Thursday 30 October 2008

Gabby goes mountainerring

With the grass no longer growing the amount of hay being consumed is increasing on what seems like a daily basis and today was no different. We have a small amount of hay stored in the girls field shelter to allow them to munch inside along with hay nets and the long hay mangers. I like to have plenty of space to stop the more submissive members of the herd going without. Blossom and Lualeni think they have a monopoly when it comes to hay!

This morning I was completing the morning ritual of filling mangers, hay nets and putting another bale into the field shelter only to find Gabby 'mountaineering'. She was stood on one bale so that she could reach the back of the fresh one I had just placed on top.

The sales girls also love their hay and were waiting for their manger to be filled this morning, I'm sure they see me as nothing more than a waitress. Whenever they see me they either run to the feed troughs or the manger!

Wednesday 29 October 2008


What more can I say today, it's been another freezing cold day and after the routine morning jobs feeding, filling hay mangers and cleaning it was back in doors to the warmth and my knitting needles!

Mum & I are busy knitting for the Christmas craft fairs and website sales. Alpaca garments and jewellery make fantastic Christmas gifts, certainly something your loved ones will appreciate.

When it came to feeding this afternoon Horatio had the mischiefs on him; something he has on a regular basis! He was 'helping' me to catch Gaussian to give him his tea time bottle however pulling a clump of fleece from his neck did not go down well. Then whilst Gaussian was taking his bottle (after some persuasion) Horatio thought it would be helpful to bite his feet and try and neck wrestle. Pesky little monkey!

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Autumn watch

Paul & I (and the cats!) really enjoy watching Autumn watch and I've decided that I think I will have to nip Gaussian over to the Farne Islands to have a bit of seal milk. It's only half an hour or so to the coast from here and we can pop on a boat, if Lucky the seal pup can put on a couple of kilo's in a day it's got to be worth it - Guassian takes a couple of months to manage that sort of weight gain!

Now the clocks have gone back I'm struggling to give him his bedtime bottle on my own, Paul doesn't leave work until well after dark. The last couple of days I've had the help of Holly the girl next door giving me a helping hand which is nice. She thinks feeding Mia the orphaned lamb was much easier!!

It has been freezing here all day, after I broke the ice on all the water troughs this morning most of the ice I removed didn't even thaw out during the day. It's set to get colder over the next couple of days - I've already got the thermals out.

Monday 27 October 2008

Sales girls get fresh grass

This morning I moved the six girls we have for sale onto fresh grass, I just love it when the alpacas are moved onto fresh pasture. No matter how old and staid an alpaca is they all go loopy on fresh grass and these girls were no different.

Our brown stud Golden Guinea got quite concerned when her saw his ladies on the move this morning. I think his biggest concern was that Gianmarco's Masterpiece and Legend of Spartacus were going to get what he's been dreaming for since the girls arrived!! They are all already pregnant to elite EP Cambridge herd sires so no chance for anyone to work until the spring.

Hopefully I will be feeling a bit better tomorrow, Paul had kindly passed on his germs, so it's an early night for me tonight.

Sunday 26 October 2008

An extra hour in bed

Last night the wind was terrible up here, we were laid in bed listening to all sorts being buffeted and blown about. I've got to be honest we were slightly worried we'd get up to find our newly constructed field shelters in pieces. Thankfully not, everything was as we had left it, all be it covered in lots more leaves.

We nipped to a local craft fair at Wallington this afternoon, it is one I was thinking of taking my knitwear along to earlier in the year. To be honest I'm glad I decided against it as there weren't too many people spending. I bought a Christmas present and then we had a lovely walk round the grounds which are fantastic.

Saturday 25 October 2008

Wildlife weekend

After saying goodbye to my parents who have travelled home today we headed off to get on with some outdoor jobs. Before we got to the boys paddock a deer ran in front of us and through the field, the hounds were out and about and had obviously disturbed her.

Then we had the pleasure of watching a stoat that was playing chase with a leaf on our lane, it was so engrossed it didn't notice us for quite some time. The funniest wildlife encounter of the day was actually the first one, Paul picked up a sack of weeds and promptly put it back down again asking to borrow my dads walking stick. Why you might ask, he thought he saw something in the sack; having been bit by a snake some years ago it has to be said he is quite paranoid about 'things' hiding in dark places.

After poking the bag and nothing appearing he then jabbed it a few times and a tiny field mouse come running out which caused Paul to screech like a girl!! It did honest. Poor little mouse will now have to go and find a new warm and waterproof house. It made my parents and I laugh if nothing else and I've been telling him all day I was going to tell the world he squeals like a girl!

Friday 24 October 2008

Sunny autumn day

It has been a lovely sunny day today, breezy but dry which was good because without the quad to pull the muck truck it has been shovel and rake muck collecting morning; it takes hours! My parents are still here and thankfully mum is always happy to assist. So there are now six large sacks ready for collection by the gardeners and the rented paddocks are all clean again.

Now the grass has stopped growing the hay intake has increased substantially. I definitely miss calculated how long our garage full of hay would last. Thankfully Alan (our local sheep farmer) has plenty of large round bales we can buy to keep us going until the hay show.

I'm busy sewing labels into the knitwear that mum & I have been slaving away over recently. I've put a couple of new items in the online catalogue and there will be a couple more in the next day or so. Now is the time to start that Christmas shopping to avoid disappointment because once the yarn is gone it's gone!

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Back to manual

I just had to share this with you, Hughie was checking out who was collecting his manure. He gets a good view by standing on the wall. Thanks to Carol & Dave for the photo - it was them he was watching.

Talking of muck, with the quad still waiting to go in for repairs I had to revert to manual collection and used the rake and shovel. With over thirty animals to clean up after that was going to take too long.

No problem my parents are here so they were the new quad , they pushed and pulled the muck truck whilst I cleaned up. They just did it, I didn't ask! Paul has certainly not offered to do that for me.

Monday 20 October 2008

Batten down the hatches

It has been very windy here today, there are things blowing all over the place, but don't worry Aodhfin is trying to help the situation by attaching as may leaves, bits of twig and anything else physically attachable to his fleece!! He looks like a walking compost heap. He is so sweet mind, and came over clucking to me tonight whilst I was giving Gaussian his bottle to show off his collection.

Talking of Gaussian and his bottle, we have a new record, he has actually taken 600ml today which is an all time record. Hopefully that will keep the weight ticking up nicely.

My parents have arrived today with all the knitting mum has been doing. As usual mum had to go straight to the field to say hello to everyone and try and work out who was who. If in doubt shout a name and the right one usually looks or comes over.

Sunday 19 October 2008

A slow start

We were out at a wedding reception last night in a marquee down the road, so for once I didn't have to drive because we were able to walk home. So for the first time in I don't know how long I was able to have a drink; I'm obviously out of practice because I could tell this morning I'd had a few.

We got up to watch the grand prix but we had a slow morning after that. We managed better than the father of the groom who hadn't surfaced at lunch time - his beast had to wait a while longer for their breakfast today!

We have put another extra wire on the sheep field this afternoon to try and contain Mia who is back to roaming Angerton. Even last night when we wanded past the field at some ungodly hour she spotted me and started to head back with us.

Friday 17 October 2008

Winter is getting closer

You can really tell that winter is approaching now, everyone is really starting to tuck into the hay. The stock pile is never going to last as long as I had planned - I'll be getting more off our farmer friend much sooner than anticipated I'm sure.

The two sheep are getting ready to go for their holiday to see the tups (or rams depending on where you are from). They always feel rather hard done to when they have to socialise with the 'wild' sheep. Alan always says my sheep and lambs think they are better than the masses! They are just used to being spoilt. I'll walk over and visit them regularly, they always come and greet me to see what little treat is in my pocket!

Before we know it we'll be weaning the cria and working out who will be in next years show team.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Checking out AlpacaSeller

We've now put all three of our stud males on alpacaseller, and they are a pretty impressive line up even if I do say so myself. Having had a little play we are very proud that we own two of only four boys advertised with the following top class fleece attributes one would look for in an elite stud:-

Solid colour
AFD of <20
SD of <3.5
% over 30 <1
CV <20

Impressive eh, check it out for yourself on

Horatio, our black cria from Mary, who is now five months old and I have been doing a bit of bonding today. He is an absolute monkey, but totally adorable, no matter what you are doing he is there 'helping'. After I'd had my morning wrestle with Gaussian and his bottle Horatio wanted some attention so I sat next to him and cleaned some of his 'attachments' from his fleece. He's so much like his sister, Ursula, who also likes to collect things.

It gave me a fantastic opportunity to revel in Horatios magnificent fleece. His sire is Hornblower of Farrlacey who won 1st place black fleece (48 month +) at this years Bath & West fleece show. Horatio has a lovely fine fleece, which is very is very bright and has a good even crimp; we have high hopes for him in the show ring.

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Autumn injections

After a night of heavy rain the girls paddock is rather soggy today particularly in the feeding enclosure, which is also where we do a lot of the routine husbandry if it's not done in the field shelter.

Today typically was the day I'd pencilled in to give the bulk of the girls their cydectin injection, which meant it was going to get even muddier under foot. Paul managed to get home to give me a hand which was good. I don't have the same flash facilities that Rob & Les have down at Wellground which would mean I could do it alone!

Thankfully everyone was well behaved, even Blossom which is unusual. She grunted her dissatisfaction but other than that was quite cooperative. Gabby was the worst, she's always a bit of a drama queen when it comes to toe nails, injections or scanning!

The knitted stock is increasing ready for the Christmas rush (she says hopefully!) my poor mum has been knitting none stop for weeks now, my dad is a great slave driver - saves me worrying about her slacking. I know they'll read this!!!

Monday 13 October 2008

Sales girls scrutinised

It has been another busy day today, first on the job list was paddock cleaning. I do like to keep the fields clean, it helps keep parasites down to a minimum as well as being much nicer for all concerned.

Thankfully we have regular muck collectors who are equally as grateful for the manure as I am for getting rid of it. They are very kind and we have had many nice things that have been grown with the assistance of said muck. Today we had a queue of collectors which was great, I was almost poo free for a while!!

Enough of that............ Well it will be for a couple of days because I managed to get a puncture in the quad which I didn't think would be possible. So that is now going to have to go in for repair, thankfully it was getting ready for two new tyres anyway and needs a service so it may as well have the job lot done.

We have also had a couple of people over to look at the girls we have for sale, they were all scrutinised and complimented. They were very keen to discuss the advantages of elite genetics within the herd.

Sunday 12 October 2008

Happy Birthday Katia

Katia one of the Australian girls for sale, celebrated her second birthday. She has such a lovely character and is very funny to watch; although she probably thought I was funny to watch when I sang happy birthday this morning.

Now the girls have settled in we had a more detailed look at their fleeces, they all have fantastic advanced fleeces with exceptional brightness. Angelus was very vocal and a kept a close eye on us whilst we were checking over her cria who we have nick named Munchkin. She is only two months old and not been registered yet so if she is sold shortly the new owner can have the pleasure of naming her.

Duchess had her third pregnancy spit off to do this morning with our herdsire Gianmarco's Masterpiece; Marky to his friends. Being an older experienced girl Duchess hates doing spit offs, she doesn't see the need! As soon as we arrived within her sights she was on her toes, puffed herself up and clucking (she doesn't do spitting - she's far to refined for that; well she is a Duchess). Needless to say we are pretty sure that Duchess is pregnant and carrying the first Marky offspring.

The final job of the day was a not very nice one. I had to remove an ear tag which had become to tight and was getting very sore. It was so tight I really struggled to get it out, but after a bit of gentle persuasion, some bathing and then blue spray it's already looking better. I know why ear tags are used but I really don't like them.

Saturday 11 October 2008

12 out of 13 & the biggest weight gain yet

I almost fell in a heap this morning, as you regular readers will know Saturday is cria weigh day, and this morning Gaussian really gave us a shock. Can you believe it, he actually weighed 14.54kg, his biggest gain yet. Hopefully he will continue at this rate so he is big and strong at weaning time.

With all this years matings now completed and the final couple of 'spit offs' well underway we are hopeful for 13 cria next year. We have a fantastic line up of prospective fathers too, in fact 12 different herd sires all selected very carefully for each girls specific needs. Two of the girls are carrying cria from two of our own elite stud line up which will be extremely exciting - as if a new baby isn't exciting enough!!!

Friday 10 October 2008

Hot off the press....................

I have news, very exciting news, very very exciting news - oh dear and Mark (Patou man) is now in France!

As many of you will know we have scoured the length and breadth of the country to build up our herd which has involved many an hour travelling down south, where the bulk of the top quality alpacas reside.

There is a real lack of top quality females for sale in the Northern regions and we are now able to address this. We have been fortunate enough to become agents for EP Cambridge Alpaca Stud and as such have a selection of their elite Austrian and British females for sale. We have a fantastic range of girls, including top quality Australian genetics.

We have six pregnant females, three Australian imports (luckily before the introduction of the recent £2,000 registration fee, which will apply to future imports) who carry some of the finest genetics available, one with the added bonus of a female cria at foot from EP Cambridge Neptune. There are also three british bred girls also pregnant to top class herdsires.

For full details of the girls see our website or give me a call. To whet your appetitite here are a couple of photos of the girls settling in.

As you can see it didn't take long!

Thursday 9 October 2008

Yippee the mower is back.

Today I got the news that the lawn mower was fixed, so it was a trip out with the trailer to go and fetch it, thankfully the bill wasn't as bad as I was expecting.

Whilst I was out with the trailer I went to pick up a new hay manger that we'd ordered a couple of weeks ago, only to find out they had order the wrong one! I was far from happy as it was a 60 mile round trip to go back again. We had purposely timed the collection to fit round picking up the lawn mower from the same area.

To cut a rather long story short I ended up having to drive to another of their country stores to get the one I'd ordered. Some times I do wonder how these places stay in business, customer service isn't what it used to be, I didn't even get a discount!!

Duchess has had her final Nuflor injection today so we're keeping everything crossed that the abscess clears up and doesn't return. She is so good when you are working with her, it's horrible having to keep injecting her and messing her about.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Gaussian reaches 14kg!

Wednesday is Gaussians mid week weigh in, and at last this morning he has reached 14kg; it's a milestone I seem to have been striving to for ages. It has taken him 3 months instead of the three or four weeks it takes most cria, bless his little cotton socks, or should I say fleecy feet. As the bottle is still his worst enemy I'm assuming the fresh grass has helped with the gain.

I've been busy registering this years cria today, it's something I've been meaning to get round to for a while, thankfully it's now done.

Whilst out with the camera the other day I took an up to date shot of the sheep. I thought as you hear so much about the pest that is Mia, you might like to see how she and her friends (not that she sees them as friends; she doesn't do sheep, more an alpaca sort of girl!) have all grown.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Paperwork day

After yesterdays freezing temperatures today we had to put up with driving rain. The girls have spent most of the afternoon in the shelter which means I'll have some cleaning up to do in there in the morning. I got soaked chasing Gaussian round for his bottle and having just got back from the hairdressers I was not pleased! At least he took his tea time feed which is good.

As the weather has been so bad it has been a day of paperwork and updating computer records. Barnacre now has a presence on AlpacaSeller with our elite stud line up. It is a work in progress so keep looking for the latest information.

I have also been working on our 'Hot News' which should be announce by the end of the week. It's all go at Barnacre at the minute.

Monday 6 October 2008

Winter has arrived

Winter has definitely arrived here at Barnacre, this morning we had our first frost of the autumn, I even had to break ice off a couple of the water troughs. I kept telling Paul last night I needed a hot water bottle or Hughie snuggled up on my feet!!!

Aodhfin & Barnaby were wrestling to keep warm, I wish I had taken my camera out with me as they were charging round fighting for ages. Despite being much smaller than Barnaby Aodhfin certainly has the upper hand. At one point he had Barnaby well and truly pinned down and was looking to see if there was anyone else in the vicinity who might want to join in. Horatio was too busy chasing some young pheasants who were trying to be invisible whilst walking across the field.

As it was so cold this morning I felt sure that my little mate Gaussain would be glad of a nice warm bottle, but no, he refused point blank to swallow a single drop of milk. Thankfully as the day went on he did improve and took his lunch, albeit only a small one, and then a normal amount this evening.

Duchess was also due another Nuflor jab today, thankfully she is very good and stands there whilst I give her the injection. Great news too, the nasty abscess has definitely reduced in size - hopefully it will go completely and not return.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Duchess does it again.

Sunday means spit off day for Duchess, regular followers will know that she is tied up with one of our own elite stud Gianmarco's Masterpiece. As soon as she spotted me walking the two boys (Legend likes to walk with his mate to see what goes on!) she was up on her toes, ears back and the clucking began. Duchess really doesn't like doing spit offs, she's far to experienced to need them - well that's what she thinks!!

We are so pleased Duchess revoked all advances, as she has developed what we think is an abscess on her jaw so is currently on a course of Nuflor injections. We were hoping that it wouldn't cause her any issue. Thankfully she is so relaxed nothing much seems to cause her concern.

As the sun has been shining all day we have been out with the camera, so there are some nice new shots on the website, particularly of the stud boys who are growing rapidly. Then Marky & Legend spotted something very interesting, as Rolf Harris would say 'Can you guess what it is yet?!?!?'

Saturday 4 October 2008

Where did that week go!

Sorry for the lack of blog, things have been hectic this week.

Firstly Mark, sorry no suri's for us - in my experience they are mad (nice fleece though)! You are going to have to hang on for another day or two for the great announcement.

We've had a successful week, two positive pregnancy scans from Blossom & Imala. Blossom kindly gave the vet a huge kick for his troubles - she really doesn't like men when she is pregnant.

Also we had another rather long drive south to pick up Little Miss Irraquoy and Oonagh, who had been down with our good friends Rob & Les at Wellground for matings. LMI had scanned pregnant a week ago and we had decided that Oonagh had been mated for the final time this season. In my opinion it was getting too late to try again because we didn't want an autumn baby next year, they just don't seem to thrive as well.

She was due her first pregnancy spit off yesterday and fantastic news, she proved to be a chip off the old block and just like her mum Blossom gave poor Gianmarco's Masterpiece a good kick before I managed to rescue him - not that he was going to be put off the job in hand! So far so good.