Not the Weaver

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I am on my knees beside a half-wild 150-pound goat plucking the cashmere from his hide.  With my pronged comb, I coax the mix of fluff and strands, tugging the silky lengths, rolling it like cotton candy.  Eventually a clump pulls free, I admire it and tell Sage how gorgeous he is, then drop the exquisite puff into a 5-gallon bucket.

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This is the preferred method for cashmere Pygoras, so as not to mix the shorter and courser guard hairs into the fine silvery cashmere.  Sage loves it.

And I love his musky smell, his curling lips, and his long straight beard.  I love his little bushy tail that gives away his feelings just like a dog’s, and I love his hooves, which are small, round pegs that trot and prance and are so strong they can grip the side of a mountain like pliers.

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Sage points to an itchy spot on his back with his horn tip, and I stroke it with the comb.  The skin is dry but there are no lice at all, the scourge of goats.  We watch that closely.  Sage rolls his eyes with pleasure.

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Pearl stands patiently with LaLa waiting her turn.  She is shedding a bit later than her brother Sage.  Her fleece is pure white, Sage’s is tan, and LaLa is black mohair.  His fleece is clumpier and more matted and doesn’t brush, so the Bearded One successfully introduced him to little scissors this week.

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Goats are one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet, I think as I bury my hands in the now full, 5-gallon bucket of raw cashmere fleece.  Two weeks’ worth.

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Then I stand, pick up the bucket, and trudge down the hill from the barn, past the hoophouse where cabbages and broccoli desperately cry out to be transplanted,

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and up to the house where the next step looms.  Literally.  I want to learn to card and spin.  To use a loom.  I’m sure I do.  I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now.

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I clean my boots with the hose and carry the bucket inside and upstairs to the work table where I have everything set up.  Here is the fleece.  Here are the carding brushes on this nice flowery tablecloth.  Here is the computer with a You Tube “How To Card Fleece” video ready to go.  And I am frozen.  I can’t do it.

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Who is making me turn this fleece into yarn, anyway?  I look around and see no one.  The Bearded One is outside working on the roof of the meat bird pen.  Sixty Cornish Rock chicks — meat birds — will arrive at the post office in two weeks, and we are getting ready.  Or at least he is.

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Then I have a deja vu moment.  I ran into this same wall last year, didn’t I?  I keep doing this to myself of my own free will, which is kind of insane.  I’m the same person I was last year, and I still don’t want to card and spin.  Maybe I really don’t have to.

I turn to the computer and close the video without ever having opened it.  And then I type an email to a Seattle spinner who expressed a lot of interest in the fleece a month ago, and who even offered to pay for some of it, especially Pearl’s.  But money is complicated and I’m not a fan.   Instead, I plead with her now to just take all of it.  I attach a picture of the fleece so she’ll know what she’s getting into.

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Within a half hour she squeals with delight through cyber space, “EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!  YES!  That would be lovely!  It looks wonderful, and I promise to give it TONS of love!  Thank you so much!  I’ll be sure to send updates on what I make with it!  I can’t wait to see what it wants to be!”

I read her response and I, too, squeal with joy, and I am happily stuffing the gigantic pile of fleece into a box to mail when the Bearded One comes in.

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“It’s like an entire goat!” he says, smiling.

I need to explain.  “I literally set the table,” I say, gesturing upstairs.  “I’ve nurtured these goats all year and you’ve patiently trained them to be brushed.  I’m not lazy, but it’s time to card and spin and I keep putting it off.  You’ve seen me.”

He nods.  His eyes show that he is really laughing inside, but I don’t care.  I am at epiphany here.

“There is someone right for every task in the universe,” I say.  I look at the Bearded One, then point with my eyes to the itchy place on my back.  Scratch me.

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“You are the Goat Grower,” he says.  “Not the Weaver.”

I laugh out loud with delight and relief — he knows me so dang well — and trot back to finish boxing up the fleece for Seattle.

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18 responses to “Not the Weaver

  1. Indeed! Goat grower and nurturer 🙂 Loved the weaver’s excited response….and, your epiphany and relief. Love also how you follow your heart and truth…..trot on Seestor!

    • Thanks, Seestor. Both of our grandmothers loved the fiber arts…Dorothy knitting, Milly crocheting. Maybe YOU got the fiber art gene?! Where did it go!? Love you!

  2. Your story made me smile on a rainy morning. Yep…those moments can sure change a mindset in a hurry. Glad you figured it out and were able to make someone’s day in the process!

    Sure am enjoying your blog…

    • It’s amazing how the chi flows again when you face the fact that you may be all prepared and at the starting line but in the wrong race. lol Thanks for reading and for your comment. 🙂

  3. Sweet! I can never believe how small fleece packs down….it’s so airy, and soft, and it smells so niiiiiiiice….I can’t wait to say hello! And, I might be a LITTLE biased ;), but I think it’s nice that you know yourself as well as you do. Fiber work should be a joy in this day and age, not a chore, and it’s not for everyone. If you find your joy in the raising of animals, and the seeing of others happy with their products, then good on you!

    I can’t thank you enough for this. Not only for the gift of the fleece, but for being the kind of person who thinks it’s wonderful that they made a strangers day! Also, the little line of goats waiting for their scratches is ADORABLE. I like that Pearl isn’t willing to race to the front of the line, but is darn well getting in ahead of LaLa! And the drawing of LaLa glowering at being clipped is perfect. 😀

    • THANK YOU, Erika! You might even receive the box today. Like you say, it packs down and the box was sooo light. Very cheap to send. And if you’re happy with it, I’ll happily send more later, when I get more of Pearl’s.

      You are so right, too, about how this beautiful art should not feel like a chore! It’s just plain wrong! Which is why I am thrilled with our connection. I’ll keep growing the goats, you keep on making the fiber art, and the world will be a smidge bit brighter.

      And the B.O. thanks you for your compliment on his drawing. 🙂

      • I did in fact get it today! It is soooooooooooo nice! The care you take with the goats really shows in the fleece. And our dogs thank you as well. They think it might be the best smells EVER ;). I might have my work cut out for me keeping them away from it! I’ll keep you updated on how working with it goes!

        Heh, I’ll admit, I do have to fight the little voice in my head that says EVERYONE secretly wants to learn fiber arts. I know that it isn’t true, since I’ve met my share of people that just don’t click with it, or only click with one aspect of fiber arts. Plus, you’re right! When two people can work together to both do something they enjoy, the world gets a little brighter. And it’s much easier to spin in the light!

        His drawings are always great, but I can find a wealth of story in that little picture. “But I WANTED to get BRUSHED. What is WRONG with you human?”

      • Yay! It is sooo satisfying (and a bit of a relief) to hear directly from a fleece-knowing person that the fleece is really good! There are better parts of it — I read somewhere that the neck and shoulders have the best fleece — but I honestly can’t tell the difference. Some is matted into dreads. I just included it all. And am at least as delighted as you are with this arrangement. 🙂 Thanks so much, Erika!

      • My understanding is that the usual reason for neck and shoulder fleece being nicer is just that it’s out of the way! If he can’t get at it with his horns, can’t kick mud onto it, can’t poop on it….:D So, with how clean and well scratched you keep them, I can’t imagine there’s much of a difference. And the dreads shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Easy enough to find, and if they aren’t too thoroughly felted, maybe untangle-able! 😀

  4. Love it. Not the Weaver. And tell B.O. that his wonderful drawings really add to your posts. I so much enjoy your blog!

  5. Your sage is my Earl :). Together we wrestle “The Wild Things” and remember that we are just one step away from something primal every time we groom them ;). He certainly has you where he wants you doesn’t he! Earl is the same…he will point with his beak (it is too inquisitive to be a simple “nose”) at his back and I will scratch it…he also points at the pantry where his treats are kept but I tend to ignore that request…for the moment he hasn’t been able to channel me and get me to do his absolute bidding or the gate would be open, there would be no cats, no feral chooks and no Earl! Coincedentally, Earl doesn’t have lice either…he never stands still for long enough to allow anything to get the time to attach itself to him ;). I might have to commission the B.O. to draw me one of his sought after images of Earl flat out after a possum that dared to steal cheese from the kitchen windowsill last night. All I saw from my comfy seat on the sofa was something small, furious (all of it’s hackles were up) and fast with a very fluffy tail (doing it’s best to intimidate Earl HA! 😉 ) running like a streak of lightning along the deck with Earl rapidly gaining ground doing the fastest quarter mile I have ever seen…he didn’t catch the possum though, so all is well on Serendipity Farm and everyone lives to see another day! If I could put some sort of energy harnessing strips down on that deck, I would be able to collect enough energy from Earls evening sprints to run my PC all the next day! How I ADORE that hoop house Christi! 🙂 Every time you share it with us I want to race inside and feel the warmth and the plant scented love :). I LOVE that the B.O. “gets” you girl… he is SO a keeper :). By the way…Garfield might be a sun spot lover but he definately doesn’t appear to like that box…check out the negativity of those ears! Methinks he didn’t want to pose for that shot! ;).

    • Wow, you can really read the “sign”, Fran! Garfield was not happy at all about being in the picture. The photo I took earlier with Garfield happily sitting by the box of his own free will also showed the address of the recipient which the B.O. (as Editor ‘n Cheep) noticed and edited out, requesting another picture, but we were just ready to go out the door to pick up His Majesty at the ferry (he was in Seattle over the weekend) and going to mail the box on the way, so I had to get another shot of it for the blog and pressed my will upon the cat. He is such a pooper when he doesn’t want to do something. Just like me, eh? lol

      I’ll ask the B.O. about that drawing of Earl when he has his “kit” out…he was on a roll this week, making 9 drawings. He forgot the ears on 2 of the goats so I had to scan them twice. Two weeks ago he forgot the nose on Ruby. He must be watched closely. And yes, he is a keeper. 🙂

      Sage and Earl. Our beautiful wild boys. Now if we can just get you to feel that way about your roosters. 😉

      • Lovely critters but crazy as a pit full of badgers! The 2 roosters follow me around suspiciously watching me from behind trees and shrubs whenever I go out into the garden. Partly because I feed them and partly because I am bigger than them and am naturally more suspicious. They might have brains the size of walnuts but they can certainly move fast when they want to and I think a good 99percent of that brain is taken up by the “suspicion” gland! ;). Steve and I are learning all about Flash animation now and you can tell the B.O. that with his permission, we will make Earl chase the possum down the deck and send it back to you if he chooses to illustrate it 😉

  6. Christine Widman

    “Who is making me turn this fleece into yarn, anyway?”
    Plus the “emotionally exact” drawn image by the Bearded One of your internal lack of energy for this.
    Oh Yes…….I so so completely understand.
    Here it happened when I finally confronted my inability to “garden” the desert. The overwhelm of lack of desire, lack of knowledge, lack of skill.
    Lack lack lack lack – clicketty clack – off my track.
    You boxed up the soft luxurious fleece.
    I handed my trowels and shovels and rakes over to Dennis.
    And then he hired our incredible groundskeeper to come once a week to help him with this enormous 5 acre work on the desert earth. He and our groundskeeper are in their “element.”
    He is the Keeper/Beautifier of our Ground.
    I am the Cleaner/Beautifier of our B&B.
    Sharing the many tasks of the world – finding our unique tasks – keeps us all in the light – in shared peace.
    Yes.
    C

    • Your life and mine riff on the same refrain, Christine as usual — I’d rather be cleaning than knitting, but gardening and cleaning feel similar to me. You and Den work so well together. Isn’t it nice to be old? 🙂 Love you.

  7. Not the Weaver! lol I think I suffer from some sort of brain malfunction that insists that if I am interested in something, then of course the whole world will be, too. (Doesn’t work in reverse, though, thank heavens! or listening to my most scientific brother explain the Northern Lights, engines, and much more to me would have converted me to ‘sciencism’ long ago . . . ) Perhaps it’s just that we Connectors are happiest connecting, and the best connections come through shared interests. Good thing we share lots of other interests, then . . .

    Besides, when you think about it, weavers NEED Growers of Goats; otherwise they wouldn’t have much time for weaving (and carding, spinning, and all that other good stuff). So Grow On, that’s what I say!

    I don’t exactly dislike cleaning, but I can’t think of any art or craft where cleaning would come out ahead, not even by a nose . . . I do like the cleanliness once the cleaning is done, but if it would only STAY that way; maybe for a year or so . . .

    BTW, Delilah says ‘hi’ from her perch on top of the fridge. She’s like a cow that doesn’t require getting up early to milk . . . and I have the latest batch of her productivity waiting in the kitchen for me. It will be turned into lovely pancakes pretty soon now. I think of you each time I see her, which is often, as she’s at eye height and right by the kitchen door.

    If you ever want to experiment with the fleece in any other way, felting is fun! (just had to sneak that in there . . . lol) 🙂

    • You are such a sweetie, Linne. 🙂 I thought about you when I wrote this post, hoping you would understand — you are one of the premier fiber artists in the blogosphere!! and I love your work — and I’m so glad you do understand. We are alike in the connecting ways — I can feel myself listening to your brother explaining the Northern Lights, and shouting, “But the Northern Lights can never be explained!” lol The connection for me comes with the goats.

      And I think it’s possible for these goats to supply two fiber artists, so if you’d like, when I get another pile of fleece, I’ll send it to you!! I saw that felted eggs email you forwarded and thought they were beautiful…but, well, you know.

      I come from a long line of slightly obsessive women cleaners. Our houses aren’t any cleaner than most others, but when we sweep and vacuum we feel a bit more in control and happier. Cleaning doesn’t stay done, as you say. But the process is somehow satisfying to me. Sick, I know. lol

      I’m so glad you and Delilah are in such a satisfying relationship! 🙂 Her sisters are piling up in my refrigerator “on hold” now I’ve got so many. Kefir madness!

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