Preparing for Winter has the property buzzing with tasks. It’s a messy time…
…after the wonder of all the brightly colored leaves fades…
…when the redwood cones draping the lawn looks less magical and more of reminder of chores to be done.
The grass is left a little long and the Summer garden tomatoes have browned and fallen over. After the last blazing heatwave of Autumn has passed, there is a time of transition.
Shaving goats, weather proofing, trimming trees, splitting firewood- chores with a side of anticipation for rainy days stuck inside with hot coffee and a good book. We collect redwood pine cones for potpourri.We dehydrate lemons. We plant garlic.
We work. We anticipate Winter. And we wait.
We wait for chilly days fueled by a roaring fire and the excitement of a brand new seed catalog. We wait for power outages lit by candlelight and time to read books all afternoon. We wait for muddy floors from boots that should have been taken off outside. We wait for cozy knitted blankets on the couch. We wait for sleeping early and waking to a cold house. We wait for the warm glow from the oven holding fresh baked bread.
Almost a year ago, The Juju Paradise brought our Angora goats home. My mom and I love yarn crafts. So naturally, we found angoras to be the perfect compliment to our little paradise in Santa Cruz. I did a ton of research, but I would never have guessed that these beautiful creatures would blend so well into our farm. They are almost like dogs in behavior, and are incredibly charming. It gets better, two times a year I get this beautiful raw, luxurious fiber called mohair- think “electric boots, a mohair suit”.
Both durable and resilient, mohair is notable for its high luster and sheen, and is often used in fiber blends to add these qualities to a textile. Mohair takes dye exceptionally well. It feels warm in winter as it has excellent insulating properties, while its moisture-wicking properties allow it to remain cool in summer. It is durable, naturally elastic, flame-resistant and crease-resistant. It is considered a luxury fiber, like cashmere, angora, and silk, and can be more expensive than most sheep’s wool.
It was daunting to learn. I read so much information from angora goat owners from farms all over the county. The biggest lesson I learned was to take all this information and adapt it to fit the needs of your farm; some farms raise these goats for their locks, some send it to a mill for processing, some do it all at home. Because processing times take a year (sometimes longer) I decided to learn how to process mohair.
So off I went, from shearing to washing to carding, I am learning a lot. I am positive I am doing something “wrong”. There are so many different farmers and so many ways to do this, I learned to do what works for me and learn along the way.
Join me on this journey to see how I take goat hair and make it into beautiful carded batts of 100% mohair.