Painting the Gate

It’s been five years since we first moved to the farm. A lot has changed since we arrived. You may recall, I had cows coming home and no fence to keep them in about the same time I had chickens ordered and no coop. Yep, that happened. (It seems to be a recurring theme for me and started long before the farm.) Mike and my dad were there to save the day once again!

One rainy night that first summer Mike and my dad went up to Grandma’s farm to pick up some old fence posts and barb wire that she said was in the back of the barn. When they were heading back my husband called and said “Boy do we have a surprise for you!”

After I got home from work we walked through the dark and rolling thunder to our barn. There against the wall was an old gate. He didn’t have to say a word. I knew exactly where that gate came from. I was so excited to be able to use it!

The gate was blackened with years of motor oil that had been painted on for weather proofing. I remember being allowed to swing on Grandma’s garden gate but we weren’t to touch the corral gate because the oil would ruin our clothes. By that time the animals were gone as far as I can remember. When the fence line was finally taken down nothing went to waste and the gate, still in good shape, was stored in the barn.

The old gate has been keeping the cows in our pasture and now it’s my turn to paint the gate.

I put the little Miss in some old clothes and we set out to the barn. She carried the paint brushes while I carried the jug of used oil. She was pretty excited to be able to help with a “big girl” job. I filled us each a small container of oil and gave her a warning “do not get any on your clothes.” –you can laugh its ok. I knew as well that was going to be a joke. There was no way that she was going to make it more than one brush stroke before it would be on her clothes. But, in trying to be a good mama I needed to at least say the words.

She worked at her eye-level for a while, then over by me and then it happened. It was only a matter of time and I didn’t even see it coming. I looked over and she’s two rungs up on the gate belly rubbing the spot she just oiled.

“What are you doing?”

“Mama, I needed to paint the top.” She told me quite matter of factly; like obviously this is the next logical spot to work on.

“Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?!”

We worked a while longer before I told her she could finish the outside while I worked on the inside. This project was happening during the weekend that the bull wasn’t staying put and was unpredictably rowdy. I didn’t want to take the chance having her in there with him too.

Grace the donkey had been “talking” to us as we worked and ever since she kicked G.W. in the face he’s been pretty respectful of her space. So I wasn’t too concerned to go in. I unhooked the chain and let it fall to the barb wire on the fence and screamed.

I felt that chain drop right up my arm, through my chest and into my back. Then in a moment of electrocution I started swearing. There was a lot of swearing that weekend but this was the first time in front of any little ears. Of course these little ears come with a constantly moving, well-spoken mouth of a three year old. And this time it wasn’t the “kind-mama words”, you know: Shoot, Oh my goodness, Son of a biscuit. No, no, this time it was the “I should just call daycare right now and apologize for what may come.”

Once I got my bearings back together and apologized I had to convince the little Miss to hold on to the gate so that I could run to the barn and unplug the electric. The gate naturally swings open and there’s no way I was about to grab that chain again!

She did a great job. It wasn’t long before we had both sides of the gate oiled and were on to our next projects. She was to scrub out the duck pool and refill it while I oiled the gates to the coop- one of those was Grandpa’s too.

We were almost finished and thunder started rolling in that’s when we called it a day.



Later I found where the hot wire and barb wire was twisted. I corrected that problem so there aren’t any more electrifying surprises for now.



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