On Saturday I started into my own version of shearing. Rather than starting with a small and squirmy goat (Dru) I decided to start on the pregnant does first. That way, if I'm lucky and persistant, I'll get all five of them crotched before the babies come.
So the sporting event began during the oddly warm weather on Saturday morning. I took a bucket of horse treats out to the pregnant does area and convinced Jessie to get onto the shearing stand for me. I crotched her and then cut back about half her blanket (from her head to her middle) before the itchies got to me. Jessie was amazingly well behaved the whole time. She did try to get out of the stand once, and would have made it if I hadn't been watching (she's the Houdini of no-horns). She didn't have anything to say at all, and neither urinated nor defecated while on the stand -- so polite! Of course, I was feeding her horse treats and talking to her the whole time. But really, compared to last summer's event with Summer-goat, I'm really really pleased.
Once I gave up due to intense itchies (yes, I'm allergic to my own goats), I went on to do some cleanup and redistribution of used hay. I raked up a lot of the loose hay out of the boys' areas and spread it on the mud track that was created by the guys laying the new water pipe up to the front pasture. Hopefully the hayseed and old hay and goat pellets will make that a grass track by springtime. At least for now the hay keeps it from being a slip-n-slide.
One of the gents that I contacted regarding shearing called back on Saturday afternoon. He is not an angora shearer, but is interested in the job anyway. He said he will be doing more research and get back to me this week.
In the meantime, I'm researching electric shears and trying to get my act together to do something rather than just sit around and panic.
I have had a lot of anxiety dreams about my goats lately, which I'm blaming on nerves about impending goat babies as well as upset about not having a shearer. I had one dream yesterday that vampires were coming to take my goats away -- specifically half-sheared Jessie-goat. The only image I remembered was a vampire coming at me like the spirit that came out of the Lost Ark and turned into something hideous before the guy's face melted. Wiggy.
Yes, I have nothing but goats on the brain these days. It made last night's semi-social event a little odd, because I kept losing the track of conversation and/or nodding off. I'm tired and stressed, and none of it is anything anyone can really help with until the goats are sheared and the does have all kidded.
A brief explanantion about the "itchies" -- I have a tactile allergy to the goats that causes a red rash to sprout up wherever I've touched a goat. This is completely tactile, as proven by the fact that I can go inside and wash my arms and the bumps then disappear in about 10 minutes. The problem with Saturday was that I started out in a sweatshirt but got too hot. By stripping off the sweatshirt I lost my long sleeve protection against goat itchies. Next time I'll wear a long sleeve t-shirt instead (dummy!) and hopefully not be too hot.