Being a farmer is very much like being a parent. Children need stuff……lots of stuff. Even before bringing them home from the hospital there is nursery furniture, clothes, toys and car seats to purchase. Well the same is true with livestock. I never realized just how much “stuff” each of these critters needed and how individualized it usually is. Apparently, along with fencing, feeders, troughs, salt blocks and hay rings cows need a thing called a Head Gate and Chute.
A head gate and chute is an apparatus that holds livestock in place or is used when loading them for transport. When medical treatment is required the head gate will hold them still while being attended to and the chute keeps them tightly in a line so loading onto a trailer is much easier. We will need one in the future anyway, but since we are planning to artificially inseminate our heifers and the bull semen should be arriving any day now we needed a head gate quickly. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty certain these girls aren’t going to just stand still out in the pasture while someone goes elbow deep into their woo hoos.
I actually enjoy building stuff, but according to Steve, my methods are typically wrong. I’ll be the first to admit it……I suck at most of the skills required to complete a project, from the trip to Home Depot to pick up materials, to the final screw drilled. This project was no different. My first question: why does treated lumber have to be so heavy? Steve tried to be patient, but being a foot shorter and with far less muscle, it took FOREVER to load the trailer. The look of relief on Steve’s face when a burly employee came over to assist could not be concealed. Steve even offered the guy lunch if he would agree to come back to the farm with us to help unload.
Stakes and strings. Next step was to lay out a template of where everything should go in the field. Apparently, measurements must be precise so all the posts end up plumb and distances between them are exact. I just kept tripping over the strings he had tied to mark where posts would go, making Steve have to start all over again. Steve tried to include me in the decision-making, but my glazed-over eyes were a dead giveaway that I had absolutely no f-ing idea what he was talking about.
Posthole digging. Sounds simple, right? According to Steve I do it all wrong. I used a twisting motion instead of a straight up pull with the digger. I also didn’t stand properly to get maximum leverage and I was reminded every couple of minutes to move around the hole while digging so I would stop making the hole too angled.
Cutting lumber. First off, no way Steve was letting me near the handsaw for fear that I would cut off one of our hands. I was, however, allowed to hold the tape measure in place while he marked the boards. I was NOT allowed to do any independent measuring because we both know that nothing would have been correct. I like to round up or down to the nearest ½ inch instead of dealing with all that 5/8’s bullshit.
Drilling. I proudly hold the title of Screw-Stripping Queen. I cannot, for the life of me, drill in a screw. It didn’t help that Steve tends to stop to watch me and I cannot perform under pressure! He bit his tongue most of the time, but don’t think I didn’t see him take out some of my screws and replace them. I don’t know why severely angled screws are that big of a deal. Lighten up Farmer Steve!
At least I found one talent during this build. I can hold and read a level like no one’s business. I challenge anyone to find one board out of perfect alignment. That bubble was smack dab in the middle between the two lines every time. Boom!
So job complete. Now bring on the dude or dudette with semen in hand. Let's just hope he or she has skinny arms.