Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cashmere -- or How to Lose Your Mind with More Goats

I need goats like I need a hole in the head.  With two doelings and two bucklings on the ground,
getting two more free goats seemed insane.  But then, they were cashmere goats.  Which means fiber (wool) and a possible money-making opportunity.

How to Have Led Zeppelin Stuck in Your Mind Permanently--Or Looking through Cashmere

Whenever I think of cashmere goats, my mind goes right to the awesome song Cashmere by Led Zeppelin.  Can't help it. Even now I'm hearing those amazing lyrics and guitar riffs. So, while I give you that lovely earworm, let's talk cashmere goats.

Cashmere isn't a breed, or so I've been told.  Cashmere is the hair that all goats produce (with the exception of angora goats, which produce mohair).  The difference is that a Cashmere goat has long hair, which means a longer undercoat.  Although you can shave them, it's better to comb them out when they're shedding, so you don't get many guard hairs.

Cashmere is obviously a prized fiber, which is why the woman whom I got the goats from has them.  Only, she hasn't sent the fiber in to be processed.  So, they're basically expensive pets that eat hay.  Okay, and what else would you do with them, really?

The Great Goat Journey

"Local" in Montana means a two-hour drive one way.  So, when I saw the ad for free cashmere goats, I found out that they were about two hours away, west of Missoula.  So, I had my husband, Larry, load up the crate in the truck to accommodate them.  I've had loose goats in the truck before, and suffice to say I still need therapy after that.  Larry looked at the crate, which was big enough to house one Malamute, but scarcely big enough for a full-sized LaMancha buck, and asked: "You're getting two?"

"The woman assures me they are smallish."  I sounded far more confident than I felt. "They'll be fine together."

Larry gave me a look like, yeah, right.  Apparently, after more than 26 years of marriage, he knows me too well. Go figure.

Where's Goat World?

The trip to pick up the goats was uneventful, except the directions.  Apparently the people had two addresses, and I chose the first, when I should've chosen the second.  I ended up going down to a place by a creek with goats in the stable and a boarded up house.  There, I saw the main buck of her herd--a real huge and impressive cashmere with lovely horns that curved to the side. No one was around, so I drove back out and went to the other house.  There, a nice woman showed me her two goats.

She was giving them away because the five year old doe came back to the herd and wasn't accepted. The younger buck was a buck she didn't need.  The doe's name was Sapphira after the dragon in Eragon.  The buck had no name.  Knowing my husband's penchant for naming critters, I figured he'd come through with a name.  We got the goats loaded in the Malamute-sized crate (for once, I had been right on the size), and I drove back to the homestead.

Who's in Charge? 

I was somewhat concerned that my bruisers would cause problems with the new additions.  I need not have been worried.  Sapphira put every single goat in their place, including Mocha, my huge Oberhaasli-LaMancha cross.  The young buckling hung out with her.  Larry chose the name "Merlin" for the guy.  It fits nicely.

What About Cashmere?

Unfortunately, their former owners had combed Sapphira, so I had no fiber from her.  I managed to get Merlin combed out, so I have his cashmere.  It's not enough to process, but I have it and will be sending cashmere to get processed once I get enough to send out.  In the meantime, Sapphira is supposed to be pregnant by that big buck I saw, and Merlin is my new breeding buck, until the bucklings come online.  Then, Merlin will be a wether, most likely, who produces cashmere for me.  That's not a bad life for him, actually.

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