Monday, 31 August 2009
It went very black just before six and the heavens opened, we had thunder and torrential rain, so much in such a short space of time that our drive resembled a river, the stones were under water and you could she it rushing over the gravel.
I had left the feed bucket on the fence (empty) and we had easily had an inch of rain in less that 15 minutes. I've never seen anything like it. Most of the courtyard was under water and we had a waterfall running down the steps from the lawn.
Thankfully we got the little girls field cleaned, cut and harrowed this morning and the boys field cleaned. The forecast for the rest of the week is not good.
Faith got to have her first go on the quad today, she rode with Paul and I and loved it. She even beat her mummy who hasn't had a go on it yet. Sorry Sarah we must rectify this next time you're up and it's not raining!
Sunday, 30 August 2009
We had decided that it was time to move the bulk of the girls onto fresh grass that had been rested for a few months. We have left Oonagh and a few companions behind the house until she gives birth - which hopefully wont be long.
As I mentioned on Friday my brother and his family are staying this weekend so made use of the extra help with the move. Colin was on guard to make sure that the first batch of girls moved stayed away from the boys fence line until we got them all together and the three young girls joined the 'big girls'. After they were all in one of the runs we have between fields we were going to move them at a group into the correct field.
This is when the mayhem occurred. I was busy locking the main gate and shutting the little girls gate when I herd my brother yelling to Paul who was at the front of the herd. I figured something was not right so ran up the channel to hear him shouting that there was an extra black one; Loki had jumped the fence!
Out of all the boys to get excited and jump a fence, Loki would be the last you'd put your money on. My brother doesn't see them often so was trying to keep his eye on Loki but once he mixed in with the other blacks he didn't have a clue.
I hoped he would fine Angelus who I knew would sit for him so I could grab hold, but typically he tried sniffing a number of other girls first and got well and truly sent on his way. Eventually he came across Angleus who was too interested in lush green grass to sit; normally she will sit for anyone and everyone (she's a bit of a floozy).
Once he found his mum they were exchanging a few words and sniffing each other all over I managed to grab him. I then nearly killed my brother as he had to run all the way back to the entrance to pick up a halter I knew I'd left there from Urusla earlier in the day.
With Loki returned to his rightful field and the girls on their new grass piece and tranquility soon returned. Heads were down munching in minutes - hopefully they wont eat the grass too quickly as there wont be much more growing time up her.
Today we have been to the Dyke Neuk show with animals and our knitwear. Hughie and Loki were meeting their public and as usual at these sort of events drew in the crowds. There were a few children that remembered them from last year and even remembered Hughie's name - well done girls!
I sold a few bits and pieces, including the gloves I knitted to match that new stripy hat so they wont make it into the shop. I've have to knit another pair as they were very nice.
Anyway it's been a long day and I'm tired so off for some ZZZZZ's.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Sarah (sister-in-law) is obviously out of practice with bottle feeding (my niece is growing fast and now has a big girl cup!), Duke was playing with his supper rather than drinking it. I don't think he really wanted it he just didn't want Heidi to have it.
Whilst talking about Sarah, she is in bad books with Paul for not bringing him any of her very nice flapjack -I'm not very good at making it, so she creeps!! Or rather keeps in his good books in case Faith gets too close to him.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
I met our new neighbours at lunchtime, they are moving up from down south so the girls introduced themselves.
This evening I remated Geena, she literally dropped like a stone as soon as she saw Gianmarco's Masterpeice arriving. Not wanting to be outdone my Legends recent mammoth mating Marky was on the job for over half an hour.
I was beginning to think we would still be out there in the pitch black. Paul was late home from work again so we were late getting started.
Thankfully both Ursula and Kate both spat off, Kate in her usual rather large chip on the shoulder manner. I stunk and have had to have a very hard scrub in the shower to try and remove the smell.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
I have spent the day checking pricing, labelling and re bagging the knitwear as necessary. So we are now ready for the show at the weekend, hopefully we will make a few sales although selling knitwear in the summer is not usually the best time.
It dried up this evening so I got to do a couple of spit offs, Little Miss Irraquoy let us have it with both barrels, so that is good. That is three very convincing spits from her now and Katia who was mated to Legend last week gave a good ovulation spit.
Whilst this was going on though Geena came and sat down, she did an ovulation spit last week but has quite clearly not taken so that is a job for Masterpiece tomorrow. That will please him as he was far from happy when I took Hughie and Legend off this evening for their 'duties'.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Having cleaned the girls two paddock (big girls and little girls), the manure is starting to build up. I usually advertise it on Freecycle but I didn't get any takers last time. Hopefully all the gardeners will be digging up their produce very soon and will start putting some goodness back onto the land.
I have been getting my knitted stock ready for the weekend, we are at the local Dyke Neuk Show this weekend with a couple of alpacas. I have a fair few labels that need printing saying who donated their fleece etc.
Monday, 24 August 2009
When I am out cleaning the field tomorrow that it going to be my mission to find the missing tooth!!
I've finished the gloves I was knitting, well finished knitting them and have sewn them up. I just need to sew on 20, yes 20 buttons and sew in the label and they are ready to go. Talking to my mum this evening she has also finished knitting the shrug she was doing so hopefully that will arrive with my brother when he visits at the weekend with my niece and sister-in-law.
I saw my sheep take full advantage of their alpaca neighbours today. One of the neighbours spaniels went into their field and started to chase them, the sheep headed off round the field but then the alpacas noticed the commotion and gathered at the fence, so the sheep changed course and headed to the protection of the alpacas. Who said sheep were stupid.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
There is nothing much to report on the alpaca front, Oonagh is still hanging on so last weeks prediction of her birthing last week was not right. She isn't actually due until Wednesday going on our herd averages so I'm not complaining.
We spent the morning rolling more dead grass in the new field and removing it to allow some grown before the autumn sets in. We have spent hours in there but I do think you can now actually tell we have done something.
I think I will have to have a less manual day tomorrow as I now have a very sore shoulder to go with the backache of earlier in the week; grHHHHHHHHH
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Unfortunately for me, they also loved my raspberry plant and blackcurrant bushes. It's a good job they have both finished fruiting (not that I got anything off the raspberry this year), pesky monkey's I only left them unattended for a few seconds and Alice was straight in there. Once she had drawn attention to them Ursula and Geena were up for a bit of scrumping.
We have been hard at it on the new field, it is going to take us absolutely ages to get it into decent condition. I'm hoping to get it sufficiently sorted so I can put the boys in there for some of winter.
Oonagh is still holding on, although this evening she couldn't even be bothered to get up and come and have tea which is a sure signs things are getting closer. She didn't even want any when I went to her.
This morning we did a batch of successful spit offs with Chiquita, Imala and Geena which was good. It came as no surprise when Milly sat for Legend, if she doesn't take this time we will have to try her with some receptal I think as she has had a few goes now.
Friday, 21 August 2009
I've had a touch of backache all week from all the clearing of the new field so poo picking seemed much more of a chore than normal today. At least almost all the paddocks are now done, just the big girls one left which is on the list for tomorrow.
I thought you might like to see today's greeting from Duke, he is a real little sweetie. He came for a taste of Heidi's bottle again this afternoon. He really doesn't need it he is gaining weight nicely on his mum's milk but seems to like a free meal! When I weighed him this evening he was a healthy 18.3kg at a day under two months old.
Sandstorm has also been growing nicely, he's already more than doubled his birth weight. I can see we are going to be weaning him early, he has spent most of today hanging off the back of Angelus humming away until she sits for him. Boys!!
Just a quick glove update; more haste less speed. I got a bit carried away and didn't reverse my shaping so was going to end up with two right hand gloves. I have pulled it down a bit and will now have to finish it over the weekend.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Hopefully I will get the other glove knitted tomorrow if the weather is as bad as is forecast and I can move onto the next project. I have a list I am working through (as instructed by my father!).
I thought you might like to see what, or rather who else greeted me each time I went into the paddock today. It's my new friend Duke, Gabby's little boy who seems to have taken a fancy to Heidi's bottle.
Heidi is to the right of Duke not even facing the right way and Sandstorm is in hot pursuit on the left!
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Thankfully all the girls spat off nicely, well that's not true some of the girls don't spit, like Gabby for instance she just puts her ears back, puffs herself up and tries to get away as quickly as possible.
Willow isn't much of a spitter either, she just panics at the sight of the male and whimpers. She had her ears back before we got close. Then there is Little Miss Irraquoy; boy does she let us know that she is holding her pregnancy. She was mated to our Supreme Champion stud Legend of Spartacus two weeks ago and she kindly set on both him and I with both barrels when I introduced him this evening. We were both rather green and very smelly.
Thankfully the smell didn't put off Katia from the advances of Legend. Katia is one of the elite Aussie girls we have for sale . Katia has spent the last twelve months convincing both herself and us that she was pregnant, however she wasn't. After a recent dose of Estrumate she happily enjoyed the longest loving ever from our supreme champ Legend.
With Katia's impressive genetic background including Jolimont Conquistado and Jolimont Manfredo, and Legends stunning genetic mix of Peruvian Spartacus and Jolimont Commisario this should produce one very special cria next year.
I also spent a bit more time in the newly rented field clearing up some of the grass cuttings. It is a four and a half acre field that has only been cut once this year and that was a couple of weeks ago, so you can imagine the work involved. One of the neighbours has already said they are looking forward to it resembling a billiard table like the rest of our paddocks - I will take that as a compliment - thank you.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
I'm really pleased with it, just need to sew on the buttons then it can go into the shop. I've started a pair of matching gloves too. As summer seems to have left us now it will soon be into our busiest time for selling the knitwear so I need to get the stock levels up.
In between the downpours I did manage to get the trailer cleaned, I'd not got round to it from delivering my (well not mine anymore) little boys at the weekend. I spoke to Juliet, their new owner, this evening to see how they were getting on and all is well. I should see Aodhfin and Horatio at the Westmorland Show next month as they are going to show them there.
Oonagh, our last girl due to birth has spent most of the day sat down today. She is at 334 days tomorrow which as regular readers will know is a good way on for her family line, as both her mum and grandma have always birthed quite early. I don't think Oonagh will be much longer, she is enormous, has milk and is excusably very grumpy.
Monday, 17 August 2009
I got completely drenched first thing. Half way round the feed run the heavens opened, it was so fast by the time I sought cover I was dripping and needed to wring out my clothes. I may be mistaken but I thought it was summer!
I have been on my feet all day but don't seem to have crossed many tasks off the job list. Girls paddock cleaned, check; water troughs scrubbed; check, turf laid; check.
Before anyone sends for my turfing services I would like to point out that I only did a small amount round the girls shelter. It has become a mud patch and I reseed it every time the paddock is rested and it vanishes again. So I thought I would see if the turf works better.
I think young Duke has been telling his little mates that if you go running to the nice lady that brings a bottle to Heidi with your tail over your back humming you get an easy meal. At lunch time I took Hiedi her bottle (for which she wasn't that bothered) and we got mobbed with the other cria.
Duke came running trying to tell me he was starving, despite having mums milk all round his face so he had clearly just been fed! Hot on his heels was Sandstorm who didn't want to miss out on whatever was going on. Then I had Midnight Star being her usual mischievous self biting the other end of the bottle and Tenzing the other side chewing my leg.
At one point Heidi was having her bottle, Duke was nuzzling my armpit, Sandstorm chewing my finger, Star biting the bottom of the bottle and Oonagh grunting alongside me wanting her hand served sugarbeet.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
We have been busy fencing the new field we have acquired so that the sheep could go in and do a spot of tidying up before we get it ready for the alpacas over winter. Anyone who has visited us here will know the state it was in and how much work is involved.
With the help of Paul's brother, Dean, and a friend 'Brick' we have got the fencing finished and the sheep are now in situ, which they are very pleased about because they had striped their last field bare.
I still have loads of cut grass to gather and remove as it was so long when it was cut. It is going to take quite some time to get it into shape.
Duke decided this evening that he was hungry again when he saw me coming to give Heidi her bottle. I'm sure he's just worked out that it's easier getting milk out of my bottle than from his mum as he only comes occasionally and is putting on lots of weight, just over a kilo in three days!
Saturday, 15 August 2009
I couldn't sleep last night so I was down in the field with them at 6am this morning whilst everyone else was in bed saying my goodbyes. I will see them again, so its not really goodbye.
I've shed copious amounts of tears the last few days and this morning was no different and then Aodhfin didn't want to go into the trailer which made it worse, but I know that Juliet, John and their children from Lavender-Bee Alpacas will love them lots and they have a lovely home up in the Scottish Borders.
Here are the boys, Horatio, Barnaby, Aodhfin and Gaussian meeting their new herd mates. It didn't take Horatio long to let them know that he likes to be in charge.
Here is Juliet giving the boys some food, again Horatio was first over and tucked in (despite having breakfast before we left). The picture quality isn't too good on this one as we were sheltering in the boys field shelter as the heavens opened just as we arrived.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Tomorrow is d-day wen I have to deliver the boys and I'm upset already!
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Anyway I thought I would try now having just provided Paul with a full English breakfast; he's on holiday from the day job so I thought I would get in his good books.
We have been pottering about really, we can't go far as Oonagh, our last girl to birth, is looking very large and is extremely grumpy when anyone goes with six foot of her. I don't think she will be too much longer.
The last few spit offs have all been flat refusals for the boys which is good for us, not the poor boys though.
Not so good news with Geena though who has failed to produce this year despite being scanned pregnant and spitting off. She had a shot of Estrumate last week to hopefully get her cycling properly again but no luck so far.
It was Geena's 7th birthday yesterday and she got very upset when I offered her a boy as a birthday treat. She is a very vocal alpaca when stressed and spent the next hour humming away.
Monday, 10 August 2009
This afternoon we visited Carol and Dave one of our regular manure collectors to see what good use they put all the manure to. It is definitely a contender for best garden in the intervillage competition if ever I saw one.
Just look at how impressive this veggie plot looks, I can tell you the veg and fruit we came home with is equally impressive - thanks Dave and Carol. We had a nice chat, cup of tea and scones before Paul raided the veg; well that's not entirely true Dave was doing the digging!
During one of our relaxing sessions sat on the seat in the paddock not only did I have Heidi coming to tell me that she was hungry but Duke came too. He is Gabby's son and a real mummy's boy (she seems to breed them that way!), he came to search me for milk. He was looking all over my legs, arms and nose humming away so I thought I'd best keep a close eye on him and Gabby.
He tried a couple of times to get milk from his mum but she wouldn't stand for him to feed which is very unlike Gabby. I couldn't see anything obvious so thought I'd have a proper look at tea time when she came in as she doesn't really like being got hold of. In the meantime I fetched Duke some milk, he took 100ml before Gabby called him off so he ran after his mum.
Having check Gabby over this evening there is no signs of anything untoward, she has milk and no sore bits so I will keep my eye on them. Whilst I was checking over Gabby Duke was trying me again for milk so he had another 150ml which he guzzled in seconds.
I have seen him feed a couple of times but for some reason Gabby only seems to be letting him feed from her left side so it's a case of watch this space I think; he is putting on weight 820gms in the last three days.
Sunday, 9 August 2009
After that we went off to help Alan move some more bales and collect a few more for ourselves. I got a lesson in tractor driving and drove from one pile of bales to another whilst the boys loaded them onto the trailer. Once we got past the first layer I couldn't reach - great excuse to drive instead of humping bales don't you think!
We did manage to nip off to summer fair this afternoon and have afternoon tea on the lawn which was nice.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit more relaxing as we are both worn out. Paul is off work next week so he can get to spend some time with the herd.
Saturday, 8 August 2009
We've had a tiring day moving hay round, picking up the bales, loading, unloading, stacking and re stacking. Oh to have a big barn or hay loft; we have to stack ours in any space we can find, the garage, empty shelters and then the overflow Alan (farmer friend) will store somewhere and hopefully not use it before I need it!
We have 82 bales scattered round the place this year which should keep us going for a while. I was after 100 but in between us leaving with a trailer load and emptying it someone went and helped themselves to some that had my name on. Alan always says it's like watching the vulchars coming over the hill.
It has been really really hot so the herd have been lazing round most of the day, Oonagh is quite clearly struggling in the heat. She wouldn't even get up this evening to come in for any tea so Paul took it to her, not that she could even be bothered with it then. I will be keeping a very close eye on her tomorrow just in case. She's now at 324 days.
Talking of tea, Heidi has begun eating hard feed today. Friday lunchtime she decided to try the sugarbeet and likes that so I hoped it would only be a matter of time before she tried the camelibra.
Friday, 7 August 2009
Here it is displaying one of our cabled jumpers and the latest wrap knitted by my mum (which has yet to be added to the shop).
It came as no surprise when Ursula (the brown alpaca to the left) came over to introduce herself to it. You could see her trying to work out why it had no head!
I had to nip out to the supermarket this morning to get Heidi some more goats milk and just as I drove up our lane I had to stop for a red squirrel. It is the first one I've seen for a little while, I was getting worried that the greys had killed them all off as we had a few greys about not so long ago.
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Oonagh has been seeking shade, carrying all that extra cria weight round with her is obviously hard work. She is at 321 days today and I'm expecting her to have her baby in the next couple of weeks.
Both Oonagh's mum and grandma have low average gestation periods so I'm expecting Oonagh to carry on this tradition as she already has a nice bag of milk. She was our first Barnacre baby so to see her have a baby of her own will be very special indeed.
I have had the vet out today to give a couple of the girls a shot of Estrumate, both were scanned pregnant (by different people) last year but have turned out not to be pregnant. Hopefully give it a few days and they will be interested in the boys and cycling properly again.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
It has been a glorious day today (sorry to rub it in mum, Rob and anyone else down south who hasn't been so fortunate). It was so hot at lunchtime I thought I would wait until this evening to do the couple of spit offs required.
The first was between our top white girl Little Miss Irraquoy and the equally stunning champion Legend of Spartacus. Last week LMI was far from happy when Legend did his stuff so it came as no surprise when she hit the deck this evening. She was much happier and let him work without complaining, in fact she seemed to be enjoying it.
Gabby and Veruschka both went mad at the sight of the boys so hopefully everything is in order with them.
There was a bit of a queue the other side of the gate, Chiquita spent the whole time with her head through the gate trying to attract Legends attention. She was two years old last weekend but is quite small so we haven't mated her. I think we will give her a try in the spring, bu then hopefully she will have grown out a bit more. Angelus and Milly were also lining up, they are do spit offs tomorrow so that isn't looking very hopeful.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Add to the list cleaning the boys old field too as I haven't managed to do that yet. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.
On that note I would like to public thank my wonderful mum for doing my ironing mountain whilst she has been staying the last few days. The pile must have been 6 foot high and that at the bottom been there for months. We now have clothes again!!!
I have been catching up on some paperwork and the online shop as the weather hasn't been nice. There were far too many things showing in stock that I have sold. I now have a list of new items for Paul to load photo's for - that's too technical for me.
Finally I thought I would share a photo of Twiggy who was quite clearly wanting me to shut the curtains this afternoon so she could have forty winks!
Monday, 3 August 2009
We had a visit from a lovely couple John & Juliet Miller who we met at the Border Union show a couple of weeks ago. They were looking to grow their herd, Lavender Bee Alpacas, and have bought our four fun loving youngsters to compliment their existing three boys. We will be delivering the boys in a couple of weeks so I have a little while to prepare myself!
Talking of preparing, Oonagh is looking very swell at the moment, she is at 318 days gestation today and has milk coming. Both her mum, Blossom and grandma Duchess never carried for long so I doubt she will be much longer. She is getting very grumpy when any of the herd go within six feet of her, poor thing.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
We went with the intention of getting a sheep taxi (small trailer for the quad to anyone who doesn't understand our speak!) but came home with a hay manger which now seems to have changed it's name to a hay heck. I wish people would stick to one name for things, it would make life much more simple.
Today was our farmer friend, Alan's birthday. A big one too, but I wont tell you all how old he is, that would be cruel. We have spend the afternoon and evening being wined and dined at his bbq, very nice it was too.
I've also fell in love with his daughter, Marcia's kitten which is looking for a new home. I blame Mark for keep putting pictures of his kittens on the blog I now 'need' one. Paul is having none of it at present but I'm working on it!!!