Sunday, 30 December 2012

Solar girls (Paul)

OK Miriam, I admit the last blog was mine! Pictures and more details to follow...if you're a good girl...

Today though there is more good news to share.  A very excited couple joined us (again) yesterday as they have decided to begin breeding friendly champion alpacas for quality fleeces .  The good news (?!) was that all this rain we have had meant the entire herd was under cover and so fleece rumaging was the order of the day!

Some of our fleeces are developing very nicely indeed and one of the truly special ones is from a boy called Tenzing.  His dam is Veruschka, one of our very best girls who at the 2007 Royal Fleece Show scored the 2nd highest score ever recorded in the UK. Veruschka (and Legend) also blessed us with Casiphia, our home bred Supreme Champion, below:

Any way, despite the very close attention afforded by our core herd, led by Meketaten who found that her head fit nicely under the arm of our visitors...three female alpacas have been selected to form a new breeding herd.  The line up inlcudes Iolani and Lady (two girls with us on livery) and Barnacre Lacie, one of our youngsters from this year, daughter of Verushka and Gianmarco's Masterpiece.  All very exciting and more details and pictures will follow!

Regular blog followers might recall that one of the other livery girls, Barbilla, acquired new owners a short while ago and she will stay with us on livery - same arrangement different human owners! Now that Iolani and Lady have been sold we have decided to advertise two of the other livery girls and details are on our sales page.  Both are from very exciting genetics and offer exceptional value for the discerning breeder.

Solar panel time!  What a great year to install solar panels!  Last December as the house and shed were nearing completion we installed 40 solar PV panels on the Alpaca shed roof.  The system is 9.6kWp and was supposed to generate 8,002 kWh  and save over 4.5 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year.  Well despite the fact that Mr Sun has been conspicuous by his abscence we actually beat the original estimate and generated 8,114 kWh!  That means our panels have generated enough electricity to power two average households - not bad eh?

For the solar anoraks, the graph above is our weekly generation by week. The high point is the first 2 weeks of June and the other high was the last 2 weeks in March can you believe! We are happy to share our solar experiences and are delighted to recommend our installer, Chris Cassells of Opus Green - did you see our press release?

Friday, 28 December 2012


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Hello my little Shetland mates (Paul)

For those of you wondering what soap and shower gel mix I bought Debbie for Christmas you will have to stay in suspenders for a a little longer I'm afraid!

It seems that I caused a little confusion on Twitter yesterday when I tweeted on @BarnacreAlpacas about my little Shetland mates.  Philly Drummond-Arnot who lives up in Shetland (where Barnacre Horatio is doing some manly jobs ;-) ) tweeted back to say Merry Christmas - now whilst I consider them good cyber friends I'm afraid I was actually referring to our Shetland Sheep, the finest fleeced primitive sheep in the UK you know!

In the picture is Galaxy our 3 year old brown Shetland tup (top left) with his 9 lady friends.  We have another 3 Shetland lambs that live with the blackie and lowland (jacob-texel cross) lambs higher up the hill.  Here's for a busy and bumper Spring lambing!


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas from Barnacre (Paul)

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

We have a house full (as usual) and Debbie is busy cooking Christmas dinner so for anyone who is having a sneaky play on their computer here's a festive Barnacre blog seeing as Debbie seems to have forgotten how to type over the last few days - she should find more time to relax?!

Anyway, up and at it on Christmas morning was the mother-in-law (Janet) who after her relaxing day yesterday chasing sheep up and down the hill was on goat patrol.
This lady moves that fast that she is a blur on the camera!  The Angora goats are certainly munching through the hay, no wonder their fleece grows so fast!

Anticipation was high across the farm because this is the day that Santa has been (Colin, the brother-in-law thinks he spotted him at the end of our drive last night shortly after the big glass of whiskey that was put out for Santa vanished...).

The livery girls were excited and some of them are also looking forward to their new homes as they have been causing a fair bit of interest up here in the North...
Basil the goat was so excited that I spotted him accidentally kicking one of the Blackie sheep in the head...
Naughty Basil!

The main herd were excited as always.  The weather has been so wet here recently that they seem to spend more time in the shed than out, they do like the waitress service mind!

The excitement builds...
The bellies rumble...
Emery (our prize winning grey girl) and Chiquita sense that they have been pipped to the hay post - can you see Chiquita's son, Pablo, from this year (Minimus's brother) - yes he has found a nice little spot under the hay heck...
And as for Debbie, she was full of excitement and anticipation - what flavour soap might Santa have bought?
Quick Debbie, come see, Santa has left you lots of sacks, they must be stuffed full of presents - lots of soap??!!
Oh oh, has someone been a naughty girl, have all Paul's shirts ironed and his dinner cooked? No??!! In that case what has Santa left you...
Not even a bar of soap - poor Debbie.  Perhaps the Barnacre Blog readers can save her and wish her a Merry Christmas??!!
Merry Christmas everyone have a good one and an Alpaca New year.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

A year in

This week marks the anniversary of the animals (and us) moving onto Liberty Hill, it only seems like yesterday that we were freezing our ears to the pillows in the caravan!

The animals have settled and we are starting to get things sorted, it's a slow job when you are doing fencing and the like yourselves and with friends but we're getting there and we will be eternally grateful to our wonderful friends and family who have been helping.  As a little thank you we are having the Barnacre Christmas party on Saturday night!

We still have, and will always probably have fencing to do but the next major project is shelters.  We don't as yet have shelters in all the fields.  Although with the weather as it is at the minute no one is wanting to step foot out of the shed to venture into a field. 

We have had driving rain and high winds all day.  On a plus point I did finish my Christmas shopping, not the knitting though so I'm off..................

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Knit type, type knit

Just a very quick one tonight as I am madly knitting; yes another one required for Christmas, mad I know! Like Barbara at Beck Brow my tree and decorations still remain in the shed and I haven't even finished buying presents let alone wrapped them!!

I have a poorly lamb in the shed tonight, he's been in there all day.  He's been dosed and had a good talking to but he's not looking any better, no worse though, so in sheep terms that's not bad I suppose.  Basil isn't too keen on the 'thing' in the corner of his pen, he keeps looking at him as if to say is that all you do sit there!?

The weather is foul again so everyone is glad to be in, in fact despite it being dry and not too bad this morning the girls took some convincing to go out, coming back was a different story though, they would give Usain Bolt a run for his money - Willow excluded of course.  See details of Willow on our meet the herd page.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Today has been quite productive, despite being germ ridden and lacking in energy. 

After the morning rounds I managed to get my last knitwear order labelled and ready to post, so then I finished writing the Christmas cards that needed posted and headed off to Otterburn to post them.  The post box was rammed full so I'm just hoping that Mr Postie empties it as it seemed a bit strange that a big postbox in somewhere like Otterburn was full to the brim on a Tuesday.

I now just have one knitting project to get completed then I can fully turn my attention to Christmas.

I have noticed that Cassiopeia, the 17 old grey girl here on livery, had recently taken to feeding Luca as well as her own daughter Lily.  Lily is a big girl and about to be weaned were as Luca is much more dainty, so much so Lily has to lie on the floor whilst Luca stands along side in the usual manner.

I will try and get a photo as this is the second time in a few days that I have spotted it happening and Cassiopeia seems to just let it go on.  Because of her age she is already on extra rations so I am keeping a close eye on her to make sure that it doesn't have any detrimental effect on her condition which is quite good at the minute.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Visitors galore

We are coming to the end of another busy weekend.  Yesterday we gathered all the blackie sheep up again and all but two appeared to have coloured bums so that's good.  Hopefully having been serviced means they will all be pregnant.

I've not actually seen our Shetland tup Galaxy doing his stuff and he doesn't have a raddle on so I think I may have to get those girls scanned with the pet lowlands (I don't can the blackies).  Unfortunately we lost the old Shetland ewe on Saturday, she was old with no teeth so most 'proper farmers' would have sent her away by now but not me!

Today has been a full on alpaca day with three lots of visitors, first Eric and Pat, new owners of Seymour, Leonidas and Olly-Impic.  Next up was a walk and talk couple who I forgot to ask if I could name so I'd better not.  It was a surprise anniversary present for the husband and they both had a lovely time so that was good.  Nadia, Piccolina and Angelica got to go for a walk today.

Finally Barbilla had a visitor from her new owner, Fran (& Simon) Barbilla is on livery here and will stay on livery for the foreseeable future.

Having got all excited about having finished all my knitwear orders I received another one this morning, so the knitting needles will be steaming again this week to make sure I catch the last posting date for Christmas.  I can never say no!

I'm trying to get my Christmas cards written tonight although I don't seem to be getting very far in between answering Paul's accounting questions, ironing and stopping one of the cats scratching the door - she obviously wants out but I don't like them out overnight; sorry Tilly!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Planning ahead

This morning I had to head out for a meeting, a very exciting meeting.  We have lots of things planned for next year and this meeting was about one of them, so keep posted for more details on that one in the new year.

We have a few things in the pipeline for next year so we expect Barnacre to go from strength to strength, it's all very exciting.

Following my trip to the post office yesterday I received a lovely email from one of the customers today to let me know that her hat and scarf had arrived safely and she was very pleased with the beautifully soft set, ideal for these cold days.

I'm still working on my latest order, mum had just finished the pair of fingerless gloves that she needed to do and I suspect Carol has done hers.  Umm note to self, dish order out to mum and Carol not yourself!!  On that note I best get back to them if I want to get to bed tonight....

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Post office pile

I braved the shops today, I needed to post four knitwear packages (and mum did a 5th from Nottingham), and I needed to get a few more Christmas presents.  I can't believe Christmas is round the corner and I've not finished my shopping yet!  I still need to get Paul something....

Morpeth car parks were a nightmare but I managed to park my new car, affectionately know as the tank.  Getting out of the space was worse than getting in it!

The alpacas have enjoyed another day in the barn, we had more snow overnight and during the day and seeing as the girls don't have a shelter in their field I thought they would much prefer staying inside and munching their way through lots of hay.

The goaties coats are now starting to grow back which is good as it's really cold, angora's coat grows at about an inch a month so they soon go from bald to bursting with fleece in no time.  I still have their clip to deal with, it's in a big pile at the minute and needs skirting and sorting but I think it is going to have to wait until after Christmas now.

Talking of Christmas, I best get back to my my flip top mittens order as that's a Christmas present for one lucky lady.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Cozy customer christmas presents

I'm not sure where the last week has gone, I can't believe it was last Wednesday when I last blogged.  Thanks to the two people complaining here I am!

At the weekend we were at the North Tyneside Victorian Market with the boys and our knitwear, it's not one we've been to before.  We were welcomed with open arms and as usual the alpacas drew crowds and our knitwear and hand woven (by my dad) scarves went down a treat.

It was a very long two days, not helped by the fact it took 40 minutes to get off our drive at 5.45am on the Saturday morning, despite the fact mum and I had spent all of Friday digging out two tyre tracks in the snow and ice!

We decided that leaving the car and trailer at the bottom of the drive was a better idea when we got back and we all walked back up and down again on the Sunday morning.

Knitwear sales have been continueing this week, we had a visitor to the farm on Monday who wanted to buy his wife a unique Christmas gift.  Mrs *** will be one cosy warm lady come the end of December.  As you can see from the picture below our stock is now getting rather low.

I've had three on line sales today which all need posting tomorrow, so that will be a long queue in the post office no doubt.

I'm busy knitting an order at the mintute, so is my mum and not wanting to leave carol out she had one yesterday. 

It's freezing cold here at the minute and we still have snow, but the cats are keeping warm in front of the aga...

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Snow time like knitting time

We have had more snow today, this was the view from the lounge window when I stopped for a cup of tea this morning.  The boys were making the most of the cosy bed and fresh hay on tap!
By this afternoon our drive was so bad that the Tesco man couldn't get up, he rang me from the roadside gate and said he was stuck.  So off I went with the quad and the sheep taxi to pick up my shopping, the cats couldn't have lasted as they were almost out of food and I needed some goats milk for Azrael.  I definitely need to look into getting a milking goat.

I'm hoping the snow doesn't get any worse as we are out this weekend with the alpacas at North Tyneside Victorian Market and I also need to get to the post office to post more on line orders.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

I found it

Seeing as I've now found the camera I thought I would share some of the photo's from the weekend.  Just for the record I found the camera in the recycling - despite having witnesses that Paul had it on Sunday he's denying it had anything to do with him!

Firstly we have our fabulous Shetland tup Galaxy having a good sniff of one of his new girls, it took him about 30 seconds to get on with the job in hand.  I do like my little Shetlands...

Next up is the not so cute or so handlable Blackies.  Gill, Ross, Taylor, Dave, Paul & I gathered them up into a corner of the top field so we could count, check coloured bums and generally give the boys a chance.  There are only three of them to cover well over 100 acres.
It's a close call between Wesley (green bums) and Bruiser (Blue bums) I think Red Run needs to spend less time thinking about it and more time getting on with it as there didn't seem to be many red bums!

Final photo of the day goes to my new knitter, Izzie - well I told you orders were mounting up.

Monday, 3 December 2012

How many hours in a day

Forgive me world for I have sinned, no blogs since Wednesday!

There just doesn't seem to have been enough hours in the day (or even night) to find five minutes to sit down and blog what with three different events, farm visitors doing their Christmas shopping, shearing goats, yes I know it's cold but they are tucked up nice and warm in the shed, taking delivery of my new toy and trying to get some knitting orders done.

Oh yes and rounding up the sheep on Sunday (in the snow) to give the various tups chance to do their thing - Paul actually took some photo's but I can't share them with you as the camera seems to have grown legs and walked somewhere all on it's own!!

I was hoping to get some shop updates done as I've had a lesson on uploading from Paul but without the camera I can't do that.  It's probably a good job as I'm bound to do something wrong and destroy the shop.

We had a fantastic weekend for knitwear sales, we had been invited to Anlwick Christmas market on Saturday which despite the freezing conditions proved a very worthwhile outing.  The boys were very popular and attracted a crowd all day and the knitwear was doing a roaring trade.

On Sunday we had a visit from a previous customer who wanted to do some Christmas shopping, they took home lots of gifts and a treat for themselves too - that will be one cosy family this Christmas!

As we still have snow everyone is enjoying another night in, the hay consumption has gone through the roof so we are going to need to buy some more before the end of winter.  Hopefully what we have will last us until February.

We seem to have 3 hens that have forgotten where they live and have taken up residence in the shed.  I wouldn't mind but they don't sleep with Tweet, who does roost in there.  There has been a bit of cockerel wars going on today between Dave and Tweet, so both have gone to bed with bloody beaks!