I finally got around to goat shearing today. Linda helped restrain Black Jack so I could concentrate on shearing and avoid an inadvertant amputation. I find the goats to be a bit more difficult to shear than a sheep. Not that I am any expert on shearing, but the sheep I have done have always been more cooperative. I use hand shears and I'm not very fast . Black Jack was not cooperative at all and I finally had to resort to tying his legs together. Lance was very sympathetic to Black Jack's pain and started singing a lullaby to him to try to calm him down. Due to my delay in shearing him some of Black Jack's fleece had started to felt. Between the felted fleece and Jack Black's attitude it took me a couple of hours to get him sheared but we finally got through it. He finally began to accept his fate when we were about 80 percent finished. After two hours on my knees I could barely walk. As a result White Jack got a reprieve on getting sheared today. Luna's contribution to the shearing was that of official photographer
Previous to the shearing, Black Jack had been the dominant goat. After shearing he looked about half the size he did before shearing. When I put Black Jack back into the pen, White Jack immediately began to assert his dominance. He'll be the big goat for another few days. Once I get White Jack sheared, they will be on equal terms again.
I don't like washing and carding fibers that felt easily so last year I took my pygora goat fiber to Gretchen's Woolen Mill, a local custom carding business. I had her blend it 50:50 with wool and I was really happy with the results. The blended fiber has the softness of the pygora and the memory of wool. I did a couple of tam hats from the wool/pygora blend and they turned out well. I'm always amazed at how you can take something that is dirty and smells bad when it comes off the animal and turn it into something wonderful. Shearing is a big hassle but the end result is worth some trouble. Also I think the grandkids really enjoy getting a hat that comes from a goat they know.
I spent the morning watching Lance and Luna while Rachel worked at the bee store. We took care of the animals, built a fire, collected eggs, and generally had a good time. They were really excited when they saw that our peas are starting to come up. They also helped me with the mole traps. They drew the line at helping me with the bees. They watched a movie while I opened a few hives. I think our high temperature today was in the high sixties so I was able to take a few hives down to the bottom board.
I'm having technical difficulties getting the pictures out of Linda's camera so Black Jack's before and after pictures will have to wait a day or so.