Thursday, 31 December 2009
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
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
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
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!
Tune in tomorrow for a Christmas Cracker...
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
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
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!
Here we have Tenzing and Palm-Olive.
And finally Kealani.
Monday, 21 December 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
This was yesterday at Morpeth Farmers Market.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
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
Thursday, 3 December 2009
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.