Yesterday was a milestone day for me:
- I drove 100 miles in one day
- I topped out at 70 mph at certain points
- I visited a fiber farm for the first time
- I wrangled Angora Goats
- I managed to stay awake on the drive home after a long physical morning, a hearty lunch and an amazing brownie.
Now that spring has arrived, it is shearing season for fiber farmers…time to bring in the harvest! Often, farmers hire shearers to visit the farm and shave the animals. Although the animals protest the handling, buzzing shears and all the commotion, they ultimately benefit because they trade in their cozy fleece winter coats for a haircut just in time for the sizzling spring and summer seasons. Fancy Fibers Farm hosts one of only two fiber CSA’s in the southwest, so the owner Mary is usually ahead of the curve: she offers weaving and spinning classes, runs a Ravelry group, hosts fiber retreats and invites her investors (and drop-in city slickers like myself) to take part in various events.
So, how did this city girl find herself in the Texas countryside on a fiber farm? Well, I’ve been ruminating (punny!) on the idea of raising fiber livestock on my (future) creative and healing arts retreat. I wanted to visit a fiber farm to experience one of the most labor intensive and necessary activities of the trade. I also REALLY love the idea of knowing the animals whose hair I use to spin into yarn that I crochet into various masterpieces for sale or gift. It was great to look them in the eye, and eventually wrangle their stubborn little bodies over to the shearer.
Sometimes there are mishaps, and this nanny goat suffered a cut on her belly while being sheared. She took it in stride, was calm the entire time, and only kicked a little when shearer Danny Smith patched up with floss and needle. A few minutes later she was out back bumping heads with a playmate, none the worse for wear.
I drove from Dallas to Farmersville, Texas to volunteer at Fancy Fibers Farm, and I left with armloads of goodwill, buckets of information and a glowing excitement to return in one month to help with the Alpaca shearing. Here are some more pics from shearing day.
Who hearts goat wrangling? I do!