Soay sheep deserve Christmas stockings, too

No sooner had I filed the post on how to make Christmas stockings for the shepherd on your Christmas list than a hue and cry arose from the pasture.  The Soay are outraged that our no-count guardian dogs (from the sheep’s perspective, not ours) get Christmas feed bags and the sheep don’t.  I tried to explain to them that they can eat merely by lowering their heads into the grass or the hay feeder, but to no avail.  They are not about to be upstaged by those smelly dogs.

So in the interests of pastoral serenity, I gave in and made the sheep their own stocking, and you can, too, very easily.  This is one Christmas stocking that does not require counted cross-stitch, a lifetime supply of knitting needles, or even a pattern.  And actually, it is quite a bit easier to make than the dogs’ feed bags.  All you need is the most rudimentary sewing skill, a penny’s worth of electricity, and a half hour of spare time.   Like the shepherd’s “stockings,” this new one is nothing more than a bag made from part of one leg of an old pair of jeans, with an attached loop to fit over your belt, perfect for carrying grain treats out to the flock, your year-long gift.  Steve models:


Find an old discarded pair of jeans.  This pair, which in my opinion still has a lot of wear left in it, was donated by our summer ranch hand, Shawn Olsen.  Cut off one leg about 16 inches up from the bottom hem, keeping the hem intact.  The bottom hem is going to become the opening of the bag.  Turn the jeans leg inside out and sew the open end shut.


Now cut off another piece of the leg about 4 inches wide and 10 inches long.  Hem each of the long sides.  You can leave them unhemmed but they will fray and you’ll never win the Martha Stewart prize for artistry.  Attach one end of the hemmed strip to the still-existing hem of the pant-leg-turned-bag.


Hook the strip under your belt and adjust its length so that when the loose end is sewn to the bag, you will be able to slip the bag on and off your belt easily.  Sew the other end of the flap to the same edge of the bag opening (what used to be the jeans hem) so that you can easily reach your hand into the bag of grain.


Finally, go out and enjoy walking among your flock, feeding them as much or as little as you like, with no fear of the grain bucket tipping over.


Oh yes, we do not recommend feeding coal to your Soay sheep, even if they misbehave.

Happy holidays!