Technically, angora goats produce mohair, not wool, but I dug in and did the shearing, washing, and dying all in this one labor-intensive week and created some pretty flamboyant piles of colorful fiber. I am quite proud of myself.
I will roll this backwards and show what it took go do the job. Here is a picture of the protective coverings I had to put all over the stove to prevent splashes of dye from getting into the grout and countertops of my kitchen. I only had one splash and the paper coverings captured it all.
I did have some trouble remembering to put on my rubber gloves as I worked with the dye powders, but the stains on my fingers have already faded away.
Before I could process the mohair, I had to soak it all overnight in a special detergent solution and rinse it a million times until the water finally came out fairly clear.
Here it is divided into eight sections of Eddy’s white hair and Ely’s silver-gray locks.
Of course, the step before that was actually hauling my two boys into the barn stall for their haircuts. I have really struggled to find a regular shearer, so I gave up and decided to bite the bullet and learn to do it myself. A faithful friend came to help hold the goats still while I buzzed them with the big black monster of a shearing tool. After a while, I got fairly comfortable with it and by the time I was done with the second goat I did a pretty decent job. I brought Eddy back in to neaten him up a little and the motor died, so that was the end of that. I’ll have to figure out how to repair the machine.
Here is a picture of Eddy and Ely munching their dinner. Eddy was already sheared and Ely was still weighed down with his full six-month growth of hair. I think we have turned the corner in my farmer-hood. I can do this!