction?" I guess I was far from the only one to think they were getting a deal.

The trick to installing gates, like everything else, is getting the basics, the structure right plumb and solid, before attaching the gate. We use strong pressure treated 6X6 posts. Separated by about seven feet. One ten footer for the gate hanger post and one eight footer for the reinforcing post.

We attach 4X4 and 2X4 's to the top and bottom of them and add a double cross of reinforcing wire. Bull strong. Skookum.

What made the whole thing easier was using a 12 inch post hole digger on Tom's skid steer.


Jo-Ann did the machine digging while I did the gesticulating and squinting and the hole clearing. After we level the post we backfill with the material we took out and tamp it all back in the hole, bottom to top. Which explains how we can dig a 12 inch hole three feet deep, put in an eight inch post and still use up all the dirt we took out.

When we get both sides done we will put barn board pickets up between the main gate hanger and support posts, about six feet of them. All the wood gets stained white. They will cover up the wire cross ties and make the gate look a lot nicer. It's practice for the main house gate, and maybe even the Savory Road entrance.

I use oil based solid stain instead of paint because it doesn't have to stay as warm while it sets. The latex acrylics, my first choice, want at least +12c for two days. Around here that's iffy, even in August.

We got up early this morning to get a start on them but after our morning walk and watering the garden we were so chilled we're in the house having a warming cup of tea. It was only about 0c when we got up and a brisk west wind blowing. Even with the sun almost a quarter way in the sky the temperature still hovers around 7c.

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