The weather today in Central Virginia was picture perfect! It was clear and cool and it couldn't have been a better day for the first day of the Fall Fiber Festival at Jame's Madison's Montpelier, in Orange County, VA.
The main objective of our visit was to gain some contacts for purchasing Cashmere Goats locally, so the day held a lot of promise and it unfolded better than expected. Most people love anything made of cashmere, but many aren't aware that cashmere comes from goats. Each goat produces a small amount of fiber each year making it very dear. But that isn't the reason to own these most special of God's creatures. Goats are just wonderful. They are ornery little characters, but they are also the most docile, calm creatures you will ever meet in the barnyard. And as an added bonus, they will rid your land of the most hateful of briers, poisons ivy, sumac and oak and any other nasty weed Mother Nature can throw at it.
It was so hard to walk through all the booths and keep my wallet closed! Every bit of fiber there was hand grown and dyed by the merchants and it was aw-inspiring! Shortly after we arrived, we took a Fiber harvesting class with Mickey Nielsen from Yakima, Washington. She is the President of the Northwest Cashmere Association and was a judge earlier this week at the Virginia State Fair Cashmere Show. In less than 2 hours we learned a ton of very valuable information, but the best part was the farmer we met during the class.
Barbara Johnson from Timberwood Farm was just a wealth-spring of information. My husband wants dairy goats in addition to angora and cashmere goats and she opened our world to Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats. Before we went today, I was on the fence about dairy goats, but I recently found out I needed to give up cow's milk and she told us that the Nigerian's milk has the highest butterfat and it is the one goat's milk that doesn't have that goat's milk flavor that most people just can't get past. Aside from the obvious benefits to that, I am having visions about all the different cheeses, lotions and soaps I can make. A visit to her farm is definitely in our future. This just might be better than Christmas!
At the end of the day, I must admit I did make 2 purchases: some really nice Goat's Milk Lotion from Rose Spring Farm in West Grove, PA and the most beautiful hand dyed roving from Wild Hare Fiber. She had a show day buy 2 get 1 free deal that I just couldn't pass by!
Now, I need to get busy and make some spare change so I can buy more fencing, update our old barn and get our first goats!
P.S. I almost forgot my husband's purchase of a bar of Sweet Spice Scrub from Charleen VanLandingham. And the best part, he won our tickets for today from the local radio station, The Corner - 106.1!