Monday, November 22, 2010

The big storm and freeze

Winter is here!!  It is 0 degrees out and we have about a foot of snow.  I have closed up the dehairing room for the week, it's just too cold to work in there.  We did put insulation in there, but since the walls are only 2x4's, R-13 is the thickest we could use.  That isn't warm enough for these temps.  So I will do other things that need doing that have been put off since I got the dehairing machine.
   The dehairing of cashmere really is one of the slowest processes on this planet!  I enjoy it, though.  It is pretty neat to watch a clump of cashmere go in one end of the machine, and come out a fluffy cloud on the other.  Each batch of cashmere dehairs a bit differently, too.  Just like human hair, no two cashmere goats are exactly alike in fiber.
   I expect this to go pretty slowly this winter, then when the warmer weather comes next spring, I'll be able to really get into the rhythm of this process.  Since we are off-grid, the machine works best when plugged into the household current.  We've tried running it off the generator, but the engine speed fluctuates too much to run the machine well.  It speeds up and slows down too much.  That can't be good for the motors, so I will run the machine off the house for now.  This machine takes quite a bit of electricity to run, too.  We have a "true-sinewave" inverter, so the quality of the electricity going through it is very high and steady.  The dehairing machine hums along nicely when plugged into that.  We need sunshine to charge the batteries and this time of year we don't get much.  We have to run the generator every day I use the machine.  So I'm only getting between 5 and 6 hours a day on the machine right now.  So if anyone of you reading this has cashmere to process, please bear with me while I get through the "start-up hitches and gliches" of getting a new enterprise up and going.  The fleece I have processed so far is turning out really nice.  I enjoy working with the cashmere, and am having fun doing it.  But, it really is incredibly slow.  Way faster than doing it by hand, though! :-) 

   We have started processing all our turkeys.  No more raising turkeys anymore.  They were fun for a while, but now that I have the dehairing machine, I don't have time to take care of everything anymore.  Time to focus on fiber.  I might even have to sell most of my goats next year, depending on how much time I have to take care of them.  That will be sad if I have to sell, but the dehairing comes first.  If I can't take the best care of my goats, I don't want to have them around and be neglected.  So I might have a good starter herd of 13 does and 1 buck for sale in the Spring!

   I am enjoying the dehairing of the cashmere.  I love working with it.  I am grateful for the opportunity to do this.  A real dream come true!

   Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.....    

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Dream has come true!

On October 4th my dream came true! I got my own cashmere dehairing machine! I've wanted one since I found out such a thing existed. This has been at least six years in the making, and now it's here on our place, in it's own little room, working away dehairing cashmere. I used it till the 17th, then it broke down, took two weeks to get the new parts and get them installed, but now I'm back in business.
I'm busy with lots of cashmere to dehair. It literally is one of the slowest processes on the Planet, but since the end product is so incredibly soft, and it is rather neat to watch a clump of raw cashmere go in one end and come out the other in a fluffy cloud, it's worth the slowness.
I am totally passionate about everything to do with cashmere, from raising the goats, to now dehairing the fiber, that I am completely happy when I'm out there running the machine. Working with cashmere is why I am on the Planet at this time. It is what I am meant to do.

All the goats are doing well. I decided to only breed two does this year, since I'm pretty sure I'll be way too busy dehairing cashmere in the Spring to be having to deal with lots of babies. Then Rusty, one of the bucks decided to take matters into his own, and got in with one of the does in heat at that time. I came out one morning, and here he was, in the pen next door, with Maggie. So now I will have three pregnancies. Arianna and Astrid will get bred in their next heat cycle, so I just might end up with a nice little birthday present next year. On my 50th birthday, no less. That would be a great birthday present! I've been hoping one of the does would have a kid on my birthday for a few years now, but it hasn't happened yet. On each side of my b-day, but not the actual day.

The garden is all but done. We have a spectacular carrot crop this year. They are the sweetest tasting carrots we've ever grown. The potatoes did well, too. For the first year that I can remember, we didn't get a good green bean crop. There are no beans frozen this year. We did get lots of zucchini this year. I fact, we had the last fresh ones tonight. The apples did pretty good. The peas were not good. Not enough to do anything with. I hope next year will be a better year.

Well, that's all for now. I'll be busy dehairing cashmere from now on!