Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The rain finally stops

This afternoon the rain, which has been falling in what feels like biblical proportions has finally stopped. The wind, which is a cold one is very strong so the alpacas have started to dry out and the standing water is subsiding. It is going to be some time before we dry out though looking at the forecast.

The tea time feed was the first time in days I have been able to go out and come back without being soaked to the skin despite full wet weather gear - not pleasant.

I have done a spot more knitting this evening in between lamb feeding and husband feeding duties. The two lambs that arrived last night have gone off to a new four legged milk bar which is good for them, I think the original two are getting a bit big to go back to a ewe now, but we will see.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Lady visitors for the boys

This morning when I went to give they boys their breakfast they had ladies visiting. About half a dozen of them, of the pheasant variety! I think the girls were hoping to find a bit left over food or shelter from the torrential rain.

The weather has been appalling, there is water where I have never seen water before even in the September 2008 flooding we had in this area.

It is a good job we moved the youngsters at the weekend because their previous shelter is under water this afternoon. There are rivers running through all the fields, in fact one of the resting paddocks is pretty much a lake - not at all pleasant.

The bad weather has seen an increase in my foster ward!!! I now have four lambs in my care - one has a very healthy pair of lungs one her, the poor little mite was sopping wet and lost in the field having quite clearly only recently been born. Hopefully in daylight hours Alan will be able to locate her mum so she can be reunited.

As for the other three they are waiting for suitable sheepy adoption mums.

Monday, 29 March 2010


Not much to report today.

Other than it has been really wet here, not at all pleasant, the fields resemble swamps again.

The girls have been in two camps, half round the hay mangers and the other half in the shelter. They'd obviously spent most of last night in too as the shelter was filthy this morning and needed a good clean.

The two lambs are still waiting for a new mum, typically Alan has had no suitable candidates birth again today. With the weather as it is they have not been at all impressed with their outdoor living today!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

It broke!

What broke I hear you say..................... one of the chain harrows - I'm glad Paul was pulling it or it would have been something I'd done wrong!

We have had a busy day, the weanlings got some fresh grass and moved up into the next little field so they were very happy. Although this evening they didn't want to go in their shelter despite the rain.

Whilst Paul was breaking the chain harrow I cleaned the weanlings old field and then he harrowed it; with a temporarily fixed harrow! At this point I was pulling the muck truck round the girls field cleaning; maybe we should have kept that old quad after all.

Typically Alan has still had no suitable adoption candidates lamb so I still have my two little lodgers. They really are sweet and I'm getting very attached to them - I won't tell him though or they'll be a permanent fixture and my own ewes will be lambing very soon. The forecast isn't looking good for next week so the sheep are bound to lamb.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Off to a new home

Today was the day when Aria, Milly and Heidi headed off up to their new home in Scotland at Lavender Bee Alpacas.

The girls were extremely well behaved, you never quite know when it comes to pregnant girls how they will react to strange situations but they were great. It was quite sad waving goodbye to them as they drove off up the road. I'm never very good at that bit!

Here are the girls saying their farewells.

As you can see from the next shot the girls are heads down and tucking into their new grass. I am sure they will settle in nicely and be very happy with the Millers.

It was the first time since Heidi was weaned that she'd been back with her mum and they had a good sniff of each other. I think Tenzing was missing Heidi a little this afternoon as those two used to play fight a fair bit together.

Juliet showed me some lovely naturally dyed yarn she was knitting with which she had spun from Guassian (Geena's 2008 son). She happily took home what I had left of Milly and Aria's fleece which will hopefully keep her going until shearing in a couple of months time.

Finally just a quick lamb update, they are both still here and doing just fine. They have been out in the sunshine today waiting for a suitable four legged mummy to come along. In the meantime the Miller children enjoyed feeding them at lunchtime.

Friday, 26 March 2010

One becomes two

I feel like I haven't stopped again today; no change there then!

My little lamb is much better, after various treatments last night he actually sucked his bottle this morning without me having to 'squeeze' it down. He's also found his voice so has been shouting for milk on a number of occasions during the day.

He is much more active too, he has been running about, although Paul wasn't too impressed to see him running down the hall this evening. I blame Alan (farmer friend) as he was at the door delivering another lamb in need of my attention!

Yes, I now have two in the utility, however as I type they have finally settled down so there is peace a quiet - for a while at least. Both are doing well so fingers crossed there will be a suitable four legged mum available for them very soon.

On the alpaca front it has been very wet, the fields have gone for resembling desserts last week to swaps this week. Milly decided that it would be a good idea to have a sit in a muddy puddle this afternoon! Great timing, her new owners are coming tomorrow to collect her.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Still here

I am pleased to report my little lamb lodger is still with us, although I'm not sure of the long term prognosis. I fear he was probably starved of oxygen at birth and is slightly brain damaged which is why his mum left him. I will continue to preserve but I am not hopeful he will be able to go back to another ewe as he is still not really sucking from his bottle properly.

The weather has been appalling today, it was so misty I couldn't see the field let alone any alpacas in it. We also had torrential rain overnight so the fields were very soggy, so no paddock clearing for me today.

Pepper, one of my pet sheep is due to lamb in a week or so and is looking extremely large and uncomfortable. I can't see her hanging on much longer, I think she may have a race on with my sister in law who is due around the same time.

We received our copy of Alpaca magazine today and I noticed our brown stud Golden Guinea had made an appearance - can anybody else spot him?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Tube feeding and floor warming

We woke to rain this morning but thankfully it soon stopped and dried up which was good as I had some vaccinations to do this afternoon. I'm pleased to report that everyone was very well behaved, even Kate. She did have a swiping kick as she walked past me on the way out of the pen but missed!

Our fence had taken another hit today from a huge falling tree branch from a neighbours tree. More annoying it has broken two hurdles which were in place following the previous tree branch trashing the fence. Oh to have a nice big farm where everything is in our own control.

I have another little foster lamb. This poor little chap was not at all well when he arrived this afternoon. He had been born and abandoned in the field by his mum so he was very cold and hungry.

He was too weak to feed so had to be tube fed and was left to warm up on the underfloor heating.

After a couple of tube feeds and a few hours on the heated floor he has found his feet and was wandering round the utility! With all this improved strength he has even taken a little bit of bottle which is good, so he is now in a pen to stop any wandering!!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Hand over poo and more

It has been another busy day here; but then again when isn't it!

I have been collecting poo and giving it away, unfortunately the collecting out weighed the giving away. I think I might be putting another advert of freecycle this weekend.

I have also been preparing some hand over sheets for three girls that we have sold. As I spend so much time with our animals and our herd has been established for some time now all the individual personality traits and behaviours are well known.

We like to give as much information as possible to new owners and all animals sold by Barnacre leave with their own information pack, which not only gives the husbandry history but also a guide to the individuals personality, and what to expect. Back up service is very important and something we give top priority too.

Monday, 22 March 2010

All work and no play

After a glorious day yesterday today has been rather wet, although after all the land work we did yesterday the watering of the grass has probably done it good.

Whilst Paul was busy enjoying his hot air balloon ride yesterday I began by cleaning the boys field. Once he returned he took over the new quad so I was left pulling the rather heavy muck truck by hand whilst he drove round playing, sorry I mean harrowing.

We even gave one of the isolation/stud strips a quick cut to get rid of the tufty bits of grass and hopefully encourage some growth. Everything has certainly started to green up so now the temperature has risen hopefully the grass will start to grow.

I had put another advert of freecycle for the manure which as always went down well and we had various people calling round to collect it. One lady arrived and filled her car with two and a half dumpy sacks full of the stuff. Her little girl was strapped into her car seat and surrounded by poo - I hope she didn't have to do any emergency stops on the way home.

Today has been more of an indoor job day, not that I seem to have achieved much. This evening we have been to deliver the old quad we sold on ebay, the new owners seemed very pleased with it which is good.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Like a Virgin

With a title like that it can only mean one thing. Paul is on the blog!

Today was an early start, up at 4.55am for me, why you ask (well even if you don't I'm going to tell you) well in September 2006 when I left my last company (the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society) my very kind colleagues bought me a stack of goodies including a very special present of a hot air balloon ride. I was very excited indeed…

Unfortunately whilst that Mr Branson seems able to control many aspects of our daily lives his influence on the wind speed up here in the North East is highly questionable. The Virgin hot air balloon experience does throw up its challenges. Firstly you have to book online, then the day before you are due to fly, you phone up to find out if the weather conditions are appropriate. If the conditions are not good then the flight is cancelled and you go to the back of the queue, sometimes waiting three months for your next turn. In my case this goes on for 6 bookings and three and a half years! On booking number three I did actually get to the launch site (a mere one and a half hours away), to be told that the wind speed had picked up – not what you want to hear when you wake up at 5am…

Anyway enough of my operations manager perspective and a bit more about the nice bits to cheer everyone up on a Sunday evening, or at least anyone who’s vaguely interested in my balloon trip instead of the alternative post which would have comprised feeding, watering and cleaning up dung (how else would we possibly want to spend a Sunday).

So, hold on to your basket, here is my adventure by pictures. The cartographic ones among you can follow the journey from Witton Castle near Witton-Le-Wear drifting with the wind North East to our crash, I mean landing site of High Shincliffe.

Picture number one is my action shot of the flames leaping up into the balloon as we took off.

Picture number two is of a grinning buffoon who finally got to fly...

Picture number three is of our green and pleasant land on a frosty morning – fantastic!

Here's one of Penshaw monument. The frost was melting causing a mist to rise so the shot isn't brilliant.

This is my favourite shot of the whole experience. Nine, yes nine deer scared witless by some odd people flying at silly o’clock in a hot air balloon. We sometimes see three deer here at Barnacre but I’ve never seen this many in the ‘wild’ before.

Well, that's your picture tour of the North East over with, hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed watching the Irish lose in the 6 Nations at the weekend. We won't talk about the other result.

Night all.


Friday, 19 March 2010

More of the same

More of the same has been on the cards today; land management.

I have been poo picking again, the mountain of muck is growing; this despite a visit yesterday from a very nice BT engineer working on a neighbours fault taking some home. It amazes me where it all comes from, I'm sure the faster I clean it up the faster the girls in particular push it out.

It has been really windy here today, it was blowing the hay all over the place this morning as I was filling the mangers. The rain hasn't arrived yet but it is forecast, oh dear looks like Paul will get wet if he wants to play on his new quad at the weekend!

Sadly we have lost one of our chickens today. Poor Peggy drowned, I think the wind must have blown her into one of the water toughs. The chickens regularly stand on the side to have a drink without any incidents so I can't think of any other reason than the wind.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

It speaks for itself

I recently got round to registering last years cria; I know I should have done it ages ago.
I was just putting the Pedigree Registration Certificates away and just thought I would share Sandstorms' with you. How is this for some cracking pedigree! He has a fabulous fleece to match.

This years birthing season will be upon us soon and we have some very exciting additions awaited. The first progeny from our elite white studs Legend of Spartacus and Gianmarco's Masterpiece, and also our first progeny from Golden Guinea.

The first cria is due in about a months time from Alice, she is one of the elite girls we have for sale. To be honest I'm amazed she's still here, she has a very advanced fleece type and great pedigree of her own and is mated to Gianmarco, Marky to his friends. If I had the land available she wouldn't be going anywhere.

Talking of going, the last for foster lambs have gone to new sheep mummys today. I was quite sad to see them go as the little boy really was at deaths door when he arrived and I managed to turn him round. It is very satisfying though - I hope they don't miss the underfloor heating too much tonight as it's going to be a cold one.

And finally just a warning as I know some of you worry if I don't blog every day. Paul is installing a new computer tower tomorrow so if I don't blog you know there has been a technical hitch!!

Put through its paces

It has been a glorious day today, according to the local weatherman the warmest day of the year so far. Milly certainly agreed, she watched me clean out the water trough and as it was filling back up she was climbing in it!

She is so funny to watch. I wish I'd got my camera with me as she was trying to work out how she could get all four legs in at once. There was a gathering of girls who were quite clearly not amused that Milly was climbing in their nice clean water; before it had even filled up there were bits of floating grass in there.

I decided to pt the new quad though it's paces today and spent the morning cleaning fields, the 500cc engine could hardly tell it was pulling a very full much truck up hill behind it.

This afternoon harrowing was on the job list and again the new set of wheels worked well. There are still tow more field that need harrowing but I ran out of daylight. Hopefully the weather will hold for me to get it done tomorrow, as it makes such a difference when you are able to harrow. When you rely on your grass and are on limited pasture you really have to take care of the land and do all you can to keep it in tip top condition.

Paul is out this evening (again!) so I am going to get on with some spinning, I've almost finished my second bobbin so I will be able to do some plying before I have to play taxi for him later.

A safe delivery

Today saw the delivery of Paul's new toy, sorry I mean new piece of essential farm machinery - yes the new quad has arrived.

Spot on time the very nice man from Robson & Cowan arrived with our shiny new Honda ATV, complete with warming handle bars which will come in very handy next winter I can tell you!!!
Seeing as Paul was at work I thought I'd best take it for a quick spin, well I had to make sure it worked ok didn't I. I was thinking about taking it through a few muddy puddles or through the ford but then thought better of it, Paul wouldn't be impressed if I'd got it dirty before he'd even seen it.

I have a very long job list for the new bit of kit tomorrow so fingers crossed the sun will be shining and I can work out how to put it in reverse.

Happy Birthday Ursula

Today is Ursula's 3rd birthday, I can't believe where those three years have gone! Ursula is a real character, she is currently in the final trimester of her pregnancy to our brown stud male Golden Guinea.

Both Guinea and Ursula have masses of brown fleece, are so laid back and real posers I can't wait to see what they produce. With this pairing I am expecting a cria with a fantastic personality and hopefully a fleece to match.

I have been having a play with my new spinning wheel today, I love it! It is so much nicer than my old rickety wheel. I am busy spinning a bit of a flecked yarn ready to knit a scarf I have been wanting to do for a while. The thing is I'm not very good and guessing how much yarn is on the bobbin so I am going to either have far too much or not enough. Time will soon tell.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Cambo Womens Insistute

It has been a dull day today and rather windy so I have been doing inside jobs. I have sewn in a number of garment labels and printed off labels for the latest batch of knitwear.

Next job was updating the husbandry records with all of yesterdays vaccinations and toe nail trimmings. I keep very precise records of anything and everything that is done and any changes in everything.

I am pleased to say that Mary's baldness is looking slightly better following her homeopathy tablets recommended by Jayne at Zanzibah. There looks like there are some very fine black hairs beginning to appear. Hopefully given a few more weeks she will be back to a fully fleeced alpaca - just in time for shearing!

This evening I have been doing a talk at the local WI group, which is a first for me. I usually like Paul to do the public speaking bit, I'm more an animal person. I find talking to and caring for the animals much easier. The ladies were all very nice and seemed interested in what I had to say so it wasn't so bad. They put on a nice little spread afterwards too.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Heartache and hard work

Thank you for your kind comments and emails over the past couple of days. I am very sad to say that we have lost Twiggy. She took a turn for the worst on Friday evening, I am devastated and can not begin to put in to words how I feel.

She would have been 17 this year and was my baby and a huge part of our family. Poor Smudge can't quite understand where she is and has been looking for her, but thankfully is eating. She is actually helping me type!

We have had a very hectic day today, to be honest I think being so busy has been good for us.

The whole herd have been vaccinated, all those who needed a pedicure have been attended to and a few who needed a little trim around the eyes can now see again. I did get on very good kick one the leg for my trouble but as this was from one of the pregnant girls I will let her off as it can't be nice to be messed about with in their condition.

It is interested to see how the animals born here with us happily stand and let you work with them with ease. The likes of Ursula and Oonagh just stand there whilst you inject and check toe nails.

With time and effort we have also calmed and gained the trust of the others, Willow is a prime example of this. When she first arrived she was wild and cutting toe nails was a horrendous job. Typically her nails were all twisted and needed lots of attention, however three years down the line Willow now has lovely nails and is a pleasure to work with.

I have also had my first foster lamb of the year. Alan popped round Friday afternoon with a newborn lamb who had a very poorly mum so she couldn't feed him. After a few bottles and a night on our underfloor heating he was doing just fine, mum was also improving so he has been lucky enough to be reunited with his mum.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

You're early

I have had a bit of an emotional day today.

I suppose I should have realised it was going to be 'one of those days' when just after 8am the oil man, who wasn't supposed to be delivering the heating oil until tomorrow turned up early so the gates (electric) were shut and he couldn't get in. Thankfully he came down the road and into the field to find me - nice man!

At lunchtime I had to ring the vets, one of my cats Twiggy hasn't been herself for a few days, but she was eating and drinking and didn't have a temperature so I've been keeping a close eye on her.

Today though she has not been at all herself so we've been to the vets. Twiggy is my baby and I love her dearly, she's 16 years old and has been through a lot in her life. I am hoping and praying that the blood tests don't reveal anything nasty, but I'm not looking forward to that call in the morning. She is still purring in my arms so I'm not giving up hope.

On a much brighter note I thought I'd share with you a few more photo's. Her is Star with her male entourage of Duke and Sandstorm. This was one of the various attempts we had at halter training.
Fleece shots were proving a little difficult, a third pair of hands would have been handy, but here is Sandstorms fleece, I think I should have used the flash as this doesn't do him justice.
Here we have Kealani having a munch on the hay.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The sun got its hat on

It has been another lovely day, and at lunchtime many of the girls were taking full advantage of the situation and were stretched out sun bathing. I almost thought about joining them.

However, I had a rare treat booked for myself. Well I say treat it was more of a necessity really, I was in desperate need of a hair cut. I don't really know why I bother though as Paul hasn't even noticed despite me having at least three inches cut off and layers cut in it - men!

I spent the morning working hard towards Kelso show later in the year, and I am pleased to say things are now looking much better on that front. More on that another night though.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Milly declares Spring

It has been another dry fine day the the fields are really drying out now, hopefully not too much longer to wait until the grass starts going - OK I know that is a little wishful thinking!

Milly declared Spring today, she had her first paddle in the water trough! I thought she was taking things a little bit far but I was out this morning for the first time this year without my overalls on, so maybe she thought she would go one better.

We sold Milly a little while ago and she will be heading off to her new home with Aria and Heidi at the end of the month. I will miss Milly as she is such a funny girl to watch.

Kealani is still missing her mum, poor little thing is humming away. She hasn't shown any interest in the feed yet but she's eating plenty of hay so I'm not too worried about her. I will weigh her at the end of the week and see how she is doing. Oonagh isn't missing her daughter, she knows she has a cria inside that now need all her efforts.

Monday, 8 March 2010

If at first you don't succeed......

It has been another glorious day today so out came he halters again, well they say practise makes perfect. Thank you for all the top tips, I like the sound of Hilary's advice - make Paul pretend to be an alpaca!

On a serious note though, I have had Star on a tight short rope, a long rope, a slack rope, with my arm round her neck, bribery and all are proving difficult. I think it is the fact that she is not in charge that really freaks her out as she is king pin.

The is slight improvement so I will continue to work with her and hope that we get there in the end. Palm-Olive was top of the class today and did a full lap the the paddock only needing a little encouragement once.

Whilst Paul was off work the week before last we finally got round to buying our new camera, I'm still not convinced we bought the right one (we didn't agree and I let him have the one he wanted), but I will continue to 'play' with it. Here is one of the pictures I took of Chiquita yesterday, I think she has a lovely face. She has a great fleece to match!

Our friends Carol and Dave (knitter and manure collectors) popped round this afternoon which was nice, Carol was delivering a lovely big mans scarf she had knitted whilst Dave collected poo! Why is it I only ever have visitors when the house is resembles a tip!?

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Lambing Live gets me in the mood

After a very hectic day of jobs I settled down in front of the television to watch Countryfile and Lambing Live. Well I say settled down, I was actually stood ironing!

Lambing Live got me all excited about the arrival of our own lambs which are due next month. Most of you will know that we have half a dozen pet sheep. We have four ewes who between them are due to have 5 lambs this year, sadly when the scanning man scanned Mocha he said she was reabsorbing her twin lambs.

It has been a glorious day today, which meant I had no excuse not to wean Kealani this morning. Poor little mite is really missing her mum, Oonagh hummed to her for a little while but soon headed off to the hay mangers.

This evening once it was dark we went out to check that Kealani hadn't tried to escape and go back to mum. With her fluorescent coat on she wasn't hard to spot and all appeared well thank goodness; I really do not like weaning. Thankfully this was the last weaning of the year.

We did a spot more halter training, there is still no improvement with Star but the others continue to make steady progress. Any top tips for Star would be gratefully received!

The youngsters also got a dose of AD&E paste and some had a little manicure. Duke, Sandstorm and Palm-Olive were also in need of a little fleece trimming round the eyes, Duke could hardly see!

Paul managed to get the cars and quad cleaned too whilst I was washing some knitwear which I now need to sew labels in ready for my next outing next week.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A wet weekend

It's the weekend so Paul was at home, and yes you guessed it; it's rained!

Thankfully it did stop this afternoon so we got to do a spot of halter training. Tenzing continues to be a little superstar and walks nicely, the others are not quite up to his standards.

I put to use the 'Bracelet hold' again and everyone stood very still to have their head collars put on. Star is still very frightened when she is on the lead rope and bucks and throws herself about like a crazy thing. I eventually managed to calm her down but anything more then one sideways step was out of the question. This was still a vast improvement so I will continue tomorrow.

Duke, Sandstorm and Heidi are improving and are all about the same level, not keen to walk but with encouragement we get there eventually. Palm-Olive is slightly better and will walk a little better.

I am not sure why this years youngster are proving more challenging than in previous years. Maybe it is because they are older than I would normally have started the training, the snow made it far too dangerous to begin until very recently.

Paul got a little excited this morning, we nipped to Robson & Cowens, our local country store for some supplies (all for the animals!) and they told us that Paul's new toy has arrived. He has orderd a new quad!! Ours is struggling with all we ask it to do, it is only a 299cc 2wd which was great initially when we only had 3 animals but now we are up to 33 it is finding things tough.

They are just waiting for the road kit for the new one then we will have it. The old one is on ebay so hopefully we will get a fair price for it.

Friday, 5 March 2010

What is it with couriers

I have been sat in the house half the day waiting for the courier to arrive again today, I don't know what it is with me and couriers but they never seem to turn up when they are supposed to!

Today it was DHL I was waiting for, to collect some of Paul's students assignments. As well as his full time job and helping me with the alpacas he is also a long distance tutor for some financial services exams.

In the end I gave up waiting at 2.30pm (they were supposed to be here between 9am and 1pm) and went out into the field. Typically they arrived about ten minutes later, thankfully they collected the parcel without me having to sign - maybe that had something to do with the little note I left them!!

Having to stay in has at least made my shrug grow, not quite long enough yet but I will finish it in time and will take a photo so Dave can see what it is.

I am really pleased to see all of the nice comments people have left on Jayne's blog regarding Duke, he is a real little stunner even if I do say so myself. He is the complete package with a fabulous fleece, great genetics and a wonderful personality to go with it. I just know Jayne and Duke will love each other dearly and get on famously.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Time to step on the scales

It has been another glorious sunny day today, the temperature was still cold though and the ice on the troughs was particularly thick this morning.

I decided to weigh the youngsters before they get wet, depending on where you look we may have rain tomorrow. Everyone is still heading in the right direction which is always good to see.

Kealani has had another spurt, I thought she felt like she had put on a fair bit the other night when I picked her up. It turns out she is only 100gms less than Sandstorm!

She is definitely ready to be weaned , maybe we will do that this weekend whilst we can keep a close eye on her. I would normally wean them out of sight of mum but as I have moved the girls up a field, they will be able to see each other. I doubt Oonagh will mind but Kealani might miss her milk as she doesn't often eat hard feed.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Top camelidynamics tips

I have had a lovely day today, the sun has been shining and I have had a visitor which is always nice.

Hilary Cross from Inglefield Alpacas came to visit, we had a look at the boys who were all remarkably well behaved, after that is, they had all rolled in the dirtiest bit of ground they could find. Thanks boys!

Hilary showed me some camelidynamics tips, Paul and I had tried the bracelet hold before with mixed results. It turns out we were holding them too tight and not quite in the right place. Whilst Hilary was demonstrating the hold with Legend I was able to lift his feet with relative ease, which regular readers will no is not normally the case.

I will be putting this technique to good use in the future. I was already quite keen to go on a camelidynamics course and I am even more so now.

We had a rummage through some of the weanlings fleeces and Hilary got to compare her two youngsters to two of ours from the same sires which was good.

We also looked at some of the girls, I've got to say I really do like Sienna's fleece. No matter where you open it it is so uniform in colour, staple and character, I can't wait to get her mated in the Spring. I intend to wait until Willow is remated though as I don't like to have a maiden birthing first.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Early morning call

I was up very early this morning thanks to Twiggy (one of our cats), who has gone deaf so feels the need to yell at a ridiculous volume for a tiny cat when she wants to go out or thinks it is breakfast time. 3.20am was her first calling!!

By the third time of getting up to her and still before 6am I decided I may as well stay up this time.

Needless to say I got a head start on the morning chores and had fed the boys and the weanlings and was on to the girls for 7.30 which took some of them by surprise. Willow and Chiquita are always last to get up but this morning they were still fast asleep.

I'm sure I have seen Willow's cria move today. She always displays cria movement early in comparison to most of the herd. She is a compact girl so room will be tight in there. That is probably another reason she has one of our herds shortest gestation periods.

Whilst on the subject of cria, Alice is really starting to show the signs of later pregnancy. She is rather rotund and walking very slowly everywhere, up until recently she would run to the feed troughs but not anymore. She still has two months to go yet!

I have spent hours cleaning the fields today. Having been away last week and it being too wet to clean before that the job has become a mammoth task. I think I need to put another manure advert on Freecycle too as there is rather a large collection developing.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Normal Service resumed

My parents have returned home today following their animal sitting duties which I know they both enjoy - the animals enjoy it too as they always get spoilt. Even the animals know what a soft touch my mum is!

Paul is away in London so I don't have to fight my way on to the computer or listen to him complaining that I've not blogged yet. He usually starts reminding me if I've not done it by 10pm.

I've had one of those days where you are on the go all day but achieve not a lot. I did nip over to see friends Carol and Dave to hear all about their holiday and pick up Carol's latest batch of knitting that I will get washed, labelled and on the website real soon.

I was able to tell them all about my new purchase; no I wasn't as lucky as Barbara at Beckbrow I don't have a new alpaca, but I do have a new spinning wheel and drum carder.

I bought them from a very nice lady Shiela Dixon from and picked them up on the way home yesterday, that was our little detour. After the spinning seminar at the Futurity I can't wait to get spinning again. I am knitting myself a shrug in Hughie's yarn at the moment which I need for a wedding the weekend after next so it will have to wait a few nights yet though!

We have had sunshine all day today so the fields have dried slightly, hopefully with the same thing forecast for tomorrow it will be dry enough for me to get out with the quad and muck truck. I figured it would do more harm than good today as it was so wet.