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The happy farm

Down on the farm with Lydie Bourdais

Grégoire

This morning I went to Lydie Bourdais' farm in La Fresnais to watch her Angora goats getting sheared. Twice a year, his flock of 23 goats give up a bounty of high quality fleece

It's an important day, the result of 6 months of work raising goats for their wool, a mohair wool of quality recognized by the Mohair association of the farms of France. Early morning, and the temperature outside is close to zero! The morning frost along the reach reminds you that winter is not over yet in the marshlands. "We'll work in the barn," Lydie tells me on the phone - when I arrive, sure enough there she is, greeting me with a big smile. Alain the shearer is already at work - in just 10 minutes a goat called Marjolaine loses her thick coat. Shearing goats, with their angular morphology is a much longer process than shearing sheep, which are rounder and plumper. The next goat up is called Lumière, one year older than Marjolaine, and requiring a different shearing tool. Lumière was born on the pastures, which is where she got her name. "I pay attention to the names I give them!" Lydie tells me, they all have their character! Having improved the quality of her wool over the last 13 years, Lydie today aims to increase the quantity of production in the years to come. A selected goat joined her big family last year, one with a particularly musical voice - which she has named Mozart!

The flock includes two gelded males, whose fleece is larger and thicker, providing 3 to 3.5 kg of wool where the smaller goats give 2 to 2.5 kg. Lydie stores each fleece in an individual bag, which she will sort later to remove straws and other foreign matter. The wool is then sent to the Tarn to be treated. The performance of each animal is tracked and the wool is sorted into 4 classes depending on the age, evenness and fineness of the fleece. The first class will be used for socks, while the last will be used for blankets.

"I use my own wool and do a lot of knitting, it's a long chain of production and its great to know that people are wearing a little bit of me and my daughters". Goats take a lot of time, but Lydie is passionate about her work and inexhaustible about her girls.

From Easter to November, she organises visits to the farm and the shop. "I love it, it's alive, so good to share" she says. She also has a stall at the Dinard market every Saturday and participates in local farmers markets and shows.