Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to one and all.

2009 has been a bit of a roller coaster of a year for us to be honest and I am quite looking forward to the start of a new one!

We have suffered the lows of losing a premature cria after ten long days of round the clock care and then sadly her mum, one of our foundation herd, to cancer 3 days later.

To balance things we have enjoyed the great elation of one of our stud boys, Legends of Spartacus wining Supreme Champion at the Scottish National Fleece show. Not only have we had a great year at the shows we have also sold our first home bred alpacas (I'm not sure if that was a high or low because releasing them was hard!) and had the best year of knitwear sales yet.

In 2010 first and formost I am looking forward to seeing progeny from our own stud boys and planning to develop our knitwear range further.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

I spy with my little eye something begining with G

At last there are spots of 'Grass' emerging from the snow. Today has been a really miserable day weather wise, we have had sleet, snow hale and rain so the fields are very soggy from melting snow and rain.

The girls have a stream running along side the entrance to their field shelter and Imala does not like having to paddle through it to get inside. This evening she was humming away complaining about having to walk through it when Kealani had a running jump at it and went hurtling into the shelter.

I have made her a new coat today as her other one was rather dirty and was very wet. Only Milly seemed to notice that she had gone from Green to Blue!

Incidentally anyone wondering why I had not been blogging for the last few days, Paul was upset that no-one had left him any comments so I wasn't allowed to put a new entry on until someone had. Thank you Mark!!

Friday, 25 December 2009

Hello Billy, Hello Johnny, Hello Everybody!

It's Christmas and everyone is snoring on the sofa - except me hardworking Paul ;-) of course.

Santa made a special stop at Barnacre on Christmas Eve and delivered the herd a lovely sack of carrots. As you can see, I was out all night with my camera hidden in a pile of snow disguised as a hibernating polar bear, and managed to catch two of his elves delivering the carrots. I always thought elves wore green but clearly not, these funny looking chaps in matching costumes were clearly having a great time working for Mr Claus, who just stepped left of picture when I clicked the camera.

So there you have it, no need to follow the NASA website next year plotting the route of Santa, stay tuned in to the Barnacre blog!

I think the snoring has stopped so bye for now because when they wake my chain will be pulled to go and serve them more food and drink. Oh how I know how poor Cinders felt.

By the way, I think Debbie and her mum have costumes just like Santa's elves...

Happy Christmas everyone!

Paul

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Ever wondered how snow sticks to the top of your fence rails?

Well, you could ask a meteorologist.

You could ask the weatherman/lady.

You could even ask an astro-physisist, but you'd never understand them.

Or, of course you could ask me, Paul the smarter half of Barnacre Alpacas! And I would tell you the answer - Golden Guinea puts it there!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPKvH68OxuU

Tune in tomorrow for a Christmas Cracker...

Paul

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Merry Christmas

I have finished a last minute hat order today so I really am now going to have a few days off knitting! I just need to deliver said hat tomorrow then that is it.

We still have lots of snow so the herd is munching their was through copious amounts of hay. They are drinking lots of water too, I'm not sure if it is because they are eating so much hay or because of the snow. Typically the pipes are still frozen so I am having to cart this round the fields from the house. I need to look into 'heat wire' which Rolf from Knapper Alpacas suggested.

Santa has already visited the Barnacre herd, I will endeavour to get out with the camera again tomorrow to show you have they have got.

Just in case there are not enough hours in the day for my job list tomorrow I will wish you all a Merry Christmas tonight.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Snowy shots

We had yet more snow overnight, enough to cover the car tracks on the drive and most of the feet marks in the fields.

I went out armed with my camera this morning. Golden Guinea has taken a fancy to eating snow and is clearing on the fence tops for me!
This is after he had finished enjoying his sorbet

Here we have Tenzing and Palm-Olive.

And finally Kealani.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Feeding oats

We have had a little more snow today so the girls and weanlings have had a double ration of hay.

For the first time this winter I have begun introducing Oats into the main herds daily feeding routine. It is quite funny to see the reactions from the different girls, typically out of the three (Oonagh, LMI & Imala) that I am most keen to tuck into them only one so far is bothering.

Oonagh who is a bit of a fussy eater at the best of times is not in the slightest bit interested in these funny coloured things! She will only ever eat from your hand anyway and will never compete for food.

Imala usually eats anything and everything, sugar beet, carrots, apple but not oats. You can tell she really doesn't like the fact that some of the other girls are eating them and she feels like she is missing out.

Thankfully Irraquoy seems to like them so they will do her some good I'm sure. Feeding a cria this time of year really takes it out of the girls so anything I can do to help them is a priority.

If anyone has any top tips on how to introduce oats I would very much appreciate them.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

What no water!

It has been absolutely freezing here since the middle of last week and the snow arrived with a vengeance yesterday.

The alpacas and lambs are getting through so much hay as the grass is under a few inches of snow. Thankfully another round bale arrived over one of our fences this morning - Alan is far too good to us! The small square bales disappear so quickly this time of year it is nice to be able to use a large one too.

As the weather is so cold I have put a coat on Kealani. She is only three months old, so doesn't have quite as much fleece to keep her warm as the others, not that it seems to be bothering her. It makes me feel better though.

The girls all seem to be snuggling up in their field shelter at the minute which is good. The presents they leave me to clean up in a morning is not quite so good, but never mind I'd rather clean it up than have them out in the cold.

We have a bit of a water issue as all the pipes are frozen in the fields. Typically three of the four fields we are using for the animals at the minute are the furthest away from the house. This means a rather long walk with water carriers. It is amazing how much water they are drinking too, it must be all the dry hay making them thirsty.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Just about thawed out

As I suspected we woke to more snow this morning, as soon as I stepped outside is was obvious that towing the trailer was a non starter, in fact I wasn't sure we were going anywhere either!

Having already loaded the car and got up at some crazy hour we decided that we would give it a go. We were sliding about a fair bit even with the four wheel drive and all the weight in the car. When we reached Hartburn hill there were already a couple of cars stuck, one of which was being pushed. Thankfully we managed to get up but it was slightly worrying.

Once we made it to the A1 it was fine, until that was our windscreen wipers decided to freeze! Can you believe it, I was cursing the garage thinking that had broken something as it was in for a service in the week.

The market itself was very quiet, everyone obviously listening to the radio and television and not venturing out. We were asked by many people where the alpacas were; they are famous you see. We still managed to sell a fair bit and I now only have very limited stock left.

Despite my 3 pairs of socks my feet were absolutely freezing, in fact I don't think my toes have ever been so cold. Note to self; knit myself (and Paul if he asks nicely) a pair of alpaca socks before the next market.

We have both been sat in front of the fire and our feet have just about thawed out.

This was out last event of the year so I can now declare Christmas, I have been so busy with alpaca work I still don't have my decorations up. Off I go to write my Christmas cards then it will be an early night.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

The snow has arrived

We were forecast a slight dusting of snow this afternoon but as usual they were wrong.

Paul left for work shortly after 7am and at that point there was nothing so I sent in him in the little car so I could load the big car ready for the Farmers Market at Alnwick tomorrow morning. By the time it was light enough for me to begin the morning feeding and cleaning routine it was snowing.

The sky was full of it and before I had even completed the feed run the fields were snow covered and it pretty much carried on on and off all day.

The fields are now a horrible mess of slushy snow and mud. The entrance to the girls field shelter is the worst I have ever seen it they were wading through a stream at one point. I didn't turn the boys out into their big daytime field as that has no shelter.

In between the snow showers and blizzards I have loaded the car and am all set for tomorrow. It is going to be a cold one, definitely a day to get the long johns out!

This evening I have bedded down all the shelters with nice fresh straw in a bid to try and keep everyone warm. I'm sure Mary is now wishing that she had kept her coat on!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Pom tastic

Gabby was due another injection for her abcess this morning. Thankfully, with a bit of carrot for a bribe, she was soon in the shelter where she could be restrained and given antibiotics, all under the close watchful eye of Ursula who, of course, doesn't like to miss anything!

Gabby is far from the brightest of alpacas, however is very sweet natured so once she is restrained she is easy to deal with. With more carrot as a reward for being a good girl she was soon out with the rest of the team for her breakfast.

It's a short blog tonight because a special order Paca Pom Pom hat is being finished to be delivered by Paul tomorrow in readiness for a special Christmas present.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Yippee the scarf is finished

The rain is back again, so much for a cold dry start to the week. After two days of rain the fields that were starting to dry off slightly are sodden again. I have also noticed that one of our shelters that isn't being used at the minute has a leaking roof. I will have to attend to that before the girls move into that field in a few weeks time.

I have been frantically knitting today and have finally finished the scarf that was on order and have now moved onto the hat. Said hat has to be finished for Paul to take with him on Thursday morning so it could be a late night tomorrow.

Loki was a very good boy this morning and let me flush out his abscess area and give him his antibiotic, so he is once again supporting a nice blue tint.

I managed to get some photos of our latest knitwear so need to get that on the website as it is nearing the deadline for Christmas on-line shopping.

This evening I have had to barricade the chicken coop up, as last night we had a visit from Mr Fox. The new hens have been sleeping downstairs and were obviously spotted. He dug a hole and had obviously had a good go and getting hold of them as there were feathers everywhere. Thankfully they were ok so I'm hoping that he doesn't return. We have never had a fox problem before.

Monday, 14 December 2009

A new coat

I am glad to see that you were all amused by yesterdays photograph! Carol my knitting friend was all excited about what she was going to be able to knit in grey next year until she saw the photo - sorry Carol.

In all the excitement of last nights blog I forgot to tell you about Mary's new coat. Regular readers may recall Mary is one of our black girls who seems to feel the cold so I ordered her a coat. As the temperature was set to drop we thought that we would put it on her yesterday before it rained and she got wet.

Having seen how they sometimes react when one of the cria get a new coat and not wanting to spook Mary we put her in a pen and put it on. She wasn't impressed initially but seemed to get used to very quickly so after a little while we released her.

Bad move; she shot off round the field with the others in hot pursuit. I'm not sure what was worrying her more
  • The fact that this 'thing' had dared to follow her out of the pen,
  • The coat making a strange noise when she kick out at one of the others who were checking this strange looking alpaca, or
  • The fact that some of the others were spooked and running away from her.

We then had the unenviable task of trying to re catch her to take it off as I didn't want to stress her out anymore. Luckily a bit of food and an open gate works wonders and said foreign body was soon removed. Wasted £45 there then - never mind at least we tried.

I have had the vet out today, Loki had a huge abscess which burst yesterday, this has obviously been brewing for a little while. He had some stiffness just over a week ago but had fully recovered from that. I was slightly worried by the size of the opening so wanted it checked out. The vet was very impressed by how well I had been cleaning it out and is happy that with continued flushing and antibiotics he will be just fine.

Loki has a fabulous nature and hasn't complained at all when I have been cleaning, squeezing or poking, he just grumbles when it is time for his injection. It is a good job he is such a good boy as doing things like this on your own is not the easiest thing in the world.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Unveiling of the new girls

Following on from yesterdays blog I was out this morning with the camera, Dave and Irene were obviously very keen to see the new girls; so here goes.......

You were all excited weren't you expecting three grey alpacas - I wish! I love the greys and would love another one, hopefully Kate (our grey) will give us one in the spring when she is due to birth.

Our grey girls are actually Moran hens that have been hatched by a friend. They have got to stay in for a little while so they know where home is and where they are supposed to lay their eggs. Once they have settled in they will be let out to roam with our original old girls, who at the minute are not impressed with their new housemates.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Three new girls

It has been another busy and exciting day today.

We have taken delivery of three lovely new grey girls, by the time we had got sorted it was getting too dark to get a photo so you will have to wait until tomorrow to see them.

It was paste and weigh day for the youngsters, all take the paste very well with the exception of Sandstorm who is never too keen. His mum Irraquoy keeps a beady eye on you when you've got hold of her boy. I don't think she is going to like weaning time one bit, Oonagh on the other hand wouldn't notice if you walked off with Kealani.

We have also been working on our marketing - more on that another day I need to get off to see the Strictly Come Dancing semi final!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Better late than never

Can you believe it is the end of another week, where on earth do the hours go? I could do with a few more in the day please to keep up, or rather catch up on the job list!

I had to take Paul to work this morning as he had left one car there yesterday, this meant the herd got a late breakfast. This did not go down well, I was being glared at by 33 pairs of eyes as I approached.

Once everyone had been fed I was soon forgiven and an extra large supply of hay for the girls put me firmly back in their good books. We seems to be steaming through the hay at an alarming rate this year.

I had a nice surprise at lunchtime, the postman returned my fleeces that I had entered into the cancelled heart of England fleece show. Legend of Spartacus obviously scared off the competition!! :-)

As usual there are a few two man jobs on the list for tomorrow so no lie in for Paul. I may actually treat myself to a bit of an early night and make sure I am in bed before midnight tonight.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Best month yet

It has just been routine day of jobs here today, nothing very exciting to report, other than Loki is now back to his old self which is good. I think my theory of one of the others being a bit rough was probably correct. This is great news at he has an outing to Alnwick scheduled with Hughie next week.

Did I mention that Hughie is now on facebook!!!

I have been busy knitting a scarf that is on order. Whilst on the subject of my knitwear, I am pleased to report that I have had my best month of sales to date. It is good to see all the hard work paying off.

I am playing taxi tonight for Paul who is out on one of his Christmas party's - story of my life!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Fresh grass and an abscess

The girls have moved on to fresh grass today, their previous field was so muddy I was worried everyone was going to end up with trench foot or something!

Joking aside it is very easy for alpacas to pick up sore feet in the cold, wet muddy environment and for them to go unnoticed because of the amount of dirt on their legs and feet. With this said I have been looking closely at every ones feet - a little too close yesterday as I got kicked in the head. Thankfully my nice thick hat helped to soften the blow.

Kate has a little sore on the side of her toe so I am keeping a close eye on that. She is the most difficult of my girls to handle and has a real chip on her shoulder. As you can imagine she is far from cooperative and I'm trying to check, keep clean and blue spray her on my own.

I had also noticed that Gabby looked like she had a lump developing on her jaw. Oh no, not an abscess I was hoping. There was certainly nothing there 10 days ago when everyone received their routine cydectin injection because I checked jaw lines.

I penned her in on her way into the new field and I'm afraid my fears were confirmed there was a lump. This called for a trip to the vets for some Nuflor and fingers crossed that will sort her out.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A cuppa with Carol

Having completed the morning routine I nipped over to my knitting friend Carols. She is knitting like crazy so I was delivering more yarn to keep her busy, she had run out of Guinea's own yarn so I replenished her stock! Thanks for the tea and biscuit Carol, not the mention the knitting I brought back with me.

I have started the scarf which has been ordered and mum is doing one of the hats which is on order. I always feel better when all my special orders are complete and with the customer.

Loki is much better again today, in fact he is almost back to his usual self. So much so I turned the boys out into the big field this morning rather than there bedtime field. He happily trotted off with the others, as usual Legend was at the back. He is always holding up the rear!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Updated shop

Following our weekend of knitwear sales we have been updating our online shop and to say there is not a lot of stock left is an understatement. There are lots of sold labels in most of the categories.

I received nothing but compliments at both events on the quality of our products. It goes to show that having high quality animals is a must. Without high quality fleeces such luxurious end products would not be achieved.

A particular favourite was items made from the yarn from one of our stud boys, Golden Guinea. The Milly, Molly, Willow and Blossom mix was another that sold well, this is not a mix that will be repeated either as we have sold Milly and her sister Molly is also currently for sale.

With this years cria's fleeces looking great and the herd growing I am already planing which fleeces I will blend and who will get processed individually. I am looking forward to a couple of new shades for next years markets and fairs.

Loki is looking much better today, I'm not sure if it was as a result of the second injection he had yesterday or threatening him with the vet! I will continue to keep a very close eye on him and see how he goes.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Cambo Christmas Fair

It was another night of heavy rain, I laid in bed for hours last night listening to it, and feeling so sorry for the animals. I hate the fact that there is so much mud in their fields; oh to be lucky enough to have a nice big barn........................................... one day!
It was another early start as we had the animals to feed, Loki needed another injection and we were off to Cambo Christmas Fair with the fleece products.
Loki seems to be improving, I am going to have a chat with the vet tomorrow as he is still not himself. He seems to be spending longer than normal at the poo pile as though he's constipated but he's not because I've seen him go. I've not seen him have a wee though, so I'm not sure if there is an issue in that department.

Moving on to the Cambo Fair, we'd not done this one before so it was a bit of the unknown. It was indoors so Hughie didn't get out to see his public today! Despite it being very quiet we did ok, so that is more stock gone out of the online shop. At this rate there will be nothing left for our trip up to Alnwick Farmers Market - not that I'm complaining.
Here is a photo of today's stall.

This was yesterday at Morpeth Farmers Market.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Morpeth Farmers Market

It's a late one tonight as I treated myself to a night in front of the television with Rod Stewart! Well I was ironing so not really a night off.

Well, that sunshine I reported yesterday didn't last long; we woke this morning to rain. Not what we wanted for our trip to the farmers market.

Thankfully the rain dried up once we'd set up. It was another busy day which is good, and as you will see from the on-line shop stocks are diminishing rapidly. We are out at Cambo Christmas Fair tomorrow too. I haven't bothered emptying the car, I didn't think there was much point.

I actually remembered to get a photo of the stall before the crowds arrived to show you, but the camera is still in the car so it will have to wait until tomorrow night.

Friday, 4 December 2009

All set

I am pleased to report that the sun has been shining and Loki is looking much better today. So much so I let the boys into their big field, Loki hadn't wanted to venture far out of the shelter the last couple of days. He has been stood all day munching and is not as stiff, here's the evidence!
As the sun was out and the herd was drying I thought I would take a few photos for the blog. The only trouble is the girls come far too close and all I get is noses or ears. Here are a few that I managed to salvage.

Urusla
Willow

Irraquoy and her cria Sandstorm

I am at Morpeth Farmers Market again tomorrow so I have the car loaded and ready to go. Hopefully it will be dry for us, if it's wet it's not much fun. Fingers crossed for a bumper day of sales. I am not taking any more order now as I picked up a couple on Wednesday and I managed to sell a hat and scarf set on-line whilst I was at Paul's work where I also sold the same set! I have agreed with the on-line purchaser to do it in a different yarn as many of my items are one off''s.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Ouch!

I've had another busy day, I had to nip off to Morpeth first thing to pick up some medicine for Loki. I think one he has been playing with one of the other boys (probably Hughie) and has pulled or strained something as he's walking rather stiffly. I have checked him over and there are no lumps, bumps or abrasions and he's eating and going to the toilet without any issue.

Thankfully Loki is a very well behaved boy and I was able to inject him on my own. Hopefully this will help and he will be back to running round in no time.

Kate has also developed a limp this morning. I think with the cold and wet they are a bit more susceptible to knocks. She has improved as the day has gone on so fingers crossed she will be back to normal tomorrow. It didn't stop her running and beating me to the troughs this evening.

Carol, my knitting friend requested some more wool last night so I popped that over this morning too. The is no doubt knitting like crazy as I type!

I received a lovely email today from a customer (Peter), who had bought some baby garments recently for a friend in France. There was a very sweet photo attached of the very cute baby wearing her new hat.

I have another busy day again tomorrow. I need to finish knitting a hat and load the car ready for the farmers market on Saturday, clean the fields (if it doesn't rain more over night) and I may have a job to do for Alan my farming friend. He suffered a rather nasty accident on Tuesday and ended up in hospital requiring 50 stitches so I have offered my services.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A busy couple of days

There really aren't enough hours in the day! I'm not sure where yesterday went, I spent most of the day getting new stock ready for my sales event today, it's amazing how much time it takes to sew in labels, print off labels and price everything up.

Today I was at Northern Rock with my stall. I have had a busy day selling lots of knitwear, some jewellery and the infamous paca poo bricks. I now have to get it all ready again for the weekend as we are out both Saturday and Sunday.

Mum has been a great help over the past few days, if she hasn't been knitting she's been helping with the feeding routine. As you can see the girls enjoy it when she comes because they all think they are entitled to be hand fed and she ends up getting mobbed. This was yesterday morning.
Whilst I was out today mum and dad fed everyone for me which was good as I left in the dark and returned in the dark. They have now gone back home with more yarn supplies and a list of requirements!!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Yet more rain

This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but I will tell you anyway; it has been raining again.

The fields are in such a state there is little chance of them recovering now until the spring I suspect. Thankfully as we rotate our land the current three in use will at least get resting in a couple of weeks time. This doesn't help the main entry points though which are sodden.

I think Loki is feeling depressed with all the weather. This evening he was not his usual self, he came over for his tea but he just seemed a little down. I got hold of him and checked him over, there were no signs of any injury or pain anywhere so I will see how he is in the morning.

Carol (aka super knitter), popped in this morning to drop off some knitting ready for my next event on Wednesday. I really don't know how she finds the time to knit as much as she does. I have been busy sewing labels into everything once it has been washed and dried. Tomorrow I need to print off my information leaflets for all the new stock.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

And still it rains

I was glad to hear that I'm not the only one to stab myself with a needle!

After another night of torrential rain everywhere was wet through again this morning. We had a selection of dry alpacas though who had quite clearly spent the night in their shelters.

First job was to finish off yesterdays job of routine vaccinations, AD&E and toe nail trimming. I am pleased to say that the whole herd has now been attended to. Everyone was condition scored on the way through.

We have a couple of girls who are on the lean side, feeding cria and being pregnant does take a lot of some girls. I think I will take them to one side to give them a little extra. We only have two girls that still have their cria at foot, Oonagh and Irraquoy (LMI). LMI is on the lean side but with Sandstorm a very healthy 22kg it wont be that long before he is off with the weanlings.

The boys are far from lean, in fact Hughie and Legend are rather chunky. We actually managed to get all of Legends toe nails cut today. As mum was here we made use of her, with both her and Paul holding him down I was able to cut them.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

One for them and one for me

Well I'm not quite sure where today went. We had a list of jobs as long as your arm and haven't managed to get them completed.

Hughie had a visitor this morning, well not just Hughie but he thinks anyone that comes to look at our herd as come purely to see him so he was on cloud nine. A new person he could get acquainted with!

I left mum to feed the sugarbeet at lunchtime as I was desperate for some new tyres on the car and the tyre man ran last night to say the tyres had arrived. As I was driving round on what felt like slicks I thought I'd best get there before they shut this afternoon.

Once back we had a rather large job of a routine vaccination for the whole herd, weighing the youngsters and there were a few toe nails in need of a little pedicure.

The weanlings were all weighed, vaccinated and given their AD&E paste. Duke and Tenzing had both lost a few grams since they were weighed last Sunday so have obviously missed mums milk. I will weigh them in a few days to make sure they are back on the up. They are both tucking into their feed and the hay now so I am assuming it was just a little blip.

Then it was off to do the girls. The poor things are absolutely filthy but as it has been a lovely day they have started to dry off which is nice. Unfortunately during the first wave of injections I managed to stab myself in the finger with one of the used needles. No mites or worms for me then - just a very bloody finger that wouldn't stop bleeding.

Lesson of the day take the sharps box with me rather than use a tub until I get back into the house. As I couldn't stop my finger bleeding and I didn't want to get blood all over the girls we let those that hadn't been done out, and I will have to finish it off in the morning.

Friday, 27 November 2009

The Lamb Man's special request

My parents have arrived today for a few days. Mum was laden down with her knitting (not to mention lots of Christmas presents ready for Christmas; she is far too organised), so the stock of gloves has been replenished.

She also bought with her a few orders that I took at the last farmers market which included a pair of specially requested gloves for Jimmy Bell, The Lamb Man. They have half a finger on the first finger of the left glove!

Mum loves to feed everyone when she arrives and today was no exception. The girls love it when she comes too because they run rings round her. It was really funny seeing them all pushing and shoving from one trough to the next, mum couldn't move. I wish I'd had the video camera with me.

Hughie was also pleased to see her and had to rush to the gate to make sure he got their first to say hello. Oh to be popular!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Almost dry

There is definitely strange things going on, I had to manually change to date and time of the test posting I just did!

The weather had almost managed to be dry for 12 hours before the rain began again. Everyone was starting to dry off and was looking much happier. Sadly they will all be wet through again- oh to have a nice big barn or two. One day.

I nipped in to Morpeth today to pick some cydectin up from the vets and get a few bits. Whilst I was there I got stopped in the street by a complete stranger who said "Excuse me, aren't you the alpaca lady".

She had seen me at the Morpeth Farmers Market at the beginning of the month and wanted to know if I would be there again in December. She is interested in doing a spot of Christmas shopping, I confirmed we will be there with Hughie and Loki in tow, 5th December 9am until 2pm.

Willow, one of our foundation herd and the face of Barnacre is half was through her pregnancy today. Despite being mated 2 weeks apart she is actually due the same day as one of the girls we have for sale, Molly. I am very stringent about record keeping and all our girls have their own average gestation periods, Willow is 339 days whilst Molly is 353 so somewhere round the 15th May for these too girls then.

Gremlins

I'm not sure what is going on with my blog, for some reason last nights post is showing that I did it Tuesday!! I have also got a big red line saying error.

Before I ramble on any further I will post this and see what happens.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Blowing a gale

When we went to bed last night it sounded like we were about to lose our roof, it was so windy. I was expecting to wake up to damage to a shelter or something.

Thankfully all was in order, the girls feed troughs had been blown about but other than that everything was present and correct. The wind hasn't died down any though, the weather man said it would have calmed down by this morning.

On top of the wind we have had yet more rain, it really is starting to get to me now. Everywhere is sooooooo muddy and the alpacas are filthy, with the odd exception. It must have been bad today because for the first time since being weaned the weanlings took to their shelter.

Talking of my little ones, poor little things are still humming away. They have usually quietened down a bit by now but they seem to be much more vocal this year. Mums have already moved on!

I thought you might like to see some of the fabulous knitting Carol dropped off for me on Monday. She has also done a white scarf of the same pattern but not a wide which is lovely.
On the point of knitting, you will be pleased to hear I finished the scarf I was knitting too, at last.

OCD for a quad

I think Paul is suffering from OCD, following him missing out on the quad on ebay last week he is now constantly looking at them and adding them to the watch list on ebay. He's driving me mad, the latest one he has his eye on is in Wales - so not exactly round the corner!

On the alpaca front, the poor things are very soggy, I don't like to complain having seen all the devastation over in Cumbria but it is getting very depressive. I can't remember the last time the alpacas were dry and the mud is spreading further and further.

Angelus is particularly filthy, she has this attraction to mud and will sit and lay in it on purpose. She did have a fabulous fleece and is doing her up most to ruin it.

Grey scarf update.......................... it's growing and I'm nearly finished. I'm going to head back to the needles now because I am determined to finish it before I got to bed tonight.

Monday, 23 November 2009

New stock arrives

I have had very exciting delivery today, Carol and Dave have been. Dave went to fill his car with alpaca poo (in bags obviously), whilst Carol came to bring me her latest batch of knitting - these batches seem to grew in size each time she comes!

They have been on holiday and Carol took some of Golden Guinea's yarn and the girls with her. She is so dedicated she bought needles whilst out in Malta and has come back with three scarves; yes three, two hats, two pairs of fingerless mittens and a pair of fingerless gloves. All this in two weeks, she puts me to shame.

I will get them all washed and photographed asap so I can share them with you and put them in the shop. The hats and two of the scarves are new designs.

The youngsters are still missing their mums. This morning one of our new neighbours was walking down the lane and very curious about the noise they were making, having never herd them make this sort of noise before.

They are happy munching when I sneak up, but as soon as they see me they start crying even more so when they see me heading in the direction of their mums. Poor little things, hopefully they will settle down real soon.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Separation update

I'm pleased to report that the now weanlings coped very well with their first night away from mummy. To be honest I think they all had a better nights sleep than I did; I was feeling all guilty and worried about them.

Duke was particularly pleased to see me this morning and came running to the fence with his tail over his back humming away. As soon as I was through the gate he was wanting to give me a kiss which you just can't resist when he asks so nicely. He is a real little sweetie who I will miss when it comes to time to sell him.

There have already been a few people interested in purchasing Duke and his mate Tenzing but they need to settle in to life without their mums before I consider letting them go to pastures new.

Surprisingly all the mums seem to have coped fine without their offspring. In fact the only one looking slightly forlorn this morning was Kate, this is probably because she doesn't really like sharing her space with any other alpacas except for Star, so probably missed snuggling up to her daughter.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

A nasty job day

Today was the day, that to be honest I have been putting off; weaning day! It is one of those necessary nasty jobs required for every alpaca breeder.

Poor little mites had no idea what was coming, except Duke who seemed to have developed some sixth sense and had been glued to his mums side all morning.

Firstly though, we went off to another farm sale this morning in the hope of finding an ATV trailer. Yet again it went for more than our limit, although this time we were only one bid out (we had already gone £40 over our limit mind you).

I think Paul got a bit carried away at the thought of having to carry the rather large Midnight Star away from her mum across the field. Thankfully farmer Alan we happy to lend us his sheep taxi to move the, now weanling's this afternoon.

Despite the initial panic by the youngsters they seem to have settled away from their mums. I think the rather nice lush green grass helps to take their mind off things. Duke was the only one that didn't want any tea and is rather vocal. To be honest this comes as no surprise because he is a real mummy's boy. I thought Palm-Olive would kick up a fuss but she has been remarkably calm.

The mums seem to be fine too, Veruschka was wondering round looking like she had lost something but I'm not quite sure she knew what it was she had lost. Bless her she is not the brightest alpaca.

I will let you know how their first night away from mum has gone tomorrow.

Friday, 20 November 2009

My parcel arrives

After another wet and windy night last night I was not looking forward to looking over the gate this morning. Thankfully all was in order and the puddles weren't as bad as I was expecting. It has actually been a nice sunny day today and things have dried out slightly - including the animals.

In preparation for my next outing with the knitwear I ordered a couple of hands to display my gloves and a few more heads for the hats. Things look much nicer when they are displayed professionally. I only ordered them on Wednesday night and they were here before 9.30am this morning, thankfully one of the workmen working across the road took it in for me as I was in the field.

I thought you might like to see one in action, here modeling our Hughie mock cable fingerless mittens available on-line or visit one of our future venues, details can be found on the events page of the website.


For anyone interested in a scarf update; it's not growing fast enough!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

In bad books

Well folks I'm in bad books; yes I know, whats new. This time it is because Paul wanted to bid on a quad that was being advertised on ebay. He left it until the last second and because I didn't know that he would have to be logged into paypal as well as ebay he didn't have enough time to log in to paypal and bid. Oops! He is now sulking like a two year old.

On the alpaca front, it looked like Mary had been having a party in the shelter the amount of poo that was in there. Once I'd fed everyone I cleaned it up.

I have started knitting with Kate's yarn today, a lovely lace scarf. The colour is a very nice steely grey colour.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Flooding and more rain forecast

After a night of torrential rain I knew the fields were going to be wet and they certainly were. I had to wade through the gate with the hay for the girls, the puddle was about 5 inches deep.

Despite all the rain our brown stud male, Golden Guinea had obviously spent the whole evening and night in the shelter with Loki as they were both completely dry whilst Hughie looked like he'd been for a swim in a swap!

I have also sussed who is the culprit for relieving themselves in the girl's shelter, Mary. She was bone dry this morning, which is good because she is the one girl who feels the cold. She had obviously spent the night in there with her 2007 daughter Ursula because they were the only two girls dry.

I thought I would share a few photo's with you, this is one of our neighbours fields that I am standing in. The road is in between the estate rail fencing.


Here I am actually in the road, there is no way Paul would have got home in the MG this way tonight! I didn't dare go any further as the current was very strong and I was almost at the top of my wellies.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Normal service resumed

My brother and his family have returned home today so normal service has resumed. It seems very quiet without Faith running about, I've got to wait until Christmas Eve for them to come back.

Yet again I am still waiting for Paul to return home from work (the poor thing never gets to see the animals this time of year), he seems to be working longer and longer hours lately - much to his displeasure as well as mine.

As the sun was shining and the forecast is not good for the rest of the week I thought I would take the camera out with me at lunchtime and share what I could see.

Chiquita here, was up to her normal antics with her head through the stock fencing eating the resting paddock. She does worry me doing this, I will not use stock fencing again because I am worried sick that she will get stuck.

As her name suggests, Chiquita (Spanish for the little one), is a petite girl who has a fabulous fleece. After a lot of thought and discussions with the vet we mated her and she is pregnant to Gianmarco's Masterpiece. She only had one go, that's how desperate she was to be pregnant!

Her mum, Willow (the face of our logo) has a habit of eating through the fence too, although she can't get her head through the small squares of the stock fencing.

Whilst the youngsters were pretty dry I thought I would weigh them as they are bound to be soaking wet at the weekend. All growing nicely, I really struggled to lift Duke so I don't think I'll be able to do him next week, he will have to be left for Paul.


Sunday, 15 November 2009

Faith gets all brave

As I said yesterday my niece is visiting (with her parents obviously, I'll be working on unsupervised visits shortly!). I remembered to take my camera out with me this evening and here is Faith saying hello to Hughie with her daddy (my brother) and her mummy (for those of you who have been reading my blog for some time, she was the ironing fairy earlier in the summer).
Next we moved on to the girls, by now we were feeling very brave and Faith came into the field. Here is Ursula sharing Faith's apple from earlier. She was so brave she even touched Ursula and tried to stroke Gabby but she was a bit to quick to run off.
All this excitement is exhausting you know! She didn't even make it back to the house. It wasn't actually pitch black not sure what was going on with the camera.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Farm sale and shop updates

My brother, his wife and my gorgeous little niece, Faith (who has done a spot of modeling in our shop) are up visiting for a few days which is nice.

We treated them to a trip to a local farm sale this morning, in the auction were a couple of things we had our eye on, the main one being an ATV trailer. Faith got her new wellies and waterproofs wet and muddy (yeah, I knew I'd get away with it!) and my brother panicked that he might breathe too deep and buy something.

As usual at these types of sales the pace is very fast and half the time you can't understand what is being said. Sadly the things we were bidding on went over our limits so we purchased nothing.

Paul has put my latest creations on the website which have been knitted from Hughie's yarn which is absolutely fabulous to knit with. Having good fleeced animals is paramount to achieving good end results so we are very lucky to have some very nice fleeces within our herd.

Friday, 13 November 2009

A word of thanks

I am pleased to say I survived the dentist! Nothing needed either which was very good.

Having an 8am dentist appointment meant that the alpacas had a later than normal breakfast which they were far from impressed about. They were all standing at the fence waiting for me, both the boys and the girls.

I have received some lovely comments from a very satisfied customer on my guest book. Click here to read them.

This evening the rain has arrived so no doubt the boys will be in their shelter and the girls under the trees. Some times the dark gang of girls (Mary, Ursula and Geena) go in the shelter but the girls seem to prefer to stay out at night. I think they like to see what is going on.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Kealani as promised

First things first, I promised Jayne from Zanzibah Alpacas a photo of Kealani after talking about her yesterday. Well here she is, this was taken two weeks ago a probably the last time she was fully dry!
She was in trouble today with Molly, Kealani certainly has no fear of anyone. She was jumping on Palm-Olive at feed time and Palm-Olive was getting very annoyed and groaning and blowing air at her which didn't seem to be getting the message through. All of a sudden from nowhere Molly arrived to protect her daughter and sent Kealani on her way; after Kealani had tried to jump on her!

Alice is exactly half way through her pregnancy today, well that is going on the Barnacre herd average gestation period of 346 days. Alice has a fantastic pedigree, with genetics which include the legendary NWA Ltd Ruffo. She is currently pregnant to Gianmarco's Masterpiece, so with the added genetics of Jolimont Gianmarco, Jolimont Sculptor and Jolimont Encantador added into the mix we are expecting something very spectacular indeed from Alice's cria.

I noticed this morning that Loki is getting his big boy teeth, all of a sudden one of his baby teeth has been pushed forward by the other tooth behind. Whilst on the subject of teeth, wish me luck, I'm at the dentist first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A date has been set

It has been a very mixed day today, but with the forecast for the next few days pretty terrible I thought I'd best get the cria weighed before they were sopping wet.

Now that the babies are getting older and the nutritional value of the grass is diminishing the weight gain is slowing, with the exception of our youngest cria Kealani who is now 18.9kg and doing very well on mum, Oonagh's milk - she's a chip off the old block. Oonagh is Blossoms first daughter.

The first batch of weaning will be done at the end of the month, which means that there is only limited time for some lucky person to purchase Molly and her daughter, Palm-Olive at their current very competitive price of £6,750 + VAT.

Palm-Olive is sired by the well renown stud Accoyo Remarque who has produced many ribbon winning progeny. Molly is currently pregnant to our elite white stud Gianmarco's Masterpiece so we are expecting great things for her in the spring.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

New stock on line at last

Brrrrrrrr, it was another cold start this morning but at least it was dry; for a while anyway. I almost managed to finish giving everyone fresh hay and moved the boys into their daytime pasture before it started to rain.

I just knew it was going to rain today as I had had to wash my quilt as Smudge (one of our cats) decided to be sick on it last night - marvelous!

Paul has finally got round to putting the new items into the shop so I now need to go and do all the descriptions and prices. There were so many items showing as sold we have removed some of them.

Mum has finished another pair of gloves today and I am three quarters of the way through my Hughie mittens too. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Rear of the year

What a very frosty start to the morning and as usual everyone was waiting for me when I went out. It is so nice to be wanted.

It has been a very busy day what with one thing and another. I had plans to get some knitting done to replenish some of the stock sold at the weekend. Paul had kindly offered to take a parcel to the post office for me to save me going in to Morpeth. It was one of our paca poo poo fire brick that had been sold - I hope the person behind the counter didn't want to know what was in the packet!

Before I had finished my morning routine of feeding and checking everyone I had a phone call from a previous customer with, in his words, an emergency. He was off to France in a couple of days time and wanted to purchase some more of my knitwear to take with him for a very special new arrival.

She is a very lucky little girl as I packaged up a hat, cardigan and booties which I then had to rush to the post office to make sure it arrived in time for his trip. So much for saving me a trip to Morpeth. Not that I am complaining, at this rate there will be nothing left to sell by Christmas.

When I got back I had to get the sheep ready for a trip to see the tups. Alan takes them for me and they spend a few weeks with his girls meeting the boys. My girls never like socialising with other sheep, they are far too good for that, and as for Mia (she was my first ever pet lamb that never realised she was a sheep), it will be interesting to see if she actually stays in the field. I half expect her to wander back home by the end of the week!

Getting back to the alpacas, people always find it amazing that I can identify everyone by their hum or back end so I thought I would share a photo of the girls enjoying their hay and try and identify the rear. Here goes......

Starting from the front left; Imala, Irraquoy, Molly, Veruschka, Ursula,Molly, Gabby, Sandstorm, Kealani (having a sneaky drink from mum), Oonagh. Mary is between the mangers with Lualeni looking at me. Then it's Palm-Olive, Aria, Sienna, Angelus, Willow and Chiquita.

Behind the manger is Geena, Nefertiti, Duke (you have to look closely it's only his nose), Kate, Mallika, Alice (I think it may be Milly) and Katia.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Move it or clean it

The weather was horrible first thing this morning, it had obviously been pouring with rain during the night as there were streams everywhere again.

Typically shortly after we headed back in for a cup of tea having fed the herd and spent a bit of time watching and talking to everyone the rain stopped!

No rest for the wicked, after we had supped up Paul was out re-arranging the garage so the car could fit in as well as all the feed, hay, quad, muck truck and other paraphernalia we have collected.

Whilst he was doing this I cleaned the rather dirty trailer. Bio security is something that has to be treated very seriously and after every single use the trailer gets thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. To say we had only had two boys in there fore a 20 minute drive it was far from pleasant.

Hughie and Loki did not go to the toilet all the time we were at the farmers market and boy did they make up for it the minute they got in the trailer. Loki, bless him is always funny about relieving himself anywhere other than at home. He will moan for hours at a show before he finally gives in and goes.

I've also repacked the stock we bought home from the market so it is all nice and tidy and ready for my next outing in three weeks time. This is one of the new ranges we have that hasn't made it into the online shop yet.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Morpeth Farmers Market

It was another early start this morning, we had to check and feed everyone before we headed off to the farmers market to sell our knitwear.

Hughie and Loki were having a race to see who could get in the trailer first. Hughie loves going out and about meeting the public but even Loki was in a hurry this morning. Thankfully I'd already loaded the car yesterday so that was one less job to do this morning.

We had a good day selling, and received lots of lovely comments about our products. It is so nice when people appreciate the efforts you go to and the quality of our items. We will be back there again for the Christmas market at the beginning of December.

You can never quite tell what you are going to sell, gloves were definitely the hot favourite today. It's usually the fingerless type that are most popular but today it was fingers, in fact I sold out of ladies full fingered gloves. Best get knitting gloves with fingers; I've already set mum on it!

I have taken a few orders again so it looks like I'm going to be burning the candle at both ends for the next few weeks (no change there then!)

Friday, 6 November 2009

All loaded up and ready for the off

I have spent the day getting ready for the 10th Anniversary Morpeth Farmers Market tomorrow. Everything is priced, labeled and tagged and most of it is in the car ready to go.

The trailer is ready for the boys, Hughie and Loki are coming along to show the public where all our knitwear, felting and poo bricks come from!

I will soon need a trailer for the trailer, each time I seem to set up somewhere I have more things to take along. This time I have additional stock, display heads and all the poo bricks (they only come out in the run up to Christmas).

The girls got very excited this morning when they saw me moving round hurdles; I need them to make Hughie and Loki's pen for tomorrow - you can never have enough hurdles. Guinea also got rather excited, I think he thought I was making him a mating pen. Sorry Mr Guinea you have got to wait until spring until your next conquest; Barnacre Sienna is looking forward to it as much as he is I think.

I was going to have a night off knitting, but I can't. It's time for Autumn Watch so I'll do a spot of knitting whilst I watch it!!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Camelibra feed delivered

I took delivery of a tonne of alpaca feed this morning. Thankfully the delivery driver rang me from, in his words 'a dirt track' his sat nav was trying to send him down to check he was heading in the right direction.

He wasn't, for some reason TomToms always try and send you down this track and through a ford which is impassible by even the tractor most of the time. Alan, our farmer friend has has to rescue many a visitor who has carried on down the track and got stuck.

When said lorry arrived with a rather large pallet of feed I was slightly worried that I would be unloading it; all 60 sacks (I had some Fibregest as well) by hand. I managed to get one of the neighbours with a manatu to unload it for me - phew! If anyone locally is interest in buying any at cost price let me know.

Long term blog readers may recall I was lucky enough to obtain a weaving loom on freecycle in exchange for some alpaca manure and half a dozen eggs. Well the very kind elderly gentleman that made the loom (and delivered it) popped round for some more manure today.

He came with his camera so the boys took full advantage of the situation and Hughie got his photo taken exchanging kisses.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Mud, mud and more mud

I thought I would get an early blog in this evening before Paul gets home from work. He is doing some very long days at the minute, most annoying.

We have had another day of sunshine and showers today and the fields are horrible and muddy, particularly in the girls feeding pen.

It is only the first week in November and we are already paddling in mud, I dread to think what it is going to be like by the end of winter.

The girls are funny to watch in said mud. There are a few, like the recently sold Aria and our black girl Geena that will walk round the edge trying to avoid walking through it and then there are the girls who Paul would say take after me!

If there is mud to be found I always managed to find it. Willow and Angelus have to be the main two that seem totally oblivious to mud and go trampling through it and manage to get it everywhere. This afternoon Molly did the most revolting thing and slid neck first into the mud at the entrance to the feeding pen and rolled in it. I think I may have to change her description on alpaca seller to brown! Typically I didn't have the camera with me.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Exciting stuff

What another delightful morning it was this morning. I was already in my second set of clothes by 9am! To add insult to injury, shortly after I had finished my early morning chores there was a break in the torrential rain; typical.

For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you may recall last week I mentioned some very tantalising offers that we had on our 'sales' girls. Well as I suspected, in view of the stunning value of these girls we have sold three.

Yes, that was the exciting news I made mention of yesterday. Heidi, along with her mum Aria and Milly have been sold and will be off to their new home soon. These girls are fantastic, I will miss them all dearly, particularly Heidi.

This leaves only four pregnant females left for sale, one with a female cria at foot. It wont be long before we are weaning Palm-Olive from her mum Molly, so there is a limited time to obtain a super value for money purchase there. Molly is currently pregnant to our elite white stud Gianmarco's Masterpiece and Palm-Olive is from Accoyo Remarque who has sired may show winning progeny.

More exciting news, I have been over to see Carol (original CKD sufferer) this evening to pick up her latest stash of knitting. In a week she has knitted 3 hats and two pairs of gloves; she puts me to shame. Thank you Carol if you are reading this.
I am still waiting for Paul to put the last batch of knitwear in the shop, but this is one of her wonderful creations!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Cria comparison

Thankfully the weather has been much better today, the wind has picked up but at least it has been dry.

The herd had almost dried out by tea time, just in time for the rain we have forecast for tomorrow; poor things.

Our last cria of the year Kealani, who is two months old today, seems to have had a growth spurt the last few days. She is such a live wire always jumping on the boys and neck wrestling with them.

I find it fascinating comparing how the cria develop. Palm-Olive our first born cria of the year (born in April) is very grown up both physically and mentally. She no longer plays with the other youngsters, she is far to mature for all those silly games. I think at the rate she is growing she will be ready for mating next year.

Star is another big girl, she is five months old now and her mum, Kate, is beginning to ration her milk supplies. I am hoping to wean 4 of the 7 youngsters together so it will be a little longer before I separate them. Star doesn't seem to realise that she is supposed to respect the adults within the herd and has regular spit off with them. She has obviously learnt that off her mum!

Then there is Duke and Tenzing, these two boys are very laid back. Duke is very affectionate and likes to come and say hello; especially if you have Heidi's bottle in your hand. Tenzing on the other hand prefers to roll round the feed bucket for some reason.

Heidi, Sandstorm and Kealani play together most of the time. Kealani never knows when to stop though so the other two get fed up of her occasionally and send her on her way.

I hope to have more very exciting news on Heidi tomorrow........ watch this space.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

A wash out

It has been a horribly wet day today, we had so much rain that at lunchtime when I went to give Heidi her bottle and the girls their sugerbeet most of the fields were under water, as was our courtyard and drive.

Needless to say the alpacas refused point blank to move for lunch, even when I waded through to Heidi she didn't want her bottle. It must have been bad because not even Duke wanted to come and he's usually hanging round for a free meal!

We had a family coming this morning to pick up a knitting order and meet the girls who had donated their fleeces to make these stunning garments. Sadly the weather put paid to wandering round the fields, so a chat and a cup of tea were called for instead. They were delighted with their new knitwear and I am sure it will keep mum a daughter cosy over winter.

When the rain finally stopped we hurried out to give everyone an early tea. There was no chance of anyone missing tea, as soon as they saw us they were waiting at the gate. After their feed supplement was polished off it was over to the hay mangers for dessert, then all of a sudden there was a sprint off to the trees. This was our cue to leave, the animals always know when then rain is going to arrive. We just made it back to the house in time!!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Spit offs and smelly

For the first time in a week Paul actually got to see the alpacas today. Now the clocks have changed and with some very long hours this week he hasn't managed to see anyone since last Sunday evening.

I always try to let him feed when he's here so he doesn't just get the restraining jobs when I need to do something to somebody. He wasn't quick enough at putting the food out and a bit of a squabble broke out between Oonagh and Ursula and I just happened to get in the way so ended up wearing the contents of Ursula's mouth - great!

Next on the list was spit offs. Milly needed spitting off and I wanted to spit Imala and Geena off too, both were spitting off before they were scanned negative by the vet a week or so ago. All three girls went absolutely mad when Gianmarco made his move. Imala tried to flatten ham and spat like crazy - great to go with the food Ursula spat on my I was now green and yes you guessed it rather smelly!

So we now have to wait and see who is wrong, the vet who scanned the girls or the girls themselves. I'm not sure about Geena because she spat off all last year despite not being pregnant and we had to use Estrumate on her to get her cycling properly. Imala on the other hand has been easy to read in the past so I'm more included to think she might be pregnant. The vet was so sure though; time will tell.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Weigh in

I have weighed all the cria today, with the exception of Palm-Olive and Star who are far too heavy for me to lift now. They were over 30kg's at back in September so no chance I was going to get on the scales with them.

Weighing is something that we do continually from birth until the cria are too heavy to pick up. It is just another way to keep an eye on the youngsters to make sure all is ok. The five I was able to lift are all growing nicely and had gained weight. Tenzing and Duke weigh exactly the same at 25.1kg. That just shows what a good appetite Duke has as he is almost a month younger than Tenzing!

I am glad I weighed them actually as it has just started to rain so they would have been wet in the morning and always try to weigh when they are dry.

I have also been printing off some garment labels today, they had been piling up a bit as we were waiting for some new cartridges for the printer. The weather forecast is not good for Sunday so I intend to attach said labels then.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Exciting stuff

My parents have headed home today, after mum did the lunchtime feed. She has left with a list of knitting required and I have told dad to get the whip out if she shirks her duties!

The postman delivered Kate's yarn at lunchtime, I love it. It is a lovely shade of grey and I am looking forward to knitting something in it next. Unfortunately there isn't that much of it and it has cost a fair bit so all items will be very carefully chosen before knitting commences.

Now for the next bit of exciting news; the sales girls. In a bid to assist other like minded people looking to own top quality alpacas, for a short period we have some very tempting offers which should really get you thinking.

As regular readers will know it will shortly be time to wean the first of this years cria, this will include Palm-Olive who is currently for sale with her mum. Palm-Olive is from the very successful sire Accoyo Remarque and is a very well grown mature youngster who we would expect to be ready to mate next year. Her mum Molly, has been scanned pregnant to one of our elite white studs, Gianmarco's Masterpiece. At a price of £6,750 + VAT for these two girls and the expected cria this is stunning value for money and will only be available for three weeks.

In addition, we have girls that not only have fantastic fleeces but they also have top quality genetics including NWA Ltd Ruffo, Jolimont Gianmarco, Jolimont Sculptor and Jolimont Conquistador in their pedigrees all scanned pregnant to either Legend of Spartacus or Gianmarco's Masterpiece.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A day off

I have had a day off today, although to be honest I think I would rather have spend the day with the animals!

Mum and I decided to brave the Metro Centre and make a start of our Christmas shopping - bad move we forgot it was half term. At least we have made a start although we have been out most of the day.

Typically because I wasn't in the postman has tried to deliver a parcel, so I missed it. Was it my tissue paper that I use for gift wrapping my knitwear or my grey yarn that I am expecting back. It's all very exciting, especially if it is Kate's yarn as I can't wait to get knitting with that.

My Barnacre ribbon has arrived, so if it is the tissue paper I am all ready for a sell out day at the Morpeth Farmers market on the 7th November.

Finally I have some very exciting news on our sales girls, more on that tomorrow though.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Cosy knitting

Well what a miserable day, definitely one for sitting in the cosy living room with the knitting needles!

Mum and I have been hard at it with dad cracking the whip; I'm sure he must be on commission or something. After the lovely comments Rosemary left yesterday I felt all inspired and have started a pair of leg warmers in Hughie's own yarn. I think it is the softest I've knitted with yet; adorable just like him.

We have one girl, Mary who has always been a skinny girl, in fact when she first arrived freshly sheared, just over 2 years ago she looked half starved, as they sometimes do when they come in from abroad. She is looking much better now and has a very good appetite and is healthy, obviously one of those girls who can eat what they want and not put on any weight.

Today Mary decided that she was rather hungry, which she does from time to time. I had a couple of carrots in my pocket which she immediately sniffed out and tried to pinch them whole. After a bit of a wrestle I managed to break them up and she demolished the lot in seconds. Incidentally she is the mother of Ursula - need I say more!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Back to the day job

Paul was back to the day job today, as you can imagine after a week of alpacas 100% he was not at all looking forward to going back.

Mum and I have been busy knitting and Carol popped round with her latest batch of knitting so the stock levels are looking good. Our first farmers market of the year is in a couple of weeks at Morpeth, it's the 10th anniversary so they were very pleased to have the alpacas attending.

It has been dry so we managed to get a few photos of new lines not yet showing in the on-line shop. I need Paul to work his magic but I thought you might like to see this hat as it is fab. It has been knitting from Ursula's fleece and as you can see she is checking it out.
This design along with a few others will be in the shop over the next few days.
There have been lots of updates to the website over the last few days which includes details of our Marketing Director. See how many of the updates you can spot.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Yorkshire Show success

Sorry for the suspense, I was waiting for the weather to improve so we could take some photo's, needless to say it hasn't really played ball.

Yesterday was a very long day, I was up just before 4.30am and managed to kick Paul out of bed shortly after. With Heidi (bottle fed cria) fed and the six animals loaded into the trailer we were on our way by 5.30, bang on target.

As you can imagine there was nothing on the road so we were at Thirsk in just over two hours and ready for inspection in plenty of time. Hughie was recognised immediately, he seems to have developed a bit of a fan base. My parents drove up from Nottingham and met us there.

It was a very good show with in excess of 100 animals and I am delighted to tell you that all six of ours were awarded rosettes, not only that we have two championship sashes and a reserve champion sash - what a result eh!!

The running order was black through to white, so Loki was first in the ring for us, and was awarded 3rd place adult black and received some very positive comments from judge Tim Hey, an expert in black alpacas.

Next up was Barnacre Sienna, and what a star she was. First place intermediate brown female, with the comments that this girl was a clear winner. That was just the start, she was then awarded Champion Brown Female!

Princess Mallika was next in, as you would expect the fawn class was a large one. After a very long time comparing and contemplating she was awarded 2nd place. A very close call between first and second was the judges comments. The girl who came first went on to win Female Fawn Champion and Mallika won Reserve Champion.

Barnacre Lualeni, our white intermediate girl was the last of our girls to enter the ring and definitely didn't want to be outdone by her friends. As I'd taken everyone else in the ring it was Paul's turn this time and I watched from a distance. It was another large class, but we had high hopes. 1st place Intermediate White Female, well deserved it was too; even if I do say so myself, she has a fantastic fleece. Lualeni went on to win Female White Champion.

Hughie was 4th Adult Fawn Male and Gianmarco's Masterpiece was 3rd Adult White Male in another large very competitive class.

This was a very successful end to our showing year.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

What a day..................

I was up far too early and and now far too tired to give you a running commentary so you just have to wait until tomorrow to see how we did!!

Friday, 23 October 2009

All set and ready to go

Poor little Kealani seems to have a bit of a sore ear this evening. I think one of the other have bit it a bit hard during one of their little wrestling matched. She is always involved no matter who is playing and isn't at all bothered about the very big and boisterous Star jumping on her.

Thankfully the weather has been dry most of the day, so the show team that are heading down to Thirsk tomorrow have dried out a bit. They are all still rather damp but I have shut them in this evening in the hope that they dry out some more. Although it has started to rain again so I doubt there is much chance of that.

The boys got very excited when I walked the three girls past them, they are all open (not pregnant) and the boys always seem to know. Mind you the way Mallika was swishing her tail and fluttering her eyelashes they weren't going to miss her!

The girls are shut in down the road in one resting paddock and the boys behind they house in the big shelter. I didn't dare chance shutting the girls in one half and the boys in the other Gianmarco would have jumped over in the night I'm sure.

Well I must go and get the final bits together for our very early start in the morning so wish us luck.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

An outbreak of CKD

CKD - a worrying outbreak has occurred. More on that in a minute.

I'm not quite sure where today has gone, we don't seem to have achieved much at all!

We did a bit of toe nail cutting this morning. The boys, Legend and Gianmarco in particular were looking in need of a trim. It is amazing how quickly their nails grow in comparison to everyone elses.

Legend was a very naughty boy, he doesn't like his toe nails cutting, to be honest he's getting worse. This is probably because he is now a very big boy full of lots of power and muscle so when he decides you are not cutting his nails it is difficult to persuade him otherwise!! It took as long to do his nails as it did to do all the other boys put together. Typically he's the one whos nails grow the quickest so needs them doing the most.

Other than that I've order some more Barnacre ribbon ready for the various fairs and markets we are attending in the run up to Christmas; the first one being Morpeth Farmers Market on the 7th November. It is actually the 10th anniversary so hopefully it will be busy.

This brings me nicely onto the outbreak of CKD....................... Compulsive Knitting Disorder. Carol who recently started knitting for me emailed me to tell me she'd caught it and so have I, it must be highly contagious. I'm hoping that mum will have it to as we always need more stock at this time of year. People always want something in a different colour or size or more pairs than you have.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A day off and where do we go.... to see alpacas!

Despite the appalling weather we had a day away from the farm today. We went up to Berwick on the coast for a walk which was nice, but to be honest I think that was just an excuse so we could go and see the four young boys we sold at the end of Summer to Lavender Bee Alpacas.

It was nice to see them again, they are all growing and bulking up nicely. I could see a huge difference in Barnaby (the big white boy with his bum to the camera). As you can see Horatio hasn't changed a bit and posed nicely for his picture. Aodhfin is along the fence line and Gaussian is with the grey boy, Amadeus.
Here's John and I admiring the view. It was very kind of John to interupt his day to show us the boys - thank you.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Yes and No

We had a visit from the vet this morning to do the last few pregnancy scans of the year. It was good and bad news, 3 of the 5 are pregnant but the other 2 just think they are!

Both Geena and Imala are spitting off but they are not pregnant. This is very disappointing, particularly seeing as neither of these girls have produced for us this year. In fact since we bought them we have only had one cria from each and both were of those were boys! Oh well that's animals for you and at least they are lovely girls to work with.

The other three girls, Oonagh, Angelus and Katia were all positive. Oonagh has been mated to Gianmarco and Angelus and Katia, who are both for sale, to our supreme champion Legend.

Here is Katia, this photo was taken a couple of days ago. She is a very impressive girl from Jolimont Conquistador, so with her pedigree and that of Legend her cria is very eagerly awaited.
This afternoon was taken up with much more mundane jobs, Paul's main one being the tax return.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Wet start to a week off.

Paul is off work this week, so as usual it has been raining - he always seems to pick his weeks wrong.

We nipped into Morpeth this morning for a few supplies, mainly milk for Heidi and to buy Paul a sausage roll (to shut him up!). As the weather was not so good this afternoon Paul has been working on the website and a few other bits of paperwork whilst I have been knitting.

The cria video I mentioned the other night can now be viewed on the movies page of our website, it is so cute, well worth a look even if I do say so myself. She if you can work out who is who. Mum if you are reading this I expect you to get them all right!

Paul has also been talking to Lawrence Waller regarding this weekends alpaca show at Thirsk. We were having second thoughts about going but Lawrence has been very accommodating and been able to do what we've asked so we will be there. So much hard work goes into these event it is such a shame when nature throws a spanner in the works.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Yummy yummy in my tummy

The girls are certainly enjoying their new grass, so much so they have hardly touched the hay today, where as they had been consuming well over a bale a day last week. Willow and Chiquita aren't even bothering to come in for hard feed, they are far too busy stuffing the grass down their necks.

Heidi is also obviously filling up on grass because both yesterday lunchtime and at lunch today she has not wanted all of her bottle. She has had breakfast and tea though.

I know this is an alpaca blog but I just have to congratulate Jenson Button on his fantastic Formula One Championship win. What a race it was too, he had me worried on a few of his over taking maneuvers and as Paul & I yelled at the TV, poor Smudge (the cat who was snuggled up in front of the fire) was woken with a startle!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Frolic in the grass

It has been a lovely autumnal day today and we have spent all of it outside doing jobs.

First on the list was the weekly cria weigh in and they needed their second Lambivac injection. They were all very well behaved including Midnight Star who is extremely hyper and always has a trademark back kick when you let her go; but not today.

They were all on their best behaviour because they had been promised fresh grass, they were all keen to get their heads down.

Shortly after the youngsters all got very excited and had a good chase and pronk round, the tail end of which I managed to catch on video. I can't get the video to upload onto the blog for some reason I'm afraid, I will try and get Paul to put it on the website instead.

After all that excitement we got on with cleaning the field they had just come out of. Poo picking, harrowing and cutting some of the tufty grass round some of the poo piles. We have actually left some of the poo in the field as a bit of an experiment and harrowed it in to see if it helps. This is a rented field which we are not allowed to fertilise so we need to get some goodness back into it naturally.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Little boys and big girls

I have mentioned my very forward male cria already a few times and they have been getting a good 'what for' again today.

It started off this morning with Tenzing being chased half way round the field with a very annoyed Angelus screeching at him. Before she was pregnant Angelus was a great catch for the young boys who could get her down and practise their mating skills.

Since Gianmarco, one of our prize wining studs has got her pregnant she has become a girl with attitude. If one of the others accidentally brushes past her she goes mad let alone a boy trying to mate her.

Then at lunch time it was Sandstorms turn to be in trouble. He tried jumping on the back of Tenzings mum, Veruschka, who flew round so quick poor Sandstorm went flying. He jumped up shuck himself and looked round all sheepish hoping that none of his little mates had noticed.

I really can see that these boys are going to give me trouble this year. I think it will be an early separation from the female cria. Last year I was able to keep all the cria together for quite a while before I separated them.

Finally I thought I would share with you a photo because I know you like them. This is Chiquita, one of our prize winners, she was reserve junior champion at the Northumberland County show last year. After the National show this year, from which she also returned with a rosette, she has retired from showing and is now pregnant to Gianmarco's Masterpiece so we are very excited about what this union will produce, as she is the first coloured girl he has covered.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Self weaning?

I have received a lovely thank you card today from the lady whose hat I repaired last week. You may recall I mentioned having to almost start from scratch after her puppy had gotten hold of it.

It is has been a rather damp miserable day today so I have been doing some shop updates which were long overdue. I was hoping to get some photo's of the new stock, but the weather was not nice enough for that so it will have to wait for another day.

I have also been doing some knitting, at this time of year I am busy working out what needs knitting and getting on as fast as I can. We have a few fairs booked in so I need to make sure I have plenty of stock.

I have been keeping an eye on Star over the last couple of days. Kate seems to think that it is time she was weaned and she is rationing her milk. She is not letting her have much milk during the day, although she had a very large milk moustache this morning so breakfast is obviously allowed.

Star is enormous and was well over 30 kilos at four months old so she is plenty big enough. She has just turned five months so we are toying with weaning her however I was hoping to do four of them together and the younger two, Duke and Tenzing are not big enough yet.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Radio Newcastle fame

Well today was the airing of the radio interview I did with Jonathan Miles a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't quite sure how is it was going to come across as quite frankly Jonathan was so funny and asked some really wacky questions. One of the first being what star sign was Ursula and Imala who came straight over to investigate the microphone.

It turned out really well and had me in fits of hysteria again. If you weren't luck enough to hear it live here is the iPlayer link. It should take you straight to the right bit, but if not you need to fast forward to 1.34 hrs.

I hope you enjoy it. Just for the record I would like to point out the the sneeze culprit was not Loki but Gianmarco.

Monday, 12 October 2009

How much.......

As I suspected the girls had consumed all their extra hay by the time I went down at first light. It's a good job Alan pays me in hay for the help I give him as we seem to be getting through it at an alarming rate and it is only early October.

Carol & Dave (our regular manure collectors) called round today. Dave to collect manure and Carol to bring her first batch of knitting, it's fantastic. She must have had smoking knitting needles as she's knitted two hats, two scarves and two pairs of fingerless mittens in two weeks. If you are reading this Carol; thank you.

I had to smile this morning. I had braved the supermarket (which I hate), and as usual managed to pick the slowest queue, so began talking to the old lady in front of me. She was intrigued by my 12 litres of goats milk, particularly seeing as she asked me if it was nice and I told her I'd never tasted it.

I explained that it was for Heidi a baby alpaca which I was bottle feeding. She then told me that she saw some local alpacas on Countryfile some months ago and they made bricks from poo. I told her that it was me, which rather embarrassed her. Why is it people remember the poo brick but not me!!

I have another opportunity for stardom tomorrow. My radio interview is going to be aired on Jonathan Miles morning show on BBC Radio Newcastle. I hope it is ok as it was a very entertaining recording.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

So much for Sunday being a day of rest

No chance of a lie in at our house, the job list continues to grow. I bribed Paul out of be with a bacon and egg sandwich - it always works!

Having cleaned the boys field yesterday it was the turn of the girls today, as you can see though I am fighting a loosing battle. As fast as I clean they deposit.
After paddock cleaning it was weed picking on a major scale, we had thistles that were becoming triffids in one of the resting paddocks. Why is it weeds never seem to stop growing yet the grass does.
We did some spit offs today, everyone spat at poor Gianmarco, he was not best pleased. Especially because all the young girls were hanging round the other side of the pen wanting to say hello; he thought his luck was in.
Alan (farmer friend) obviously thought I was going through my square bales too quickly as a big round bale arrive over the fence this afternoon. We filled up the second hay manger and took it over to the girls so they now have two, which went down very well. I think we will move them into the next field along next weekend.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Matchsticks required

Apologies for the lack of blog last night, I was too lazy according to my husband (I didn't see him offering to do it!). I sat down to watch autumn watch and do some knitting and the next thing I knew I had nodded off mid row and dropped a stitch!

Needless to say after I had recovered said stitch I did the pots, loaded the washing machine and headed off to bed for an early night.

It was weigh day for the youngsters today and I am pleased to say that all are heading in the right direction which is good.

I noticed last night that Tenzing looked like he had a sore foot so before I weighed him I checked it out. There was a little sore in between his toes so after they were cleaned I have sprayed them and will keep a close eye on him.

The big boys had some fresh grass today. Golden Guinea has been pushing under the fence eating the neighbouring grass more and more so I thought that it was about time to move them. They field they have gone into has no field shelter though so they are back to their old field for bedtime.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Customer satisfaction

It was another cold start this morning with a frost so extra hay rations were supplied and consumption soon began. It is so funny I can usually predict who will sit or stand where, getting to know your animals is a valuable part of alpaca husbandry and something I enjoy tremendously. It is the best was to spot any issues.

I have been doing a spot of knitting again today, you may recall I mentioned a lady who had purchased a hat from my which had been mauled by her puppy. Well today I have fixed said hat, I had to unpick it to about half way and knit it back up in new yarn.

Customer service and satisfaction is something I take very serious and was therefore happy to do what I could. When I rang the lady this evening to tell her the good news she was thrilled; one very happy customer.

This even I have had a visit from an old work colleague and friend. She and her husband are having a holiday up in Durham so came to say hello. It is three years since I finished paid employment, and to be honest it seems like a lifetime ago.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Our first frost

Short and sweet this evening folks as we are off out to a charity dinner; five minutes ago!

This morning we had our first frost of the autumn. There were no signs of it at the house but in the fields it was a different story. Because of the extra hay I gave everyone extra hay this morning, which was certainly greatly received.

Twiggy has been back to the vets today for a check up, she is doing well. Although I hadn't realised that they had only actually found one of her thyroid glands during the operation. The left gland could not be located so she still has it. Hopefully this will not cause any problems in the future but we will have to keep a close eye on her.

She is back for another check up next week and all being well the stitches will be removed.

I'd best go now Paul is hovering with his coat on!!!