December 12, 2022
when all we had were goats, the barn was a perfect place to store their feed. we set up 1 of the 6 exterior stalls to deliver water and feed, right over the wall.

since getting cattle, however, the animals are now roaming between pastures on a weekly basis. which means we have to bring the food to them.

animal feed comes in 40-50 pound bags, and we can fill a 5 gallon bucket with around 20 pounds' worth. it's a manageable amount of weight, but not ideal for women or when you need to carry 2 buckets a prolonged distance.

so we dreamt up a storage unit, disguised as a bench, with space for 4 buckets of food.


iPhone edition:

"high fidelity" paper edition:

the key variables are width and height -- enough of both to hold and easily remove our 5 gallon buckets.

buying materials

without a further clue on how to do this, we bought a 4x8' piece of treated plywood ($29.77), three 7.25" planks of dog-ear picket fencing ($2.68 /each), and 10 weathershield boards ($3.68 /each). we also got a pack of 4 corner braces ($7.93) and 50 wood screws ($7.97) to put it all together.

back home in the barn slash wood workshop we began chopping things up with the circular saw from the raised bed project, then fastened corners with my right-angle brace and workmate bench from the recent estate sale.
making corner pieces

attaching corners to the short ends


in addition to holding four, 5-gallon buckets, we wanted a shelf for 2 feeder scoops.

initially we were going to put the scoop shelf on the far side, then realized it could be useful to add load bearing walls in the middle, with the dead space as our shelf area.
all 4 buckets and a shelf for 2 scoops

our corners aren't perfectly square but oh well. since the top planks were picketed on 1 side, we mimicked the angle with our quick square and jigsaw, something i hadn't used before today.
picketed ends

lastly, we stained it with Vara oil ($12.98) which required 2 stain brushes ($7.97 /each), a plastic 9x12 foot drop cloth ($2.98), and tack cloth ($3.98).
removing sawdust with the sticky tack cloth

putting a drop cloth beneath the bench

we put it outside to avoid stinking up the barn, then after waiting a day we came back out to coat it with polyurethain spray ($14.68) to make it water proof.
stained bench

after letting it dry a bit longer, we moved it to our primary feeding spot at the southest corner of the first pasture.
finished bench from behind

finished bench from the front
you may be thinking: this storage bench is just a tiny optimization to our daily "feed the animals" farm chore. and you'd be right. but the savings on daily tasks that once took 10 minutes, and now take 5 minutes, really adds up.

this project also taught us a lot more about designing and building physical tools, which is what ranch life is really all about.
Spent: $102.59 | Time: 5.0 hours
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