Last weekend was a big one for us! We started milking our goats every morning and it was Dave’s birthday! Since Dave is a certified and qualified workaholic, getting him to relax and pull himself away from work is sometimes a battle. For his birthday weekend, I tried to equalize his fun:work ratio quadrant. And other.. math related.. stuff. And things. I don’t know. For a while now he has been wanting to build a chute around the goat barn to make our morning milking rodeo a little easier. And he has also wanted to make a pallet fence somewhere on the farm. So why not make the goat chute out of pallets? Perfect! The plan was to make the pallet fence goat chute in the morning then head out for birthday fun and beer cake. And thus began the perfect weekend for a farmer’s birthday.
To start off, we needed pallets. Finding free pallets is pretty simple. You can look on craigslist, behind warehouses, roadside stands, etc. We found some of ours at a local large farmstore, Buchheit. And a friend of ours happened to be moving and had a lot at his house. So within a day or so we had gathered more than enough free pallets. For the pallet fence, we didn’t need the pallets to be super perfect looking. It’s ok if there’s a few slats missing here and there, you just don’t want big open gaps. The only other material we needed was a bunch of T-Posts, which we already had at the farm, and two walking gates. And beer. We also needed birthday beer.
We started the goat chute at the small walking gate that leads into our first small pasture. We grabbed the first pallet and squared it up against our railroad tie that our pasture gate hangs off of. To secure the initial pallet, we pounded in a T-Post into the ground and slid the pallet on top. Once that was centered and butted up against the railroad tie, we screwed the pallet to the railroad tie. When the initial corner/pallet was in, we hung the walking gate.
After that, we got into the pattern of laying the rest of the fence. We made a string to plot out the rest of the fence to make sure we were going in a straight line. Then we would line up a pallet on end and use spray paint to mark out where we would pound in the T-posts. We’d pound in the T-posts to where they would be flush with the top of the pallet. Once the T-Posts were in, we’d slide in the pallet on top of the T-Posts. To brace the pallets together, we would screw them together and secure any slats of wood that were loose.
That’s basically it, we would repeat that pattern until we got to the front of the barn door. We hung another walking gate on the other end of the chute in front of the “human side” of the goat barn. This way, we can open up the walking gate of the goat chute and then go right into the human side of the goat barn, or we can open up the walking gate of the goat chute and then the gate that leads to the pasture.
So now in the morning, I can milk our does, then open up the door and lead them through the chute and right to the pasture. Before we did this, they would get distracted and want to wander around, taking their sweet ass time to get back into the pasture. Or never get back into the pasture and play hookey. The chute is about one pallet width wide, or wide enough for me and a goat to comfortably walk in. It’s also tall enough where they can’t see over it. Their only choice is to go out the milking parlor and into the pasture.
And as for the birthday part of the weekend? Dave’s parents came down to visit and brought St. Louis Bread Co. and a candy pie from SugarFire Pie! Then Dave decided that he wanted to go to a double feature movie. We never get out to the movie theater anymore and movie options out by us in rural Missouri are pretty thin. For some reason no one has movies showing past 7pm and all the movies are catered to the very young or the very old. But the movies are only $3. So that’s the up side. So Dave found a cool movie theater in St. Louis that has those really nice reclining lazy boy chairs as seats. And they also had a full on menu that you could get delivered right to your seat. We had a burger, mac and cheese, bourbon and cokes and popcorn delivered right to our seats as we watched the Avengers and Mad Max. This is probably old hat to a lot of you city people but up until last weekend, neither one of this knew that this “dine-in theater” experience even existed. It was a birthday miracle! The next day, I made a wild duck dinner with cherry mostarda. And for dessert, a beer cake with a Bailey’s chocolate cherry glaze. Farmer birthday win! But neither one of us is still talking about the cake or movies, that pallet fence made the weekend. And it made our morning milk routine about 63% easier and faster.