Monday, August 23, 2010

Shearing Goats

Saturday dawned with a beautiful cool breeze, though it was predicted to be in the 90's by mid-afternoon. We drove off to farmers' market with some dread about returning home to 4 more hours of shearing in the hot sun. But - thanks to fingers and toes crossed - things went remarkably smoothly.

Some bystanders

Fred showed up about the same time as a bit of shade began to creep under the big tree just outside of the goat pen, and it continued to grow each hour, so we had some respite from the heat. Plus, I can't help but think that the goatie girls were deLIGHTED to be shorn of their 6-month fleeces.

Daisy waiting with Eddy and Poppy

Munchie only had 4 months' fleece - she was born in April

Of course, there are always a few characters in the group. Can't you just tell that these girls are not going to be cooperative?

Chocolate Kiss and Margarita give us the stink-eye ...

... while Maddy and Angel (note that tummy!) practically wait in line.

If anything, Angel seems quite eager to get on with it!

Hubby and I penned the goats, then brought them one at a time for their "spa treatments." Each got a shearing, a foot trim (Fred did the front and I did the back feet while Michael swept and bagged fleece), a quick check up, and a spray of Permectrin. (Try as we might, lice continue to plague many of the girls.)

Of the dozen we sheared, most seemed quite happy, maybe grateful, even if exposed in an unflattering way:
Daisy is calm and relaxed, even though embarrassingly exposed, while Angel is patient as ever.

We discovered that most, if not all, seem to be growing nice, big bellies, so we could have kids as early as the end of September. Eddy, the little buck, was sheared, trimmed and sprayed, then escorted - grudgingly - back to the boys pasture, having done his job well and with obvious success.

A fine time was had by all, and it only took a little over three hours. The hot tub was up to temp by the time we were done, so after chores I made myself a wine spritzer and retired to my own "spa treatment."

Now I get to play with (skirt, pick, sort, weigh and price) a dozen lovely new fleeces.

Munchie's lovely little baby fleece

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some People Just Never Learn

A few weeks after we returned from the Navajo Nation, we packed up and headed east again. This time we towed a U-Haul filled with yarn and fiber goodies, along with our excited hopes of finding a knowledgeable and eager audience of weavers in Albuquerque who would appreciate unique and homegrown fibers. For many months I had been weighing and marking, dyeing and spinning, sorting and culling, packing and planning, and dreaming. The guest house had been pressed into action as a wash and dye center, and a fortunate bout of hot, dry weather helped keep the process rolling along.

Wool drying on the guest-house/studio porch - trio of dye/roasters - bakers' rack with dyed locks

Sort, wash, dry or dye, skein, weigh, tag and pack was repeated in an endless loop. Three roasters and three huge dye pots simmered most of the day. The washing machine ran non-stop. Soon bags of wool and skeins of roving began to pile up everywhere: in the house, in the barn, in the guest house, in the car, and - eventually - in the trailer.

After making reams of lists and piles of maps and directions, we headed off.

This should have been a clue that we weren't as big as we thought we were.

Next: Convergence 2010

On the ranch:

Last week: moved the ram lambs down to the boys’ pen.

This week: enlarged the garden by planting chard, cucumbers and a fig tree.

Next week: shear goats.