Thursday, September 17, 2009

Extreme makeover

Here is lovely Dawn, standing patiently while I take her picture. I think she suspects something, and well she should. It is time for the biennial shearing of the goats. Angora goats get sheared twice a year, whereas sheep just get clipped in the spring.

For those professionals out there reading this, let me just say right now -- I am a horrible shearer. Yes, I get the mohair off, but I'm really slow and I get lots of second cuts and I can't seem to sort the fiber while I'm working. The good and the bad stuff all end up in the same pile. This means I have to spend about an hour sorting it through later. But, as bad a shearer as I am, I've never drawn blood.

About half an hour later, I have a large pile of mohair on my deck. Dawn has got some really nice mohair. Naturally colored, thick and consistently fine.

And here she is, newly sheared. Next comes delousing, deworming, vaccinating and hoof trimming. Then she is put out in the pen to romp and play with Eve, already sheared. They greet each other like brand new goats, circling one another, smelling and rearing and rutting. It's fun to watch.

My last batch of tomatoes is just finishing up in the canner. Tonight I did eighteen pints. I had to use pint jars, since I've run out of quart jars. But since I've got another bushel of tomatoes sitting in my mud room, I think I'll be visiting the hardware store again soon. Wish I had time to scout around at garage sales for used jars. I'm spending a small fortune on new ones this summer.


Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

Great job shearing! She is dainty and beautiful. I'd love to see the next steps for the mohair. Cleaning, seperating, carding?
What a great load of tomatoes you have--congrats!

Erin said...

Love it! I remember shearing sheep when I was a kid and all that wool and greasy hands, lol!

Maple Lawn Farm said...

I love the before and after pictures! She really is a cute little thing!

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

You need to have the mister make you one of those cool stands for shearing.

Jo said...

Rick -- The mister helped me a lot by holding the goats immobile while I sheared away. Otherwise I would have gotten nowhere fast. But yes, one of those stands is on his 'honey-do' list. Along with a lot of other things ... he gets one thing done and I add three more. Sound familiar?

Liz -- Hi! The next step for the mohair is sitting in a bag for a few months until I get around to sorting and washing it. Then I have to try to find a buyer -- I have no time for carding and spinning! I just like having the goats, and they do a great job eating the weeds.

Howdy Erin -- Not so much grease on goats. Not sure why. Did you have sheep as a kid?

Hello Tammy! Thanks for the compliments. It really is striking, seeing the before and after. I can only imagine how much lighter she feels!

Karen said...

You have gotten soooo much better at this than when I helped to hold Dawn down that first time!!! She looks so evenly sheared, I am impressed little sister!!! Dawn looks healthier this time too. She's filled out more, not so scrawny looking. Good job!