Monday, June 27, 2011

It's almost July already!!

It's almost the fourth of July already!  We haven't even had any summer weather yet, and summer is almost half over.  I just got the garden planting finished today!  This is the latest I've ever been.  But, with the weather the way it's been, I'm sure this garden will grow fine.  With Square Foot Gardening, it's easy to cover any beds that need it, and one can grow 100% of the food in 20% of the space of a regular row garden.  We started doing that last year, and it worked great, so we are doing it again this year.  It's so much easier to take care of!
  The dehairing is going good.  I just got done with some that a customer had sent to another mill, got it back still full of guard hair, and then sent it to me to clean it up.  The mills that advertise dehairing, then only run it through two passes are NOT getting it even close to being properly dehaired!  This stuff I just did started out at 14.7 ounces, and ended up having 6.3 ounces of waste! (guard hairs)  There were some noils in it, too.  Those mills don't charge very much for the dehairing, but then they aren't really dehairing it, either.  Just opening it up and fluffing it, while removing less than half of the guard hair.  This is one of the big problems in the cashmere industry.  If the cashmere doesn't have the guard hairs removed, then it can't be sold as quality cashmere, and if it is sold, people will get the impression that American Cashmere isn't very good.
   AC is really good, actually, if it's dehaired all the way.  So far in all the batches I've done, there hasn't been a really bad batch yet.  When it's all dehaired, it's pretty much looking the same, and feeling fairly similar.  There is some difference in quality, but it's not huge.  The dehairing is the most critical part, and the slowest, of the whole process.  One has to have a lot of patience to run the dehairing machine! :-)  I like doing it, it's rather neat to see how it improves with each pass of the machine.  I have to make sure the speed is right, or it either doesn't get enough guard hairs out with each pass, or it starts to noil, or something.  It's not a machine you can just throw some fiber onto the belt and walk away, and expect to have a well dehaired product.  You have to monitor it almost constantly.  No two batches use the same speed, either.  So far each one I've done has been run through at a different speed.  Not huge differences, but it's amazing how just a couple of points difference, make a huge change in how the fiber comes out.  I'm enjoying the process!  It's a learning experience, too.  Some day I'll be really good at this!
   We've had a couple of days of nice summery weather now.  Hope it continues for another week or so, so the hay growers can get the hay cut and baled without any rain getting on it.  The goat pens are dry enough I'm going to start cleaning them out tomorrow.  Finally!  
  Well, that's it for now....   

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