We went to AvilionFarm for a shearing event. This was the first (and so far only) time we have seen or participated in a goat shearing. We are hoping to get to a few more before we buy our own goats.
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Here we are getting set up for the shearing, the lady in the dark shirt is the owner of the farm, sorry I have forgotten her name. Awesome and friendly lady she gave us a lot of information about sheep, goats and rabbits.

I apologize, I am terrible with names so do not remember the other two ladies names either but they were both very knowledgeable and gave us tons of hints, tips and suggestions.

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For the table she uses some plywood and lattice to place the fleece on for the first cleaning step. After we learn what to do here and are done with the fleece, it is placed in one of those laundry baskets for storage until she has time to wash them. Each basket will have a note placed inside with the goats name so she knows which fleece is which.

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I unfortunately also have forgotten the names of this couple that came to shear the goats. Both were very nice, friendly and did (to our eyes) a great job. We were told by the owner that this married couple are the youngest shearers (there is probably a more formal name for them) that she has seen and they always do a great job.



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Here is a close up of the shearing process. They try to get as close as possible, the undercoat is the softest but small pieces, under about a inch long, aren't really useable. I can't imagine how the shearers can stay so focused and calm with a wiggly, bleating sheep between their legs! I had a hard time cutting my son's hair with a razor!


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Here is one of the fleeces that has been removed from the goat. I think this is the first one actually. One of the ladies was so nice and patient with us, showing us how to clean the fleece. The fleece was so soft and fluffy with minimal trash or bugs. We probably would have gotten more done if we hadn't spent most of our time pumping her for information on raising goats and sheep.
Thanks again ladies for the exciting afternoon!


 
 
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Kristina and I went out to a farm in Efland, NC, to see and sort of help with the goat shearing. This was our first opportunity to see a working fiber farm and the fiber animals.

These are some of  goats and there was a range of colors. Very energetic and a bit shy but the few we were able to touch were so soft. Kristina is learning to spin so was drooling over all this fiber just running around!

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We both fell in love with these twins! They were born from an older dam who ended up getting sick so her milk dried up. They were bottle fed so allowed us to get close enough to touch (some of the time). Kristina seriously thought about buying these but resisted -goats are not covered in her rental lease lol. They did inspire us to step up saving our money so we can some day buy some goats for ourselves.

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The farm also has sheep and rabbits for fiber. In addition some geese, ducks and peacocks live on the farm property. Here is one of the sheep and a couple ducks. Unfortunately neither would let us get close to touch them.

I guess you can't really spin the feathers but you can eat duck eggs. :) The sheep though would be fair game for a spinning wheel. We want one or two of these too!

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There were several dozen angora bunnies in white, mixed and a beautiful grey color. I loved these!! And they are small so you wouldn't have to have a lot of space to have a few. We both want a few of these for our farm!

Will post our pics and info on the actual shearing on another post. This one is just about the animals we want to have!

Thanks for reading!!

 
 
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This is our new puppy dog, Layla! We adopted her from our local shelter (http://www.apsofdurham.org/) and are so happy with the shelter and Layla!
The wonderful staff at the shelter really helps with the adoption process starting with a cheerful hello when you arrive to the round of congratulations when you find and adopt your new family member.

David, my son and Kristina's brother, is taking Layla for her first walk around the back yard. She did great! So curious and excited about her new home!

The shelter staff guess that Layla is a Shepard/Collie mix (I wonder if there is a touch of chow with that purple tongue) and about 8 months old. We did have her fixed before we took her home and she is still a big groggy while on her introductory tour.

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All kids need naps and here she is taking a little nap with her favorite family member, David. David is the one that picked out Layla so is considered her "Daddy". She sure showers him with lots of love and kisses!

If you are looking for a new family member visit your local shelter. Adopting from a shelter is always preferred as it saves a life! Remember to always have your pet spayed or neutered!

 
 
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Hey everyone! I just wanted to share my latest project with you and ask for help as well. I wanted to make a t-shirt dress so searched and searched. I could not find a free pattern and the only hint I found was on a message board that said ‘use a metal needle for the first row’. Now did they mean a crochet needle (not sure what that is) or sewing needle?

When I am making up my own patterns it's pretty organic - I try stuff and rip it out and try something else and rip that out. I had an idea of what I wanted but how do I get there? So this is a bit of a disorganized tutorial.


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First, I decided to try using a tapestry or upholstery needle to start the first row. I marked my hem every ½ inch. I then used the needle to pull the yarn thru doing a running stitch. When I reached my starting point I stretched the shirt tail to make sure there was plenty of yarn and then cut and tied the pieces together. Yeah, I know you aren’t supposed to use knots but what else was I to do?


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Next I used the crochet hook and started making DCs in my stitches – I did two DCs in the front stitch and one in the back. I thought this looked pretty neat.
Then I crocheted around with a dc in both the front dc’s and a ch1 over the back dc. Next round I ss to the ch1 space and put 2 dc’s there and around, doing a ch1 over the first rows dc. Third round I alternated again, with a dc in each ch1 space and ch1 over the previous row’s dc. 

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Fourth round I alternated 2dc and a shell (dc ch2 dc) in the ch1 spots. Round 5 I did a (2dc ch2 2dc) in each previous rows shells and ch4 in between (not using the dc’s from the previous round. Round 6 I shelled on shell with (3dc 2ch 3dc) and ch5 in between.


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Here I couldn’t decide what to do next so I ss up to the ch2 space, ch4 and ss in the same space. Then I chained 7 to the next ch2 space and repeated making my small loop.

Still wasn’t sure what to do next, I decided to make 7 dc in the loop. I didn’t like the look of the chain between the loops so I ended up with – 7dc in loop, ch1, (sc, c1, sc, c1, sc, c1) in the ch5 of the previous row. I repeated that around and finished off my yarn.


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Next I made some long pieces of the yarn to fringe, adding the fringe only in the 7dc shells. I admit the dress did not turn out exactly like I imagined but as a first try I think it looks pretty great!

If you have made or know how to make a t-shirt dress, please let us know your hints and tips!!


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