I am a knitter, spinner, weaver & designer in between being owned by various cats, dogs, horses, goats and sheep.
Now, the problems of raw wool and felines can be easily imagined, especially when the feline in question is named “Marbles” and the name is not for her tortoise-shell coat markings, but rather the short version of “Lost Her Marbles Nutso Feline”. Imagine it, then multiply by a factor of twenty, and you might be at the low end of the chaos produced. That’s not the story that really comes to mind, however!
No, the major fiber mayhem from the intersection of pets and fiber happened with my carefully tended dye plant garden and flax patch and the BBQ goat that didn’t get BBQ-ed.
BBQ (his obvious name) was the total iteration of my grandfather’s saying that a fence could be “horse-high, bull-strong and hog-tight, and the damn goats will STILL get out.” Since BBQ had never broken into a fenced area, (only out) I figured that the garden area would not be troubled.
One fine late June day, the flax patch was glorious with shoulder-high tiny blue flowers, the black-seed sunflowers were blooming, the Hopi red-dye amaranth plants a brilliant burgundy, the bulls-blood beets large spear-like leaves a counterpoint to the jagged edges of the amaranth, and I went to town for a shopping trip, leaving BBQ in the yard snoozing on top of his doghouse.
When I returned only a couple hours later, the damage was heartbreaking. It looked like the neighbor’s cattle had gone through like a horde of locusts, but there were only one set of tiny cloven-foot tracks all over the soft earth.
The 500 square feet of nearly-mature flax plants were trampled, tasted & torn, the sunflowers and amaranth had been mostly knocked over, the beets had many pulled up and they did not yet have usable bulbs. I did gather the leaves for some salvage. The chief loss was the flax – the plants were not yet mature enough to be processed for fiber.
The culprit? He was found back on top of his doghouse calmly eating a beet plant he had dragged back with him. How this little goat got over, around, or through a good four foot tall mesh fence both ways I could NOT figure out.