Roving Winds Farm
And so it begins ....
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And so it begins ....
09-Jan-11, 02:40 PM

Well, here we are barely into the New Year and still wondering where the time goes since we feel as though we are still playing catch up from the summer and fall and suddenly I am feeling even more pressure.  I have discovered my goats are already shedding!  I have tried to ignore the signs for a week or so already, but at some point you have to accept it and start combing.  I combed my first gal this week and together we produced a beautiful clean bag of fine, crimpy, show quality cashmere.  She had good volume for the fineness, especially considering we had to leave most of her neck and chest on due to weathering, debris and matted tips.  But with combing this early in the winter, I don't mind losing a little fibre if it stays on and protects the vital areas of her body from the cold and keep her healthy. 

My bag collected, weighed and evaluated, I then spent the next few days second guessing myself as to wether or not she was really ready to comb, since all my friends tell me their goats are not yet shedding!  Now it is not entirely unusual for us to be combing cashmere in January, but it is usually only a few animals who are related to our foundation buck that usually sheds in Decemeber.  You would think that after this many years, I would be secure in my knowledge and ability to determine when the goat is in fact, prime for combing.  Upon revisting and examining her now fleecless body, she is definately not harbouring any broken fibre, so after tormenting myself I am secure in my original assessment that she was definately ready to be combed and the harvest has begun and seemingly slowly to give me time to ease back into it. 

However, upon visiting the doe and doeling pens today, I saw the signs of shedding in those pens too.  I am suddenly feeling stressed about how far behind I am already!    I am seeing fleeces with dull, blurry looking fibre in all the pens now and many with a little streamers of self spinning fibre dangling from their side.  No disputing they are shedding now!  Since I like to comb as early as possible to obtain very clean fleeces, and after combing really late last year and missing all together or enough of my best fleeces that I could not send them to show, I am determined not to have that happen again this year.  I had great plans of getting at least 2 girls combed out today as it was forecast to be a beautiful sunny day.  Well it is a beautiful sunny day, but it is also VERY cold and there is a nasty wind that cuts a chill right through our winter gear, so no combing for me.  I won't remove the long undies on an animal when it is below -10C.  Instead we put out more hay and I spent time bedding down the shelters and spoiling the girls ....but also finding more and more fibre letting bodies and of course, getting more and more stressed about the harvest.  I do hope some day I am able to be on the farm full time and that somehow helps me stay on top of the harvest. 

In the meantime, I will hope the weather coperates and we pull off a productive harvest.  Happy New Year everyone!  May your year be filled with lovely natural fibre from start to finish!

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