Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summertime and the Living is Easy ?

Here we are at the, just about, mid-point of summer. The first cut of hay just got stacked in the barn. Now we wait a few weeks and start on the second cutting. The nanny goats have weaned their kids. The lambs are beginning to be weaned. It's sort of like the seventh inning stretch for us and our farm.
In between the exhausting haying work, we've been re-doing many of our fences and catch pen areas so our animal maintenance work will be easier. We still have a few to go, and nows the time to do it.
Our first born group of kid goats is just about 6 months old. It is always amazing how fast they grow and how quickly the year progresses. We'll be shearing some of them for the first time tomorrow, harvesting coveted kid mohair -- the first clip of fiber from the goat. Kid mohair is a special fiber. It is the softest, finest hair the goat will produce in its lifetime. It is also the ONLY
fiber from the animal with one cut end ( cut ends can add to the "itch" factor). Kid mohair describes a "grade" of fiber less than 30 microns and can be obtained from any age angora goat.
First Clip Kid Mohair, is a special fiber only obtained once in the goats life.
This is the fiber we use in our custom line of knitting yarns.
Over the next month or so, we'll shear all the goats and get them ready for breeding season.
We'll then have all that fiber to look forward to processing during the fall and winter !

Monday, June 30, 2008

Show Biz

Well, we arrived back from the VAGMA Show tired but happy.
Friday saw us on the road headed south toward Lewisburg, West Virginia and
the annual Virginia Angora Goat and Mohair Association Show and Sale. This year's judge was Mac Gilliat from Leakey, Texas.
Getting ready for a show involves a lot of animal preparation, a trip to the vet for a health certificate and interstate transport papers and time on the road away from the farm. All that time and effort was worth the trip for us. Our string of show goats this time around, faired well among their competitors. BWBA goats took Grand and Reserve Champion Doe and Reserve Champion Buck. Needless to say we are very pleased with our results. Nine goats went to the show and here's how they did:

Kid Does
BWBA1347 - First Place
BWBA1349- Third Place

Yearling Does
BWBA1294 - First Place - and - Grand Champion Doe
BWBA1312 - Second place - and - Reserve Champion Doe
BWBA1296 - Third Place

Adult Does
BWBA1274 - Second Place

Kid Bucks
None Shown

Yearling Bucks
BWBA1310 - First Place and Reserve Champion Buck
BWBA1303 - Third Place Buck

Adult Bucks
BWBA1251 - Second Place

We are hoping to post some pictures from the show once they're available.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The First Time

It has taken us some time to get up to speed with the rest of the world, but we've finally entered the realm of the blog.
For those of you who do not know us : for the last 16 years we have raised Angora goats on our farm in Columbia County, New York. About 8 years ago we added our first Cormo Sheep. Our farm census at the moment - goats and sheep, including this year's "new arrivals" - borders the 200 mark. The primary focus of our efforts is fiber production although we also farm 100 acres of hay. We practice sustainable agriculture and 6 maremma livestock guardians patrol the pastures at all times. Fiber from our animals is processed on the farm in a "mini-mill" which we purchased in 2001. We produce roving, yarn and socks as well as raw fleece, washed fleece and dyed locks.The mill is powered by 84 solar panels. We net meter and keep track of our power consumption.This way we are sure to not use more power in processing our fiber, than we produce. Our products contain ONLY the animal fiber that is produced on our farm. While we know that many other farms produce quality fiber, we want to KNOW where our fiber comes from, KNOW what the animals are fed, KNOW where they graze, KNOW what else does or does not go into and on their bodies and KNOW that the fiber we are offering to our customers has been raised humanely in to good old USA and farm workers have been paid a living wage.

We have had a website for many years, and a wonderful webmaster in Nicole. However, we wanted an informal venue to share more of the "happenings" on our farm with some of the folks who frequent our sales booths at the many shows we attend.
Our plans for this blog are to provide you with up to the minute (almost) news regarding the latest, breaking farm and fiber activities. We'll post the latest roving colors, the hot off the spinner new yarn blends and colors, just completed patterns, and pictures of the kids and lambs as they are born each February and March .
Since we're just getting started, I'll end it there and invite you to visit our website for more of the "history and herstory" of Buckwheat Bridge Angoras. We believe its important to know where our fiber comes from - how about you?

Summer Sheep