Spring would not begin properly without a pilgrimage to the annual open house at Wellington Fibres. It is happening tomorrow (April 20, 2013) from 10 to 4 near Elora, Ontario. You can see kids born this week.
On Tuesday afternoon I happened to be there working on a weaving project our local guild has set up in the workshop, and managed to sneak into the barn for a preview. My friend Anne and I were lucky to find a pair of twins newborn within the hour, one still with afterbirth on its coat. We watched the mother lick it off. Donna, the owner, soon arrived on our summons. She said she tries to let the mothers give birth on their own, but coaches the babies to find a teat for their first feeding before much time elapses.
Angora goats are bred for their highly lustrous and somewhat fuzzy fleece called mohair. It is a luxury fibre used for everything from gauzy lace to carpets or heavy outerwear. Wellington Fibre has dyed mohair locks as well as appealing blends with wool, silk and alpaca available in the shop. I wove a lovely shawl from some of their mohair-wool.
Confusingly, the animal fibre known as angora comes from rabbits, while another goat breed produces cashmere.
Kids are precocious, born with a keen instinct for mischief, closely followed by the ability to walk. Anne and I watched one, born only a few minutes earlier, trying to nose its way through the bars into the next pen. If you need a break from sad news in the world, this is the place to be.
The goat photos were taken at last year’s open house.