With a Little Help From My… No.

Here’s a thing you might not know about farm animals… they love to help. Seriously.

Well, technically they love treats, but when you’re a chicken or a donkey, apparently that amounts to the same thing.

I know that for a fact, because when I was trying to climb up the ladder to paint the barn this weekend? Look at all the help.


So much help, you guys. Also, what little you can see of the barn in that picture looks like shit because, well, it’s old and needs new siding. The problem is, I’ve already got more projects than I can handle this summer and siding the donkey-barn is not on the list. Instead, I decided to take a few hours over the weekend to slap a new coat of paint on everything so at the very least my eye will stop twitching every time I pull into the driveway and see this thing.

Which, really? I should probably put this in perspective. This is what it looked like when I bought the place two years ago.


That’s cute.

At the time I didn’t realize that I would soon start compulsively hoarding farm animals along with my power tools, so I didn’t fully comprehend how much time I would spend on the littlest structure on the property.

The bank had other ideas, of course, and I was given six-months to re-roof the thing, despite the fact that I was, at the time, very. uncomfortable. with. heights. Up to that point in my life I’d always managed to be conveniently elsewhere when work needed to be done on a roof, but here’s a thing I learned about living on a one-woman farm: nobody–particularly the bank–gives a shit about your fear of heights. If a roof needs to be fixed, you get over it.

So I did.


Then the donkeys came along, and the thing needed a stall, a fence, and an actual working barn door. Then there were the Nuggets and all of the sudden I needed to build a chicken coop and dutch door out here as well. All of the sudden the littlest barn on the property is the one getting all the attention. But despite all the work, one thing was still driving me nuts..


The peeling paint.

Even though I’m probably going to re-side it next summer, I figured a new coat of paint would at least make the old siding look more presentable for the short term. And I figured this would be a quick, Saturday-afternoon project.

I might have underestimated the fact that this painting would take place at the social hub for every single animal on the farm, all of whom wanted to help. Obviously.

Here’s what happened when I left the paint unattended for maybe 30 seconds…


I just… there really aren’t even words.

This is my life, people.

The chickens also insisted on helping. For example, they wanted to help me pick up all the peeling– likely toxic– paint chips that I was scraping off the old siding. By eating them.


So, that was a quick trip down the ladder to pick up every last flake of old paint.

Then, of course, in the time it took me to climb up the ladder to paint a section of barn and then back down to load up my roller with more paint…. this.


Very helpful, Nugs. (Those chickens are dead-on with their aim when digging for bugs.)

And, while we’re at it, I’d really like to blame one of my little helpers for this, too…


But when you step off a ladder into a bucket of paint, there’s really nobody to blame but yourself.

At one point I might have thrown my paintbrush on the ground like, EVERYONE. STOP. HELPING.

And they were all like, TREATS?!?

This is farm life.

But I managed to work around all the craziness, and finally ended up here.


This little barn is going to need a major overhaul at some point (including the roof rafters that are very clearly bowing in the middle there) but she’s sturdy for the moment, and looks a whole lot better than where it all started….


Despite all the “help”, little by little I’m making progress.

21 Responses

  1. Really love the paint job! I would like to paint my big hip-roof barn but would need one of those lift platforms. Not doable this year. Am enjoying reading your adventures. Thanks.

  2. I totally believe in phase one fixes to keep your sanity. Your barn and whole farm is charming.

  3. Hi Kit, I’ve followed for a few years now and I thank you for your sense of humor within every post, but especially this one; I was literally lol-ing. You have wonderful helpers!

    I once fell face first onto concrete, I guess because I was moving faster than my body wanted me to, and I ended up with an oozing, repulsive, black eye, and I’m confident I broke my cheek bone. Did that one all myself!

    Phase one looks great.

    Hoping your farm friends are more helpful next time,
    -a follower in Lancaster, PA 🙂

  4. My German Shepherd always seems to try to help when I am painting. Specifically, it seems, when I am using oil-based and have trouble cleaning him up!

  5. Like the others, I truly enjoy your posts and your humor. 🙂 We had “help” when re-doing our basement. After removing paint from our concrete floor, we had may be 2 holes and a few cracks to fix before laying tile. The largest hole was maybe 3 inches across and a half inch deep. We filled it and went to bed only to discover a cat paw print in it the next morning. 😛 We ended up deciding to leave it as it was not a high traffic area and it kind of reminded us of being kids and putting our hands and feet in the sidewalk that our fathers made (with their permission of course). When we made our own stepping stones for the garden, we had our daughter do her hands and feet in a couple of them and so the tradition continues…

  6. LOL!! Thy clearly want to be part of the action!! The pic of the donkey said it all- priceless!! Great job- and love your sense of humor, it will help you get through anything in life!!

  7. Thanks for the laugh this morning! That nosey donkey pic is so hysterical!
    I really look forward to your blogs, and I want to thank you for turning me on to unfuckmyhabitat.

  8. We moved to a farm in November because I had fallen hard for mini donkeys. Got three from a rescue and had to take them before we were ready. Had just built a new barn, but no fence, water and electric weren’t hooked up and we had nonstop snow and frozen geound for 3 months. Got a dozen corral panels and hauled water daily through deep snow, mud, snow,mud…All is well now. Getting ready to paint the barn and cleaning out an old chicken coop that was on the property. Really really filthy. Love reading your blog. Sometimes we’ve had the exact same day.

  9. So funny! I had a corgi that felt it was his duty to do inspections when I worked. More than once he had paint on his fluffy butt–and then I had to find the spot that he backed into on his rounds.

  10. You have a donkey with red paint on his nose! And you have paint on your beautiful boot. 🙁 I had help this weekend as well. Ralph (the barn cat) insisted on helping with weeding. There were more belly scratches and grooming sessions than weed pulling. But back to your barn. It’s probably not great for the wood, but letting it weather to a natural grey is both easy and beautiful.

  11. Why would the bank care if an old barn has a bad roof? The house I can understand, even the garage.

    I was on my way home a few weeks ago and saw a lady at the end of her driveway with a donkey on a leash. It was pretty funny.

  12. I so love your humor! That paint-smeared donkey face really needs a caption! He made my day!

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