Shearing and Buses

Thursday, 6 March 2014  | 

Blogging it seems is just like life, or at least buses, just when you think that there is nothing to say then three stories all come at once.  Last week all the goats were shorn - masses to tell you about that.  It was also half term and the boys and I went yomping up Yeavering Bell, otherwise known as ‘Goat Fell’ and saw the very rare Cheviot Goats for the first time.  The week culminated in the lovely St Abbs Yarn Festival and I introduced our brand new Spring Collection of Yarn.  First things first - 




Our angora goats had their first clip of the year last week. It seems very harsh to cut off all their snuggly fleece in February but it does have to be done twice a year and February and August really are the best times.  Stuart and Kevin, our new shearers, discovered the unique joy of working with goats; a very different experience to shearing sheep. They are smaller and their fleeces are so much finer; they also need to be shorn right up to their ears and down their legs which is a fiddly exercise, particularly if they wriggle. Added to that, most of the does are in kid and had to be treated with extreme care.


  Shearing Angora Goats at Whistlebare  

Inevitably, the best laid plans didn’t quite deliver the seamless operation we had hoped for.  Stuart and Kevin showed themselves to be well up to the task in hand but I only had one set of the specialist blades required so the two men were sharing one machine. At one point Stuart asked the question, “Has anyone ever clipped these goats for you twice?” looking rather despondently at the large pen of wooly beasts.  And then in the midst of the morning, the blades broke and the whole process ground to a halt. Sourcing replacement blades was not without its challenges but, in the end, the whole flock were back in their pens, looking several sizes smaller and distinctly chillier.  And Stuart and Kevin were talking about coming back in August and looking forward to seeing the goats in all the glory of their summer fleeces.  The goats meanwhile were enjoying fresh straw and heat lamps.

 Newly ShornAngora Goat Kid at Whistlebare

 Leaving this cosy scene, I headed off with four young boys to the hills for a brisk walk. We drove a few miles to one of my favourite places: Yeavering Bell.  More about that adventure tomorrow!