Monday 28 February 2011

Jobs worth at the Post Office

After a lovely weekend it absolutely threw it down during the night so I was expecting to have all the mud back, but I'm pleased to say it was much better than I expected.

After the usual morning routine I had to nip to the post office, the quad needed taxing and I had a couple of things to post.  Being the last day of the month and a Monday the queue was huge, to make matters worse when I eventually got to the counter the extremely miserable woman behind the counter refused to issue a new tax disc.

Despite having the renewal notice from DVLA and my insurance documentation because the certificate of insurance stated the chassis number rather than the registration mark of the quad they wouldn't do it.  I was not amused.  I tried my damnedest to get her to do it, after all the document they had sent only asked for the renewal notice and insurance certificate, but it wasn't working.

So it looks like another trip to Morpeth for me then.  I wouldn't mind but there is so much going on here at the minute I don't have the time to drive backwards and forwards to Morpeth.  Carol is also going to be back in a couple of days and I haven't spun her anywhere near enough yarn yet!

Sunday 27 February 2011

Hughie supervisors visitors

Many thanks for the very kind comments and emails following yesterdays blog, it is really nice to receive comments and have some interaction with you all.

After a lovely weekend with family, we waved them off, having packed Archie  (10 month old Nephew) a nice freshly laid egg, it was still warm for his breakfast later in the week.  I couldn't give him any more as we'd eaten them all!!

No sooner has they left we had more visitors who enjoyed walking round the paddock making plans.  Hughie kept a close eye on everything, I think he was trying to listen in to see if they were doing it right!  Golden Guinea was enjoying posing too, he really does know how to look good for the camera.

I have a very busy week planned so much so I think I need to write myself a list before I forget anything.

Saturday 26 February 2011

Happy Birthday Barnacre Alpacas

I can't believe it is four years today since our first three alpacas arrived.  How things have grown and developed following the arrive of those three pregnant females; not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars we decided to follow our dream and go for it.

We have had a busy day, Paul's brother Dean, his wife Jodi and our gorgeous nephew Archie are up for the weekend.  We've not seen them for a while so it has been great fun.  Archie had a whale of a time feeding the weanling's carrot this morning, he took a little persuading to give the carrot to the alpacas and not eat it himself though!

Typical I forgot to take my camera out this morning, then this evening he wasn't so keen and needed a little encouragement from Daddy.  Here he is feeding Godiva who is happy to take carrot from anyone.

Then this afternoon Rosemary and Carl from Westhill Alpacas popped in to say hello and see the alpacas, and Miminus in particular.  Rosemary and I have conversed for a while now on the blog and email so it is great to get to meet in person.  I was also able to show her Carol's socks!

Having visitors is always a great excuse to get close up and personal with the alpacas and everyone was very well behaved and happy to show off their fleeces. 

After falling in love with Sandstorm (hopefully a future herd sire) we went to meet the weanlings who are always at the fence to greet us.  Once we managed to get through the gate there were a queue of noses wanting to introduce themselves. 

Rosemary was particularly keen to compare our little Minimus to the size of her Greeves, I think it was an excuse for a cuddle really!  Just to help you compare Rosemary here you both are, with your other friend Meketaten who fell at your feet.

Luckily for us Rosemary & Carl turned up in a small car, if not I think they may have tried to sneak a couple of four legged passengers back to Dorset!

Friday 25 February 2011

Foot update

It has been a lovely day again today, well after a quick drizzle shower this morning which resulted in a mad dash to fetch my washing in. 

Mary's foot is the same, although she is now walking almost normally.  I had a feel of the lump today, feeling it didn't worry her at all.  It is hard, not warm or tender at all.  I will keep a close eye on it and see what happens.

Hughie and Golden Guinea had a bit of a to do this morning. Guinea decided that he would follow Paul onto the back lawn to feed the chickens which caused Hughie great concern.

He went absolutely mad, screeching and trying to push his was through the fence to get to Guinea who completely ignored him.  Hughie definitely didn't like the fact that Guinea was closer to the house than he was!

The herd will be pleased to hear that we took delivery of a new pallet of Camelibra  feed today, luckily for us David was about with his forklift or it would have meant moving 50 sacks by hand. 

Thursday 24 February 2011

Rolling a marble

It has been a gloriously sunny warm day today which was great as I had some outside jobs that needed doing. 

My parents headed home mid morning, so I didn't have my enthusiastic poo picking helper to help.  Mum always seems to get poo picking duties in the rain and mud!

Mary is walking much better today, in fact she is now back to running from one feed trough to another and back to you again.  Despite this, she still managed to eat more than most of the herd do to the rapid value she consumes in one mouthful.

Although she is walking much better a lump has appeared today on her toe.  I managed to get a picture of Mary's marble!
It has definitely not been there before, and the soreness appeared much further up the leg.  She had been examined from toe to thigh and she never flinched when I was at her feet.  All very odd I will check it in the morning and deal with it if necessary then.

Whilst I was out poo picking with the camera I almost managed to catch LMI (Little Miss Irraqquoy) with all four legs in the air, she does love a good roll does Irraquoy.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Quagmire quarantine

We had a lot more rain over night and the gateway from Guinea to the other big boys is a complete mess.  Hughie is constantly on guarding duties and paddling through the mud, making a complete mess of the field and himself.

So after mum and I had finished the morning feed routine I bought up some hurdles from down the lane to block off Hughie's quagmire.  He wasn't very impressed but needs must I'm afraid Mr Hubert you are making too much mess!  And so much for today's weather improving as the day went on, it got duller and duller.

I was in trouble with Paul when he got back from a few days working away, his quad is rather dirty - well he does tell me off for not using it and carrying everything by hand; I can't win!

I'm pleased to say that Mary is improving and is now putting weight on her back leg, hopefully she will be 100% again very soon.

This evening I've been busy spinning some of Chiquita, I received a text from Carol saying that she is almost out of wool so I don't want her sat there twiddling her thumbs.  Mum has knitted a hat today, so she too is getting low on supplies.  It's a good job it will be shearing time again soon.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

A day of two halves

After completing the morning feeding routine and giving dad a few jobs to do to keep him occupied mum and I set about stocking the shop.  Mum was busy knitting whilst I washed some more lovely stock, I'm hoping to have even more knitwear this year so I can fit in a few more events.

This afternoon with the sun out we set about doing some field cleaning, it has to be said with the state of the fields I've been loathed to drive round them cleaning so there was a lot to do.  Plus I'd not done Guinea's since he moved out at the weekend.

As you can see the girls were catching a few rays....
however once I got  out into the field the clouds arrived shortly followed by the rain; sorry girls!

Monday 21 February 2011

Spoilt; what us...

Following yesterdays weaning I'm pleased to say that everything was calm this morning.  There was still a fair bit of humming going on but everyone soon tucked in to their breakfast.

The mums were all fine too, Geena is the only one who really seems that bothered that they are responsibility free for a few months.  Geena is a really stressy sort of girl who hates change so we always know what to expect.

Poor Mary is struggling a bit today, she has done something to her back leg and isn't wanting to put any weight on it.  There is no signs of anything untoward and it isn't stopping her from getting round, I don't suppose carrying round eight months worth of cria growth inside her is helping.  She always has a huge baby bulge by the time she gets round to birthing.

My mum and dad arrived this evening which was nice, carrots for the alpacas and cheesecake for me - aren't we all lucky!  Oh yes and there was some more knitting.

Sunday 20 February 2011

The big move

It's been a very busy day here today, the girls were due a move, there was weaning to be done and all this meant a move for Mr Guinea.

It was a damp grey morning but after breakfast Golden Guinea came for a walk up to the house.  He got all excited and skipped up the lane thinking he was off for an 'appointment' with a lady!  You're a couple of months too early for that yet Guinea.

He was soon settled in his new field next to the house, there was lots of posing and posturing with the other boys who are in the field directly behind the house.  They usually have a gap between them so I'm hoping there is no funny business.  Hughie and Loki are currently walking one side of the gate with Guinea this side so both are making a muddy mess - not nice!

With Guinea out of the way the girls were able to move up a field (there is no way he could be in a neighbouring field or he'd be over the fence) onto the nice fresh grass.  This also gave us the opportunity to wean the last of the 2010 cria.

Little Minimus is well below the usual weaning weight but he is just over six months old now and a strong lad so he had to say bye to his mummy.  He is not at all impressed, the poor little things know how to make you feel guilty.  Both he and Freyja are humming like crazy looking for their mums, but hopefully they will soon settle in with their old playmates.

So with everyone moved and observed we had all the troughs to relocate, hay mangers to move and one field shelter to empty so the girls could use it.  Imala and Chiquita took the opportunity to make use of it as soon as we'd moved the pallets and hay; don't make a mess girls.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Snowy walk

Well it was forecast so it shouldn't really have come as any surprise but we woke this morning to snow!  It has been like the middle of December today not almost the end of February.

Needless to say the various movements we had planned for today didn't happen.  Golden Guinea is still in his favourite stud strip watching over the ladies, the ladies didn't get their fresh grass and the final cria of last year are still with their mummy's.

The forecast for tomorrow is better so fingers crossed it will all happen then.

Despite the appalling weather Paul and I had planned a walk for this afternoon so this happened regardless.  It was very pleasurable and we enjoyed the stroll, even if it was freezing cold and through snow.  You can see I'm smiling (I didn't realise Paul was taking the photo, hence the face!).

When I spoke to my mum this evening she was bragging that since she went home last week she has knitted a pair of socks and a baby hat.  What with mum and Carol knitting at speed I am feeling rather inferior for not keeping up!

They are both running out of wool though so I think I'd better concentrate my efforts on spinning the last few bits of fleece and look forward to shearing in the spring so we can replenish stocks of yarn further!

Friday 18 February 2011

Family trends

I can't believe it's already Friday evening, the weeks just fly by.  It's already almost the end of February and it will be birthing time again before we even know it.

Our first girls are due at the end of April, they are 280 days to be precise.  Both are maidens so it is hard to gauge how long they will go.  I would expect Princess Mallika to birth first as she comes from a line of females who all birth quite early whilst Sienna's mum Nefertiti has an average gestation period of 350 days!

I just love following family trends and statistics, I find it fascinating.  Here is a prime example I managed to catch on camera the other day of family trends.

Willow's first born daughter, Chiquita, followed in her mums footsteps putting her head through the fence to eat neighbouring grass.  Although saying that Willow doesn't quite take it to the extremes that Chiquita does who frequently has her head through the stock fencing!

Willow's second daughter Lalya has inherited the same tendencies! 

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Accident prone

I haven't the best of days today, firstly I opened a new sack of Fibergest this morning only to knock it over and half the sack ended up on the floor.  Then on leaving the garage with all the feed (yes I was carrying too much in one go as usual), I dropped the tub with the chicken food in which popped open, spilt and went under the car with a flat battery which was on charge! 

However after all this and a very wet start to the day it turned out to be really nice, which always helps to improve things.  When I went out at lunchtime I managed to catch Hughie sunbathing. It's not the best photo as it was taken from quite a distance away on my mobile but you can see how relaxed he looked. 

This afternoon I headed off to Gibside for the monthly spinning group only to find that it wasn't on!  Great, only a 50 mile round trip - not happy!  At  least the car got a good run and the battery seemed fine after it's charge.

I came back to find the younger 'big boys', Tenzing (white) and Sandstorm (fawn) enjoying a bit of rough and tumble.  They were having a great time and didn't even notice me with the camera.  As you can see they are both rather dirty.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Lists and loves

Can you believe it the MG has a flat battery again, why does it always happen when we need it.  I'm hoping that the battery charger will work it's magic and it will be as good as new tomorrow, it has obviously not forgiven me for leaving it out in the snow.

Carol popped round this afternoon for a cup of tea, to deliver her first over pair of knitted socks and she took home some more carding for Dave.  He must be getting a pile now - not that I'm complaining Dave I have a pile here to that you've carded waiting to be spun.

I have also finished another hat this evening so more washing, labeling and photography required so I can add even more items to Paul's list for the shop.

Talking of photography I thought you might like to see a photo a took the other day.  It's a head shot of Wynfor, he's a lovely little boy who we are sill debating about selling.  He has a lovely fleece and is from our Supreme Champion Legend of Spartacus, unfortunately Wynfor has tried his best to ruin his baby fleece with numerous embelishments so I know his second fleece will be even nicer.

Monday 14 February 2011

Supervision on a mass scale

On the job list today was to make sure I got the photos taken of all the new knitwear that is needing uploading into the online shop. 

There was quite a pile so it was going to take a while, I like to find a natural surrounding to go with our natural products, which usually causes issues.  Today was no different, eventually I managed to nip out in between rain and the locations drying enough. 

Then came the assistance, Hughie checking out what was new in stock.
Once Hughie had approved and told Loki how fantastic the latest stock was, Loki found it necessary to stand on guard!

After all that hard work Loki, Tenzing and Sandstorm were exhausted!!!
All I need to do now is get Paul to do the easy bit and upload it all, only joking Paul I know it's a bit technical, hence you are doing it and not me!

Sunday 13 February 2011

Winning hay

This afternoon was our annual outing to the Forestburn Gate hay show, it's a charity event we always like to support.  It always seems to be a freezing cold day with the bar doing a roaring trade in hot soup and tea, and today as no exception.

Our two local farmer friends Alan and Ken always enter a large and small bale each and this year did really well.  Ken came first and Alan second, not bad eh the Barnacre herd are eating prize winning hay.  Well done guys and keep it up we'll be needing even more bales next year Alan!!

After judging, the hay is auctioned off and followed by a promise auction.  Paul enjoys bidding for our hay and did quite well today, we came home with four very nice bales which the girls will demolish in no time whatsoever. 

He also won a sack of turnips which the animals will enjoy; these were actually donated by Alan and we get them thrown over the fence free of charge on a regular basis so I'm not quite sure why he decided to bid on a sack of them, but that's beside the point.

Saturday 12 February 2011

What you doing down there

We had had a little incident with a wheel on one of the hay hecks some time ago, and as it will need moving soon when the girls move round into the next field we thought we'd better nip to Cowans to order a replacement. 

Before we went I thought I'd better check the size and fittings to make sure we got the right one, whilst I was on the floor Kealani was watching wondering what on earth I was doing down there!

Whilst we were over at Scotsgap we nipped in for a cuppa and chat with Carol and for once didn't take Dave more fleece to card or bring home any knitting.  

Hughie is certainly enjoying being in the field behind the house, he is loving all the attention he's getting from Steve next door not to mention being able to keep his eye on every one's comings and goings.

There were many more comings and goings today as the local hunt passed through.  The alpacas all watched, intrigued by the visiting hounds and horses in the neighbouring fields.  The speed at which the hounds cover ground and the control the huntsmen have on them is amazing.

Friday 11 February 2011

The whys and ifs

What a difference a day makes, today has been misty damp and horrible all day, so I took Carol's advice from last nights blog and spent the afternoon knitting.

Talking of last nights blog, Dave was asking if I had any explanation for Minimus size, well not really.  His mum Chiquita isn't the largest alpaca and herself was quite slow growing but nothing like her son.  Minimus is her first cria (baby) and was only 4kg born at full term (345 days) last July.  If you take his percentage weight gain at 6 months he is doing just as well as his mates so I'm hoping that he will continue to grow.

I remated Chiquita last year to a different stud male, she and Golden Guinea were joined so we will see what they produce. If she has another small baby that doesn't grow then we will have to reconsider mating her in the future which will be a real shame as she has a fantastic fleece and has produced a cria with an equally stunning fleece.

In hindsight maybe we should have waiting until this spring to remate Chiquita so she would birth at the start of the grass growing season to give her baby the best possible chance to thrive, as it is she is due to birth at the end of July.

Thursday 10 February 2011

Little Minimus

It has been a lovely day today so no excuses not to get the boys field cleaned, we moved them on Sunday and seeing as it has been so wet and the fields were all muddy I'd put off cleaning it.  However as space is at a premium here we need to get on with cleaning so the field can rest and recover ready for it's next stint of grazing.

Lucky for me my mum was on hand and very willing to help out.  One field was soon clean but the other is taking some time, and time is something we ran out of, so hopefully it will be dry tomorrow so we can get it finished.

Whilst we were out in the sunshine I took a few photo's.  It's been a while since I shared a picture of Minimus, so here he is with his mum Chiquita, aren't they both adorable.
Just to give you some idea of how small Minimus is, here he is with Rory who was partially bottle fed and is 10 days younger than Minimus.

I think Mimimus will prove very popular when we take him out and about, he certainly doesn't seem to notice that he is small and could begin a trend in pigmy alpacas!  It will be interesting to see how he grows once the spring grass arrives and if the cria that Chiquita is currently carrying proves to be as small. 

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Dismantling fencing

It is nice to know that I have been missed, and as for a holiday Dave I forgot what they were a long time ago now.  Not that I am complaining, I would spend the whole holiday wondering what the herd were up to and worrying if everyone was OK so doubt I'd relax much anyway.

It has been another busy day today, after the morning feeding routine which takes a little longer now the boys have moved we headed off to Morpeth.

I had some parcels to post at the post office and some fingerless mittens to deliver that had been purchased from our online shop.  Seeing as it was a local purchase I thought I would hand deliver them. 

I now have some shop updates for Paul to do, new things to add and others to mark as sold, I suppose I should learn how to update the new shop or I could end up selling something twice and as many of our items are unique this wouldn't be ideal.

This afternoon seeing as the sun was shining, with the help of my parents I dismantled a fence.  It came down a lot easier than I thought it would, which was nice.  The boys were watching us over the fence trying to work out what was going on.  Time will tell boys, you just have to wait and see.

Monday 7 February 2011

I'm back

At last, we have connection; I have had no broadband for a week, hence the lack of blogging and activity on the website.  You don't realise how much you rely on the Internet until it's not there.  Thankfully Carol and Dave have been great as usual and have come to the rescue on more than on occasion!

I have lots for you to catch up on but as usual it is far too late to blog for too long.  I can't even blame Paul today as he's away tonight on business.  I had a number of sales emails to deal with and they have to take priority - off to the post office for me tomorrow.

Other than being very wet and muddy the herd are all well.  There has been a bit of a move round and the boys are now behind the house, this isn't somewhere they would usually go, but I didn't want the grass going to waste so they are enjoying it and keeping their eye on the weanlings and me every time I step out of the back door.. 

It was really funny walking them up the road, the three working boys (Guinea is still down the road watching the ladies) thought they were off to see the ladies so couldn't get up the road quick enough.  Mating usually happens up here you see!!

Mum and dad have arrived with some fantastic new stock and button's to die for, Carol will love them.  Not that you need them on socks Carol, before you get any idea's!

I will fill you in on more goings on at a reasonable time tomorrow.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Well Carol did say.....

Only a short one tonight as it is blowing a hooley and we need to get home to make sure all is ok.

We still have no Internet at home so seeing as Carol accuses us of taking over her house we thought we would well and truly take over!

Paul descended on her yesterday and today to do some work and I'm sat blogging in her lounge now, whilst I am doing it I'm able to keep check in her knitting and Dave's carding, or lack of it!

It's good to see that Rosemary thinks she has worked out what is going on - maybe she can fill me in with the gaps, that I've not worked out yet. 

For anyone who has been following our twitters the felting has not resurfaced.