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Our favorite gate latch

Our favorite gate latch

After years of quickly kicking gates closed while our hands were full, only to have them swing open again, we finally installed a good solution. I’ve seen these for sale at the local co-op and Tractor Supply and the idea has always made a lot of sense to me. As you can see in the picture below, when installed properly, the latch is designed to catch your gate and hold it securely. What you can’t see in the picture is that you lift the gold part on the top to release the latch and the latch works on both sides. That was important because sometimes we need to open/close it from the inside and sometimes we need to swing it out. At the very bottom of the latch on the barn side and the gate side there are slotted openings through which to insert a padlock, though we found that some padlocks are too short or too thick. It took a little experimentation to find the right size.

How does it work? Very well! We always try to do barn chores together but there are times when we have to do chores alone and it really helps to be able to quickly swing the gate shut. For example, I needed to drive the tractor through the barn the other day and no one else was around to help. When the horses see the tractor headed for the barn, sometimes they follow and I’ve had them run in real fast, probably thinking they’ll be fed. That’s why we have a double gate system. They can technically run into the barn but can’t escape because of another gate. One of the gates is always closed to prevent escapes. Still, I prefer that none of them get into the barn like this. It’s not safe. With this gate latch, when alone I can hop off of the tractor, throw open the gate, drive in and, if I time it right and I’m a little lucky, I can jump off swing the gate shut before any of the herd gets too close. Having the gate automatically latch has helped tremendously.

On the barn, we had to add a spacer board to get the latch to match up to the gate side (as seen below). There is a little flexibility so you don’t have to line it up perfectly but it has to be pretty close.

Gate Latch

We liked this product so much we installed one on the upper gate and on one of our walk-through gates. I suppose you could even angle your gate hinges downhill a little and have a semi self-closing gate. Overall, well worth the money, in our opinion!

The one we bought is apparently from SpeeCo (via Tractor Supply), called a Two-Way Lockable Gate Latch, $25. We’re not affiliated with Tractor Supply and make no money recommending this product, btw.

No more rusty metal gate

No more rusty metal gate

Rusty metal gate

This week I was looking through pictures from last year, longing for warmer days when I found pictures of our pasture access gate. It was a rusty mess. We’ve looked at and walked through this gate a million times and couldn’t take the rust any more. It was ugly, it made my hands red, it made noise and was in danger of disintegrating into a pile of rust. The solution was a simple one.

Our pasture has three gate access points: 1) through our back yard using this small rusty gate, 2) through our barn using a galvanized metal gate (no rust) and 3) via the road going past our place using a large rusty gate, big enough for a truck, tractor, etc. to get through. One summer day, we decided we had enough of the smaller rusty gate and picked up some primer and green Rustoleum at Walmart. The gate (pictured) took 2 cans of primer and 2 cans of paint. We selected green because it matched the color of the grass back then. What a huge difference it made in the appearance of our back yard.

A few thoughts when painting pasture fence and gate stuff:

  • Horses are curious creatures and have large nostrils with which to inhale psychedelic paint fumes (careful, those of you who have a horse that cribs/sucks wind/wood).
  • It’s easier to avoid getting paint on you with gloves than it is to wash paint off of your skin
  • Keep the horses away, especially if you’re using non-horse colors like white primer and green. Yes, horses come in white sometimes but mine are black.
  • You think you know this but trust me when I say – don’t spray into the wind. Lesson learned…again.

10 months later, this gate looks about as good as it did when I painted it. Next, we’ll do the big rusty gate, though it’s a lower priority since I don’t look at it every day from the house.

We’re in need of some more gates and we’re thinking of building our round pen with these 12-foot gate sections. But I’m at the point where I need to decide on painted or galvanized. Painted looks nicer…at first. I don’t know how long this paint job of ours will last but I sure don’t want to paint gates every year. I don’t want to spend the time or money. Paint for this little gate cost us almost $20 and a new, painted gate isn’t much more than that. I’m strongly considering galvanized. I think in the long run we’ll save money.