Wednesday 30 March 2011

I'm back

Apologises for the lack of blogs over the last few days, things have been rather hectic.  Well the house move is almost complete, and boy we have a lot of belongings to move!

I have a rather temperamental dongle thing for Internet access and last night having managed to get the connection and blog typed it all crashed and I lost the lot.

The alpacas have been watching with great interest as the house is being emptied and our belongings are going in various different directions.  It will all be worth it in the end I'm sure but in the short-term it is hard work.

The mouse house is now full to bursting as is the container, Carol's garage and my parents spare room.  Hopefully once I've had chance to find things a home it will look a little more like home.  With birthing time rapidly approaching and a number of outing books for the alpacas it could take some time though!

My bed is calling so I think it's time to call it a night.

Saturday 26 March 2011

Boxes boxes everywhere...(Paul)

...the great move continues and Debbie is complaining of a cold - or maybe she has a cold and I'm complaining about all the coughing and sneezing - surely she can do it quietly?!

It has been another busy, busy day here at Barnacre with things being move from A to B and then sometimes to C via D, passing by E for a bit of fun before heading up at F.  You know what I mean?!

The neighbours don't know whether we're coming or going, and how are they likely to as we only work it out when we get there.  Anyway, the tv is set up at 'Mouse House' so we can watch the opening race of the 2011 Formula One season - not good timing for the early morning Australian race and losing an hour from the clocks tonight...

We had a very nice phone call today from a Mrs Threadgold - watch out for a special Barnacre appearance in Rothbury later this year...

Anyway, we have 2 days work to do tomorrow so I'd better stop the ramblings and hit the Mouse House sack.  Night all. Paul x

Friday 25 March 2011

Drowning in a sea of boxes

I was exhausted last night and didn't have the energy to blog.  I was tucked up in bed by 10.30 and out for the count.

Packing is pretty much going according to plan, I'm drowning is a sea of boxes and there's still things all over the place.  My workroom is done though and that was the one that I knew would be the worst to pack as there were 'things' stored everywhere.  The sort of 'things' that you might need one day!

Hughie has been getting rather excited by the number of visitors collecting things that I've been getting rid of.  Golden Guinea casts an eye over them as they come up the drive, but unless they look like they may have food he doesn't bother coming over.

I'm getting withdrawal symptoms from my knitting, I've not picked it up for over a week; not much chance of me hitting my target this month ladies.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Scaling the scales

Spring has definitely been in the air today, in fact it felt more like early summer.  The boys were all posing and posturing to each other.  There was also a bit of flirting with the weanling's too.

Whilst I was out with the camera taking some knitwear shots I couldn't resist taking these two of Gianmarco's Masterpiece and Loki strutting their stuff.

I did a bit of weighing today to, the weanlings haven't been weighed for a little while so were over due a weight check.  I can only manage the smallest few as weighing involves lifting them onto the bathroom scales; no I don't take them to the bathroom before you get any idea's, the scales go outside! 

Scales will be the first thing I want to buy when we find a permanent home, I've been drooling over them for a couple of years now but we just don't have anywhere to put them here.

Anyway I'm pleased to say that there were only four that I could actually manage to lift and all had gained nicely.  The youngest Freyja is obviously taking after the rest of her family as I couldn't actually lift her, you can certainly tell she carries the Blossom (her grandma) gene.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Does my bum look big in this

I took the camera out with me at lunchtime with the intention of taking some cria shots, unfortunately though after the first couple of photo's the batteries went flat so this is it I'm afraid.  As you can see Meketaten (closest brown one on the left) is a walking haystack!).
This next photo is especially for Carol and Dave who keep telling me what a large rear end poor Pearson has!  I thought this one might show you a few comparisons.  Look at  little Minimus in the mix.

This afternoon I've been helping Alan out getting the lambs in and sorted for his trip to the mart in the morning.  There were a few that needed their feet seeing to, including one of mine, Ruby.  She has always been prone to lameness and today her poor foot was a little smelly.  Hopefully after some attention it will soon improve.

Well for once it is going to be an early night for me so good night everyone.

Monday 21 March 2011

Personal space required

Paul is still full of cold, in fact he is not at all well.  He must be ill because he's off his food, he left his porridge, didn't bother with lunch and only had a bowl of soup for tea. 

I'm steering clear of his germs, I don't have time to be ill, I have far too much to do. 

I had to head off into Morpeth this morning to post an order which had been placed on our online shop so that will be a nice parcel for one lucky customer in the morning.  I do enjoy wrapping up an order and sending it on it's way.

Whilst I was in Morpeth I took a couple of bags to the charity shop, this moving lark makes you have a good clear out.

The alpacas have been enjoying the sunshine today, I do like to watch them sunbathing.  Some of the girls are getting a bit stroppy with each other at feed times now they are coming to the final stages of their pregnancies.  Sienna who is due first (along with Mallika) had developed this screech come groan if anyone gets too close to her food. 

Sunday 20 March 2011

Is it a snake?

Well a very busy weekend draws to a close and Paul is already tucked up in bed, although I can still hear him coughing and sneezing down here!

Before we got on with the job of packing and moving some of our belongings we had a few alpaca jobs to do, things don't stop just because we have to move house.  One of the jobs was to clean and fill a couple of the water troughs.  One of which belonged to the weanlings, this involved running a very long hosepipe from one of our outside taps through the boys field. 

Once full I was reeling the hose back in and Hughie thought he'd spied the worlds largest snake!!  He was chasing it, jumping on it and getting all excited.  He didn't seem to believe me when I pointed out it wasn't alive and it was only a hose pipe.

I've just been washing another batch of knitwear which includes an order for a set of twins which will be posted off tomorrow all being well.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Man flu

This morning started with some hay and straw bale moving, we had a number of bales being stored in the field shelter behind the house so it can't stay there much longer.  Whilst it was frosty we thought we would take the quad and sheep taxi trailer over without damaging the ground too much.

Whilst the gate was open Golden Guinea was trying to get through to the other boys, I think he had his eye on their hay!

My parents have gone home today (with a very full car!) after being up for a few days helping out.  Mum is currently knitting a fabulous three toned scarf, I think she was hoping to finish it whilst she was up here but I kept her far too busy for that!!!

I'm having to try and find time to spin before we run out of yarn.  We need to keep the stock levels up so we are all still busy doing one thing or another.  I've just taken an order for some luxury baby knitwear for a very lucky set of twins and their big sister. 

No more spinning for me tonight though I'm in need of an early nigh,t as is Paul who has man flu; poor thing.

Friday 18 March 2011

The mouse house

It has been another busy day today, I have collected the keys to our rented property which has affectionately been called the mouse house.  Well it does feel rather small and compact when you go from a five bed roomed house with two storey double garage to it.  Where on earth everything is going to go I do not know!

We have also started to fill the container, I'm just hoping everything fits in.  I'll need to keep the ladders to hand mind because it will need to be stacked from the floor to the roof. 

Following on from the comments on last nights blog I thought I wouldn't be alone in having four legged helpers when it comes to alpaca fleece.  The kittens love alpaca felt balls although they soon destroy them so they don't get them very often!  And Jayne the new profile shot is me and Kazuo, he was one of last years babies now lives at Willowbank Alpacas - I still miss him!

Thursday 17 March 2011

A cosy kitten bed

I have been determined to work my way through my stash of fleece in my workroom, and I'm pleased to say I'm getting there.  I have been skirting some of the neck fleeces which are superfine and perfect for hand spinning.  Lucky for me Dave is carding as the pile that I intend to spin has grown somewhat in recent days.

I had a little helper today, Izzie!  After being removed from the skirting table a couple of times she noticed that the rejected fleece was going in the bin so moved in there instead!  She was in pussy cat heaven purring away.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Yarn and eggs in exchange for more storage!

Well it has been a busy day box filling!  My parents are visiting so I'd set them both on jobs, dad was making me more Barnacre price tags for all the knitwear that needs pricing and mum was helping pack.  Mum has been complaining about the stuff I have hoarded away in my workroom.  She has to check before she throws anything away!!

We are initially going into a small rented cottage very close by whilst we sort out a more permantent location, which will hopefully be not too far from where we are now.

It has been a really foggy murky day so it was ideal for working in doors.  It was that foggy at some points that you couldn't even see the alpacas at the top of the garden.

This evening mum and I nipped over to Carols, I'd got some more boxes for her garage, fleece for Dave to card and some yarn I'd spun for Carol.  I was feeling rather guilty at the amount of things I have taken over there so I did take over some eggs to ease my conscience slightly - it didn't work though.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Just for Mark

Firstly I must say Mark you didn't miss anything, you just hadn't worked it out.  I didn't actually want to announce anything on here for fear of jinxing anything!

We are on the move, the house sale is going through so it's time to pack up, take stock and regroup.  The container is for storage of 'stuff', you know how you accumulate things over the years well I'm currently busy going through the house trying to reduce the amount to move and store.

This will be the 7th move since we got married almost 18 years ago so you'd think we'd be used to it but I still seem to collect far too much junk as I go along, and that's before I get to the animals and all their 'stuff'.  I think I might drown in boxes...........

I did manage to get a bit of a break today as I had a lunch appiontment with Lavender Bee Alpacas from the Scottish borders.  We had a great catch up and talked shows and our future plans, sounds like we're not the only ones with exciting adventures ahead!

Monday 14 March 2011


Eek, things are getting serious now!
As in the words of the song, Living in a box, living in a cardboard box, although this one is steel!

Sunday 13 March 2011

Lawn care

I can't believe it is Sunday night again, the time is just flying by.

The weekend weather has been very changeable, Saturday was awful whilst today has improved as the day has gone on.  The fields that were just starting to dry out are now back to square one, mud, mud and more mud.

Paul was clearing out the garage this morning of things that were no longer required, broken or just seem to have arrived of their own accord (this is usually something to do with my dad).  Whilst he was doing this we let Golden Guinea out of his field to munch the grass along the drive.

Guinea soon worked his way up the steps onto the back lawn; he doesn't miss a trick.  He has spent all day on there, well at least it saves cutting it and thankfully he stayed away from my blackcurrant and raspberry bush which despite the freezing weather are starting to bud.

Alan kindly dropped over another large bale of hay yesterday, now there are signs of green shoots in the paddocks I would hope this will be the last big bale we need and the remaining small ones will see us through until the summer.

Friday 11 March 2011

Fly tipping

I've been having a major clear our and today seeing as Paul was about we decided to go to the local tip (well I say local, it's as local as anything is round here, so miles away).

We were pounced on as soon as we pulled up asking for our permit, permit, what permit?!  You can't bring that in here the bloke said referring to our very nice clean Ifor Williams trailer.  You need a permit for trade waste disposal.

He wasn't interesting  in the fact that it was a double bed, some garden furniture and old cassettes.  Now I know many of our alpacas would probably happy curl up next to me on the bed (Hughie, Oonagh and Godiva to name a few) but alpacas don't use beds!  Nor for that matter do they sit at the garden table on chairs listening to 80's cassettes.

After a lengthy conversation with him trying to suggest we drive up to Wooler to see if they would let us in he saw sense and 'just this once' let us unload. 

It really does make you wonder sometimes what you pay your council tax for, we have no street lights, no buses, we don't use public library's or schools, I've never been to the doctors since we moved up north and when I want to legally go and recycle and tip household waste I'm not allowed!

Rant over!

Thursday 10 March 2011

Did someone mention Spring

My word what a day, the weather had been absolutely terrible today.  After a night of listening to rain and wind I was wondering what I would wake up to, thankfully all was ok.

There was a slight let up in the rain at breakfast so everyone was fed in record time before the rain and sleet returned, and boy did it return.

I had visitors this morning and just as we were about to put our coats and shoes on the rain came, so after a little natter to waste time whilst the shower passed we headed out to see the weanlings.  Just as we got there the torrential rain and massive hail stone storm arrived, all this with gale force winds was not pleasant, in fact it was very painful!  By the time we got back in the house we were all soaked to the skin.

Thankfully the weather was a little kinder to me this evening and the wind had been so strong many of the alpacas were almost dry.  Many of the alpacas have amazing fleece length at the minute, Ochre, the son of Golden Guinea and Kate is in a close battle with Tenzing (from Veruschka and Purston El Maestro) to take the crown.

Two of our girls reached day 300 of their pregnancy today, Princess Mallika and Sienna, both are looking rather round, in fact Mallika is huge, I'm just hoping it's all baby and not just fat!  We didn't have any of the girls scanned last year so I am relying on spit offs and both these girls are maidens so won't be familiar with what is expected of them round the boys, although both were very keen to be mated.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

I spy with my little eye

We have had a real mixed bag of weather today, sun, showers, snow and gale force winds.  In between showers Paul managed to remove some of the debris from the harrowing, you wouldn' believe how much it had pulled up.  I'm sure the grass will grow much better for it.

During the last two days I have managed to get Paul to update the shop, we now have quite a bit of stock which is good because it isn't that long until our first outing which will be to Seaton Delaval Hall at the beginning of May.

I have also managed to get Carol's latest batch of knitting washed and dried so it is now awaiting labelling, photographing and listing - Paul spotted it on the side a minute ago and complained that he thought he was up to date.

We had to nip to Alnwick this afternoon for a very exciting meeting.  There is a lot going on here at Barnacre at the minute and I can't wait to share it with you all, just need a few bits tying up first.

No alpaca photo's today, but can you spot who's hiding in the wood pile?

Monday 7 March 2011

Toe nails and top knots

It has been a glorious day today, for more than one reason, but more on that in a day or two, Paul has sworn me to secrecy!

Following on from the harrowing that Paul and my brother Colin did at the weekend there was some clearing required of the dead grass and 'bits' that has been pulled round the field.  This was a slightly larger job than we anticipated.  In fact I think the field may need another harrow in a day or two!

I had noticed that some of the boys were in need of a little pedicure and some of them also needed a little trim around the eyes so that they could see.

Golden Guinea was first and seemed greatful for his little hair cut, he can now keep an eye on the chickens and kittens much easier.

Then it was the turn of the other big boys, Legend was a bit of a pest as usual, he doesn't mind the hair cut bit but isn't keep on the toe nails.  Even Loki was being a little naughty today and he is usually as good as gold.  There must have been something in the air.

Tomorrow is the turn of the littlies, as you can see from this shot Paul took of Pearson this evening he is in great need of a little trim, as is Casiphia.

Paul has managed to do a lot of the shop updates today, I didn't have the heart to tell him I have another 10 items to wash, label and photograph which will need uploading too!

Sunday 6 March 2011

Fully trained

After yesterdays training session I thought I would treat myself to a day off today and leave Faith to the feeding routine; don't you think she did a good job!

She wanted to meet all of the Barnacre team so today we had to go and see Carol, she'd been on about it all day yesterday, so we descended on mass at Carol and Dave's this morning.  Thankfully Carol is great and has got used to us taking over her house, so not only was it fleece it was family today as well.

I did take her over some hand spun yarn as a bit of a softener!  Oh but she was much kinder to me and I bought home lots of her lovely knitting she'd done in sunny Spain.  I really must get Paul to show me how to update the shop so I can share it with the world.

By the way Mark I couldn't get the last two of yesterday's photo's to stay the right way up and gave up trying in the end, please forgive me!

Saturday 5 March 2011

Helping hands

With my brother Colin, sister-in-law Sarah and niece Faith visiting this weekend not only was my job list long, but so was theirs!  Faith has been telling me all week what I'd got to do with her when she arrived, which included playing, bath time, bedtime and getting up time. 

So this morning I thought it only fair that she came to help with the morning feeding routine, mummy and daddy came to help too.  Here she is getting braver every time she visits, the littlies were able to eat carrot from her hand today, but only if the glove stayed on.

After the youngsters had had their breakfast it was down the the big girls, they push hard on the tub so mummy needed to help this time.

Next job on the list is filling the hay mangers. 
At tea time we left mummy in the house to start cooking tea and Faith and I headed off to feed on our own, and look how brave she was this time 'I do it on my own Debbie'.

It didn't take Ursula long to realise there was a new feeder!
As Faith had been so helpful with feeding and Colin was helping Paul with a few paddock jobs, anyone who follows our Twitters will have seen the photo's of the boys at work, we had plenty of times to play too.

Having got her all dirty and wore her out I thought it only right that I did bath time and bedtime and hopefully getting up time will be mummy or daddy's job!!

Friday 4 March 2011

Flashing lights

Not much to report today, just the usual routine apart from a little excitement this morning.

Our little lane has suffered somewhat with major potholes, in fact it was a health hazard, even going at 2mph it still rattled your bones.  Well not anymore, this convoy arrived bright and early this morning.
This evening my niece Faith has arrived, along with her job list for me, which began with me taking her to bed and reading the stories; yes she 'needed' two!  She wasn't too keen on going to bed mind you, but after a little persuasion she agreed to lay in bed and listen for Golden Guinea snoring outside.

Apparently I've got to get her up in the morning too, I've agreed in exchange for her helping with the morning feeding; wish us luck!

Thursday 3 March 2011

Not today thank you

Well at last the quad is now taxed, after trying to do it on line, two trips to the post office and then the DVLA office in Gosforth.

Following on from my trip to Morpeth post office on Monday I had to go to the dentist in Gosforth today so went armed with all I had been told I needed to renew the road tax, renewal notice, insurance certificate and V5 document.

I thought the day was going to well, nothing required at the dentist, I escaped with just a check up so off to the Post Office and there wasn't a huge queue.  I had some alpaca nesting material to post and a few letters then finally on to the road tax......  Only to be told I can't do it.

At this point I almost lost it, what do you mean you can't do it, I've bought everything you asked for!  After a lengthy 'discussion' the extremely unhelpful, but polite, lady behind the counter suggested that I go to the DVLA office. 

I couldn't believe it, but Paul ushered my out and off we went to the DVLA office who renewed it without question!  The post office obviously didn't like the fact that the cost of the road tax for once was nil!!

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Spring is in the air

It has definitely felt spring like today, after the sun had come out to melt away the very keen frost we woke up to.

The big boys seems to smell spring to as there was a lot of posturing and rough and tumble going on.  At one point Legend, Gianmarco and Loki were having a three was scrap whilst Hughie was too busy standing on guard at the fence in case someone came passed without noticing him!

I am currently spinning some of his fleece, he has a fantastic handle (feel) to his fleece and cuts a nice big weight.  Unfortunately for Hughie he has a fawn spot behind his ear so he didn't cut the stud grade for us and is the only Barnacre gelding (castrated boy).

I have some of his sister Princess Mallika carded so I may do a little bit of the two of them plied which should be nice. 

I certainly need to get on with the spinning as I received a text from Carol last night saying she has knitted another nine things and is running our of yarn!

It's a good job we all seem to be knitting quicker this year as I have already sold three times more knitwear this year than I had at the same point last year. This is all encouraging and shows that hard work and dedication pays off.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

White rabbits

I can't believe it's already the 1st of March, I can now say our first cria of the year are due next month; oh isn't it exciting.  This evening it looked like Little Miss Irraquoy's (LMI) baby was also excited about the start of March, it was doing somersaults inside her.

I managed to capture a lovely head shot of LMI's cria from last year, Niveous at lunchtime.  He is from Legend of Spartacus and has certainly inherited his dad's fully fleeced face.  In fact they are both getting ready for a trim round the eyes so they can see properly.  We repeated the LMI & Legend mating so all being well Niveous will have a full sibling later in the Spring.
Whilst I was out with the camera I thought I would take a feed trough photo to show you the size difference between Minimus and his mates.
From left to right; Pearson, Rory, Meketaten & Minimus