It is a tradition to plant peas and potatoes on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) and have the first crop of new peas and potatoes by Memorial Day (May 28). I layered completed compost on top of a ring garden and poked some sticks in for the peas to climb. We will see how it goes!
Mom and I used to force spring bulbs to bloom indoors for winter. It was always a challenge to time it just right so they would bloom for Christmas. I had great timing this year--I have several pots of flowers throughout the house with a taste of spring in winter.
Dolly the hen has a nest box made of English walnut, with a crocheted mohair valance and knitted mohair wallpaper. Lucky girl!
I sold some mohair before Christmas and met the customer in the parking lot of the Garden City public library. She bought it as a gift for her daughter and I hope she likes it!
Blast from the past--earlier this year when the flowers were still blooming. I am spinning some very bulky red for rug yarn. Mom made the rug on my chair from pure mohair. I sure miss her.
Here are some mohair sweaters: The dark purple was the first sweater Mom made. It was for Greg. She used two complete fleeces from Honey Dear (the goat depicted in the header with her baby Valentino) and hand-carded every bit of it. It is so heavy! The shades of blue is one I hand-carded and spun from Angel's fleeces in 2018. I love the colors! Angel is so sweet-she was a bottle baby and is extra-loving to all humans. The vest with shades of mulberry is from Valentine's fleece. He was my favorite all-time goat. He had so much personality and loved me so much. All of the herd would come running for grain, but he would always run to greet me first before running over for the grain.
My mom and brother have passed away. All the goats I mentioned have passed away except for Angel. What a lot of memories in these sweaters!
If you are sick and tired of the frenzy of consumerism, think about supporting people who have a passion for something and produce products locally.
I love my goats and the beautiful mohair they produce, but there is no denying that it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to keep farm animals going. The routine of cleaning, feeding, and watering is almost every day. Shearing goats is very hard work! It is hard to find a professional shearer who will shear Angora goats because they have such thin skin, it is easy to cut them and it makes clients unhappy. So I shear them myself. When Mom was alive, I held them and Mom sheared them. Now, I have to hold down a struggling animal and try hard to shear the matted fleece from their legs and belly without cutting them. Even though it is physically-demanding, dirty work, I like shearing them because they are more comfortable and healthy keeping them clean and sheared.
Then, there are the precious locks from the fleece that are good for cleaning and spinning. Mohair locks need to be gently separated to get out the pieces of hay and other vegetable matter. Sometimes I hand-comb each and every lock with a dog comb! Then, I soak them in hot water and good old original blue Dawn dishwashing detergent. It is great for getting out oils from animal hair. Then, I either dye locks, or let them air dry to card them. When dry, I hand card the locks into batts or rovings, or send them through my drum carder. I hand spin with my spinning wheel, then knit or crochet hats, scarves, blankets, sweaters, etc. Mohair is so shiny and takes up dye so beautifully.
I don't know how to value mohair and the beautiful things I make with it. How do you place a value on sitting up with a sick animal, nurturing her, and then finding her dead in the morning? When you love animals, you have to face the fact that their life expectancy is shorter than yours. So many of my friends are gone now. I'm kind of glad I only have five goats now, because it is hard having a full-time job and taking care of more.
I had a dream of making a living with farm products, but it seems like folks nowadays aren't willing to pay much for slow products--those that are locally-produced with love and care. Today, instead of buying something electronic and plastic with built in obsolescence that will end up in the landfill, please consider buying something real and supporting a local producer with a passion. Check out Localharvest.org for providers near you. Here are a few of my favorites:
Wool Yarns (mitzis-yarn-weaving-knitting.com)
About Our Farm | Peaceful Belly Farm
Wagner Farms on Facebook has links to local producers