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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
30th-Aug-2010 11:55 am
On Sunday, we sheared 23 goats. A few weeks ago, when I asked about our regular shearer, I was told that he was having trouble getting his schedule together for August. I really wanted my goats sheared before September, so I went on a hunt for a new shearer.

Emily Chamelin demonstrated at our goat show in June, and I heard all kinds of good things about her from anyone I asked. So I contacted her, and after some back and forth during both of our vacations, we managed to shoehorn Sunday into her schedule at almost the last minute.

Emily was really really good. She treated the goats with respect and humor. She cared about keeping them from getting stressed. She talked to me about what she saw as she was shearing. I encouraged her to voice her opinion about the fleeces, the goats, etc. because I'm interested in hearing everyone's opinion and comparing it to mine. She wasn't mealy-mouthed, and only back-pedaled once on something that she and I disagree, but it was a tactful retreat rather than a blatant denial.

We got along well, and I was pleased with her work. She did a lot of tiny fuzzy second cuts that some people hate but that I think are easy to get rid of, so I don't mind her technique. She wasn't as quick as I might prefer, but I also prefer my goats be treated with care. The one actually-bleeding cut that she opened was on a squirming, squalling Houston, who was goat twenty two of the twenty three that she sheared.

One part where her opinions were really interesting was in the fleeces on the kids. She thought Gimble's fleece was the best of the lot. Gimble is Anna X Cookie, and is the combination of fineness of fleece (Anna) and fleece structure (Cookie) that I'm trying to achieve. Gimble has a classic ringlet fleece in dark grey with tons of shine. He was the only goat to get through the first elimination at the show, too. So hearing the same praise from Emily that I've heard from the show judge was another vote of confidence towards Cookie being a good choice in buck for me. I've been on the fence about selling Jared this year or next, and I think this is tipping me over. It will be a bummer not to have another round of Jessie X Jared, but I may not breed at all this year anyway if I don't sell more goats.
30th-Aug-2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
This was really interesting to read... do you think you might post pictures of Gimble's fleece sometime?

Now you're really making me want to knit. :)
31st-Aug-2010 04:27 am (UTC)
glad things went well with the shearing this weekend. Hope the rest of your weekend was as productive.
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