Chores. Bleh. Plus a little sewing.

Sometimes I like to creep up on the sheep and spy on them through gaps in the barn.

I still haven’t finished mucking out the barns, and it’s JUNE. Yes, that’s late, but more critically, that means that we’re heading into hot weather territory, so the sheep will spend the better part of the day seeking out shade. Which means the 4″ of compacted litter need to get out! I keep adding clean straw to keep it nice and minimize the flies, but seriously, dude. The floor I haven’t mucked out is significantly higher than the rest.

It’s rainy today, so I’m giving myself a reprieve (although that’s idiotic, because the forecast is rain for the next several days), but I absolutely need to finish mucking out the barn asap, because I’ve got some Stable-Grid on the way!

Here’s a picture of the partially-filled grid from grittycitygirl‘s photostream.

It’s a plastic grid you fill with sand to make a permeable solid surface for your barn or barnyard or driveway or what-have you. Rain/pee flow through it and filter back into the soil, but it doesn’t become a big muddy mess. It will still have litter over the top, but I think the whole thing will be much drier and cleaner, because you won’t have the same accumulation of liquid.

My dad bought the grid for the sheep and chickens for Christmas (Ronnie gave him a Santa list–I transcribed it, of course; her handwriting is appalling). I already have what was once a big sand hill (leftovers from the ball field next door), but is now a wider but much lower dune that I’ll be using to make the base and fill in the grids. But before I can do that, I need to clear out all the old junk from the rest of the barn and the chicken coop. By junk, I mean matted straw and poop.

This is the part of keeping animals that is way less fun. If you have a big barn and a tractor, or if you’re not a fat lazy slob like me, it’s probably less of a drag. Or if you’re a little more laissez-faire about your setup–say, just having a shelter in the middle of a pasture instead of being a big dork with a secure barnyard where you put up the sheep every night–you could eliminate the chore altogether. A poultry coop and a sheep shed on skids would be really ideal–just drag them over a few feet every couple days, et voila! Nothing to clean up. Of course, then I’d need a 4-wheel drive truck or an ATV–ooh! unless they were on big cushy tires!

But instead, I have a permanent barn. Given the Kansas winds, my love of re-purposing (our barn’s the former playground fort) and my own neurosis, it’s probably a good thing. But still. I spent about an hour mucking out 1/3 of the sheep shed last week and excavated 2 big carts of muck. So I guess I’ve got about 3 more hours of hard labor ahead of me, which now that I say it, doesn’t sound that bad and I should quit whining.

I’m back to knitting. On the needles, I have a mystery Knitty submission (never heard back about my First Fall submission, so I’m guessing they’re not using it) and an upcoming Craftzine pattern. Here’s the knitty:

Why, it could be anything!

I’ve also been sewing. I’m trying to come up with my ideal patternless sundress pattern. Here’s my first try, too bulky, but totally wearable (I’m wearing it right now, even!) I’m hoping this current enthusiasm for making dresses continues, because I would really like to start using up some of my hoardy fabric stash. If you want to make one, I doodled up a little pdf with instructions here.

Made from a couple yards of cheap cotton print I got from Joann many years ago. I had no plans for it, but it was on sale and cute.

The front is gathered and sewn to the front edging. In the back, the skirt is sewn flat…

…and then the edging forms an elastic casing in the back.

I decided to put the tie on the outside instead of in an interior casing. I made wee little beltloops out of the extra strap fabric. They’re cute!

I also made a skirt out of 2 pillowcases, using the basic elastic skirt instructions from Sew What! Skirts.

I see a lot of pillowcase skirts in my future. I have a pretty hefty collection of vintage sheets. I’m currently working on a pillowcase sundress as well.

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