"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Monday, 17 November 2014

Minky - before and after...

...shearing.

This is to remind you of what Minky looked like on the 18th October this year...
Typical little boy - scruffy, dirty and filling
his face
 ... just 4 days before Chris from Helderstroom Alpacas kindly arrived to shear our three alpacas.
Miranda - showing Minky what to expect and
what lies in store for him :)
Minky wasn't mad about the blower which was used to try and get 1) as much of the dust and 2) whatever vegetable matter out of his fur as possible prior to shearing.
Minky getting the blower treatment -NOT a
happy chappy
I don't think the noise of our generator (which powered the blower and shears), nor the noise from the blower helped Minky's state of mind either.  But, the shearing is necessary for his own good during the heat of summer ahead.

And, as for being strapped by his feet and pinned to the floor for the 3/4 hour it took to remove his fibre...
Minky after shearing - he's less than half the size LOL
...he didn't "speak" to RMan until the next day.  But all is forgiven now :) (a bowl of freshly grated carrots helped too.)
Minky's fibre - and this pile is just from his legs!
He doesn't look quite so cute and cuddly anymore, and has instantly "lost" a lot of visible weight, but I do have his fibre as a reminder.  And his fibre will grow back again next year when we will have to start the whole process over again.
Minky, being the scruffy lad he is, has
fleece which is taking me hours (and
days) to pick clean.  Each scrap of
vegetable matter has to be picked by hand
I'm sure he is much more comfortable now and will be better able to handle the summer heat.
I'm using the 1st (unsquare) solar dehydrator frame that I had made as a picking table - a bit
of chicken wire slung over the top allows the
vegetable matter and very short fibre to pass
through and collect at the bottom.
Sitting in the remote room (now know as my craft room) behind the garage, I have started the process of picking each scrap of vegetable matter from the aplaca fibre - MP3 earphones firmly plugged in my ears, a mixture of Josh Groban, Moody Blues, Eric Clapton, Luther van Dross, Nickleback, etc thump out of the earphones and help keep the boredom at bay.  Given my isolation in my craft room, RMan's ears are also spared the tuneless noises eminating from my lips.  (I'm hoping in my next life I come back with a voice that can hold a tune - what a gift that would be!)

I have found an inexpensive second-hand table top weaving loom in Cape Town which my son-in-law will bring back with him next weekend.

Then the fun bit starts... :)  I'm feeling inspired.  And I can't wait.

18 comments:

  1. Poor Minky! Not much left once that luxurious coat is gone. I'm excited to see your loom. I didn't know they made a table top version. Sounds like fun!

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    1. Vicki - You're excited, imagine how I feel LOL I will do a post on it, never fear... (once I have mastered it that is :) )

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    1. Marlene - Minky was upset for a day, but now he is happily running, eating and being naughty again :)

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  3. cant wait to see what you make with it. Aw he looks like he needs you to knit him a jumper!

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    1. Sol - LOL You're quire right. Wonder what he would do if I took some of his fibre out for him to sniff - like a dog, they are great sniffers! Well, Minky is anyway :)

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  4. I think he still looks cute.

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    1. DFW - Oh, yes he does. And, he knows it :)

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  5. I'm with DFW he's still cute....skinny looking, but cute. That's such fascinating thing to see pictures of, thanks for sharing.

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    1. 1st Man - Very skinny LOL I find the alpaca "bulk and size" quite intimidating when their fully "fleeced", but when they're shorn they are much less daunting ;)

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  6. What would we do without carrots?
    How did the shearing go for the other two? I don't envy you the task of handpicking the VM from all the luscious fiber, but if you've got to have your hands in a boring task for days, isn't it nice that it's such pleasant-feeling material? I remember the first time I patted a llama and an alpaca...just unbelievable :)

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    1. Quinn - Carrots are vital LOL (But. also a good source of Vit A for the alpacas;) )

      Quinn - the fibre that is on the alpaca is half as soft as the sheared fibre. Dunno why, but it feels soooo much more silky and soft.

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  7. He doesn't even look like the same animal afterwards. We did that to our Great Pyrennes guard dog once, and the effect was the same. Hard to believe the size difference.

    I like listening to MP3s while I work too (or sometimes podcasts). My wife listens to books on tape while doing her sewing or housework sometimes.

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    1. Bill - No he doesn't, and his face has lost the smile. But, it will be back...! :)

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  8. I like the Moody Blues. I had all their albums in the early 70's when I was in college.
    "And I know you won't believe me, but I'm certain that I did see, a mouse play a daffodil!"

    I always like reading about your Alpacas. I wish I had one or two up here, but I've got about all the animals I can take care of as it is.

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    1. Harry - Ah, music from the 60's - nothing to compare to it ;) Listening to (and croaking / screeching along with ) it certainly helps during a mundane task...')

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  9. hI Dani, what made you decide to go with Alpaca instead of angora goats. Do you ever slaughter them for meat? I see you don't eat red meat.

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    1. Sharon - Hi, and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Angora goats never even figured - RMan saw a photo of an alpaca, investigated, and the love affair was on.

      I have never heard of anyone slaughtering alpaca's for meat. As for their fibre - due to it's hollow structure it is warmer than any other known fibre, is non-allergenic and water resistant. Actually, we have been told that their fibre is more worth more than the equivalent weight in silver.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;)