Sunday 28 September 2008

Double delight

Well another busy weekend draws to a close. We have been fortunate enough to have had glorious sunshine which is always nice, especially when you have a long list of outside chores.

The stud boys have had a two very important jobs this weekend, pregnancy spit offs with Ursula and Duchess.

Ursula was due for her third pregnancy spit off with our wonderful brown stud Golden Guinea, and she revoked his advances again, squealing when Paul didn't get him away quick enough! You are never quite sure what response you will get from a maiden as you have no previous experiences to call upon, it's more difficult when the girl involved isn't a spitter and doesn't like confrontation. Ursula will now wait for an ultra sound scan from the vet in a few weeks time, but she is looking good to give us our first Golden Guinea cria next summer.

It was Duchess's turn this morning, so our extremely keen young stud Gianmarco's Masterpiece donned his halter and was hoping for some excitement. He has soon learnt that the halter usually means he gets his wicked way with the ladies - boy was he a fast learner! Unfortunately for Marky, Duchess made it quite clear before he got anywhere near that she was not interested in him getting up close and personal. Fingers crossed that means she has held this time.

The weather forecast for next week isn't good, but we have great things to look forward to so keep reading ...........................

Friday 26 September 2008

Anyone for sunbathing.

Today has been lovely, it actually felt more like summer than summer has! The alpacas have been enjoying a spot of sunbathing, very relaxing. Well it is until Horatio passes, he does like to take full advantage of girls sat or laid down - he really is a pest, a lovable one mind!

There has also been a growth spurt in the resting paddocks which is typical now the lawn mover is broken. It took months for it all to start growing in spring/summer and its now growing the best it has all year and it's the end of September; it's madness.

Gabby and Willow have had a bit of a 'set to' today, they are both well and truly at the bottom of the pecking order and prefer to eat from my hand rather than the troughs at feed time which isn't usually a problem. Gabby is far from bright, in fact bless her she is pretty dim, and she will regularly mistake an accidental nudge for a pecking order squabble. This morning was one of those morning, and somebody knocked her, so she spat at Willow who happened to be passing by in all innocence. Willow obviously thought seeing as Gabby was more of a match for her than the other girls she would give her what for, and the pair of them locked necks and had a bit of a wrestle and fight. Barnaby went over to check is mum was ok but no one else bothered to get involved.

Thursday 25 September 2008

The Great Escape

Yet again four of the five lambs have been on 'walkies' today, you'd laugh at lunchtime I went out to give Gaussian his bottle but when I shouted him Mia (the lamb) called back from behind the neighbours weeds - some three fields further up than she should have been!! All lambs are now safely put back where they belong and an additional fence rail has been attached to hopefully stop any further wondering.

It has been a lovely day today so I have been out removing some more of those dreaded weeds, it's a battle I don't think I'll ever win, but one I won't give up on. I managed to take a few new photos whilst I was out there so hopefully Paul will put them on the website in the next few days.

I have also been working on some exciting plans for next week - further details of those will follow.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Blummin sheep!

Today has been one of those days, you know its not going to be a good one when you start it with a trip to the dentist for a filling - I don't like dentists!

As I had to go into suburbia for the dentist I thought I'd pay a trip to the supermarket for those annoying essentials that cost a fortune for not a lot. The most annoying of all by the time I got home the sun had gone in and the rain arrived.

Gaussian has been a monkey with his bottle today too, he took hardly any from me this morning or lunchtime, when he sits on my knee he spends too much time turning his head to watch me or we get help from Horatio. He was slightly better this evening when he could sit on Paul's knee and I fed - fussy little devil! At least he'd put on some weight when I weighed him today.

Finally I've been chasing round the escaping lambs again! Following their change of field Ebony & Ivory have been wondering. The only problem is Mia is now to fat to get through the fence, so they struggle to find their way back without her. I've left Ebony in the horse field because she wouldn't play my game, hopefully she will work her way back or we are in for a noisy night!

Monday 22 September 2008

News from down south

Great news today, I had confirmation from our friends Rob & Les down at Wellground, that Little Miss Irraquoy scanned pregnant - yippee. We are so pleased, and can't wait to see what the fantastic combination of LMI and Cambridge Buckingham will produce.

We can now arrange heading back down south to catch up with Rob & Les, pick up the girls and check out their new stud, Lionheart who is half brother to our own stud Gianmarco's Masterpiece.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Bang goes the mower

It's been another busy day today, first job was a spit off for Duchess, and boy did she spit. Unfortunately I was in the firing line, she's never spat like that before, so hopefully this time she will hold.

Next we finished off the field shelters, we're very pleased with them. Our farmer friend Alan said they looked good as he drove past this morning, so they have the seal of approval.

Once construction had been completed, we moved the sheep and lambs onto fresh grass, Mocha took immediate charge of the new shelter and refused to let anyone else in. There is plenty of room for half a dozen alpacas to share it so why there is only room for one sheep is beyond me!

Then came the bang.........

We needed to top the tufty grass shoot left by the sheep and harrow it, to help aid the quick recovery. I left Paul to get on with it whilst I was busy cleaning the boys field when a rather large buff of blue smoke came from Paul's direction. After a while staring into the engine (he just about knows where it is!) he came and announced 'it's broke'.

Quad to the rescue, I towed it back to the house and have sent out for help! Hopefully the local tractor repair man, also known as Marky, will pop round and have a look. There was oil coming out of the front exhaust pipe so if anyone has any suggestions all help gratefully received.

Friday 19 September 2008

Good morning and not so good morning

First job on a Saturday morning (after I've fed Paul his bacon sandwich) is weigh day for the cria. We are only weighing the smallest three now, the others are all doing fine and dandy and too big for our scales!

Unfortunately for the first time in a few weeks Gaussian had lost weight, 180 grams since last Saturday - not good. We had a good chat to him and tried to encourage him to try the camelibre but he wasn't interested, he has had plenty of milk today though, in fact the most he has ever had.

Much better news with Ursula though, our maiden who Golden Guinea had had a liaison with three weeks ago. She revoked his advances, she doesn't spit, she's not that kind of girl! Just ran round the pen and looked at me with those 'let me out of here' eyes . So far so good, great news when a maiden is showing all the right signs for being pregnant.

This afternoon we have built another of our shelters, that is two ready for the cria when they are weaned from their mums or if we have to split the boys up further as they mature. Whilst we were building a car pulled up to look at the alpacas. Apparently there is a programme on Cbeebies with two alpacas in it, Nuzzle & Scratch and the grandparents had promised to find a real alpaca for the children to see. They found us on the Internet and hoped that the animals would be visible from the road, but as we were out they came in, so Hughie got to meet his public despite the Whalton show being cancelled!!

Great swap!

Shock horror, another dry day, at last the girls paddock was dry enough to take the muck truck in! I usually clean it on a very regular basis, but because of the weather it had been almost two weeks and boy could I tell. It took hours, how people can say they spend an hour a week cleaning up is beyond me - obviously aren't a thorough as I am!

Our regular manure collectors Carol and Dave came round this morning and emptied one sack, but by the time I'd done the girls field there was more than before they came - come back soon! Carol and Dave grow some spectacular veggies and bought us a lovely bag full of their home produce. Thanks guys, we really appreciate it.

Hughie also appreciated their visit, he loves to say hello. He was due to meet his public tomorrow at the Whalton show, but sadly it has been cancelled due to the field being flooded, that was his last outing until next year :-(

Thursday 18 September 2008

Visitors and sunshine

Yippee, it has been a dry day, all day, we even had a glimpse of the sun!! Thankfully it has dried everybody off and the ground too had begun to dry out. Good job really because we were all getting rather fed up of it.

We had a visit today from some prospect alpaca owners, a couple we have met and spoken to at a couple of the shows. They were keen to come and have another look and chat about the requirements and husbandry needs. I was able to help guide them in the right direction and confirm the basics.

With the dry weather I was able to make a return to one of my favourite jobs (not!), the weeds. It never ceases to amaze me where they come from and how quick they grow. Pity the grass doesn't recover as quickly.

The bulk of our fleeces were collected by the courier this morning too, so they are now on their travels to be processed. Hopefully they wont be too long as I have just booked a stall at a craft fair ready for Christmas.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Aodhfin goes exploring

Nothing much has been happening today, just mundane jobs I'm afraid. However, this evening when we went out to give everyone their tea, they all came running with the usual exception of Gaussian, and tonight Aodhfin. He had somehow managed to get through the fence and was playing chase with Gaussian on opposite sides of the fence!

I went to the rescue, Geena came running back and was clucking to him, his mum, Imala, didn't seem in the slightest bit bothered that her son was in a completely different field - tea was much more important. Aodhfin didn't seem bothered by the separation either, although he was quite pleased to see me and was clucking away to me with his tail over his back. I now need to try and work out where Houdini got out.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Yet more rain

I really don't know how much rain we can take, it's been raining all day, the animals are filthy, the paddocks are like a mud bath and it's still raining.

The poor cria look awful, particularly Aodhfin and Barnaby who think it's fun to roll and play fight in the muddiest apart of the field. Boys and mud just don't mix, they are so muddy!

I've been knitting fingerless gloves so check out the shop - hopefully Paul will put them on there when I've just finished this, but just in case here they are.

Monday 15 September 2008

Fleece sorting

I have been sorting and bagging this years fleece ready for posting off to the mini mill today. I booked it in months ago, but they are so busy there has been a long wait, but now it's my slot. Hopefully I wont have too long to wait for it to be returned as beautiful yarn.

I've not mentioned Gaussian bottle time for a long while, so I thought I'd just share with you the fact that this evening he took the most he's ever taken in one sitting, 250ml! Since the appalling weather arrived he has been taking his milk much better, particularly if it is warmer than Geena's would be - very odd! He is now looking bigger and is much more playful so things are obviously on the up.

Sunday 14 September 2008

NEBAG Craft Day

Today was our NEBAG craft day, so bright and early I loaded the car with weaving loom, spinning wheel and all the relevant paraphernalia! I had a fantastic day, it was lovely to get together and chat, try new things and then get shown how to use the weaving loom I acquired from Freecycle.

After the initial 'stringing up', which I now know is correctly known as warping, which seemed to take forever and I was wondering if it would be worth it. I soon realised it was, once I was up and running it was fantastic, and my soon to be scarf started to grow I loved it. I now can't wait to get on and finish the trial piece so I can do another and start the latest 'range' for the shop!

Saturday 13 September 2008

I'm back!

Things have been very hectic the last few days, hence the lack of blog. I thought I'd better find five minutes tonight to get on line before I got any more complaints!

It was the Westmorland show last Thursday so we had a very early start (4am) to get our five animals on board and ready for inspection over on the opposite side of the country for 8.30am. Thankfully everything went according to plan, even loading in the dark, and we were there in plenty of time.

It was a very successful day to, with five animals entered and five rosettes we certainly couldn't complain. It was a long day mind you and I think the animals were as glad to get home as we were. We did have a slight detour on the way home as we passed some friends broken down on the side of the M6, so we pulled off and were able to load their two boys into our trailer and drop them off at home whilst they waited for the RAC to tow them home.

Today was spit off day for Ursula and great news, she revoked all of Golden Guinea's advances. Fingers crossed that means that she took first time, we will try another spit off next weekend and keep everything crossed until then. Duchess has her ovulation spit tomorrow.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

What can I say.....

It's raining again! The poor animals will forget what it feels like to be dry.

I have a new toy, I'm sure we have mentioned before that in a bid to find a use for the alpaca muck and to reduce our carbon emissions we were trying to follow the Inca's example and burn the dried muck. Paul had made a mould which did the job but needed improvement, my dad then came up with a 'pipe' version which in principle was good, but the pipe was too thick. He has now adapted newspaper brick maker which is a great idea - just need the rain to stop so we can test it out.

The bad weather has meant that the knitting needles are working overtime and we have a new design in the shop:-

Sunday 7 September 2008

Morpeth makes the national news.

After the torrent of rain we have suffered for the last two days the Morpeth floods made the headlines on the national news! We were watching the weather very closely yesterday as the puddles turned to streams and lakes and the paddocks got soggier. The girls and their cria are wet through with their shelters providing very little protection from the rain.

Thankfully the rain has been slightly less today, and the animals were starting to dry off slightly when the heavens opened again. We have got through so much straw in the last couple of days I will need a further supply!

We are slightly marooned at the minute, we have severe flooding on most of our exit routes! The neighbour had to abandon his car in the flood water on Saturday night and only managed to retrieved it this evening. We have also seen the RSPCA convoy going past with their boat which is always worrying.

On a happier note, in one of the brief rain free intervals (well it was when we started the job), we carried out spit offs with Duchess and Ursula. Unfortunately, Duchess sat again giving Gianmarco's Masterpiece chance to work, whilst Ursula gave a very positive refusal spit to Golden Guinea, so she ovulated for the first time last week.

Friday 5 September 2008

Water water everywhere

It has been a pretty quiet day here, rain all day, which has got heavier as the day has gone on, the girls paddock is sodden even their field shelter is wet. The forecast is for two weeks worth of rain in the next 24 hours, so that's not good.

Hughie and Loki have camped down in their shelter but the three stud boys wont go in theirs for fear of missing out on something!

Thursday 4 September 2008

Two showers in one day!

One of the water troughs has been over flowing for some time now, so whilst my brother was on hand I thought I'd make use of his plumbing skills and get it fixed. Unfortunately there is no stop tap on this trough so we knew we were likely to get wet. Not sure how, but I ended up resembling a drown rat whilst my brother was completely dry!

Then it was off to paddock cleaning before the rains arrived, I will have to do that more often because whilst I was out the ironing fairy came (in the form of my sister-in-law) and did the ironing!

Gaussian has been a good boy again today, two bottles without too much trouble, hopefully we will have another good jump on the growth chart on Saturday.

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Good boy

Wednesday is Gaussian's mid week weigh day and with Paul away my brother was on hand to offer assistance. Thankfully the nice fresh lush grass is doing the trick as he had put on another 320gms - clever boy. He was also remarkably well behaved with his bottles today taking both without much hassle, Horatio was on hand to cause trouble this morning and his sister, Ursula, carried on where he left off this evening!

Monday 1 September 2008

Gaussian causes damage.

Paul is away in London today so thankfully help was still on hand at feed time, in the form of my brother, Colin. Gaussian was slightly distracted this morning by the 'strange' man holding him so the bottle went down better than usual. Unfortunately once it was time to get back to mum he managed to rip Colin's trousers - oops! By this evening the 'strange' man was no longer a 'strange' man so the usual fiasco took place.