Tuesday 31 August 2010

A restful day

I decided to give myself a bit of a day off today - well it is my birthday.

I got some very useful pressies, welly warmers, welly socks and a penknife to name but a few. My new penknife has a screwdriver on it which could be useful as the last one suffered 'an injury' whilst being used as one. I didn't dare tell dad how I'd broke it or I'd get told off for not using the right tool for the job!

My parents arrived bright and early this morning, I think my mum got my poor dad up far too early as he's been yawning all afternoon. Mum & I nipped over to Carols this afternoon to pick up another pair of gloves she'd knitted and some beetroot and when we got back dad was asleep.

Rory has been a good boy and happily taken his bottle from my mum. I was hoping he would as she is alpaca sitting in a couple of weeks for the weekend whilst we are at a show in Berwick with our knitwear.

Monday 30 August 2010

Barnacre has hay!

Our friends Becky & Pete have headed back home to Cambridgeshire this afternoon, however before they headed off they experienced an alpaca mating! I think Becky was rather surprised by the noise.

Legend of Spartacus pictured below had an appointment with Oonagh, she is hopefully the last of our girls to be mated this year, but time will tell on that.

Whilst we were out with the camera we were also able to get a nice photo of Golden Guinea posing.

Not wanting to miss out we also caught Gianmarco's Masterpiece whilst he was waiting for his mate who was happily spending some quality time with his latest conquest Oonagh!
Now on to the hay, don't get jealous Jayne, but whilst we were mating Alan drove past with the flicky flicky machine (no idea what it's real name is) on the back of the tractor and stopped. He opened the tractor window and yelled here's your hay.......

Sunday 29 August 2010

Tilly comes to visit

I thought I'd better do a slightly earlier blog tonight as we have friends staying and I have been on the wine - I'm not very good with alcohol anymore!

We had spit offs to do this morning; a great job for my friend Becky to get involved in I though; Paul is never too keen on getting spat at. This was after I'd roped her into helping remove maggots from one of the poor lambs feet!

The boys were very well behaved and rather excitedly trotted up the lane to see the girls, thankfully for us the girls were not at all impressed with the boys. Good news for Willowbank Alpacas Katia has ovulated, she was not happy to see Gianmarco's Masterpiece.
Oonagh is the only girl left to be mated, she's on the job list for tomorrow, which Will be two weeks since she gave birth. Last year she got pregnant at two weeks post partum so fingers crossed she will be same this year.
This afternoon we had a visit from Carol (yes she bought more knitting) and one her her friends and her daughter Tilly. After introducing Tilly to my kitten Tilly we headed off to meet the alpacas, Paul managed to get a few pictures which he has turned into a little slide show just for you Tilly, I hope you like it.
As you can see Oonagh was enjoying Tilly's company.

Saturday 28 August 2010

What a wordle

Friday 27 August 2010

Hay presto.........

It has been another lovely day today and I can sniff hay in the making! Mr T (my farmer friend) has been out cutting the grass, so hopefully in the next few days I will be able to go and get myself some hay. Fingers, toes and everything else that is possibly crossable crossed!

Carol and Dave popped over this afternoon with some friends, they were wanting to show them the alpacas. It's great that some of our enthusiasm has rubbed off on them, Carol even managed to pick out Pearson, their names sake.

Dave was saying it is two and a half years since they first came over to collect some manure following one of my Freecycle adverts. If only they had realised then that they'd be knitting, carding, making buttons and spotting new babies in the field two years later they may have stayed away!!

We have friends coming up for the Bank Holiday weekend tomorrow so I have already informed Rory he will have a new bottle provider tomorrow, I'm sure Becky will be wanting to do that job.

Little Minimus reached another milestone today, he is now over 11kg, and almost outgrown his coat again. He still looks tiny though, but checking the weight gain chart he is doing as well as those born around the same time and considerably better than his mum did, so I'm hoping he will catch everyone up eventually.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Spilt beans

Those eagle eyed blog followers amongst you will have noticed that the the excitement can be contained no longer, Willowbank Alpacas have spilt the beans! Alice and Katia are heading down south to Leicestershire to join their fantastic growing herd.

I've got to say I'm amazed Lisa at Willowbank has burst with all the excitement, not only have they got two cracking girls with their babies heading down they have also got a new stud boy for next year, Wellground Relentless heading up. Well done, you've made some great choices there!

The weather has been glorious here today so I've been out cleaning all the fields, so they are all spic and span again. I hate it when I don't get chance to do them. It was really quite funny when I was doing the boys field, Hughie was supervising. He stood right next to me watching my every move, he moved with the quad and stopped at each pile as if to make sure I didn't miss any.

This evening Paul & I have been doing some fleece rummaging, I just love it. We were admiring Tenzing's fleece, it has great character, is bright, dense, extremely long staple length and has a nice handle. It is coming back wonderfully, I'm now not sure if I should be selling him just at the minute.

He got good fleece marks at the recent Kelso show (he was second on fleece score) but got marked down in the conformation because one of his testicles hadn't dropped down, so was placed fourth overall. Said ball is now on it's way down so I'm no longer worried about that!

Tenzing is from one of our best girls Veruschka whose fleece does well in the fleece shows, so maybe I should hang fire a little longer and see how this second fleece develops. He is also not related to anyone else in our herd, so another good reason to wait and see.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Lego Rory

Thankfully the sun had shone today so Rory is back to drinking his bottle, he has also regained the weight he lost yesterday plus another 330 grams which is good. In fact all 5 cria that we weighed had very good weight gains, that nice lush grass is obviously doing wonders for their mums milk.

You may recall my young niece Faith took quite a shine to Rory whilst she was up visiting a few weeks ago. Well my brother and his family are on holiday down in Devon at the minute camping, as the weather is not great they have been playing with Lego, Faith wanted daddy to build Rory today!
Faith was obviously pleased with it because she made him send me a picture, so I thought I would share it with you, I'm sure you can see the likeness!!!!!

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Bedtime bottle

Rory is being a bit of a pest at the minute with his bottle. When the weather is bad he doesn't seem to want it. The same thing happened when we had the last wet couple of days. It is quite odd, you would think he'd be more inclined to want a nice warm bottle of milk. I've even tried going out without my waterproof as I thought it might have been my coat he didn't like.

He had lost 90gms today, which bearing in mind he's only had one bottle from me in the last two days isn't as bad as I was expecting. He's drinking from Geena who does seem to have more milk this year than in previous ones. Hopefully his supper that he took tonight is the start of normal feeding again!

Poor Loki had a spit off job to do today, I did feel sorry for him I feel really mean when they don't get a girl at the end of it. Thankfully both Chiquita and Imala refused his advances so hopefully they are holding. Oonagh came over to say hello but she has another week to wait yet, we're hoping that she will be the last mating of the year for us. We try to get all our births complete by the end of August.

Well I must go and do some spinning as Carol is knitting Mary's black yarn quicker than I can spin it. I don't want to give her an excuse for stopping knitting!

Monday 23 August 2010

Legends last cria of the year

It has been a really miserable day here, dull this morning then the rain arrived. It has been torrential most of the afternoon and the alpacas are all resembling drowned rats.

It's obviously not cold because they have been happy to sit out although I would have liked the mums with the youngest cria to take them off to get a little shelter.

Freyja who is a week old today and Minimus still have their the pajamas on at night (cria coats to most people), however I left on all day today because the forecast wasn't good. They have both had dry pj's on this evening, I could see some of the others wishing they'd been as lucky.

As the weather was bad I've been doing paper work and updates to the website. It's a never ending job and that was before I got an email from Carol saying she's knitted a couple more bits for me!
Finally I thought you might like to see Legend's last cria of the year, a white boy named Wheelhouse Ivory Star, born to Angelus, who we sold a little while ago to Pauline & Robert Cameron of Wheelhouse Alpacas. With the combined pedigree of Angelus who is from Jolimont Gianmarco and Legend of Spartacus who is from Peruvian Spartacus and Jolimont Commisario this chap should go far, Pauline informs me that his fleece is bright white with a lot of crimp already.
Many thanks for the photo and kind permission to share it with the world Pauline. We're looking forward to coming to see him!

Sunday 22 August 2010

To mate or not to mate?

As I mentioned yesterday we had a couple of matings to do today, Ursula and Geena were both keen to see the boys and dropped at their feet. The other two girls that needed 'spitting off' both ran a mile from the boys which is good.

I received an email from Angelus's new owner today to say that she had delivered her cria which is great news. Paul & I had only been saying over a cup of tea on the bench she shouldn't be long. I will ask permission to share the photo with you tomorrow.

Now for the quandary, do we or don't we mate Palm-Olive now or wait until the Spring. She has now decided that she would quite like to be mated and has become a bit of a flirt, which as you can imagine Golden Guinea is lapping up.

Palm-Olive is a 16 months old, well grown girl. Generally we don't mate our young girls until they are at least 18 months, although they are all considered individually so there have been a couple of exceptions to this unwritten rule.

Palm-Olive is from Accoyo Remarque, so as you can imagine has a very nice fleece. So the next question, if we decide to mate her, who do we use? Legend of Spartacus, our Supreme Champ who has Peruvian Spartacus and Jolimont Commisario in his pedigree or Gianmarco's Masterpiece who is from Jolimont Gianmarco with Jolimont Sculptor and Jolimont Encantador as Grand sires.

Both boys have produced us some stunning cria this year ..................... decisions, decisions. Palm-Olive is actually one of only two remain girls we have for sale. It is likely that these girls will be the only ones we have for sale for the foreseeable future.

Saturday 21 August 2010

A wise choice

This morning Katia had an appointment with Gianmarco's Masterpiece, her very lucky new owners had chosen him to cover her this year. A very wise choice in my opinion and Marky was certainly impressed, he enjoyed every minute of it.

Whilst this mating was going on rather surprisingly Ursula decided to sit, she was mated almost a month ago and has been spitting off since. She too was mated to Marky so he will have another rendezvous with Ursula in the morning after he has done some spit offs. We like to try and give the boys a girl at the end of spit offs.

It has been a lovely day so I have been able to get Carol's knitting stash from yesterday washed dried and even photo's taken to they can be put in the shop. I'm determined it is not going to get as out of date again as it took ages to get back on top of it.
Whilst I was out with the camera Casiphia, Legends first born cria came up to say hello, she is usually one of the ones hanging back so it was nice for her to come to me.
This evening the younger cria have been weighed, all are doing well and heading in the right direction which is good. It is interesting to see how some of the girls milk qualities clearly differ, as with previous years Gabby, Mary and Kate's babies have piled on the weight whilst Imala and Irraquoys are slightly slower than our herd average gain.

Friday 20 August 2010

That's the way to do it

After the morning feeding routine Paul & I headed off to the MetroCentre, he desperately needed some new trainers for the Great North Run. We both detest shopping with a passion and have been putting it off for I don't know how long.

We'd been using the excuse we couldn't leave in case someone gave birth, but with all our babies now safely on the ground we couldn't play that card anymore. As he is back to work on Monday we had to do it today. Job done we were back home as quick as we could be!

Rory's eye continues to improve and he has been starving today, drinking every bottle down in one without stopping, I may up his ration slightly tomorrow but I don't want to give him too much as Geena does have some milk and that will be much better for him.

I thought you might like to share another chase me shot, this time we have two of Legends cria at the front, in order Niveous (from Irraquoy), Casiphia (from Veruschka), Pearson (from Ursula and Guinea) and the two brown you can just see are Layla and Meketaten.

Whilst we were going through the 140 photo's we look on Monday, we found this one Paul managed to capture of Oonagh showing Freyja how this standing malarkey works.
Carol & Dave popped over this afternoon with more knitting, I told you the shop wouldn't be up to date for long didn't I! They were also kind enough to bring us some of their home grown veggies; they are far too good to us.
Whilst they were here I also established why Dave is always finding nice wood to make my buttons from, Carol let out one of their little secrets!!! I will say no more than that or she may kill me.

Thursday 19 August 2010

I've done it

Firstly I must apologise about last nights photo, I just keep getting a big photo of Rory's eye when I try and enlarge the second photo. All very odd I can't get it to enlarge at all. Looks like you will have to just check them out on the meet the herd pages when I've updated them, bear with me, I'm working on it!

I've been trying without success for a while now to get the on line shop up to date, well this evening I have finally succeeded. Well that is until I next see my mum and Carol as I know both have been busy knitting!

Next is Meet the Herd section, Paul has kindly uploaded all the photo's but leaves me to do the words bit.

The main herd are certainly enjoying their new grass, this afternoon after stuffing their bellies full everyone was stretched out sunbathing, until that is Gabby decided it was time for everyone to move. She does like to keep the herd on the move. Alice and Kazuo were having none of it though and stayed put!
Rory's eye continues to improve, the swelling is reducing and he has it fully open again now.
The rain has arrived this evening so no doubt the boys will be fighting over the shelter and the girls will have headed to the trees for shelter. They seem to like it better under them that going in.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Passing with flying colours

When I went out this morning I was greeted by a very sore and sticky eyed Rory, the poor chap looked like he'd been kicked in the eye. Thankfully his eye is ok but it is very swollen and rather sore.

This photo was taken at lunchtime, by which time after being bathed a few times the swelling was beginning to go down. Hopefully with bathing and eye drops he will be back to normal in no time.

We have had the vet round today to carry out some vet checks on the two girls we have sold and their cria. All passed with flying colours as we would expect, these are two cracking girls with fabulous cria at foot. Sam, our vet was very impressed with the condition scores of both girls especially Alice as he thought Kazuo was 'very well fed'!

This was before the girls got on the new grass, we had been waiting for the vet to come before we moved them as we know what Katia is like and there is no way she would leave the lush grass for a few days.

The youngsters have been chasing round like crazy in their new field. I did manage to get a video but I think it must be too large to upload on the blog as it's not working - I'll get Paul to put it on YouTube and post the link so you can see it.

I caught 12 of the 14 cria in one photo, hopefully you will be able to enlarge it as I have labelled everyone, I know you liked it when I did that last time!!

Tuesday 17 August 2010

2010 cria

Thankfully the weather hasn't been anywhere near as bad as was forecast but you still wouldn't believe it is still summer.

Paul has been busy on the website again, it is such a slow job but we are getting there, if you've been tracking our births this year you will enjoy our 2010 cria page. I have just pointed out to him that he hasn't added Freyja yet!!

Talking of cria I find it fascinating how they seem to pick up on their sires personality traits when they never even get to see them. A prime example are our Golden Guinea cria, they are all so chilled out and super friendly just like Guinea.

Here we have Ochre on the left playing with one of Paul's shoes, whilst Meketaten is on the right also checking them out. Both of their mums last cria were completely the opposite, in fact Star, Kate's daughter still is.
It's not just the Guinea cria here, because his daughter born at Lavender-Bee Alpacas is very friendly too.
I'm looking forward to next years arrivals already.

Monday 16 August 2010

Oonagh ends on a high

Oonagh has done us, and Gianmarco's Masterpiece (the sire) proud today, by producing a stunning female cria. She even waited until Paul returned from his 9 mile run; he's in training for the Great North Run, if anyone wants to sponser him he's doing it in aid of Macmillan Cancer.
We were hoping for a girl from Oonagh, she had a girl for us last year (Kealani), but her mum produced us three girls on the trot so we were hoping Oonagh would follow in her footsteps. Well done Oonagh your mum would be proud of you.
We have decided to call her Freyja, after the Norse goddess of love, beauty and fertility. Just as a matter of interest she also had two daughters so hopefully if she follows the family tradition this could be the same for our Freyja.
This was our last birth of the year so we've finished on a high. We now have 7 boys and 7 girls from our three boys and 2 outside matings. We are very pleased with the results our boys have achieved and can't wait for next year to see how the boys compare. It is a slow but very exciting process.
No more getting up at 5am to do a check of the field, although I've been doing it since the beginning of May so it will take me a while to get out of the habit I'm sure.

The girls were due to go on fresh grass today but we thought we would let Freyja find her feet before she goes in the nice lush green grass which will do wonders for everyone milk supply and cria growth.

Sunday 15 August 2010

I am alive!

Firstly apologies for the lack of blog last night, my daily blogging is that much of a ritual I received a text this morning to make sure I was ok seeing as I'd not blogged! Thank you for your concern.

Yesterday the weather wasn't great so Paul was doing some website updates whilst I was sewing labels into knitwear and trying to keep the kittens in order - that bit wasn't working very well! He was working on the meet the herd section which was out of date and the sales page which shows the latest comings and goings. There are still pages in need of attention so keep your eyes peeled.

I haven't done much of the shop yet but that is because I couldn't get on the machine as Paul was hogging it. I will get there though, honest Carol, bear with me.

Today we have been busy with herd husbandry jobs. Everyone has been given the once over, condition scored and toe nails trimmed where needed, which it has to be said was almost everywhere, even Geena who hardly ever needs hers cutting.

Many of the cria were due their second Lambivac injection and the youngest few were weighed again, which they just take in their stride as it happens so frequently. We also weighed Lucia who is now 28kg and isn't three months old yet.

Katia's little girl is growing nicely she has gained 1.76kg in a week. I will hopefully have a name to share with you all soon, in the meantime I thought you might like to share this photo I took this afternoon.

We also had some spit off's and matings to do, unfortunately Chiquita sat so she will have a meeting with Golden Guinea tomorrow as he was needed for Geena today. We decided that we would try and get some colour our of her next year! Imala had an appointment with Gianmarco's Masterpiece which he thoroughly enjoyed.

We have a quandary with Palm-Olive, one of our last remaining sales girls but more on that tomorrow.

Friday 13 August 2010

Making a start

Oh boy it has rained today, in fact it started in the night and hasn't stopped all day. The fields really need it but I would like it to stop for a brief time for feeding at least.

Rory hasn't wanted his bottle today, he didn't like me wearing my waterproof coat. Thankfully by bedtime he'd got used to me in alien clothing and happily drank his bottle.

The day started with a lovely conversation with someone who is very lucky and shall remain nameless at the minute as I didn't ask for permission to mention it. All I will say is watch this space.

In fact thinking about it, I spent most of the morning on the telephone talking alpaca, great topic of conversation don't you think.

The rest of the day has been spent in front of the computer, I don't know how I used to do it all day everyday!

I've started to update the on-line shop and all, well most, of the photo's are re sized; yes I managed to do it all by myself, and ready to be up loaded. It is such a slow job though it takes ages.

Paul is on holiday from his day job next week so he has a 'to do list' being prepared and general website updates are on there. I'm not allowed to do those, he doesn't trust me.

Thursday 12 August 2010

This is for you.............

Another busy day draws to a close and I'm buzzing with excitement; I'm sure I'm not the only one!

First job on the list was to rearrange the garage as I'd got a supply of Camelibra being delivered, I'm not as lucky as Rob and Les, we don't have a forklift here so it was manually unloaded onto the quad and re stacked in the garage all neatly so when Paul got home from his day job the car would still fit in!

I have been out with the camera too, our online shop is so out of date it is getting embarrassing so I was out in the field taking some photo's, as you can see I had help. Lucia and Pearson trying to helping themselves to things in the bos whilst Ochre was trying to climb on my back.

Tomorrow we have rain forecast so hopefully all of today's pictures will make it onto the website tomorrow, that is if I don't break it first Paul gets slightly nervous when I start working on the website as that is usually his domain.
Whilst I was out with the camera I thought I would get a photo of the birthday girl, only she seemed a little camera shy and kept turning her back! Geena is 8 today, here she is feeding her baby Rory, she only has milk in her front two teats so Rory is being topped up by bottle which he likes which is good.
I also managed to catch Katia's baby sat down on the job, she seems to like to sit down whilst feeding. I know someone out there will be very interested in this photo!

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Catch me if you can

We had another house viewing today which meant house cleaning took priority over paddock cleaning which I don't like!

Hopefully the family liked the house, I know the daughter was very impressed with the two kittens and then even more impressed when they went to have a look at the land and Lady Godiva came over to introduce herself, closely followed by Ochre - you can tell they are both Golden Guinea progeny.

Since the boys moved onto fresh grass at the weekend the field shelter has become a bit of a trophy possession. What once had room for all five boys now seems to struggle to fit more than one! Gianmarco seems to have taken over it and refuses point blank to share, although when I went out this morning Loki had managed to squeeze himself in.

Anyone who has read the meet the herd section of our website will know that despite being a big girl, Veruschka holds a very low ranking within the herd. I have noticed the last few days Kazuo seems to have taken a fancy to her and is trying to mount her whilst orgling. Needless to say as Veruschka is (hopefully) pregnant to Gianmarco's Masterpiece, who is actually Kazuo's dad, she is not at all impressed and runs off . The only problem is this then makes the rest of the youngsters think it's a game so she ends up with about 10 cria chasing her which puts her in a panic.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

A new coat

My little man, Minimus is growing, so much so I had to make him a new coat today. In fact he would probably have fitted into one of the existing coats if Katia's new baby wasn't wearing it.

I have been busily updating alpaca seller today, it was a little out of date following the birth of the Aussie girls cria. If only I had the space (and some spare cash) I really would like to keep at least one of them, if only.............

I received a lovely letter of thanks from the Border Union Show thanking me for my Chief Steward duties at the show, Paul also received one so hopefully the rest of my stewarding team received one too. It's nice to knew you are appreciated.

Talking of appreciation, someone has been reading my ramblings. I had a call from a fellow alpaca owner yesterday who had an issue with an abscess on one of their alpacas. My blogging about the problem we had with Gabby's jaw last year will hopefully help her out - good luck.

PS. Whoever left the anonymous comment about Paul seeing the kitten photo it's too late!

Monday 9 August 2010

New spinning apprentices

Today has been one of those days when one minute it looks like the heavens are going to open and we are going to get a soaking (which we never did) and the next we have glorious sunshine. Needless to say those babies with cria coats on have been dressed and undressed a number of times!

We weighed the three youngest cria all of whom are doing well, Minimus is still slightly heavier than Katia's daughter, who we have not yet named as she is for sale, and it is nice if they get new owners soon they will be able to name her.

I was feeling rather annoyed this afternoon, so took it out on a tree that was overhanging one of our fields. It provides a nice bit of shelter but it was far too low, not any more. It was quite funny I had an audience, typically at the front of the gathering was Ursula.

As a bit of a wind down I thought I would do a bit of spinning as my two young apprentices were not getting on with it very well!
Carol has knitted a lovely black hat in Mary fleece which I am spinning at the minute. I took her a bit over last week as Dave carded it all for me I thought she might like to knit a bit. It never ceases to amaze me how quick Carol knits, since I saw her last week she has knitted me a hat and some long fingerless mittens. She somehow manages to find time to go to work as well.

Sunday 8 August 2010

Bottles with a cuddle

My brother and his family have returned home this afternoon after a weekend visit. Faith, my young niece has become rather brave since their visit three weeks ago and is now happy to wander through the alpaca field on her own.

She has taken a particular fancy to little Rory, who my brother informs me is a racing car (apparently it's a childrens tv programme), he kept singing a song about Rory the racing car, but every time he tried to get past the the first line Faith kept correcting him "no, Rory alpaca daddy" .

As you can see Faith was happy to do the bottle feeds, under Pearson's supervision!
He was even happy to have a cuddle, he wasn't quite so sure about the kiss though, he thought there should have been milk in that little nose.

Once our company had gone I finished off cleaning the fields that my brother kindly started this morning whilst Paul cut and harrowed in readiness for the rain we had forecast, however the weathermen seem to have changed their minds now.

We also had a batch of spit offs to do, all but Gabby spat off, she dropped like a stone when she saw Guinea arrive, I'd not put her in the mating pen yet either and once she sits to be mated there is no moving her so I just let them get on with it and removed the rest of the girls and babies back to their main field. All expect Imala that is, who sat next to her waiting for her turn. She is actually due an outside mating from 2008 so she will have to wait a little while so we can take her and Geena at the same time.

Saturday 7 August 2010

All change

I'm please to say Katia has settled nicely into motherhood, and her daughter is looking good, she lost a few grams in the first 24 hours which is quite normal, although most of our cria have gained from day one this year.

Now she has given birth I was able to give Katia's nails a good trim, they were very long, I'm sure they must have been missed by the shearer as they were looking quite bad, I didn't want to upset her though until she'd had her baby. They are now looking much better and she was happy to let me do them which always makes life much easier.

At last Mimimus is not the lightest baby at Barnacre, he has overtaken the new arrival this evening and weighs a huge (for him) 8.16kg, that means in three weeks he has doubled his birth weight so I'm happy.

This morning we had a bit of a move round with the boys and youngsters on the rented land. We really needed to make use of the big field as this is the best grass we have at the minute. However this would mean that the young girls would be next to the boys and that would never work. Why does the grass always grow where you least need it.

So Guinea had to move down one stud strip and the other four big boys have moved onto the roadside stud strip, this means there is now an empty field between the boys, as Golden Guinea and Loki aren't getting on too well at the minute - they spend all day posturing to each other and it usually ends up in a fight. There is also a gap between Guinea and the ladies, he is still rather excited though.

Friday 6 August 2010

It's a girl

Well that's another week over with, I can't believe where the year is going.

Today also saw the birth of another cria, this time a lovely solid white girl from Katia and Legend of Spartacus, Katia is one of the EPC girls we have for here for sale.
Katia is one of those girls who is happy to blend into the herd and keep her head down. She has clearly had her head down far too much when the other girls have given birth as things seemed to come as a bit of a shock to her.
In particular when it came to the afterbirth, she clearly had not known what was going on as once the balloon appears and she caught sight of it out of her eye she started screeching and running round in circles. She then managed to stand on it and continue to circle which caused the thing to burst and tear which caused more concern, I think she thought it was her baby!
Eventually she realised it wasn't her baby and she calmed down and began to enjoy motherhood.
I had a visit to the vet booked for the kittens injections this morning but I decided to change it to an afternoon appointment yesterday as I thought something may occur today - how was that for intuition!
Izzie & Tilly were very well behaved at the vets and are now fast asleep, she did say they may be a little drowsy. As I suspected Izzie has a hernia so that will get corrected when she is spayed at the age of 6 months.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Market research

Oonagh continues to be very grumpy, her shape has changed now and you can see the cria has dropped so things are definitely progressing there. Katia has had all sorts of bulges going on too so her baby is obviously on the move.

I have been doing a spot of 'market research' today with Margaret, Alan (farmer friends) wife which was nice. I can't really say much more than that at this stage but it has meant that very little has occurred back at home.

I did get to do a bit of spinning whilst I was cooking tea and this evening I have been sewing labels into the new knitwear.

I had planned to get some photos so that I could update the online shop but just as I had sorted some pieces out the heavens opened; not that I am complaining as the grass needs it. Unfortunately my Paca Poo bricks were out in the sun drying so I had to decide which stayed dry bricks or Mimimus and Minimus won!

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Home time for my parents

All the new knitted stock has now been washed and is ready for labelling, I never relish that bit! Thinking of names for everything is getting really difficult now but I got there in the end.

My parents have gone home this afternoon, after mum had given Rory (Geena's baby) his bottle and fed the girls some carrots - they do get spoilt. Guinea is enjoying raspberries most evenings as we have some wild ones growing on the lane.

I'm not sure what Kate has been on today but this evening she was pronking round the field with the babies. She did however take a bit of a dislike to poor Wynfor who she was trying to stamp on when he sat next to her baby Ochre, who incidentally is a right lump these days!

Katia is now looking slightly closer to birthing however I still wouldn't be surprised if Oonagh beats her to it. Oonagh has a bag of milk and is following in her mums footsteps with huge teats.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Stock collection

I managed to finish cleaning and cutting the girls resting field today so once Paul got home this evening he whizzed round with the harrow. We have some rain forecast for tomorrow so if it arrives at least the field is ready for it!

Mum and I popped over to see Carol this afternoon, I took her some of the black yarn I have spun following Dave's carding sessions. We found her busy knitting in her summer house, I think Dave probably thought she would be doing a spot of weeding, but I won't tell if you don't.

She has been super busy with the knitting needles, I bought some lovely new pieces home with me. Mum has also been knitting whilst she has been here and I've told her she can't leave tomorrow until she's finished the pair of gloves she's currently working on.

The three youngest cria continue to gain weight nicely, Mimimus has now passed the birth weight of our 'normal sized' cria which feels good. He still looks really small though.

Oonagh now has a bag full of milk, she is at 327 days and is looking like she won't reach 347 which is when she birthed last year. The only other girl we have left to birth is Katia who is at 350 and not looking like she is in any rush.

Monday 2 August 2010

Walking disinfectant bottle

I seem to smell like a walking disinfectant bottle today. After it's trip out at the weekend I had to clean out the trailer, so out came the mats and dividing gate and in went the disinfectant and pressure washer.

Bio security is something we are very strict with, so cleaning the trailer inside and out after after use is a must. As it was bin day I thought I'd do that too whilst I was at it!

Next on the list was to finish off cleaning and cutting the girls previous field so mum and I set about it. It took us ages but my dad did come out with a cup of tea and a biscuit for us, although he wouldn't let us have five minutes rest to drink it. Carol (my knitting friend) has been witness to my dad's slave driving so she will vouch for me.

We haven't actually finished the job off as we ran out of petrol so I will have to finish off once I have filled the patrol cans - all very annoying as the sooner it is cut and clean the sooner it will begin to recover.

It is Chiquita's 3rd birthday today. I can't believe it is three years since Willow (her mum) and I were in a panic in the field. Willow couldn't work out what on earth was poking out her back end and I was worrying it was taking far too long. Chiquita now has a baby of her own, little Minimus.

Sunday 1 August 2010

A treat for the girls and Mr Guinea

Well that is the end of another weekend and it's now August, can you believe it.

We have been busy moving animals on to fresh grass today, the rain we had last week has really helped to green things up and get the grass moving again. This morning after we had spat off Star, who spat off at poor Loki very convincing the recently mated maidens moved over the fence to the very lush looking fresh grass. This afternoon it was the turn of the main herd to get fresh grass.

As a treat for Mr Guinea being such a good boy at the show yesterday he got to mate Chiquita. Not until he had done four spit offs though, In true LMI style she went mad and proceeded to cover everything in a 3 or 4 meter radius green, including Paul, my mum and I!

Gabby our oldest girl doesn't believe she should have to do spit offs and glared at Guinea before he had got anywhere near letting us know that she had ovulated, as had Ursula and Veruschka.

Whilst Guinea and Chiquita were getting intimate Geena sat there hopefully. She only gave birth on Wednesday so she has a little wait yet but that didn't stop her asking.

Paul managed to get two of the resting fields cut in the hope they will thicken up as we had rain showers forecast. Unfortunately we had a very heavy down pout whilst I was cleaning the girls field and ended up soaked to the skin and didn't get it finished.

Paul was following me with the mover cutting the tall wispy bits of grass that they had left behind. I will have to finish that job off tomorrow assuming it's dry.

All the cria have been weighed today, with being at Kelso the last couple of days we hadn't done it. Everyone is growing nicely which is good, little Minimus has reached 7kg, that is a 75% weight gain in 2 weeks.