Sunday, 31 August 2008
We did have a visit from some of our regular manure collectors this morning who came with their trailer, so we managed to get rid of a nice big pile of muck to a good home. They came laden with some of the veggies from their allotment which was a great swap - thank you.
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Today was also ovulation spit day for Duchess, seeing as she wouldn't even enter the mating pen we were pretty convinced poor Gianmarco's Masterpiece wouldn't get near. We were quite correct, poor chap got a bit of green head gear for his troubles. Fingers crossed she will take and that will be another first for the diary - Marky baby!
Friday, 29 August 2008
The girls are munching their way through their current paddock, so we will move them onto fresh pasture tomorrow before the next band of rain and thunder arrives.
Finally my gorgeous niece has arrived this evening (with my brother and his wife obviously!) so tomorrow I will introduce her to the alpacas; I'm sure Hughie will love her!!
Thursday, 28 August 2008
All went according to plan and they seem to have settled in, I'll tell you more about them in the next few days. Golden Guinea our new brown stud has taken to Northumberland folk already, this morning he introduced himself to the workmen who are converting the barn across the road, not to mention Alan our farmer friend and our resident chickens! Hopefully he will be as taken with Ursula tomorrow when he gets to meet her and the the Barnacre girls.
We have been to the sawmill again today to purchase further supplies for field shelter building - Paul just loves having a week off work!!
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Little Miss Irraquoy came second to Legend in the Intermediate class and our grey girl Kate came third in her class. We were very pleased with the results and the very complimentary comments received from the judge.
Moving on, we have had visitors again today. It is always a pleasure to show keen people around the farm and talk alpaca to them.
Monday, 25 August 2008
Hughie did his usual and insisted on greeting everyone who came near and hum loudly at those trying to walk by without paying him any attention. He really is a character that you can't help but love, everyone always passes comment about him. Loki was also allowing a select few to stroke him, his much more selective than Hughie!
It was nice to spend the day talking to lots of people about alpacas, there were a few people who had met the boys before and others who were very keen to keep alpacas. It is nice to be able to educate a few people too who are adamant that they are llama's.
My cucumber also won third place in the cucumber section of the vegetable show - growing it in alpaca manure obviously did it some good!!!
Saturday, 23 August 2008
We have begun in what will be Golden Guinea's paddock so we didn't have any help whilst we were establishing the best method of construction. Gianmarco's Masterpiece spent the whole time watching over the fence humming advice. I think he agreed with the way we were doing it!
Marky is in a good mood today, he got to have another 'go' with Duchess who hadn't ovulated following her mating last week. You may recall I did say she wasn't her usual co-operative self, she obviously knew the timing wasn't right. Today she had sat down and was waiting for her man before he had even got near the mating pen let alone in it! Hopefully that means she will ovulate this time and hopefully hold a pregnancy.
Friday, 22 August 2008
The fox (quite clearly not very old) made the BIG mistake of entering Hughie & Loki's paddock, Loki stood and watched whilst Hughie sped off like a bolt of lightening after it. The grass is quite long in the middle of the boys field and I had long since lost sight of the beastie but Hughie hadn't, twisting and turning from left to right, backwards and forwards. Eventually the fox managed to find it's way into the sheep field and legged it as fast as it could whilst Hughie looked most disgruntled and ran back up to me to tell me he'd tried to get it.
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Then it was back to the ear rings; wet felting is such a time consuming process. The new designs do look good though, even if I do say so myself. Check out the online shop in a day or two when I've been able to take some photographs.
Short and sweet tonight, but not much else has been happening.
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
As you would expect Hughie loved seeing new faces and the girls enjoyed him to, even Loki hung around to say hello. Ebony got to meet Ebony the lamb, not forgetting all the others, Mia was pleased new visitors had arrived because it meant she got breakfast, which is something she doesn't get at this time of the year when there is so much grass.
This evening we did a spot more halter work with Legend and Marky who were both very good, panic over for the show (she says with fingers crossed)!
Gaussian's mid week weigh in went well too, he'd put on half a kilo despite hardly taking any bottle all week. He's obviously getting something from somewhere.
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
I have been busy skirting fleeces ready for a show at the weekend, it's not a job I really enjoy doing but one that needs doing. At least they weren't as bad as the youngsters I had to skirt for the Scottish National composite show at Kelso.
Duchess bless her is having udder issues again this year, the flies just love her. Thankfully she is very co-operative and happily lets me cream her up, she's not so keen on the fly repellent though. Just as I think we are getting somewhere the pesky things get her again.
Monday, 18 August 2008
As it has been raining again, I have been on internal duties most of the day, this afternoon making some felt ear rings out of Hughie's prize winning fleece. I also thought it would be nice to combine Hughie and Loki's fleece, as they are such good friends, I thought it would be a nice touch - they turned out pretty well too; even if I do say so myself.
The post arrived this morning (well lunch time out here in the sticks!) with another reminder of how lucky we've been, it was the pedigree certificates for Legend of Spartacus and Gianmarco's Masterpiece. Their genetics really are fantastic.
Sunday, 17 August 2008
It's been a mixed bag of weather today, thankfully this morning we managed to put the new extra large hay manger in situ in the girls paddock which Ursula came straight over to check out (before it was even filled) which went down well. I want to get a couple of the smaller ones before winter.
Did a spot of halter work with the boys today, they were both very good. We purposely took them on their own this time as they are very close and stick together like glue.
Saturday, 16 August 2008
Next job on the list was a very exciting one, we were going to give one of our new stud boys the chance to work. Gianmarco's Masterpeice being the older and very advanced in the nether regions (according to the books his bits are the size of an average 3 years old and he's not quite 2 yet!) was going to have first go.
Duchess, our oldest girl was open and ready, so here goes. One suggestion we recieved was to put them in the pen together for four hours and see what happened. Duchess decided for some reason she was going to make Marky work to get her down and he did it within 30 seconds without trouble and got straight onto the job in hand like a seasoned pro. He was quite clearly very pleased with himself as he was orgling away as loudly as the very experienced boys we've used in the past. I'm sure he wont mind me showing him off in action, and Duchess was very proud of her toyboy!
After the excitement of Gianmarco's first ever mating it was on to more mundane jobs, cleaning the paddocks and moving the stud boys down to their purpose build stud paddocks. We did a bit of halter work with Legend before we set off because he wasn't too keen when we tried to load him into the trailer to come home. He was very well behaved, so we decided to walk them down the lane rather than get the trailer hitched up - they were brilliant and happily walked without issue; good boys!
When we got them to their new paddock they met Hughie and Loki over the fence, surprisingly enough it was Loki who was first in line to say hello. They all seem to be getting on nicely, we will keep the studs and younger boys separate though at least for a while and see how things go.
Friday, 15 August 2008
I noticed this morning that Imala's back foot was looking a bit sore. On closer inspection this evening it was a bit weepy, so it's been cleaned out and sprayed - one to keep my eye on! Strangely enough it is her cria that had sore feet a little while ago.
Thursday, 14 August 2008
They have been checking out the new view all day, running from one place to another, checking out every different noise. We even have different looking chickens up here!
Rob and Les at Wellground Alpacas kindly gave us name plates for the boys stud paddocks that look really flash, they also have one of the rather fancy Simpaca Show Halters each - we will look very posh, just as these special boys should.
We took Oonagh down to Rob yesterday for an appointment with the mighty Samson, from all accounts both parties were very pleased to see each other - Oonagh has never been shy; that's what happens when Blossom is your mum!
The boys seemed to have settled in nicely, checking out their new surroundings. It was getting pretty dark when they arrived home last night. Despite this and being in a totally new environment and with strangers Marky happily walked on the halter with Legend trotting behind, to their temporary paddock. We've got them in one of the girls resting paddocks so we could keep a very close eye on them last night.
We also managed to collect Kate yesterday on the way home who had been down with our friends Trevor & Dick at Farrlacey to be mated to their great black boy Hornblower. She looks good, they hadn't managed to improve her attitude mind you :-) . She has a wonderful fleece but is a bit of a kicking spitter when she wants to be! Thanks for the tea and cakes guys they were lovely.
Back off out into the rain - I'll be back with another posting tonight.
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Our Boys!!!! We were very fortunate to get the opportunity to buy Wellground Legend of Spartacus & EP Cambridge Gianmarco's Masterpiece, so jumped at the chance. Rob & Les at Wellground Alpacas down in Wilsthire were very lucky to breed two stunning boys, now we are the lucky ones!
These boys have stunning pedigrees, including EP Cambridge Spartacus, Jolimont Commisario, Jolimont Gianmarco, Sculptor and Encantador. To say we are excited is an understatement, we are looking forward to getting them working and see what they produce - Duchess is eagerly awaiting their services.
Matt Cook from Three Oaks Alpacas kindly gave us the use of his field for the handover which was great, thanks Matt. Saved us a good few hours on the road and we got to see his lovely herd too!
The weather was terrible when we left home this morning, brightened up for us during the day and by the time we arrived home treacherous, it was like monsoon season with flooding everywhere.
Now you will see why Paul has been hogging the computer, all the website updates will go live in the next day or two.
After a mentally exhausting day I think it's bed time!
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
I've been busy working my way through paperwork today and sorting out some of our knitwear. I did manage to clean an old hay manger in between the showers, which we are going to make use of for the girls in the new field.
This evening we have been moving round the cars and getting things ready for an early start in the morning ....................................
Monday, 11 August 2008
You can imagine the state I was in when I'd finished, so I thought I may as well go out with the muck truck and clean up the paddocks again. I'd had a visit from Carol and Dave our regular manure collectors, so I thought I'd restock the bag! There is getting more and more of it as the cria get bigger and numbers increase.
Tomorrow will be a day of clean jobs I think - and trying not to get too excited. Only two more sleeps until our big announcement!
Sunday, 10 August 2008
You would think that we are now getting to be experts at said task, however, Paul got slightly carried away, and lifted the post knocker too high and somehow managed to hit himself on the head with it. He has a lovely bruise and cut, not to mention a very sore head. One way to make sure I knock in my fair share of posts I suppose, but a bit drastic though!
Anyhow, with the job complete we were able to move the girls and their cria onto the nice fresh grass. I just love to see them when they get onto fresh grass, they get so excited running and skipping about, even more so today when it was grass they'd never been able to go on before.
Once everyone was off the old grass we did all the necessary, cut the long grass round the toilet areas, harrowed, rolled then then for good measure put some fertiliser down. It now looks terrible, but it will come back better than ever - well that's the hope!
Saturday, 9 August 2008
To our great amazement Hughie came first overall in the fleece show and Chiquita's fleece came third, they both also came forth in the halter class. Not a bad result all round, we also won prize money! It's the first show that we've entered where you actually get an envelope with your winnings in - it was great.
Thankfully the rain did eventually stop and the sun even made an appearance, although not until the entry / exit routes had been totally churned up. So the next bit of excitement for the day was trying to leave - umm our car doesn't have much grip in the mud with the trailer full of animals, especially in foot deep mud! Needless to say, along with about 95% of the visitors we had to be rescued by the tractor and pulled out. I wish I'd had my camera to hand because at one point there was a tractor pulling a tractor which had got stuck pulling a horse box!
Whatever happened to summer?!
Friday, 8 August 2008
This week has seen two of our cria making the leap onto hard food, Lualeni & Princess Mallika are now munching on Camelibre. Typically, Gaussian, who is the one I really need to start trying it is still not in the slightest bit interested in the troughs, let alone their contents. He continues to be a little monkey with is bottle too!
I am now the proud owner of a weaving loom!! Something I have been after for a little while now and was lucky enough to spot one on freecycle, the site I use to give away the alpaca dung to gardening enthusiasts. I am really looking forward to getting started with it. I am already signed up to a craft day next moth that NEBAG (North East & Border Alpaca Group) have organised so now I have a new toy to take along!
We have another busy weekend ahead of us, more details on that on tomorrow nights blog.
Thursday, 7 August 2008
Gaussian has been a little monkey today and refused to take his bottle, he's obviously missing my mum who'd been helping with the feeds over the last week. Maybe had something to do with the Lambivac injection he had yesterday.
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
I had our vet out this morning, Sam Prescott, who is very good. He was doing three pregnancy scans on Willow, Gabby & Mary. I was pretty sure that Willow and Gabby were pregnant, they had followed that standard alpaca rule book and spat when put back to the male at weekly intervals. Mary however is a completely different kettle of fish. As regular blog readers will know Mary gave us a bit of a hard time when it came to mating, firstly refusing to sit, and then spitting through her first mating giving the poor stud a pretty tough time.
Because Mary is so anti alpacas doing spit off with her was pretty difficult, until one day she came over and sat for Inca, so we had a quick mad dash up to Fowbery before she changed her mind! That visit obviously did the trick because the vet today confirmed that she was pregnant. The relevant diary entries have now been made.
We also had an insurance check on Oonagh before she goes on her travels who passed with flying colours. She had been helping Sam with the scanning so got slightly concerned when he lifted her tail - no need to panic on that score just yet Oonagh.
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
We need to start thinking about phase two now! Maybe we will have a week or three off first.
Today was paddock cleaning day before we get the rain which has been forecast for tomorrow. As my parents are still here mum helped out, it's great to get help with those sort of jobs. The dung piles are growing so I put another advert on freecycle and have a couple of collections booked it. With the number of animals increasing the manure does the same I'm afraid.
Monday, 4 August 2008
I have been updating all the cria monitoring sheets and as I predicted Princess Mallika did overtake Gaussian on weight by the weekend, in fact she has put on the most weight in her first 10 days of all this years cria. Maybe Duchess has produced another Blossom (Mrs Muscle) in the making.
We have some very exciting things on the boil here, (keep your eyes peeled for details over the coming week or two) so I have been busy preparing for that. We are so excited we might burst!!!
Sunday, 3 August 2008
It was nice to see some familiar faces and also meet some new alpacas enthusiasts. We also cast our eye over a number of very nice alpacas - well it would have been a shame not to when there was such an exclusive collection there!
Friday Paul was working, so I took the opportunity to go and see Rob & Les at Wellground Alpacas where our lovely Little Miss Irraquoy has been covered by their very impressive stud Buckingham. Hopefully she is holding her pregnancy and will spit off tomorrow. More news on that one tomorrow.
Gaussian has been a complete monkey whilst we have been away, refusing to take milk from my parents who had been left holding the bottle so to speak. Despite his stubbornness and refusal to even put the bottle in his mouth for them, he has put on a bit of weight, thankfully now he is nibbling on more grass it is obviously helping. Today he has been a good boy and drank for me, he must have been hungry because he beat his previous record for milk intake in one day!