Earlier this month, a large percentage of my human-animal family, gave up most of their hair to someone else. I had been growing my hair for over a year with the intent of donating it to an organization making wigs for children. It wasn’t necessarily easy to have my pony tails cut off, but I’m glad for the experience. It makes me thankful for my own hair and that of others.
Every spring and fall our shearer Joe, who is also dog sledder (did you know – sled dogs can also produce fiber for yarn?), shears my two Angora goats. Each animal yields about 5 pounds of fiber every six months, much more than the 3.5 ounces I made in about a year and a half.
Getting fiber off a goat is much more involved than cutting off pony tails. The goats are necessarily twisted, turned and flipped in order to remove hair from their back, belly, legs, head, tail and everything in between, all to the sound of the shearing machine. The goats are likely chilly as a result of their sudden and drastic hair loss (we put coats on them to lessen the shock), and perhaps even a little embarrassed by their new relative nakedness. When the shorn goats are re-introduced there is quite a bit of head butting, as if to re-establish the order in the barnyard. This is no small deal for a goat.
My own hair experience made me more appreciative of the goat fiber [mohair] than I had even been before. Being November, I suppose I should say that I am thankful for their hair, and thankful that I have the opportunity to keep and care for these social animals. I’ve always thought the best gifts are the ones made by the ones we love, and this is no exception. Now, I just need to wash it all.