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