Thursday 7 April 2016

A Yard for Donkeys

Hello Cerenety campers and blog readers. I’m Stu and I’ve been a volunteer at Cerenety for 6 months now. Mostly I’ve been helping in the house. As a keen carpenter I’m always looking for new things to build and make, and learning new skills along the way.  

After lots of talk about donkeys (and Ben whingeing for weeks), Celli arranged a trip to the donkey sanctuary in Liskard, who have a donkey fostering scheme. A donkey or two would be a brilliant addition to the campsite and farm, especially during the summer. Hopefully they would be able to help out and earn their keep. Everyone knows what good workers they are, and all the stimulation will be great for them. Basically, we really want donkeys!  


After a visit from Jenny (one of the team at the sanctuary) and a routine inspection, we were told that there are some things she wanted us to do to in preparation for donkeys. Firstly, they would need a place to shelter from the wind and rain. After learning that donkeys can’t be in the field all the time, we also need a fence around the stables, closing it off from the drive and the road. By changing the area outside the stables, we can make an excellent area for the donkeys and horses to roam safely around.   

The fencing would be the easy bit. We already had some post and rail leftovers from previous work. However, the amount of gates needed in specific size and length would be very expensive to buy brand new. As you all know this isn’t the Cerenety way of doing things! So we decided to build the gates ourselves, out of whatever we had lying around. Luckily we had recently decided to remove several walls from the house. This provided us with just about enough to build the gates. 

Having never built a gate before I took a walk up to the top field and measured the existing gates there. This gave me the height and distance of the spacings and design of the whole thing, giving me a rough idea of what I should do.   Feeling like I had a good idea of how to build the gates and how they would hinge, I measured the distances in between the posts on the fence. Having the sizes of the gates, starting with the smallest, I made a cutting list. I then checked I had enough wood, which luckily I did. 

I built the gates using lap joints, which I then screwed and glued together making sure they were as tight as possible. As they are made for outdoor use, I needed to make sure that the rain will not get into the joints. A good few coats of paint should help stop this too, and then they will last for a long time. Just need some hinges and we are nearly donkey-ready!  


For me, this was a great project which I thoroughly enjoyed doing. Bring on the next one! 


By Stu Humphreys

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