Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Monday, 30 March 2009
I am pleased to say all is well at Barnacre, I spent all morning out in the field with the girls. I was keeping a very close eye on............. no, not Molly, Aria. She is just short of 11 months gone and was humming a lot first thing. I've been saying since Christmas she was going to beat Molly!
I think the baby must have been laid awkwardly or something because she settled down and was back to her usual self by mid morning. It gave me a good excuse to observe everyone and not feel guilty about watching. I did actually make some of our now famous fire bricks whilst I was observing which caused great interest amongst some of the girls who were watching me for a while.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
One of Paul's brothers and his wife have been up for the weekend, it was a while since they'd been so it was nice to see them again. They went home with a bag of alpaca poo for a friend and some eggs for themselves.
The weanlings have been on the halters again today, they are all quite good now with the exception of Aodhfin who is still not keen. He will walk but it is more of a drag on occasions. We keep mixing up who we take out together so they don't get too used to being with their best friends.
Our neighbours daughter Hannah has enjoyed feeding Eubank his bottle today, he's back on top form having been a bit quite for a couple of days.
And finally I just have to say well done Jenson Button and team Braun GP on a fantastic Formula One win.
Friday, 27 March 2009
Once everyone had been fed and hay supplies replenished we did a spot of halter work with the big boys. They've not been on their halters for a while so thought they'd better have a bit of a refresher.
They were all very well behaved and it gave us an opportunity to take some new photos. Usually Gianmarco's Masterpiece and Legend of Spartacus are so close you struggle to get one without the other.
From left to right we have; top row Loki & Legend and bottom row, Hughie and Masterpiece. Don't they all look fantastic.
Paul has also given the quad a bit of a make over, the metal bars were all starting to get a bit grubby so he gave them a lick of paint. Very good job he did too!
Incidentally still no baby from Molly.....
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Despite the sun shining Molly has hung on again, so there is still a chance for some lucky person out there to grab a bargain. One is almost two and in a fit of March madness I've decided to throw in a free mating to any of our stud boys if she is sold before she gives birth - that's three for the price of one!
Once we were sure nothing was going to occur on the birthing front we headed off to purchase some more feed troughs. Things are getting a bit messy so we thought some extra trough space may help, or at least give Kate something else to spit on.
We've cleaned all the fields which it has to be said is much quicker with two people, Paul can ride the quad whilst I suck up the poo. OK so just in case Paul reads this he did get off the quad once.
Last job of the day was helping out Alan, our farmer friend. His tractor was involved in an accident today, thankfully no-one was hurt except the tractor and the car which collided into it but it meant the beasties were not going to get fed. As we are used to manual bale moving Paul went along to assist.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
There was a fair bit of bulging going on but that was it, I think she must be waiting for Paul. He is off for the next couple of days so hopefully he will get to witness the birth. He's only seen a couple so far so it would be nice.
I have spent most of the day out in the fields, cleaning up hay which seems to get everywhere in the wind, then poo picking which seems to accumulate at an amazing fast pace and generally observing everyone.
Eubank is definitely missing the weanling now they are in their new field, he's gone off his bottle. I think he's making out he's a big boy too, unfortunately the other sheep are far to rough with him yet to leave him with them.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Twiggy isn't the best cat in the world for taking tablets but it's amazing what will vanish in a little chicken parcel!! So that is tablet number one down (and stayed down), she has to have one twice a day so I think it will be chicken and ham parcels for starters at breakfast and tea time.
On the alpaca front all seems well today, it's been very windy and the girls have been kushed in the dip of the field with their bums to the wind for a fair bit of the afternoon. It's obviously too warm for the shelter. No wonder Molly decided to hold fire on going into labour.
During the night our chicken run got blown over and broke. The chickens are only actually shut in it at night to stop Mr Fox helping himself. The rest of the time the free range all over High Angerton.
Monday, 23 March 2009
Willow is quite clearly finding the last three weeks of her pregnancy hard work, she was the same when she was carrying Chiquita. Like most pregnant women I suppose just wants to get it out now.
Molly very obliging kept her legs crossed, and didn't decide to produce whilst I was at the vets with Twiggy, I think the very cold and windy day put her well and truly off. Its a good job really because any cria would get blown off their little legs. We also had a hail shower this afternoon which caused everyone to go running for shelter.
Going back to Twiggy, my little puddy cat, she was very well behaved at the vets this morning. Sadly the same can't be said for the journey there, before we were half a mile down the road she had been sick then lets just say things got a bit smelly!
Lucky for the vet and everyone else in there I know Twiggy well, and had taken cleaning materials with me and a fresh blanket for her box. It turns out as suspected she does have hypothyroidism. Hopefully it will be treatable with medication and she won't need surgery, but I have got to speak to the vet tomorrow.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
We were up at the crack of dawn, it's amazing how well Paul manages to get up at the weekend - must be the pull of the alpacas! Obviously much better than the call of the office.
Everyone had been fed, watered (or should I say milked), hay filled and hay cleared from the floor all before 9am. After Paul had had his second breakfast we then set about poo sucking so everywhere is (well was) nice and tidy.
I thought Molly might have become a mum on Mothers Day as there was rather a lot of trips to the dung pile with only the odd pellet emerging. She was getting upset if anyone got too close and on one trip to the dung pile you could quite clearly see two feet bulging under the skin. Hopefully she will hang on tomorrow because I have to take poor Twiggy (cat) to the vets first thing.
The youngsters have been on a big adventure today, we have moved them onto fresh grass. This involved their biggest halter training experience yet, as we walked them down our little lane. Other than Aodhfin, who was far too worried, they were all very good and walked nicely, I was so proud of them.
The back fields have now been fertilized, harrowed and are awaiting the forecast rains to spurt them back into growing action.
I'm pleased to say that Eubank has already forgot about his elastic band experience and is back to looking for mischief.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
First off, I’m ginger and flowing locks of curly hair are but a memory consigned to pre-salaried years. Nevertheless, I don’t remember the last time I got sunburnt in March. “Proof” I hear you say, well you might have done, or you might not be interested, even so I have the proof that the more engrossed and caring folks demanded. Voila:
They say men can not multi task, well I took a picture of my own red, sunburnt ear whilst holding a piece of white paper for dramatic effect. Proof positive of March sunburn.
That’s one down and three to go (check title, come on, keep up).
About four hours of my life today was dedicated to raking and picking up the autumn and winter leaves that adorn the paddocks to the back of the house. They will make a fantastic base to the compost bins that we have strategically placed like black prototype Daleks. I consoled myself with the thought that firstly the paddocks looked much cleaner (Debbie said she didn’t notice but I won’t hold it against her for many months), the grass will grow quicker and pines cones won’t get stuck in alpaca fleeces as they (the alpacas) deliberately seek out the most fleece damaging sections of grass to have a good old roll on.
I have no trees, nice neighbours, but nasty trees that deliberately shake their leaves all over my paddocks.
Poor old Eubank. Today was not one but two elastic bands day. Nope, he wasn’t carefully constructing a model plane made of Balser wood with a propeller powered by elastic bands. It was the day all little boy lambs who haven’t been identified as herdsires, I mean tups/rams (depending on where you live in the country), dread. Oh yes, it was one for the tail and one for, well let’s just say that the crows will have a little meat to go with the eggs that they pinch from next door in a couple of weeks time when some loose change hits the ground. If you’ve lost me on that one, he was castrated. Poor little man, it looked like he was really sad because he’d lost his favourite rat trap, and then was even sadder that it had found him first.
Three out of three, a free photo of my ear to treasure as a gift between internet friends, and hopefully a little smile on your face before you head off to bed. Alternatively, consign this piece of literary insignificance to the bin, just under the leaves in paragraph five and be safe in the knowledge that my superior will be back on duty tomorrow.
Friday, 20 March 2009
I have had a lovely day, the sun has been shining and Jayne from Zanzibah Alpacas in Scotland came to visit with her parents. Jayne & I have been reading and commenting on each others blog for a while now so it was nice to finally meet up and chat alpaca.
Golden Guinea took great delight in posing for the camera, he is such a show off and just knows that he is gorgeous. Hughie, never one to miss a visitor, also took delight in meeting new faces. Jayne thinks we're mean to castrate him - I've passed on her comments to Paul who is the driving force behind said act!
Willow is starting to look like she is finding the later stages of her pregnancy hard work, she had been sun bathing most of the day and seems to have a touch of wind! The baby is obviously pressing on something.
I see we, the BAS that is, is chairman less - so who's the hot favourite for the post then?
Great to see you Jayne, I'm glad you came round to say hello - I know you'll read this!
Thursday, 19 March 2009
All was well when I return. Molly's cria is still hanging in there, she is spending a lot more time sitting down now and today she has been rolling round on mole hills - we've had an invasion of the mole!!
In fact Molly started a bit of a thing, there was a queue waiting for the mole hill. After Molly went Aria, Willow, Kate (who are due to birth in that order strangely enough) then Gaussian and Nefertiti.
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
So this morning Paul had to get up early to give me a hand before he went off to the day job. Anyone who knows Paul will know he hates mornings so this is not something he likes to do. However this morning there was no complaining and up he got and off to the field we went, only to find Loki has removed it himself!
Still no complaints from Paul, he went back to get ready for work. When I got back to the house having filled the various hay nets and mangers the nice man had even made me a cup of tea.
This evening I have started started some more knitting, the 'Best Friends' blend of Gabby & Imala yarn is proving popular and no sooner do I finish something and put it in the shop it sells - not that I am complaining! I have also taken an order for a hat in their yarn so I can't see stocks of it hanging round for long.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
After that, I had a couple arrived who had seen us on Countryfile at the weekend and wanted to meet the alpacas. Hughie, who this time behaved, was a firm favourite as usual.
Duchess gave me the fright of my life this afternoon. She was sunbathing, which Duchess always does at every opportunity, but this was different. It doesn't usually interrupt feed time. I went in with the sugarbeet (she's usually got to the gate before me) and I walked all the way to the trough and she didn't move, despite me shouting her. I ended up walking over to her, crouching down and touching her neck before she woke up; I thought she was dead, really dead! Needless to say once she realised I had the beet bucket she was on her feet and over to the troughs in seconds.
I even managed to fit in paddock cleaning and helping my neighbour with a duck who has a poorly leg - all this and still have Paul's dinner on the table when he got home from work!!
Monday, 16 March 2009
At two years old Ursula has grown into a fantastic young lady, and she was actually mated to our own Golden Guinea at the back end of the summer, but as the BTV movement restrictions meant we couldn't get Guinea up until late she only got one try. She did spit off after the event but I don't think she is actually pregnant.
Being a maiden I don't think Ursula knew how to react, plus she is Mary's daughter who is very difficult to predict at mating time. I've not carried out any spit off's yet this year but think Ursula will be one of the first to try before getting the vet out to scan her!
I have also decided that the time is right today to put Aodhfin and Barnaby up for sale. These are two of last years babies who were weaned at the end of last year. They both have fantastically soft, fine, dense fleeces which I know will make great yarn.
They are the best of friends and actually half brothers who I will not separate. Aodhfin is the talkative friendly chap whilst Barnaby, despite being the older of the two, follows him around.
These boys will make great pets and fleece producers for the very lucky new owners.
Sunday, 15 March 2009
I was so worried how I would come over, if it would look 'right' and if I said the right things. You never know what is going to be edited out either, after all they were filming all day.
My claim to fame from now on is going to be that John Craven said my name. I've watched him since being a little girl and his Newsround days. I was hiding behind a cushion to start with though, hearing yourself on the television is very odd. I was pleased with it; Rehannah and Peter from the BBC did a great job.
My phone was going like crazy afterwards with people saying how natural I was and how well it came over, so thank you. I made sure the animals all got praised as soon as it had finished. I can't believe they showed me chasing Eubank (the lamb) out of the kitchen!
Hopefully it will encourage other people thinking of pursuing a dream to look into it seriously especially those thinking about alpacas.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Friday, 13 March 2009
Well Mia does, the alpacas didn't want to wear red noses!!
The girls have been enjoying this mornings sun and I managed to snap a few photo's, I've not down loaded them yet so I will share them with you tomorrow.
I have updated the shop with lots of new stock, so have a browse and don't forget to treat those extra special mum's out there on Mothers Day.
Thursday, 12 March 2009
First due is Molly, my guess here is a white girl. She is a fabulous white girl who has been mated to the very impressive Accoyo Remarque who is also white. My reasoning for a girl is gut feeling, plus generally my maidens have given me more girls than boys.
Next up is Aria, who is one of the girls we have for sale. I'm thinking here a mid fawn girl, she has been mated to Killawasi who needs no introduction. Aria has had three boys so far so is well overdue a little girl.
Due a couple of days later is Willow, the face of our website. I'm going for another girl, well they say things come in threes and I think she will be light brown. Hopefully she will be as impressive as Chiquita, Willow's first daughter.
A week after Willow is Kate, I would love for Kate to have a grey girl, but I think she will have a black boy. She was mated to Hornblower who has produced all black cria and mainly boys so far.
Anyone else wanting a guess feel free to leave me your comments!!
I got rather excited this morning when I checked out recent visitors to our website, we'd had a new visitor from Peru and another from Saudi Arabia - oh I do get excited.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Our two white studs Legend of Spartacus and Gianmarco's Masterpiece were rather camera shy yesterday, today they were back to normal running to meet me to see if I had anything nice for them.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
I was up at the crack of dawn having hardly slept a wink, thinking about how the day would go and hoping everyone would behave themselves. They were here about nine armed with their camera and sound equipment. I was rather nervous initially but Rehannah and Peter put me at my ease and I was soon enjoying it.
We looked at the animals, talked about their care, fleece and individuality. We did a spot of halter training, bottle feeding and even little Eubank my foster lamb got in on the action.
It is the first time that alpacas have featured on Countryfile in its 20 year history, so quite an achievement for us. It will be on this Sunday's programme so don't miss it, 11am - I'll have the video set!!
I thought it was only fair seeing as I'd been on camera all day to turn the tables:-
Monday, 9 March 2009
I have had to loiter around the house most of the day waiting for DHL to come and collect a parcel. I wish people would give you a small time window or call when they are on their way as I had lots to be getting on with and it held me up.
Gaussian has been a little monkey with his bottles today and hasn't managed to finish a single one of them. I'm not sure if it is because he had more than usual yesterday or because the sun has been shining; he is always less inclined to have them when the weather is nice.
The girls have been sun bathing, those that are heavily pregnant are starting to spend more time sat down. I think that Aria is actually going to birth before Molly despite being due after her.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Talking of milk Chiquita has obviously smelt Willow's (her mum) beginning to develop. Willow is due next month. This morning she went to check out Willow's under carriage and was begging for milk. Thankfully Willow was having none of it, and despite Chiquita's persistence she we was told in no uncertain terms that it was out of bounds.
Those of you who have been following my blog from the beginning may recall that Chiquita was a nightmare to wean and kept trying to get back to mum and after months apart went straight back to check for milk.
Friday, 6 March 2009
With the first one, Molly, being due to birth in the next couple of weeks and Aria just a couple of weeks behind her, these prices will of course be reviewed very shortly when their cria arrive, so grasp the opportunity whilst you can.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
The hay consumption has increased again, the girls have quite clearly sought out all the nice fresh green shoots that were emerging and have now reverted to the hay. I will have to get another bale ordered from Mr T!
My blogger has been playing up tonight not wanting to let me sign in, I was already late because Paul has been hogging the machine all night doing various updates on the website.
I have had a couple of very exciting phone calls today, more on them over the next few days as my little lamb has just started yelling that it is supper time! He obviously heard Paul put the kettle on for his bottle.
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Chiquita has a bit of a sore leg so she needed some cream on at lunchtime, she is very well behaved and will happily stand whilst I do the necessary. However Tessa, one of our regular manure collectors called at just the right time, so she was able to hold her whilst I had a good look, and I'm pleased to say it is looking much better already.
This evening Gaussian happily stood for me to put on his pyjama's, he doesn't usually like you fastening it up and putting the tail strap on. Tonight though he obviously knew that the weather was about to turn as he was very cooperative. It is now snowing heavily - he must have been able to smell it!!
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Monday, 2 March 2009
The Futurity was a great event again, the new location at Stoneleigh Park was fantastic and with 350 animals being shown it was a credit to the organisers, it ran like clockwork. It was lovely to meet up with many friends and catch up, not to mention all the people who came up and introduced themselves as blog readers - thanks folks.
I know there are a few of you out there who were interested in the auction, and wanted to know how things went with the extremely impressive Cambridge Opus in particular. Well I can tell you she was sold for £8,500 guineas to Rachel & Chas at Classical Mile End Alpacas - they have a fantastic girl there.
I am pleased to say that Molly did as she was told and didn't panic mum whilst we were away. She is 320 days now so not long to go. She is one of the girls pregnant to Accoyo Remarque whose progeny were doing well in the show classes over the weekend, winning numerous ribbons and attracting comments like 'exceptionally dense fleece' 'very fine' etc. Needless to say I'm looking forward to her babes arrival.