Goat Shearing Time!

It’s that time of year when the Mom Person tackles the goats! And us dogs lay around and watch and laugh.

We have 2 angora goats, Henry and Mr. Jingles. I have talked about them before. Here. and Here. Angora goats grow mohair. If you have a mohair sweater it came from a goat. If you have an angora sweater, it came from a rabbit. Go figure. The goats get sheared twice a year. Spring and Fall.

Now after the clippers do their job and we have all that mohair — what to do next?! Well, it has to be washed and carded and spun into yarn. It’s a lot of work! Whew!

And I tell you all of this because that’s what we’ve been busy with. And,  I want to tell you about a book that we have called A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Anita Lobel. It was published by Scholastic in1986.

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The book is based on a true story about a time during the war when stores were closed up and no one had any money. But a little girl needed a new coat. So her mom figured out another way to get Anna her coat. They gathered some stuff that they could use to trade and went to visit a farmer who had sheep. He said that they could have some wool, but would have to wait until spring when the sheep would get shorn. In the spring they got a big bag of wool. (Not 3 bags!) They took the bag to a lady to have it spun into yarn, and had to wait until the summer. They wanted to dye it red and had to wait until the fall for the berries to be ripe. Then the yarn had to be woven into cloth and sewn into a new coat. But by the following Christmas, Anna had her new red coat!

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This is a really lovely story – made even more so by the fact that it’s a true one! It’s about patience and resourcefulness. Things we need more of in this world. Anna had to wait a whole year for her new coat. And she didn’t whine one bit! I wish I could be that patient.

I love this story. It’s happy and uplifting and suspenseful. Will Anna ever get her coat?! And the illustrations are just perfect for it – soft and comforting. Everyone smiles through the whole book. Even the sheep! You should check it out!

And here is a gentleman attempting to become the fastest shearer in the world! (It takes the Mom Person about an hour to do one goat.)

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Counting Goats

The Princesses came for a visit last week. They are a couple of wild girls! They live in the city and don’t get to come visit us in the country very often. The neighborhood where they live is a nice one and they have lots of friends, but they don’t have a pony or goats or chickens or woods to explore or a river to skip rocks in. We have all of these things here.

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The Princesses were quite taken with the goats. I have talked about the goats before. We have TWO Angora Goats. One black and one white. They are very talkative — Maaaaaaa! The Noodle Princess was quite intrigued with this.

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Because they liked those goats so much, we found a book called Let’s Count Goats! It’s a great little book by Mem Fox and illustrated by Jan Thomas. It was published by Beach Lane Books in 2010. It’s a rollicking good romp with goats. Both the girls thought it was super and wanted to read it numerous times.

IMG_0703IMG_0705The illustrations are really funny and show goats eating all kinds of things. Like beach umbrellas and suitcases and tables and airplanes! Our goats eat a lot of stuff that they shouldn’t, but I’ve never seen them eat any of those things! The tale opens with “Here we see a mountain goat frisking in the sun. And here we see a city goat going for a run. But can we count the SEASIDE goats? (I think there’s only one.)” And so it goes — with goats adding up in different scenarios. ( a nice big word!) And there are NO numbers in the book! You have to count them for real! The Noodle Princess, who is just a small wee thing, is just learning how to count and she was jumping right in to see how many goats were on each page!

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I think we give this book 4 paws and 4 hands up! Yay for goats! You should check it out!

Mem Fox has a nice website with all kinds of resources and information about books and reading and literacy.

Jan Thomas has a fun website with a list of her books and fun activities to go with them.

And here is a clip of Ms Fox talking about this very book! Let’s Count Goats!

And with this book added to my 2013 list, I have 288 more to go!

The Goat Lady

My Mom Person wants to be The Goat Lady. Around our town she is known as The Dog Lady. She likes that well enough, but she wants to be The Goat Lady.

We have this book by a really lovely artist, Jane Bregoli. The book is called The Goat Lady. Appropriate. My Mom Person keeps this book prominently displayed because she LOVES the lady on the cover. This is what she aspires to. Not Grace Kelly or Princess Diana or any princess or even fabulous dog trainer Carol Lea Benjamin. She wants to be this goat lady. I think it is the look of contentment on the lady’s face.

The book was published in 2004 by Tilbury House, Publishers and is about a real person. Her name is Noelie Houle and you can watch a real video of her here.

The story is about two children and their mother ( the author and artist) who move into a new neighborhood near a rundown old farm. They like to watch the frisky goats that fill the farmyard.  After a while the kids become friends with the owner, Mrs Houle, and start helping her take care of the goats and do other chores. Mrs. Houle milks her goats every day and sells the milk to local people. She also gives goats to an organization called the Heifer Project that helps poor people in far away countries. The children get their mom to paint some portraits of Mrs Houle and she paints so many that she decides to have an art show in the local town hall. Then all the neighbors who have previously complained about the rundown farm and the unruly animals, get to know Mrs Houle and see how wonderful she really is.

This book is about tolerance and helping your neighbors and being a part of your own little community. It’s about not judging ” a book by its cover.” It’s about being happy with what you have and being resourceful. It’s about goats and about how animals provide support and understanding for their humans. It is a great book on many levels.

We have goats here. We don’t milk our goats — they are fiber goats — Angoras. The Mom Person loves those goats. Me, not so much. Sometimes they try to chase me and butt me. It’s taken me awhile to figure them out. We spend a lot of time out in the pasture with the goats. The Mom Person likes to just sit and watch them. And I like to watch her. She is The Goat Lady. But she’s also The Dog Lady. And that’s what’s important to me.

I hope you have animals to look after you. And I think everyone needs to get to know their neighbors. Do you have any neighbors that you wonder about? This is kind of the season for doing good things. Maybe you have a neighbor or friend who could use some help? Think about it!

If you would like to know more about Noelie Houle’s white goats you can check this out. And if you would like to find out more about Angora goats, you can check here.

Then check out The Goat Lady. And The Heifer Project. You’ll be glad you did!

And here is a little video of some musical goats. I don’t know what kind of goats these are but they are pretty cute!