September Shear

After the two frosty mornings that wiped out our squash and cucumbers, the weather returned to the high 80's and sunny for a couple of weeks. This week, though, cloudy, cool, and wet. 

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It smells so good!  I just love the way the trees and long grass smell when the autumn rain hits. It seems a bit different, sweeter and cleaner than the earthy scent of spring rain. I'm comforted by it as a reminder to slow down. 

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Luckily, with the rain here, Michael's cabin is nearly complete. Roof shingles and outer siding are about all it needs to look like a real little house. We installed the windows last week and the inner insulation and wooden panelling are going up now. 

Michael and Mia tackling the rafters.

Michael and Mia tackling the rafters.

The kids put in many hours of help on this project. Quite a bit of hands-on learning they will use again, I'm sure. Both Mia and Jiah hammered, held, and sawed. They got time with hand saws and a power miter saw. Mia especially has shown an interest in learning to build.

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Something else that happened in September was the first shearing of my new angora goats. I had never sheared anything before so these darlings were my guinea pigs (Poor dears). I tried to find an actual person to learn from, but was unsuccessful. So, I read up and watched a few YouTube videos to get a grasp on this new task. 

Half-shaved Patrick

Half-shaved Patrick

The first test goat was Patrick. I had just watched a how-to and had all the precautions, tips and tricks in mind. But, reality is rarely as cut and dry as a how-to video. He seemed bigger upside down than right side up and I couldn't reach his back legs the way it showed in the video.

"let me know when it's over."

"let me know when it's over."

There were a few things that I discovered -and remembered- that I didn't pick up from the books and videos. Such as, males have nipples too, and just what getting bit by the shears feels like. My finger and Patrick's nipple were pretty sore for a bit. 

Polly is embarrassed of her patchy clip.

Polly is embarrassed of her patchy clip.

One thing I discovered is that angora goats are pretty trusting animals.  Once you lay them down to shear them, they oblige the leg pulling, skin tugging and even my beginner slowness quite politely. Polly only protested about having her rear end shaved. A girl has her limits!

A bit of clean mohair and a sore finger.

A bit of clean mohair and a sore finger.

The task is done and lessons were learned. What's left is to wash and comb all this lovely mohair. This will be my winter project: processing, dying, and refining my spinning technique.  Here's to embracing the chilly days with warm craft projects.