Fiber Season

I am preparing for a trip, and worrying over all the details I will be leaving in my husband’s hands while I am gone. He is quite capable, but we divide up the labor on the farm and neither of us is practiced at the other’s tasks. I always get like this when I have an impending trip, I know that as soon as I am on the road all these worries vanish from my mind. It is the preparation that gets to me.

One of the things I wanted to get finished up before I leave is processing the wool, mohair, and pygora that was sheared off the animals last week. I am well-practiced at the mohair and know exactly what to do. The wool, though, requires some study. I bought a book about it and learned that washing it in hot water and Dawn is not a good method and will weaken the hair and mat it up more than necessary. I studied their instructions and ordered an Australian product that is better for “scouring” the wool, (this being the proper term for washing it). They suggest a lot of painstaking steps that are new to me and appeal to my scientific mindset. It will take some time, though.

Pygora (left) and Mohair (right)

I already washed, dried, picked apart, and carded the first sheep’s hair (with Dawn) and a lot of it had to be discarded due to matting. I started with about ten pounds and ended up with four. Perhaps when I get down to working on the second one I will discover just how much a more careful approach makes a difference.

This morning I carded the pygora fiber. It is much shorter than the angora goat’s mohair, but this might be because Noah is young or the way he was sheared. I’m interested to see how the yarn comes out. It is very fine and fluffy, so it could make a soft, soft scarf or sweater. I will enjoy spinning it up when the growing season winds down.

In the mean time, we are harvesting asparagus, strawberries, and salad greens now. (One more thing my husband will have to do with me away from the farm.) We have an outlandish number of pea vines that are just beginning to pod (if that’s a verb.) The peas won’t be big enough to pick till I get home, though. I want to get out and spray the orchard once more today to insure that the diseases and pests don’t foil the wonderful harvest I am anticipating.

I am sad to see some chicken drama out at the coop. Chickens can be so mean to one another. One has been acting sad and I found her hiding her head in the corner, so I took her out of the run and put her into a box by herself. Someone had been pecking at her and she had some blood on her neck. After a couple days she had perked up and I offered her a chance to go join the flock while I fed the goats. When I came back in, she was cornered in the barn where another chicken was attacking her. Why do they do this? There is plenty of room for everyone and I don’t understand why they gang up on the weakest ones. It is dismaying that the animal kingdom is not a lovely and kind as I’d like it to be.

About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
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1 Response to Fiber Season

  1. sanebishop says:

    We’ve got a chicken that has got all the feathers missing on the back of her head. We’ve kept her isolated so they will heal up but every time we try reintroduce her back to the flock they target her again. Ugh, bullies.

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