EASTERN CONNECTICUT FOREST LANDOWNERS ASSOCIATION/
WOLF DEN LAND TRUST

PO Box 404, Brooklyn, CT 06234


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Farm Gates 101

- by Dennis Hodgin

Author’s note: I have learned a few things related to gates over the years and plan to share some of the better ideas with you in a series of short articles. The following is the first of what I hope could become useful information to ECFLA/WDLT members.

Vol. 1. “Fragrance Security”

I have 3 farm gates on a mile of town road frontage and years ago I had a recurring problem with one gate in particular. This gate is out of sight from any of the houses in the neighborhood and the road is very lightly traveled, especially at night. The entrance to the gate is wide, level and hard packed. These particular characteristics made the location a favorite parking place for many of the local young lovers, especially at night. While I had no particular problem with that situation in general, being a good landowner and subscribing to the principles of “multiple use”, I did have an on-going problem with the trash left behind and the obligatory burnout during exiting that resulted in deep wheel ruts that needed constant follow-up repair. During this same time period, I was allowing a friend to dump his excess sheep manure near an old gravel pit on my property. He and his wife raised show sheep but had a very small lot and could not stockpile the resulting manure. I do not remember any bolt of lightning to signify the idea but one day I decided to dump a load of very fresh manure immediately next to the problem gate. Some benefits were anticipated and immediate, and another was very unexpected!

It seems that the manure pile supplied nasty flies during the day and a strong un-pleasant aroma at night that combined to discourage my un-wanted parking patrons. Occasionally I would take the bucket on my small farm tractor and stir up the pile to rejuvenate the odor. This accidental strategy worked immediately and over a period of several years the parking problem just went away.

I hope this experience will be useful to one of our members. I should also mention a nice follow-on benefit from the manure pile that was totally unanticipated. Several years after stopping this practice, a neighbor stopped to ask if he could have some of that beautiful topsoil by my gate. It seems that the original piles of manure had composted into this pile of fertile black soil over the years! So if you do this correctly, you can solve a problem and support re-cycling at the local level!

This article originally appeared in the September 2003 ECFLA/WDLT Newsletter.

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