If you give a mouse a cookie...

Never fear...this blog is still about sheep - not mice! But as I lay awake last night, thinking about this next post, it occurred to me that the clean-up/renovating process that we're going through on our sheep barn is a lot like that wonderful book - and if you give a mouse a cookie, it doesn't end there!

After living out here for 12 years and all but ignoring the sheep barn, I knew that cleaning it up and preparing it for our sheep wasn't going to be a picnic. But I admit that I was a bit shocked to see just how much needs to be done on it.



First of all, there were the wasp nests. Sigh...anyone who knows me knows that wasps and stinging insects have been the bane of my existence since I was very young...I don't know why, as I've never been stung, but I've always had a horrible fear of wasps and bees. As I've gotten older, it has gotten better - I still avoid wasps like the plague, but I can handle being around bees (especially the big, fat, fuzzy bumblebees that we call B-52s!). Well, the first thing that had to be done on the sheep barn was to get rid of all the wasp nests:








I have to tell you - just looking at the pictures gives me a the creeps.  And this was just in one section of the barn - the part where the sheep are going to have their feeder is much worse. Anyway, my dear husband knocked several down for me, and I gave a liberal dosing of wasp spray to the rest - then knocked them down - then gingerly picked them up and got them out of there (all the while knowing, logically, that there was nothing left in these nests that could hurt me, but still experiencing a severe cases of the willies, nonetheless).
Then it was time to clean out the section where Dear Husband has been storing lawn tools:
Doesn't look too bad, right? Well, we found lots more wasp nests in there, and different ones - I looked them up later and discovered that they were made by mud dauber wasps...oh joy of joys, we have different types of wasps out here! More wasp spray (if you have ever considered buying stock, I highly recommend you buy stock in Raid...just sayin'...). And not only that, but the flooring isn't as solid as it looks - I believe it was particle board covered with old feed sacks covered with straw that still had long bits of twine in it. So all of that had to come out. My Dear Daughter moved all of the yard tools into the far section of the barn...Dear Husband and Dear Son helped shovel out the "floor"...and myself and Dear Husband managed to get a tarp full of floor/straw waste/mess into a burn pile, far away from the barn.
By this point, my back was done for the day. So what was accomplished?  Well, about 80% of the wasp nests were dealt with...the section that was cleaned out is ready for new flooring (this will be where I store the sheep's winter hay)...and we also walked the pasture to take a look at the fence. Overall, the fence is still in really good shape and shouldn't need too much bolstering to keep our ovine friends safe and secure. Then, what is left on our to-do list before April?
  • Clean out the feeder section of the barn - this is where the sheep can go to get out of the wind and weather if they want, and where their hay feeder is located - this floor is in even worse shape than the one we already removed.
  • Dear Husband will be improving the feeder that is out there now - I want to feed my sheep as cleanly as possible to limit how much vegetable matter ends up in their fleece, so some renovations need to be done on the current feeder.
  • Put down new flooring in the hay and feeder sections of the barn.
  • Rake and remove about 1 foot of overgrown pasture grass away from the fence, all the way around the inside perimeter, to avoid having little springboards for the sheep to use to try jumping the fence.
  • Scrape the old paint and repaint the barn.
  • Mend any sagging sections of fence.
  • Make sure light bulbs are switched out and working (making sure electrical is all safe and sound).
  • Buy a water trough - there isn't one out here, and this is one thing I definitely would want to buy new anyway. Also will pick up a heater for it so that they have water, as opposed to ice, in the winter.
  • Get the hand pump at the barn working so that I don't have to run hoses to the trough.
  • Add an awning of some kind to the southwest side of the barn to give more shade.
And probably 10 other things that I'm not thinking of right now!
Before closing, I have to share some pictures - because ultimately, despite all of the work ahead of me, I am so excited for the next two months!  The sense of accomplishment that I'm going to feel when I look out and see these faces next to their fresh, clean barn is going to be AMAZING!!!
Dear Daughter with Panda Bear



Mikey, our wether boy






Love these pics

Jennifer Bogut

Thanks, Tammy! I am so glad you and the Ladies suggested this blog! :)

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