Friday 31 December 2010

Hapy New Year

As another year draws to an end I feel the need to thank all those people who have helped make 2010 a happy and successful year for us, especially all the alpacas!

We had a good year birth wise with 14 healthy cria, 7 boys and 7 girls, 12 of which were from our own stud boys. These were the first of the Legend of Spartacus and Gianmarco’s Masterpiece progeny and very impressive they are too. We also had our first Golden Guinea offspring and what a remarkable and friendly bunch they are, every single one of them have inherited their fathers disposition.

This summer Loki has also begun his working career so we are eagerly awaiting his first babies next year (or maybe this depending when you are reading this!).

I managed to part with a few animals which I always find difficult, but all of them have been sold to fantastic new owners and they have fabulous new homes. I still shed a tear for every single one of them (especially Kazuo who now lives at Willowbank Alpacas).

The knitwear sales have far exceeded my hopes for the year so thank you to all our customers new and old. If wasn’t for the hard work of my mum and Carol I would never have managed to get even close to the stock levels required – ladies the bar is raised even higher for 2011.

Without Dave carding, and my dad polishing hand crafted buttons we wouldn’t have been able to knit such unique items, so thank you.

Finally a big thank you to all my blog readers, without you and your comments my babbling blog would be pointless. So it just leaves me to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Thursday 30 December 2010

A grey day

Not good, I missed the blog again last night.  We had the Barnacre Chrismas party and Dave bought me some of his latest carding and it is fab so I just had to try it out, sorry, I just couldn't wait.  Luckily I had come to a suitable point where I could change the bobbins on my spinning wheel.

As Dave has become such a competent carder I'd decided to set him a challenge to blend some of Loki's black fleece with some white to achieve a grey.  Anything in our grey yarn from Kate always sells immediately and with only one grey alpaca I never have much. 

Anyway he has done a fabulous job with the sample he bought last night I wanted to get spinning.  I'm just spinning a second bobbin so I can ply it tomorrow - it's so exciting!!!!!  I would have got it done today but we had to brave the Metro Centre to return a couple of Christmas presents after the feed run this morning.

Thankfully there is a little more grass showing this afternoon the top of the rigs in the girls field has grass poking through as does Golden Guinea's.  It looks like the other boys will have to wait until tomorrow as their field doesn't seem to be thawing as quick.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

OK I get the message!

Having been complained at by Paul and now Carol for not blogging over the last few days I thought I'd better find the time.  Especially seeing as Carol has been busy knitting stock ready for next year.  She obviously didn't get upset by the knitting needles I bought her for Christmas!!

I have had a busy but nice Christmas and received some lovely gifts including an extremely nice warm Peter Storm thermal top, very handy indeed.

The alpacas had carrots and a new double lead rope so I can walk two from one rope.  The cats did exceptionally well with lots of edible treats a new bed, shown on the right, which has been claimed by Tilly here showing off her bald patch following her op! 

They also received a nice new scratch post activity centre thing with a little tunnel which has gone down very well with the kittens. 

Like my fellow bloggers the thaw has commenced here, hopefully tomorrow the alpacas will have some grass to chase.  There is now some road visible so it shouldn' be too much longer before there is grass.

Time to get back to the spinning wheel, I hear Dave is carding his way through a very exciting project so I need to get on.

Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

With the house invaded (Sarah's words not mine!) last nights blog just seemed to get forgotten until I was far too tired.

I had helpers for this mornings feeding routine, Mum and Faith wanted to help, although I'm not sure Faith is quite used to the arctic conditions we have here at the minute.  The ride on the sledge was good and helping to clean the girls shelter ready  for their bedtime was OK but after that she was a little bored and very cold.  I doubt she will be offering to help later.

Looking at the amounts of presents in my spare bedroom Santa may need the whole of the Barnacre herd to assist his reindeer's tonight.  I better give them extra rations of carrots tonight or they'll be pinching all of Rudolf's!

It just leaves me to wish you all a Merry Christmas, have a good one, stay safe.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Don't mess with me

The countdown to Christmas is really on now. I have visitors arriving tomorrow and the house still looks like a tip, the beds aren't made and I still haven't prepared the Christmas day menu - it's in my head just not on paper!

I have now wrapped all my presents with the help of Smudge (the cat) who insisted on sitting on the wrapping paper.

Paul took the car in for an MOT this morning and gave Mrs T a lift to Morrison's. I thought I'd leave my food shopping until tomorrow although from what everyone is saying this may have been a bad move.

The alpacas were all in high spirits today, I think they must be getting excited at the though of Santa visiting.

Minimus had Paul and I in stitched this afternoon, the was having a disagreement with Imala. He has this habit of sneaking in underneath people to the troughs and then defends his space like the best of them.

Well today I'm not quite sure who was entering whose space but they started pushing each other necks and Imala being at least four times Minimus's size and weight she started pushing him along the snow. He had his legs spread, head back spitting away at her, it was so funny.

I'm slightly concerned, my mum and Carol have been exchanging emails over their knitting quotas for next year; I'm slightly concerned as they've stopped copying me in!

Monday 20 December 2010

Where did that posting go

I'm not quite sure what was going on last night but I did blog honestly! I typed away and posted by ramblings to find nothing there tonight and nothing in drafts either.

The story hasn't changed on the snow front, we still have plenty. I was supposed to be at the vets first thing yesterday morning with the kittens for a wound check, however due to the atrocious weather I was already cutting it fine when I left. It takes so much longer to feed and water everyone when you have to take out warm water and the hay gets eaten as quick as you can up it out.

Despite a number of traffic obstacles we did get to the vets only 20 minutes late, we weren't alone, the place was deserted when we arrived! We've got to go back again next week for another check up, hopefully the weather will be better by then.

The roads are still bad today, I had a knitwear order that needed to be delivered so we had to venture out. It was an eventful trip but we got there and back safely and we managed to deliver Dave a couple of pallets too which I'm sure he will be pleased with.

At lunchtime I noticed that Minimus has cut his leg, he didn't seem to have noticed! Poor little man it looks quite sore so I will have to keep an eye on it. I have no idea what he has caught it on, but I'm assuming in the cold weather he's bashed it on something.

I have finally managed to find time to put up one of the Christmas trees, I like a nice colour co-ordinated one in the lounge and then I have a second one in the dining room with all the colourful and sentimental baubles on. If I don't get time to put that one up before my mum arrives I'm sure she'll help - she's good at it and enjoys it (I hope).

We do now have some oil!!!!!! Paul was able to collect 400 litres yesterday borrowing one of Alan's bowsers. We went halves with a friend who had also ran out and had family coming at Christmas with a baby. Hopefully this will now last us until our delivery arrives, just in case we only have it set very low!

Sunday 19 December 2010

Festive carding

After a very productive but cold day selling our knitwear at Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth yesterday our stock is very depleted, which is a good sign. I met a number of previous customers who came over to show off their previous purchases from Barnacre, including a lady who bought some mittens from me three years ago at our first farmers market.

I had said that Christmas would begin here today, but it's so cold in the house without oil we spent the morning doing outside jobs. Whilst dinner was cooking I wrapped Alan (farmer friend) and Margaret's (his wife) Christmas present and then we went to deliver it after lunch. We were able to warm up whilst we were there, unfortunately though whilst we were there the snow returned.

The blizzards were terrible and in less than two hours we had four or five inches of snow on top of the snow and ice that was still lingering.

After all that depressing talk I thought I would share a festive Dave busy carding just to cheer myself up. I already have a huge pile to spin so hopefully he will have a day or two off for Christmas.

Friday 17 December 2010

Flying or is it a fire visit?

It will be a quick blog tonight as it is absolutely freezing anywhere apart from in front of the fire, where I have been all night with my knitting needles.

I am just finishing off the last item of the year, hopefully Carol and mum aren't reading this as they are still knitting. I say this year what I actually mean is until after Christmas.

I have been so busy with 'Barnacre' duties that I am far from prepared for Christmas. I haven't even finished writing my cards, the tree's aren't up yet and I haven't even sent out my Christmas Day menu let alone got anything prepared for it. Oh well with no heating oil running round like a headless chicken or should that be turkey, at least it shoulf keep me warm.

Paul & I nipped over to see Carol and Dave this afternoon, partly to pick up some knitting and secondly to warm up! Thanks for the heat, tea and chocolate; we'll see you again next week :-)

The temperature hasn't risen above minus three all day but the alpaca's haven't batted an eyelid, this evening I broke the ice on Golden Guinea's water when I fed him and by the time we'd fed the girls and walked back past Guinea there was already a film of ice developed.

At least the snow hasn't arrived; yet. Poor Jayne has had another huge dump of the white stuff, but I'm sure she is keeping nice and warm.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Burning the candle at both ends

I gave up waiting for Paul to finish on the computer last night hence the lack of blog, I went to bed, to be honest I don't even remember Paul coming up!

I think burning the candle at both ends and being so busy has finally caught up with me. I have a cold, and this morning I over laid and didn't wake up until 7.45!

This was only possible because double trouble, Tilly and Izzie, the two kittens were spayed and Izzie had her hernia repair op yesterday. We didn't get the early morning madness, they were obviously still feeling a little sorry for themselves, poor Izzie is still feeling a little delicate.

We woke to more snow this morning, just a light dusting but then came the big heavy flakes; great just as the alpacas were starting to get a green landscape back. It is now absolutely freezing both inside and out as the heating oil is running very low; we need to save it until Christmas as we have family up and the oil company aren't delivering the new supply until the new year!

As it is so cold and the snow is back I separated Tenzing and Sandstorm from the big boys this evening and they are shut in with the hay supplies. They happily trotted off in the opposite directs to their daytime mates, clearly remembering it was much better to be on their own. All being well Tenzing and Sandstorm will be out meeting and greeting the public at Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth on Saturday.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

It's all live

OK so Paul didn't quite make the 24 hour dead line we set last night, but the new
Barnacre Alpacas Knitwear shop is now live!

It is much more user friendly, and not only can you pay by paypal but you can also pay by all major debit and credit cards at no extra cost. All of the sold items have been removed so all that is showing is available now, there isn't much left and we are at Sanderson Arcade, Morpeth at the weekend so if you have your eye on something don't delay, get it today.

This morning we had a business meeting booked, in a previous life I would have had colour co-ordinated suit, shoes and nail varnish, but not any more, for starters nice nails are a thing of the past!

It was a very useful and hopefully beneficial meeting so now that the main backbone of the shop is in place Paul can start working on the next project on the list. I have got three more days of manic knitting and then I can concentrate on Christmas.

Monday 13 December 2010

Shut eye over needles

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of blog last night, I was so tired I fell asleep over my knitting needles, I think it must have been the thought of Carol's housework that did it. Although having been to her house last week to find Dave ironing, I was thinking of taking mine over there not doing hers!!

Sunday was a busy day, we had a house viewing which was a story in itself, but I won't go into that on here. Then we were off to the Cambo Christmas Fayre, which isn't too far from home which was nice and we did well.

After the weekend sales I spent the morning updating my stock lists and the on-line shop. There really isn't all that much left now which is good for me, but not so good for those people who have not yet done their Christmas shopping.

We are at the Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth on Saturday which will be our last event of the year so I am busy knitting the last couple of bits to add to the depleted stock. Hopefully Carol is knitting too! Anyone not able to visit Morpeth at the weekend might be interested in the new online shop which should go live in the next 24 hours.

There is still snow and ice on the ground which means we still haven't been able to return the trailer to its rightful place, although Paul has been busy smashing up some of the ice so hopefully it will be back to where it should be tomorrow, just in time for the next lot of snow we have forecast.

All the alpacas have obviously heard that we have more snow on the way as they have been munching on the exposed grass like crazy today. The poor lambs field is still pretty much snow covered so they are having to dig the snow to find grass.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Mum's are great

This morning the alarm went off at 5.15am, we were heading off to Alnwick Christmas Market with a couple of boys and our knitwear. Here I am at the market with the Barnacre knitwear stall:

Before we could head off though I had to try and move the lambs, not the easiest job in the world when it's dark, 4 of the 5 happily came out of the field but number five just kept running to the feed trough rather than out the gate! In the end I gave up and added it to mum's job list.

The boys weren't too impressed with their early start but once they'd woke up they happily trotted up the road and into the trailer. Then came the first issue, getting off the drive, that wasn't pleasant we got stuck! I dug and pushed and we were off, it was slightly hairy until we got to the main road, but we arrived safe and sound at 7.30 as requested.

We've had another good day, so hopefully no one will buy anything from the on-line shop this evening because I haven't got time to update it this evening. I've got another fair tomorrow, someone coming to view the house and have to wrap some Christmas presents for my parents to take back to Nottingham - no sleep for me tonight then!

Talking of no sleep I don't think Carol could of had any last night the amount of things she has knit today, she's a real trooper.

Friday 10 December 2010

The big melt

I'm not quite sure where today has gone, I can't believe it is already gone eleven o'clock!

I'm pleased to say that my parents have arrived safely, we have had a tremendous amount of snow melt today, so much so there massive river flowing all over the roads and huge puddles appearing in the snow in the fields - great from snow back to mud.

Not only did mum bring up knitting for me, she bought up carrots for the alpacas, food for the cats, copious amounts of Christmas presents and her wellies so she could lend a hand.

We are at Alnwick Christmas Market tomorrow so if my mum was hoping to come up for a rest she was very much mistaken, she's more than lending a hand tomorrow she's on feeding patrol solo handed all day because we will be up and gone before day break! She is good to me.

I've already had her sewing in labels in the knitwear she bought up and what I picked up from Carol this afternoon. They really are great I don't know what I'd do without the pair of them.

As Paul has already headed off to be I'd better go and fight for my space, one husband, one cat and two kittens means the last one in struggles for quilt and space.

Thursday 9 December 2010

A new venue

I'm pleased to report a little bit of thaw has been going on here today which is great news as my parents are hoping to pop up for the weekend to deliver some much needed knitting supplies and bring some Christmas presents. No doubt the later will be for my niece in the main, as all being well (weather permitting) my brother and his family should be spending Christmas with us.

Hopefully it will be warmer than last Christmas when our heating broke, however I have just been talking to a friend who has ran out of heating oil and can't get any delivered until 2nd January; we have been trying to book a delivery all day without any success!

We have been out with the knitwear again today, over to a new venue for us in Sunderland. It wasn't the most successful event we've been to but, at least it means I still have some stock left for the two weekend stalls.

Being out meant that the herd were a little late getting their tea which they were not at all impressed with, there was even more pushing and shoving going on than normal. I wouldn't mind but there is plenty of trough space they just all insist on trying to eat from the one you are filling up!

Time to get back to the knitting......

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Flat on his back

It has been absolutely freezing all day today, the water troughs were so think with ice this morning that the ace was the only thing going to break them. At least we have water in the house which is more than can be said for some of our neighbours so I'm not complaining too much.

Talking of neighbours our little lane is so bad even the tractor got stuck today! Julian was trying to get past the boys field and was going nowhere, eventually with the help of a second tractor and some road salt he managed to free himself and hopefully with the huge ruts that have been dug and copious amounts of salt we may get a little bit of thaw down there as it is lethal at the minute.

Having just read Barbara at Beckbrow's blog I think we must have been muttering the same thing this morning about filthy cria fleeces. If she thinks hers are bad just look at Layla, Lucia is even worse; I couldn't bare to even take her picture.

The girls pathways are getting really dangerous, they are so icy and slippy we humans are finding it hard to walk on. This evening Paul went all his length and ended up on his back, thankfully he was ok, just a sore arm and no doubt a bruise or two by the morning.

All the littlies went over to make sure he was ok, or was it to see if he had anything else to eat - I'll let you work that one out yourselves.

The alpacas seem to have no problem with the tracks, in fact some of the youngsters have been pronking round in their triangle track.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Cables corrected

Having rectified the glove situation I am back, I'd got so carried away I'd cabled on the wrong row - how annoying; it was Paul's fault for babbling on about his shop construction.

We woke to more snow this morning, only a sprinkling, but more none the less. It has been absolutely freezing all day too, so no sign of any thaw yet.

My mum is hoping to come up for a couple of days to bring some knitting and Christmas presents but there's not much chance of that just yet. We actually got post today for the first time in two weeks, I'm not sure the postman will be back tomorrow as he got stuck and Paul had to give him a push!

The alpacas have finished another big round bale today, that's only lasted them a week, and they've had some small square bales during that time. I can see there is going to be a shortage of hay round these parts if the weather continues.

Monday 6 December 2010

The (Paul) art of great conversation...

...I'm not talking Doctor Dolittle and talking with the animals (although the Barnacre herd do all know their names and listen to what we are saying about them), but marital bliss on the back of an evening's great conversation.

We are very busy bees at the moment. Debbie has taken a rest from the snow-day job of supplying the alpacas with what seems like a conveyer belt of food and is knitting like crazy (although not as fast as Carol) to ensure we have enough stock to make the end of the year (no hope!) meanwhile, I have been working on our new online shop.

The evening's conversation has been enthralling and repeated below in full:

Debbie - "you've made me lose count of the rows, I'm going to have to pull down the last six rows now."

Paul - "ah, I nearly had that working..."

Night all. (Paul)

Sunday 5 December 2010

What's good for the goose

I seem to have done nothing all day but feed everything, clean out shelters and break ice on the troughs. No sooner had we finished the morning feed it was lunchtime for the girls and what seemed like very shortly later it was tea time.

It has been a bitterly cold but sunny day today and there has definitely been a bit of melt going on which is good. As you can see from the photo below of Golden Guinea, the snow has now pretty much melted from the trees and the fences.

No matter what the weather or where he is Golden Guinea is always remarkably clean and tidy with not a bit of fleece out of place or a speck of straw or hay on him. It's a pity some of the others don't take a leaf out of his book. Guinea is certainly the biggest poser of the Barnacre herd.
I did manage to get our on-line shop up to date again, it's a never ending job at this time of year. Paul is currently working on a new design for shop which will hopefully be more user friendly and launched next year. He keeps telling me it's a complex activity - so is knitting Paul but you like to pressure me!!

Saturday 4 December 2010

Morpeth farmers market

It was an exceptionally early start for us this morning as we were off to the Morpeth Farmers Market and everyone needed feeding and watering before we headed off.

Unfortunately due the the weather we weren't able to take the boys with us, there was no way we could even get the trailer off the drive let alone try and tow it to the main road. To be honest I think the boys were pleased they got left at home, standing in a cold market place wouldn't have been much fun for them today.

Despite not having the boys to draw the attention of passers by we still had a very good day and sold lots of knitwear. I find it such a complement when people come back year after year to either add to their collection of Barnacre knitwear or by presents for others. There is no better endorsement for our products than a returning customer.

Thankfully it was slightly warmer today and we've had no fresh snow, in fact there has been a slight melt during the day. I think my three pairs of trousers and three pairs of socks was probably slightly over kill, but at least I didn't get cold.

I took a couple of orders (despite promising myself I wouldn't), I'd rang one through to my mum before we'd even packed up! I've already given Carol a list as long as your arm to work her way through and I've got two pairs of gloves that need doing. We are back in Morpeth 18th December at Sanderson Arcade so the customers are collecting them then.

Having had two glasses of wine I decided making up a pattern tonight is not a good idea so my next job is going updating the online shop instead.

Friday 3 December 2010

Where did that carrot go?

It has been another day of much of the same, feeding and cleaning out shelters and constantly filling hay mangers and nets. The water is still frozen so it's still a case of manually filling them, at least that way the get warm water for a little while, although it's still soon freezing.
Paul has probably been doing a bit too much lifting following his recent hernia surgery as he's been in a bit of pain today. So it's back to me only lifting (nothing new there then!), for a few days just to be on the safe side.
The girls and most of the cria are enjoying their veggie treats of carrot, turnip and apple. I think (from left to right) Imala, Lady Godiva and Gabby are searching for the piece we dropped.

Thursday 2 December 2010

What a difference a week makes

Carol & Dave finally managed to make it back home today from Cuba. The local roads are still very bad and there is no way they could get their car so we picked them up from the Metro station and delivered them home safely. It was nice to be able to do something for them for once and they are so good to us and always helping us out not to mention doing all the knitting and carding.

Talking of knitting, despite being on holiday Carol has been busy and returned with a pile of goodies for me. I think I prefer her knitting location to mine......
What a difference a week makes, this was what greeted them earlier when we dropped them off at home. It was 2.30pm and already the temperature had dropped to -5.With the bitterly cold temperatures we have frozen pipes again so it is back to carrying warm water down for everyone, the girls in particular are drinking lots of water, probably down to the vast quantities of hay that is being consumed! Thank goodness for Alan's' top quality hay supply.
As has become he norm, the boys were all queued up at the gate ready to go to bed. It really is funny how they know they go in separate directions too.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

We got out!

It is now a week since it begun snowing and there is no let up. We are all fed up with it now, everything is such hard work and takes so much longer when you are having to trudge through two feet of snow.

The wind has also picked up today so the lying snow is starting to drift, at one point when I was looking out of the study window the snow was coming down from the sky and up from the field!

Thankfully all the alpacas seem to be coping remarkably well, as long as they have food, water and some shelter to retreat to, they seem happy enough.

Saying that, this morning during a blizzard Minimus was trying desperately to get his mum to go into the shelter with him but she was happy enough outside. He was humming to her, pushing in front of her and generally making his feelings well known to everyone, except it seems Chiquita. In the end he decided to go and sit with his Grandma, Willow and her daughter Layla who were camped down in the shelter.

As we were running low on human supplies (we've been without milk for two days), we decided that we were going to have to try and dig the car out and attempt a trip to Morpeth. The windscreen was covering as quickly as we could clear it!

We finally managed to get off the drive (after a few sideways slides and a lot of welly) and very slowly we made it onto Morpeth, so I was able to get some food, post some knitwear which had been purchased from our on-line shop and get some petrol for the quad.

Hopefully the postman might make it soon, we've not seen him for a week now and I am waiting for a number of things including Barnacre Knitwear labels which I am desperate for, particularly as the rest of the team (Carol & Dave) are currently travelling back from their holiday in Cuba and Carol is bound to have some knitting for me. They are in for a shock aren't they!!!!

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Radio interview and massage

I had a phone call this morning from BBC radio Newcastle wanting me to do another live on air interview with Jonathan Miles. They were wanting to know how we were coping and Jonathan enquired after his friend Loki who sneezed on him when he visited previously.

Things haven't improved on the snow front, in fact its just getting deeper. By this evening when we went to feed the footprints in our pathways had completely vanished from 3 hours previously!

I've had a bit of a treat today, one of our friends is currently doing a massage qualification and wanted a bit of hands on practice. I wasn't too sure about exposing all my wobbly bits, but he was fantastic, I'm glad I did. Thanks Chris, we can both thoroughly recommend your services.

After a relaxing massage it was back out into the snow to hump feed about.

This was Golden Guinea taken yesterday with my mobile, I forgot to take the proper camera with me. He has walked a pathway from his shelter to the gate where he comes to meet me. If it's snow he waits until the last minute and then makes a run for it - he has to beat you there!

And here we have Tilly walking her path
Unfortunately Tilly's path is no more, last night we had major avalanches from the roof and it is now under about 4 and a half foot of snow! Tilly wasn't in it at the time so don't worry.

Monday 29 November 2010

Almost half a meter

Unfortunately the snow is continuing to fall, not only that, I was woken in the night by sheet lightening and thunder it was very spooky. When I got up this morning there was another 4 inches of snow that fell over night!

On Saturday we removed the snow from the shelter roofs, today you could not tell that it had been done so it was back out with the ladders to start all over again. We don't want any collapsing under the weight of the snow.

I measured the snow on the garden table today, we are now up to 48cm's. That is not in the drifts or where Julian has gone past with the plough, places like that are past my waist. If poor little Minimus was to stand directly behind their shelter he would vanish under the snow!

We have been giving everyone extra rations which is going down well, even Freyja and Rory have begun eating hard feed. Both started eating sugar beet for a few days then decided that Camelibra was good to.

All the water is still frozen so it is back to carting it about to fill up the water troughs. Thankfully the quad is managing to get through two feet of snow and Paul is around too so I'm not having to do everything on my own.

The alpacas seem much happier than Paul and I, as long as they have something (lots) to munch on and a dry bed to sleep on they are ok. The chickens however haven't come down from their coop for days.

I was supposed to be taking the kittens to the vet this morning to be spayed but as the snow was so bad there was no chance so they have a short reprieve.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Up to our necks in it (Paul)

I don't believe it - said the great Victor Meldrew.

Debbie has been keeping you all posted with the heavy snow fall here in Northumberland and there just seems to be no let up.

Jayne at Zanzibah - you thought it was bad in Scotland, we had the worst snow fall yet overnight. The wind has picked up to and the snow has started to drift in places.

It was really hard work getting down to the rented fields down the lane. They say owners take on some of the persona of their animals and we have to agree with that. In the same way that our sheep and alpacas like to tread the same path, so do we. Our route through the field sure seemed much deeper than it was yesterday.

For illustration purposes only I have put a well known London landmark next to the sides of our snow passage:

After a few minutes walking we were sure that we had crossed into the girls field but could find no sign of them. We rattled the food bucket to see if that attracted any attention and Princess Mallika (of course) just had to give the game away - her stomach always comes first!

After checking that the rest of the main herd were o.k. we set about finding the boys.

Guess what - no sign of them.

"Hey Loki, do you want a carrot?"


Up to our necks in it!

Paul ;-)

Saturday 27 November 2010

Cria coat for a calf

It has been more of the same today, we had another 3 or 4 inches of snow overnight. This is no longer fun; go away we had far more than our fair share last year!

After everyone had been fed and water troughs de-iced (it looks like I'll be carrying water tomorrow as the pipes are all frozen and the troughs are now getting low!) we got the camera out to take a few knitwear shots.

Stock is dwindling rapidly but I noticed a few bits that has slipped through the net and hadn't yet made it onto the website shop.

Photo shoots are always a nightmare, they always end up in an argument. Paul complains about the faces I pull (he expects me to face the sun and keep me eyes open and not squint). I complain at him for not giving me the correct instructions.
Anyway when I down loaded the photos over a cup of tea I'm not sure what is worse some of the faces I'm pulling or his photography skills; he's cut bottoms off scarves and some are blurred. This one does prove that we found something to laugh about at at one point!
We managed to get the photos taken in between the snow showers and blizzards. I actually measured the depth of the snow on the MG that hasn't moved since the snow arrived and it was 12.5 inches!!
Alan, our farming friend popped round this evening to see if I had one of my cria coats that might fit a calf. He had one born a couple of days ago that was looking rather cold and slow. He went away with the largest one I have made, which is florescent yellow so that mum wont be loosing her baby in the snow tonight - assuming they manage to get it on him!
The Christmas Fair I was supposed to be at tomorrow has been cancelled because of the weather which is a bit of a shame, but I don't think we would have made it anyway the roads are just too bad.
As some of the boys were looking a little cold this morning so I decided to move them tonight. The two youngest, Sandstorm and Tenzing are shut in the big shelter with all the hay; which they hopefully wont eat too much of over night. The other four, Legend, Gianmarco, Loki and Hughie have moved into a more sheltered field just in case they decide that one of them isn't allowed in the shelter.
I've just looked out and this is what greeted me.......

Friday 26 November 2010

More of the white stuff

We have had more snow today, so I thought I would let the photo's do the talking tonight....

Here we have one of the kittens Izzie playing lets catch the snowflake.

And not to be left out here are the alpacas........................


Ochre and Meketaten, peas in a pod - both Golden Guinea cria.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Snow stopping the knitwear sales

We certainly woke to plenty of snow this morning, about 5 inches and it was still coming on and off.

We were out with the knitwear today, the weather couldn't have been better for selling super warm alpaca garments, however getting the the venue was a slightly different matter!

We had to get everyone fed and watered before we left and the Paul managed to take a couple of photo's. They're not great but I couldn't complain because I was complaining at him to get a move on! Here are the boys looking rather dirty , Legend with his back end to us has just been rolling in the snow!

Hughie insisted coming to cluck to me at the fence, although Paul managed to click just as he was having a stretch so he looks a rather odd shape, bless him.

Thankfully we managed to get out to civilisation, however even the main roads were bad, it was well worth it though because we had the best day of knitwear sales I've ever had. I'm not sure how I am going to have enough stock to do the remaining 5 events, not to mention the on-line shop.

There were a couple of disappointed people today who passed by and had their eye on something but when they came back I'd already sold it. Most of our item are unique and one offs, so if you miss it its gone.

It has continued to snow on and off all day and we now have in excess of half a foot of snow on the ground and it is forecast to last for a week or so. I thought we'd had more than our share of the snow last year.

Morpeth made the BBCs's nattional news tonight and one of the reports featured my vets camel not looking too bothered by the white stuff.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

First snow of the season

It was forecast, and it has certainly arrived.

We had snow and hail showers this morning so after we'd filled all the hay and fed everyone I decided to deep bed the girls shelter. Minimus was looking rather cold despite his coat, not that he seemed at all bothered. Sometimes I do feel things worry me much more than it does the alpacas.
The girls certainly liked their nice fresh straw in the shelter and Willow and Layla were straight in there to bag the best spot! Midnight Star decided that she would stand on guard at the doorway and try and stop everyone piling in. Some like Veruschka obeyed others like Ursula barged through regardless.
By 2pm this was the sight out of the study window.
By tea time we had a good covering and by 10pm Gosforth, which is where I'm supposed to be selling my knitwear tomorrow, made the national news! At least people will be feeling cold and want some nice warm hats and scarves with a bit of luck.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Stock doesn't even make the shop!

It was actually dry this morning so in a moment of madness, before we headed off to the hospital for Paul's post op appointment, I removed the two little boys coats as they were rather soggy looking. I then spent the whole time we were out worrying that they might get wet.

Thankfully there was only the odd shower followed by autumn sunshine, until this afternoon that was. Paul also got the all clear from the consultant so no more excuses that he can't do this or that - I will have to get him back to the job list.

I had a very nice lady visiting today, she was looking for some very special Christmas presents to take home to LA. She has bought knitwear from us before and was very impressed with it, so wanted some for her family in the States.

She choose some very nice scarves and managed to treat herself to a lovely shoulder cowl, it is one of our latest designs. It was only labelled up yesterday and hadn't even made it into the shop!

Shortly after my visitor had left it went very black, so I decided to head out to the field to put Minimus and Rory's coats on pretty sharpish. It's a good job I did as I arrived the girls were running into the shelter which meant they too had realised it was about to pour down.

Not only did it pour there were malteaser size hail stones beating down on me whilst I was putting the coats on. Minimus is such a sweetie and stood happily whilst I fastened him in, Rory on the other hand always grumbles and wants to get back to his mum.

Monday 22 November 2010

Heat at last

Thank you for all the advice on the chicken, for those of you asking for its age, it is five or six months old now so I would have expected an egg or a more manly comb by now. Looks like I'll be buying eggs again this week!

It has been absolutely horrible here today, wet cold and very grey all day. The mud patches are growing, in fact the boys are making a mess. Tenzing is filthy and has obviously been rolling, he has mud everywhere.

Rory is enjoying his bottle again, the novelty of the new grass has obviously worn off. I'm still wanting to weigh him but I like to do it when he's dry, so it may be a little while yet. We have rain and snow forecast fro the rest of the week.

Thankfully we had a delivery of oil today so the heating is back on, we had a slight technical hitch in that Paul forgot to order it and we ran out, so we've been without heating for a few days. Hence the lack of blog last night I didn't want to leave the log burner and venture into the cold study.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Hen or Cock

It has been a very wet miserable day today so other than the essential outdoor jobs it's been inside for us.

This morning I was greeted in the chicken coop by a dead hen. It was the last of our original brown hens, she was a ripe old age and had been getting slower and slower and not venturing far for a little while now. In fact I had to put her to bed last night as she didn't seem able to climb the ladder. So it came as no surprise, poor chicken!

This now leaves us with three young birds, none of which are laying, in fact we've not had an egg for weeks now.

The jury is actually out on one of them as to whether is it a hen or cockerel . This Light Sussex has never laid an egg but equally it has never cook-a-doodle-do'd. It is quite a bit bigger than the two Marans and has started to run at my legs. If there are any experts out there here 'it' is, what do you think.

Friday 19 November 2010

Tops and toe nails

I'm please to report that mum did finish her beret this morning, we both had a very late night, or early morning depending on how you look at it. We were knitting frantically and kept having to nudge each other as we were both struggling to keep our eyes open.

Paul was away last night on business and I think he must have a web cam up somewhere because as we were dozing he rang which woke us both up with a fright! We eventually hit our beds and were up bright and early as usual; the kittens see to that.

With the hat finished and Hughie's toe nails cut this morning she headed off home after lunch. As always thanks for your help mum.

Dad was also working hard this morning before they left, he has made me a new lid for the boys hay manger. It was really funny, dad and I were working and all the boys were watching. Hughie and Loki kept sticking their head in between us to see what was going on. Unfortunately I'd not taken my camera with me.

Thursday 18 November 2010

Caribbean knitting

It has been a cold but dry day today. Thankfully the wind has helped to dry up some of boys mud a little which is good as Tenzing has been having great fun in rolling in it. He's turned from a lovely bright white to a very mucky looking browny grey!

Tilly, one of the naughty kittens didn't seem to think it was that cold though. This morning I found her wading through the dirty water in one of the water troughs in a resting field. She was soaked and filthy but purring her head off when I picked her out. These kittens certainly are mad.

My parents are still here, they go home tomorrow, although I've told mum she can't leave until she has finished the beret that she is knitting at the minute. Carol keeps calling me a slave driver so I may as well be one!

Hopefully Carol is busy knitting in Cuba as I type, she has taken a few less clothes so she ha room in her suitcase for her wool and needles. That's dedication for you don't you think.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Getting there

I got a bit of a shock when I eventually came to blog last night to see Paul had already beat me to it! I was busy doing the Christmas shopping with my mum whilst he was playing with his new phone and we had had a brief pause for a cup of tea and to check our lists. By the end of the day we'd all had enough but I got a fair way through the list.

Thankfully today I have been able to stay here with the animals, shopping is no longer the fun I remember it being. Paul had to head down to London on business so he got a few hours on the phone to play even more on his new blackberry.

I have been busy washing the latest batch of knitwear which will need labelling ready for the busy run of events we are attending in the run up to Christmas. Mum is still slaving over her needles in the lounge as I type.

The courier finally turned up today to collect some fleeces which are heading off to the mill for processing. Hopefully after Christmas I will be able to do some spinning here as the carding that Dave has been doing is mounting up.

Despite Rory not having much bottle lately he has moved into the next size cria coat which is a good sign, Minimus has also moved out onto the next set of press studs on his coat! I will be weighing them all at the weekend so watch this space for an update.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Too busy to blog

Hi folks, Paul here.

It has been manic here today and I'm sure Debbie will update you all tomorrow.

Luckily I managed to take a quick photo (on my shiny new Blackberry Curve 9300 smartphone) in one of Debbie's rare 'moments' of calm - ah ha caught in the act!!!!

Monday 15 November 2010

Frost with Midnight Star

We had another keen frost this morning but once the sun came out it turned into a lovely day.

Rory has been a bit of a pest since they all moved onto the fresh grass, he's been really hit and miss with his bottle. He is obviously filling up on grass and getting some milk from his mum so I'm not too bothered.
I've had more knitting supplies delivered today, mum and dad are up for a few days and I nipped over to Carol's to pick hers up to. I now have a batch of washing and labelling to do, There are a couple of new exciting additions too so keep your eyes peeled in the shop.
Talking of keeping your eyes peeled, I thought I would share a photo of Midnight Star who is keeping a beady eye on Paul to make sure he wasn't handing out carrot or apple.
Star is from our grey girl Kate, when she was born we couldn't decide on her colour, she looked dark grey but other times looked more of a black and grey multi. Once she was sheared it was much easier to tell, but by then she was registered as dark grey!
She is now pregnant to our black boy Loki, so it will be interesting to see what she produces. The jury is out on whether we will keep her or put her up for sale. Unfortunately at the minute we are restricted on the amount of land we have so harsh decisions have to be made.

Sunday 14 November 2010

She's all yours now mummy!

I've had a lovely weekend spending time with my niece (and brother and sister in law!).

I had particular fun this morning with Faith, she came to help with the morning feed with her daddy. After a particularly wet night it was rather muddy and we, well I say we, more like she, sort of got a little bit dirty.

Oops I didn't mean to do it mummy it just happened, and we did bring you a leaf back that we found! I do like this auntie business, you can give them back when they end up looking like this!!!

They have now gone home and Faith is counting down until she next comes to see us at Christmas. I'm not so sure her mum and daddy are so keen :-)

The rain returned this afternoon and I had to rush down to put the two boys coats on. Mimimus was very pleased to see me and comae to meet me, he was clearly trying to tell me that he was getting wet and needed his coat on quickly. Rory was not quite so bothered and needed a little encouragement.

Saturday 13 November 2010

Knitting lesson

We have visitors this weekend, my brother and his family are staying. Faith my two year old niece has been looking forward to giving Rory his bottle all week, she's been counting down from two weeks!!

Unfortunately Rory wasn't quite so pleased to see her this morning and refused point blank to take his bottle from Faith and her mum Sarah. Golden Guinea was happy to take the carrots she had on offer though.

I had everyone earning their keep this morning, my brother Colin and I had a big round bale of hay and one of straw that needed moving. No tractors here unfortunately so it was brute force to get them on to pallets.

Faith and Sarah were helping Paul to fill up the mangers with hay, although with all the nice grass on offer at the minute they hay consumption has reduced considerably.
After spending time out in the fields with the animals we moved back in doors and I decided you can never be too young to learn and Faith had a knitting lesson! Well can see that I am going to struggle to keep up with demand for our knitwear so an extra pair of hands will be handy.

I've told Faith now she has worked out how the needles go she needs to get Grannie to show her how to use the wool on Monday when she babysits!

Friday 12 November 2010

Family album

I have been keeping a real close eye on Chiquita following her periodic limping and am pleased to say that all has been fine. She is looking somewhat rotund at the minute, particularly following the move onto the fresh grass.

Here is a photo Paul took of her earlier in the week, as you can see Minimus certainly isn't draining her condition.
Speaking of Minimus it would be a shame to miss any opportunity to share another photo of him, taken at the same time as his mums. He made us laugh at tea time, despite his small stature he takes no nonsense from anyone. He was polishing off the camelibra and Ursula came over to join him, she wasn't welcome and he started pushing his neck down on hers grunting his dissatisfaction. When she took no notice he stated spitting at her, which she still ignored! An explosion could occur at the side of Ursula mind and she wouldn't bat an eyelid!

Just to complete the family album here is Willow, Chiquita's mum and grandma to Minimus with her female cria from this year, Layla, who has also inherited the same rotund shape as Chiquita.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Shop updates

The weathermen certainly got the forecast right for this evening, the wind has gathered momentum as the afternoon as progressed and now it is blowing a gale outside.

At feed time this afternoon the girls obviously spotted a shower heading their way, and all charged on mass to gather round the hay hecks. They obviously provide a good wind break and food source as the shelter didn't attract any ones attention today!

I'm pleased to say that Chiquita's leg is absolutely fine again, you would never believe she was looking uncomfortable yesterday evening. It's very strange, if I only checked on them once a day I would have missed it.

As the weather has been so terrible I've been updating our online shop. It is a never ended job what with Carol, mum & I knitting at a rapid rate and the sales doing very well. I have already sold more knitwear this year than last and that is before I reached the busy time of year for it.

I have a batch of our fleeces to send off the the mill next week as I'm almost out of white yarn. Here at Barnacre we only use our own fleeces, we don't buy it in, and all our knitwear it traceable to specific alpacas so it is a very unique. Don't worry if you are reading this Dave, I've kept some back for you to card!!

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Heads down and tuck in

It has been a lovely sunny day today in complete contrast to yesterday, although it has turned very cold again this evening.

We decided to move the girls on to fresh grass today before all the goodness goes out of it. In a few weeks they can go back into the paddock they have just come out of.

As you can see the grass is rather long and lush so hopefully this will give everyone a bit of a boost going in to winter. Excuse the shadows on the photo I was trying to take some shots as they went running through the gate. A couple of the feeding mums are starting to loose some condition so this and some extra rations for those concerned should help them out. Their babies will also be old enough to wean very soon.

Moving from one field to another means all the hay hecks and feed troughs need moving which takes ages so I didn't get time to clean the field so that will have to be added to the job list for later in the week; in the rain by the sounds of the forecast.

Loki was getting very excited at the girls moving, there is a big empty field in between the boys and the girls but Loki was keeping a very close eye on proceedings. Paul took this shot on 80 times zoom, not bad eh!
This evening when we went to feed Chiquita was limping on her back left leg. She did the same thing about 10 days ago, I couldn't feel anything and within a couple of hours she was walking normally so I thought maybe she had just twisted it. I will see how she is in the morning but I have the Finadyne on standby.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Rory report

The weather has been truly miserable today so I thought I would cheer everyone up with a nice photo and Rory report.

Rory is my little bottle fed boy, he's not completely dependant on the bottle his mum Geena doesn't have enough milk to fully support her cria. It is not a one off, Geena has never managed to completely feed any of her cria. It is something that we knew when we bought her so it is just part of the routine when it comes to Geena's cria.
Whilst we were up in Scotland last week feeding Rory was one of my mum's many jobs, and what a fantastic job she did of it. He had every single bottle he was offered which is more than can be said for the one day I left Paul in charge a couple of weeks ago!
I promised my mum I would let her know how Rory's next weigh in went, well mum credit to you he gained over a kilo in a week, 1.3kg in 8 days which is very good going for Rory, thank you.
Here he is at the front of the shot with Lady Godiva behind him and little Minimus at the rear, who also put on 800 grams since his last weighing.
Rory will be one of a few boys we will released for sale once he has been weaned in the new year. I never like that bit, but I'm always very selective where they go. He is a lovely friendly boy who has a fabulous fleece which would be great for a hand spinner.

Monday 8 November 2010

I'm back

I'm back, after a busy week up in Scotland last week working hard on the Scottish National Fleece Show which was being judged by Cameron Holt.

There was a fabulous turnout with 267 fleeces. There were some very impressive fleeces indeed, with the Supreme Champion being awarded to Acer Alpacas down in Bristol.

Barnacre Lualeni did us proud, in a very competitive intermediate white class she was placed fourth which we were very pleased with. The two stud boys we entered came away with rosettes too, 1st Senior Brown with Golden Guinea and 5th with our white stud Legend of Spartacus. Legend won Supreme Champion last year so it is nice to see he is still up there in the mix.

Veruschka was 5th in her class (senior white) and Sienna was 7th in the intermediate brown just outside the rosette positions.

Sadly having spent all week doing the hard work I wasn't able to stay on the Saturday to enjoy the talks and meal. I had a farmers market to go to. It sounds like a good time was had by all.

Thankfully the Morpeth Farmers market was well worth coming home for, I had one of my best days ever. Its a good job really or I would have been very annoyed at missing the meal in Scotland! More on that another night.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Paul's Ghouls and Goblins (of course!)

Strictly come dancing is not the only weekend entertainment that is celebrating Halloween.

Here at Barnacre Alpacas we have been discovering that the origins of Halloween can be traced back to the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any seeds, but got the next best thing with some fruit and nuts.

First up in the fruit corner we have our master knitter, Carol. So overjoyed with the Newcastle win over Sunderland that she used Hughie's carded fleece to perform an ancient Halloween ritual of celebration.

Nice one Carol you didn't even drop a stitch - and what shiny eyes you've got!

In the nut corner, and forced to lament the loss of his Wearside heroes, Dave, master carder and world renowned AAA (assistant alpaca apprentice) was not to be outdone.

Hell hath no fury like a Macca scorned and Halloween is a chance for him to perform a ritual of revenge. Even cat is joining in!

Scary Paul

Saturday 30 October 2010

Scales and nails

My parents have arrived today for a few days which is nice, mum hadn't even had chance to take her shoes off and I roped her into her first job - holding Gianmarco's Masterpiece whilst I cut his toe nails. Whilst she was feeling keen we did Tenzing's as well as his were looking a little long.

Mum also came laden with some more knitting stock, so I need to get it washed tomorrow so that it is ready for next weekends farmers market at Morpeth. Be there or be square!

Hughie was very pleased with is many visitors, he's had lots of people to say hello to today and he does like to meet 'his public'.

This evening I have weighed a few of the cria, all are gaining nicely which is good although Minimus has remained the same this week which isn't very good.

Friday 29 October 2010

Peep Bo!

Not much to report today so I thought you might like to see a picture of Lualeni playing peep bo!
Lualeni is a fantastic white maiden female with a fabulous fleece. Her first fleece was 14 microns and her second fleece is equally as stunning at 16 microns with an SD of 2.9, CV of 18.4 and 0.4 over 30.

We mated Loopy Lou as she is affectionately known to Gianmarco's Masterpiece earlier in the year so we are hoping for great things from this union next year, only another 6 or so months to wait.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Whose been where

I've just been down loading some photos and had to laugh at this one I managed to snap. Palm-Olive one of our young girls who has to copy her mum Molly's every move. You can always find Palm-Olive in close proximity to her mum. Both girls are hilarious, Molly is bonkers in a nice way and Palm-Olive, a Remarque daughter, is like a big bouncy ball of fleece.

After more fleece sorting, I returned home this afternoon to some very clear kitten footprints on my kitchen island! After having stern words to the girls and cleaning away the evidence before Paul returned from work to see it, I went off to feed the alpacas and was trying to think of the source of the dust.

This evening I managed to establish where said dust had come from when I spotted a pair of eyes peering over the top of one of my kitchen cupboards! By this time Paul had returned from work and spotted said naughty kitten.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Felling trees

It has been another long fleece day for me, in readiness for the Scottish National Fleece show. I won't bore you with the details but at least it now feels like we are getting somewhere.

As if I'd not seen and dealt with enough fleece during the day I have just been doing a little spinning with some fleece from my own herd. Super soft baby fleece which will hopefully be white when it is washed!

You may recall earlier in the year I mentioned that the woods were being taken down behind the girls winter grazing fields. Typically whilst the fields have been empty the work seemed to cease, until the girls returned.

I moved the girls a couple of weeks ago now and the workmen have returned to fell the trees. I'm not sure whose enjoying who the most the girls keeping an eye on the workmen or the men watching the alpacas.

When I got home this evening the bit directly being the field is almost clear, there are only two trees left and a fire burning with all the bits that are obviously no use to them.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

All fleeced out

I am all fleeced out today, I've been doing some preparation with Jonathan Russell in readiness for the Scottish National Fleece Show which is being judged next week. All 276 fleeces need checking in, numbering and putting in identical sacks before weighing can commence.

It's a slow painstaking job as there are lots of fleeces which have been entered in to the wrong class, so things are taking longer than we had hoped.

Back at home all is well, the girls were slightly concerned that they were not getting their tea as I was running late. Rory was starving and getting most annoyed that the other cria were charging round and part of the lap seemed to involve either jumping on him or pulling his coat on the way past. I think they were trying to get him to join in the pronking session.

It's back over to Northumbrian Alpacas tomorrow to carry on.................

Monday 25 October 2010

Let's hear it for the boys

I've been busy today catching up on the jobs that I didn't get done over the weekend, it was a freezing cold start with a very keen frost. In fact the big fleecy wellie liners came out this morning; next step is the wellie warmers!

It did turn into a lovely sunny day mind. The alpacas had visitors, Carol and Dave popped over with some friends, I forgot to ask permission so I'd best not name them. I keep forgetting to ask people if they mind me mentioning them on the blog.

Meketaten, here.....
took a real shine to Dave today and stood for ages having lots of fuss, in fact she got quite upset when he stopped stoking her and following him trying to help herself by rubbing up against him!

I thought it was about time the young boys got to pose, here they are in their usual stance, Tenzing & Sandstorm always come as one, they are almost joined at the hip.
Both these boys are showing great promise, they have very different styled fleeces, but both very fine and highly desirable.

Sunday 24 October 2010

Back to the classroom

Yes Jayne you were spot on it is Minimus, and no Mark sorry I couldn't possibly part with him he is far too cute (don't tell Paul though he thinks he's only staying until I get his first fleece).

Today was day two of the Cameron Holt course, Sire Selection was the subject for today. It was another fantastic course, very informative and of great use to future breeding decisions. It was quite funny Barbara and I are both clearly on similar wave lengths because despite being in different barns and working on our own throughout we kept getting very similar comments and placings.

I made sure Rory got his bottle before I left this morning after Paul's dismal results yesterday. I was also back in time to give him his tea much to Rory's relief.

It sounds like Paul has enjoyed having a rummage through the cria's fleece whilst I've been gone. They are nearly all so friendly this year they happily stand there and let you have a good inspect without having to hold them.

I'm back up at Northumbrian Alpacas doing some preparation for the Scottish National Fleece show this week. It is the largest fleece show in Europe so it is going to take some hard work from all concerned!

Saturday 23 October 2010

Little cutie

I have been on a course today, Identifying and Measuring Superior fleece traits, by Cameron Holt, 'the man' when it comes to alpaca fleece, after all he wrote the BAS fleece show rules.

It has been a really good day with some hands on fleece evaluation which was great, I'm back over at Northumbrian Alpacas tomorrow for the 'Sire Selection' course which I'm looking forward to.

Despite Paul falling to pieces, you were spot on their Mark, I left the animals in his care, it's the first time he's fed them in weeks and it's really taken it out of him - I'm afraid I've run out of sympathy now, I'm a much better nurse/carer to my four legged patients!

As yesterdays photo's received some very nice and very witty comments I thought I'd share the cutest picture I took yesterday with you. I'm not sure how but I forgot to include it yesterday. Isn't he just adoreable.

Friday 22 October 2010

Cria photo's as requested

Just for Jayne I have been out with the camera today, after we spent the morning at the opticians that it. Paul is not satisfied with his existing incapacity's he thought he needed another. The optician has had to refer him to the hospital with his eyes now!!

Here we have (from left to right) little Minimus, next to Lady Godiva then Rory, my bottle fed boy. Minimus and Rory are both Gianmarco babies and Godiva is from Golden Guinea.Next we have Wynfor (from Legend of Spartacus) closest with Pearson (from Golden Guinea) in the background.
And finally in 'paddock condition' Casiphia, our only Legend daughter this year - you'd never actually believe she lived in the same field as the others would you. Her and Layla like to provide Ursula with a walking snack bar of leaves!

Thursday 21 October 2010

A good excuse to rummage

After a trip into Morpeth this morning to post an order I'd received to a very nice lady in Berwick and a supposed trip to the optician who hadn't turned up to work! I set about a few husbandry jobs.

The final three cria of the year needed their second lambivac injection which all went according to plan, when I eventually caught hold of Freyja, who decided that she didn't want stabbing. Injections is a great excuse to do some fleece rummaging, not that I really need an excuse.

Minimus has the most gorgeous golden fawn fleece with exceptional brightness. Unfortunately however, he has a kink in his tail so he wont be attending any shows in person, but maybe his fleece will make it into a fleece show somewhere!

Since I came back in to the house to warm up I have been sewing labels into the latest few batches of knitwear. I keep telling myself I won't let it pile up, but do it every time then it takes ages. I'm still printing off garment labels then they'll all need pricing up too. The jobs are never ending.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Visitor equals treats

The alpacas had a lovely lady visiting today, but I forgot to ask for permission to name her so I'd better not. Imala was very pleased to receive visitors as it meant she got some bonus carrot and apple, she wasn't too keen on sharing it with the others!

Pearson and Ochre were putting on a nice display of neck wrestling and boys doing what boys do. Niveous came over too just to show them how you are supposed to mount and hang on to the back of a moving target.

Rory is still taking his bottle which is good, he has a coat on this evening as the nights have turned really cold. He wasn't at all bothered by it nor was his mum Geena. She obviously remembers that her baby's often go green (the coat is green) once winter arrives.

Sienna however was not at all impressed with this new green alpaca in the field. She was humming at him and trying to pull it off, when this fails she tried to scratch it off b carefully lifting up her foot and dragging it along Rory's back. She never looked twice at Minimus when I put his on.

For once I am off for an early night, hopefully Paul has already warmed the bed.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

More stash and a blue job

Thank you very much for all your kind comments about my flip top mittens, I can't believe how many comments they generated. So I've started another pair today in slightly different colour ways. Then I'll maybe move on to a hat Jayne! Finishing all the ends off takes ages though so it may take me a while.

Whilst on the subject of knitting Carol and Dave popped round this morning, Dave wanted some manure for his veggie plot but he had also ran out of carding so wanted some more fleece. I sent him home with some Hughie and his half sister Mallika. I hope to do a barber pole yarn with this mix.

Carol came with a bag of knitted goodies, three hats and three pairs of mittens. The speed she knits at never ceases to amaze me. Once they are washed I will take a photo of her weeks work - trust me you'll be amazed too.

I'm pleased to say that Rory is once again happy to take his bottle, he'd been refusing it since we moved them on to the fresh grass. The novelty of lush grass has obviously worn off, either that or the cold has prompted him to want nice warm milk.

I'm hoping to weigh him and a couple of the other tomorrow, I was going to do it this evening but we had a rain shower and I like to do them when they are dry.

There was another blue job on the list today, I'd got a flat tyre so it needed changing. I can't believe how many punctures we've had in this car, I wouldn't mind but they always happen when I have to change the flipping tyre.

We've not long had a full set of new tyres so they've been put on with one of the noisy gun things (I'm sure someone will tell me what they are called), anyway even with my muscles I could undo all the nuts; even after jumping on the bar! Thankfully Colin one of my neighbours came to the rescue.

Monday 18 October 2010

The grand unveilling

You may recall last week I talked about my latest knitting project, flip top stripy mittens, well here are the finished article, even though I do say so myself I am very pleased with them.
This latest addition to the shop shows off a number of our Barnacre herd, here goes for the roll of honour:-
Nefertiti - Dark brown
Imala & Gabby mix - light fawn cuff
Veruschka & Irraquoy - winter white main colour
Chiquita - mid fawn rib at fingers
Hughie - light fawn stripe at top of the flip

Sunday 17 October 2010


I was woke in the early hours of this morning by the police helicopter which was hovering with its search beam shining in Hartburn. One local family were woken to the news that their young son would not be coming home having had a very nasty car accident.

Events like this really put things into perspective and make you appreciate what you have. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

On a much brighter note I took the camera out with me this morning, we'd had the first frost of the year so I thought there might be some nice photo opportunities. However the alpacas had either been in the shelter and were frost free or like Loki here had been sun bathing and were just damp.He is enjoying his new vantage point, now the girls are in their winter field her gets a good view of them! He is very much the big macho following commencement of his stud career this summer.