Archaeologist turned Shepherdess turned...Archaeologist?

More work has gotten done on the barn!!  It's kind of funny, though, because as we were working, I remembered my long-ago desire to be an happened like this:

When I was 13, my mom took me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark...what a thrill-ride that was! I remember walking out of the theater, with a shell-shocked look on my face, and seeing a similar face on my mom! It was so exciting, and I ended up seeing it several more times (a family I babysat for actually bought it for their VCR...that was a big deal back then...and I got to watch it over and over again, every time I sat for them - fortunately, they had a very little toddler who went to bed early!). By the time I had watched it a dozen times or so, AND played the video game version on my Atari (I am SO dating myself with this post) over and over again, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up - an archaeologist! I adored history and just knew this would be the perfect fit for me...

Then I got older...thought about the heat of the deserts...the bugs...the scorpions...not getting to take a shower everyday...yeah...well, as you probably figured out, I ended up not being an archaeologist. But this now brings me to our barn work yesterday!

More wasp nests were knocked down:

And the serious work on the floor of the sheep's feeding section got started:



It's hard to tell exactly what you're looking at here, but basically, it used to be a floor made out of what we think must have been a layer of particle board - then covered with layer after layer after layer of straw, with lots of manure mixed in for good measure. So in our attempts to rake up the straw, what we found was a glued mass of the aforementioned materials, stuck to the dirt underneath. So it wasn't so much raking up straw as using digging tools to burrow underneath the particle board, then trying to rip all of that up off the ground. I had my daughter work on cleaning out the feeding trough:

This will be totally emptied, then washed down with a mild bleach/water mixture before we renovate it to make it a better sheep feeder (one that helps cut down on the VM in their fleece). And I took a quick break to admire the view to the southeast:

Then it was back to work - we loaded up a tarp with tons of the straw/manure/particle board mess and hauled it to the burn pile:
This was the first tarp-full (I loaded this one myself) - by the time the four of us were finished for the day, we had taken 4-5 tarp-fulls to the burn pile! As I was using a spade to try to pry these layers off of the floor, it occurred to me that I was looking at more than one year's worth of, for lack of a better word, crap. Lee told me that once a year, she goes in and gets all of the straw and manure out of the sheep's covered area and puts down fresh bedding - this is what I plan to do as well. I mean, good's once a year! I don't think the people who lived here before us ever did that - so the dormant archaeologist in me got to thinking about how long this had been allowed to build up over time. Bear in mind - by this point in the day, I was getting really punchy and tired, and was actually sitting down on a bench to do the digging because my back was DONE. But I looked up at my daughter and said, "It's like being an archaeologist - we're looking at layers and layers of time and poop." Yeah, I was probably well past punchy by this point!
Indiana Jen, I definitely am not. Just a tired lady who is learning the value of hard, physical labor, and who can't wait until April, when her sheep family will arrive and get to look at this view (to the southwest):
Today it is pouring rain, and is supposed to continue for the next few days. Once it dries out again, we will finish the archaeology in the barn, then start to plan for the gravel and paving stones we're going to use for a better floor. I don't have plans to go visit our sheepies this week, but next weekend, I will get to attend my first meeting of the Wool Gatherers, an all-things fiber group, where I'll meet a local woodworker who builds loads of awesome fiber tools! I can't wait!




Wow, that's a lot of "archaeology"!.....:)The views are gorgeous, they will be happy sheep.


Forgot to say...WHOA that's a huge wasp nest!

Jennifer Bogut

I can't wait for the babies to be here!!! I hope they like the views and their new home! :D Iain told me that the wasp nests up in the chicken barn are even bigger - I told him he was going to be my hero and clear them out for me. Although we don't need to use that barn, we will need the pasture that is hooked to it, so I want the wasps GONE! :D

Jill McCullough

I hear you on the insects. They have prevented me from doing many things, like "gardening", and "camping", and sometimes just "being outside"!!!! ;) LOL!!!!

Jennifer Bogut

If only the bugs would cooperate and not invade our little parts of the world...sigh...!!!!!! :D

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