Wednesday 30 November 2011

Major operation

It has been another busy day today, when you have your possesions scattered all over the place and have no place to call home, even the simplist thing become a major operation.

Todays 'major operation' was trailer cleaning, we have no water, no electricity and the pressure washer is in completely different place to the trailer.  I know one thing, I'll certainly not take anything for granted for a long time once we get everything and everyone on to the hill!

We also needed to get the tractor jump started as it had a flat battery, Trigger came to the rescue as I'm not sure the Honda would have the power to sort it.  We now have a working tractor again ready for unloading a few pallets of fencing we have on order.

At lunchtime I managed to get a few photo's of the latest knitwear ready to go into our online shop, assuming it doesn't all sell at Morpeth Farmers Market this Saturday.  If you are in the area do pop by to say hello to the boys, Paul and I.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Hay theives

The winds have returned today, thankfully the hay hecks stayed put this time.  The tarpaulin covering the hay bale blew off during the day and we returned this afternoon to find most of the girls camped out at the bale munching away! 

I can't wait to get the hay in the shed out of the elements and away from theiving mouths.  Why they prefer stealing it from the bale to eating it from their hay hecks is beyond me.

Rosemary at Westhill Alpacas will be keen to see the latest concrete which has been poured at the hill.  The builders, New Forest Developement have sent some updated photo's over this evening. 

We are really looking forward to having some great handling facilities, it has been a long hard road to get where we are but it will certainly be worth it in the long run.

Monday 28 November 2011

In trouble again

Thank you for your kind comments on last nights blog; I am grateful that not everyone agrees with Paul.

Today we have been doing a spot of dismantling.  All the fencing and shelters will need to be removed from our rented land and as we need to get the animals moved pretty soon we thought today would be a good day to make a start on things.

After the morning feeding we took down the 'bus stop' field shelter in the empty stud strip.  As is always the case there were a few screws that didn't want to budge but we got there in the end so that is now stacked on a pallet ready for resurrection on the hill.

This afternoon we started loosening a few of the screws on the cross bars in the channel but I ended up in bad books again.  I didn't know my own strength and managed to break Paul's screwdriver bit for his battery drill.  It just snapped honest!

As the boys have hardly anything left to eat in their field we let them in the channel to munch whilst we were working.  Hughie and Loki kept sneaking through the gate into the empty field next to Golden Guinea every time Paul's back was turned.  I thought it was quite funny although Paul wasn't so impressed because getting them out wasn't always easy.

The next lot of fencing materials have been ordered for up at the hill so we will soon be erecting and demolishing at the same time.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Dirty alpacas

Paul kindly informed me today that, along with a long list of other things I'm rubbish at, I am no good at writing the blog.  Needless to say I am now reluctant to do it!

So not wanting to bore anyone, I thought I couldn't go wrong with sharing a few photos that I took of the rather dirty alpacas today. 

Here we have Oonagh, the first cria we had born on farm.

This is her sister Lualeni.

Here we have Casiphia our Supreme Champion daughter of Legend of Spartacus and Veruschka

and her brother Cazanova, who just like his sister loves dirt!

Saturday 26 November 2011

Night on the tiles

It has been exceptionally windy here today, in fact the wind has knocked the electricity out a few times at Carol & Dave's, so that's before we move up onto the hill.

The alpacas are all looking very dirty at the minute, hence the lack of alpaca photo's, they are a disgrace.

Instead I will share with you pictures of the tiles we are thinking of using for the bathrooms at the hill.  Its the first ones we've actually agreed on so I think we should order them quick before one of us change our minds!

The plan for the kitchen and utility is muddy boots style tile.  You can hardly tell the difference between the dirty concrete and the tile - maybe we should stick to the concrete and save some money!

Whilst I'm on the subject of my kitchen, I think I need a new towel, the builders seems to have found a towel and are using it as a flag.  It looks like it's past the point of retrieval.

Friday 25 November 2011

Counting sheep

The alpacas have had another another delivery of Mr Thompson hay today.  I really don't know what I am going to do when Alan is not on my doorstep.  The herds intake of hay has certainly increased over the last few days.

We have been up to the hill again today, we wanted to round all the sheep up again for the tups. Dave (carding Dave) came along for some fresh air and to help.  He wanted to go and explore the very top of the hill as he's not made it that far before. 

It seems to be working as there are lots of coloured bums up there now.  Once the sheep were gathered the plan was to count them, so off you go - how many can you see? 
The shed is coming along nicely now, most of the cladding is now on, it has one door and most of the concrete floor is down. 

I can see a nice little spot for the caravan in that back corner.

Thursday 24 November 2011

It's a pink job

After the morning feeding routine I needed to collect some poo samples from the big boys.  Anyone who follows our tweets will know that Paul will use any excuse not to collect them.

The first volunteer to offer a sample was Hughie, Paul was in the boys field when I spotted Hughie was about to go.  Paul tried being deaf when I yelled 'quick get the bag and catch it'.  To cut a long story short I was able to get in the field and catch the sample before it hit the ground whilst Paul found something else to do.

Gianmarco's Masterpiece and Loki needed a little help to part with their samples, I will say no more than that!!  The boys then had a vitamin injection, poor things haven't had a good day really.

Things are progressing on the hill, early this morning the place resembled Piccadilly Circus, hopefully tonight half of the barn floor has nice concrete drying.  The other half should be poured tomorrow.

Whilst we are on the subject of the hill, last nights pictures of Wesley loving were taken by my own fair hands Dave, glad you liked them.  It took me a while to get him to face me, initially he was a little camera shy.

We are all yawning this evening, so I think it will be early nights all round!

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Whispering sweet nothings

Yesterdays sheep activities were interesting to say the least.  As you may recall at the weekend we put raddles on the three tups so we could keep track on who is doing what with the ladies.

The sheep are on the 'top field' a 120 acre Northumberland hillside,  so as we walked up we were guessing where the boys would be and how many of the ewes would be marked (from the coloured crayons they are wearing).

The first batch of 20 or so ewes we came to had one of the tup lambs with them.  It was Black Out, however there were 9 ewes marked with red chalk and 1 in green.  Umm very strange, surely there should have been at least one black bum.  I'm worried that his raddle isn't on properly.

Wesley was at the very top of the hill, he couldn't have been further away if he'd tried.  He to had a hareem of ladies.  The biggest group of ewes were with Red In, which probably explains why the biggest concentration of markings are red.

We walked Wesley and his ladies down the hill to gather everyone back up again to give the tups a better chance of getting the ladies.  Wesley soon spotted a lady interested in some loving.

Unlike the young tup lambs, who like the younger generation seem to like the 'wham bam thank you mam' approach Wesley seems to like to have a bit of a smooch and loving before taking the opportunity to do the deed.
After a little sniff, lick whispering sweet nothings in her ear he shows his true colours..

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Eye in the sky

We have been up on the hill most of the day today, meetings with the builders, checking on shed progress and rounding up the sheep for the tups.  Yes it did take nearly all day!!  Details of the sheep activities to follow tomorrow with more photos.

Paul managed to take some fabulous birds eyes photo's today which we thought you might like to see.
This one is a different shot showing our drive, if you look in the distance (top left) you can see the builders' vehicles.   Any volunteers to sweep the drive speak now!
 And these two are especially for my mum; here's your bedroom!

Monday 21 November 2011

Bathroom fit for an alpaca maybe

I'm a little concerned about Gianmarco today, he's not his usual self, in fact he was rather grumpy tonight.  He is eating, but I can tell this is just something not quite right, I will see how he is in the morning.  Hopefully he will be back to his normal self tomorrow.

Paul and I are still trying to sort out the bathrooms for the hill.  You would not believe the time we have spent on them and we are still not sure we have got it right.  How can it be so difficult.

We know that after a long and muddy day on the farm we want to have a nice bath and shower to relax in but other than that we are struggling!  I think the main problem is we are more bothered about the alpaca facilities than our own.

I've just noticed that all the pictures of the house that we've posted on the blog have been taken from the south or the east side so I thought you might like to see one from the opposite end.. 

We have another meeting with the builder tomorrow so hopefully there will be more exciting developments to reveal on the blog tomorrow night.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Kirkley Hall Christmas Fair

Another busy day at Barnacre today, the alarm was set for 5am as I'd not got all my wears ready for the Kirkley Hall Christmas Fair.  Luckily it's only round the corner so we were able to feed everyone before. 

The photo quality isn't great but here is the stall.

While we were up at the hill yesterday we took some more photo's.  Things are really progressing with the house, it is now partially plaster boarded and looking good.  I think the builder is worried that we will carry out our threat of having Christmas dinner with his family if the house isn't finished!

The shed is finally looking like it will soon be finished, I'm not holding my breath mind you!

Shake, raddle and roll (Paul)

It's a sheepy one tonight!  So if you're having trouble sleeping, keep reading the blog and there's that many sheep in it you will be off to the land of nod before you know it.

Today it was time to set our tups (or rams depending on where you are from) on to the 'ladies' at the hill.   We now have 115 Blackface ewes and they need a boyfriend if we are to be lambing in the spring!

Regular blog followers will know all about Wesley, so no need to introduce him.  However, despite him only being one and a half years old (or a shearling), he already has some young pretenders!

A friendly nearby farmer, Jeff Paxton of Greenleighton Farm near Morpeth has lent us a couple of tup lambs to add reinforcements to Wesley - why you might ask?  First of all genetic diversity, secondly practical!  Dave and I shepherded (well, he ran a lot and I was on the the quad) all the sheep to the 'top' field yesterday and it is 120 acres in that field alone so we need more than Wesley to track down the ladies!

Here are the two (very) young boys:s
Given their horn directions I have called them In (of the left) and Out (on the right).  You can see some of the big alpaca boys behind them: Loki (black and far left), then Hughie looking at the camera and Tenzing behind him.  I'm not sure who's the bum is!

So with our 3 tups we secured their raddle or harness with a block of colour under each so we can see who mates the most ladies.  Out of course has black - making him Black Out.  In has red and Wesley has green.  Place your bets!

With harnesses secure we then shepherded them up the hill.  With Dave still resting I needed a new runner - queue Debbie - come by lass!
The boys were soon up in the 'top' field and mixing it with the ladies - scores on the doors (or ewe's backs) to follow later in the week...

Whilst we at the hill we checked on our latest additions to the flock - an investment for next year, some Black faced ewe lambs (you mate them in their second year, not the first).
If you count how many there are you can either let me know the answer or you will be now fast asleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday 18 November 2011

late oooh-key (Paul)

Hello all you night owls - shouldn't you be in bed asleep by now?!

It's been a busy old day today, for a change!  Debbie and I recieved a nice and empathetic email about our farm build (i.e. the house and shed on the hill) experience.  I agreed with all of the email except the bit about pulling your hair out from time to time - it's all gone!  Thanks for the email guys - you know who you are!

No doubt you are wanting to know what the blog title is all about - and even if you don't know I'm going to tell you anyway!  First the oooh:
Here's my mate Brinley (sire: Golden Guinea, dam: Geena) taking a bit of hay for a walk.  He has been enjoying the sun on his back for the last two days although I will be in trouble when Debbie is back because she wanted me to put his coat on at night - he's a big boy - nearly!

Now the key:
Now then what is this for? Well here's the clue, I was given it today although I won't be using it in earnest for a little while yet.  Can you guess what it is yet?!


Wednesday 16 November 2011

Eggcellent birthday (and pictures are back - Paul)

Firstly, thank you to Judi for the great suggestion on Carol's giant baby booty - an alpaca stocking ready for santa to fill up! The only problem is that Rudolph wouldn't get any carrot as the Barnacre herd loves them and the temptation would be too great!  Any more suggestions please?!

For those of you who follow us on Twitter (@BarnacreAlpacas) you will know that I trailed a massive story earlier today and here's a repeat of the first clue:

Obvious really, it's Legend's 5th birthday! And I made him a carrot cake:
Debbie and I were really lucky to have the opportunity to secure Legend from Rob and Les at Wellground.  He has brilliant genetics from two of the biggest Australian alpaca studs: EP Cambridge Peruvian Spartacus (his sire) and Jolimont Commisario.  His fleece is beautiful and has cut 5.5 kilos for the last two years, you can check him out on his stud page of our website.

As well as winning supreme champion at the 2009 Scottish National Fleece show (record 152 entries) he has produced prize winning progeny.  His first son, Ivory Star who is at Wheelhouse Alpacas in Yorkshire has been reserve champion twice.  His first daughter, Barnacre Casiphia swept the board at the 2011 Border Union Show, Kelso taking: 1st intermediate white female, white champion, Best of British and supreme champion - how proud were we!

Waiting in the wings we have more of his progeny, Barnacre Wynfor ("Win-vor") is excited about his new home because he has some new owners who are building him a special field shelter; then we have Barnacre Niveous from one of our elite breeding females (Little Miss Irraquoy who has the amazing NWA Ltd Ruffo in her pedigree) he looks amazing and is such obvious stud material you wouldn't believe it.  And then there is Lavender-Bee Sebastian owned by John and Juliet Miller (of Border Mill fame), we met Sebastian last week in the fading light after the fleece show when John showed us his fleece.  I asked if it was worth opening the fleece in the poor light conditions, and when we did it was like turning on a torch!  Such crimp, density and brightness, that boy is destined for great things I have no doubt!

Anyway on with Legend's birthday celebrations.  After singing him 'Happy Birthday' (under strict instructions from Debbie who is still away and sings happy birthday to all our alpacas - on their birthday of course, she isn't that mad) I fed Legend some of his carrot cake, which went down very well indeed.  In fact he was that pleased with his special day that he even did a little pose for us:
He's the man!

Oh yes, issues and fallings out to report at the Pearson household (where Debbie and I are staying whilst our shed gets built at the hill).  The chickens haven't laid any eggs for the last couple of days and so we were down to our last egg which Carol was going to use for 'sponge pudding' tonight.  Unfortunately I accidentally ate it at lunchtime - oops!

I think Dave then got it 'in the ear' when he came home from work - sorry Dave!  To make you feel better, and in true Paul style when Debbie is away can you guess what happened to the egg?...
Yum, yum in my tum - sorry Dave and Carol - it was eggcellent!  Happy 5th birthday Legend !!!!!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Freddie Starr ate my...

...hamster, alpaca, chicken, lamb, Wesley??!!  Maybe the jungle is the best place for him after all.

It has been a busy old day today proof indeed that Debbie needs to work much faster to keep up with my farming and general organisational skills.  The alpacas got 2 boxes of chopped carrots today - much to the delight of Meketaten, our multiple brown champion and her full brother Spadicious - one of our super brown male crias from this year.  They are both the product of the union of Golden Guinea and Nefertiti, both here at Barnacre.

It was then time for a drive up to our hill to meet the builders and a couple of other people to discuss a few things that need sorting out.  Our builder, Dave Charlton is really good and if anyone in the North East needs a sensible, organised builder then let me know and I'll put you in touch.  Unfortunately, my camera batteries were flat so no house and shed piccies today.  The shed had some signs of activity with the sides now going on - we really need to crack on!

Lots of phone calls were taken and received during the day and I'll let you know more about one of resulting jobs later this week - and I'll remember to take the camera to share the evidence.  Suffice to say the tools for this particular job involve 2 walking sticks, a sidekick (or two) and a lot of shouting and swearing...can you guess what it is yet - oh that's Rolf Harris not Freddie Starr isn't it.

Carol has still not found a (sensible) use for her giant baby bootie (see yesterday's blog) and is threatening to pull it down (in a sulk methinks).  So if anyone can think of a good use for it and/or wants to buy it (and maybe a matching one) you had better let me know in the next 24 hours!

Monday 14 November 2011

'home' alone (Paul)

Thanks everyone for your kind words for our Scottish National fleece show success - it is a fantastic feeling when your alpacas and their fleeces get placed, even win, and get really high scores as well. What is really exciting for Debbie and I is that our own breeding programme is starting to come good and we have a few more special boys and girls to cross over each other yet!  Legend of Spartacus is doing really well for us and it is great that our brown boy, Golden Guinea has produced us some super solid colour fleeces (mostly brown with some fawns), also without exception every one of his cria have a super friendly personality - how does he do it?!

Debbie has headed back to Nottingham for a few days to sort out a few things and so I am 'home' alone - that song 'wherever I lay my hat' feels kind of familiar these days!  If you follow us on Twitter (@BarnacreAlpacas) you will know that I have been left my list of jobs to sort out - wherever I put it!  What with that and Carol chaining me to the cooker I could be a broken man by the end of the I empathise with poor Cinderella!

Dave has come to the rescue (again) by allowing me to 'plug in' to his office wires with my pc tower so the Barnacre Alpacas knitwear shop could be updated - the files clearly didn't transfer across to the laptop.  Carol, Debbie, Janet (Debbie's mum) and Joan have been knitting like troopers this year.  In fact as I sit hear Carol is knitting, Dave is carding and I bet Debbie is having a cup of tea and biscuit with Janet!!! This year we have had new online customers, and 'regulars' coming back for new items for their alpaca knitwear sets - once you've tried alpaca there's no going back!  Debbie always gets lots of compliments from customers about the softness and feel of our alpaca knitwear, she uses bespoke contemporary pattens and then of course there is the fact that we only use the fleeces from our own alpacas and we trace every one of them through to the end product. We know exactly which of our 51 alpacas are in every piece of knitwear and many customers really appreciate this dedication and passion we have.

Of course it's not all plain sailing - I have just noticed that Carol has been that busy watching and laughing at Freddie Star on I'm a celebrity that she got a bit carried away with the 'baby' booty she was knitting!

The measurement is in inches not centimetres! So if anyone has any young babies or small children with size 12 feet Barnacre Alpaca knitwear can come to your rescue!!!!  Of course if Carol reads this blog I might be the one that needs rescuing - ha ha!

Any way, time to go because I have some preparation to do for a meeting tomorrow that could have some positive or negative results depending on the outcome - bit cryptic that and anyone would think that I'm leading you on to guess what I'm up to - as if I would!


Sunday 13 November 2011

Scottish National fleece show de brief

After a busy three days up at the Border Mill for the Scottish National Fleece Show, a rather late night last night and Paul drinking rather a lot of wine, neither of us were too keen on getting up this morning.  It didn't help that it was drizzling and very misty again.

We had a very successful show, there were 152 fleeces from across the UK and we had entered 5 fleeces and came home with 5 rosettes.  Our judge, Rob Bettinson started with the greys and worked his way through to white, so our first fleece to be judged was our multi-champion Meketaten (sire Golden Guinea), she was awarded 1st junior brown with 75.5, a higher score than many good white fleeces, very impressive for a dark brown! Meketaten's full brother, Spadicious, is in our weaning field now and we have high hopes for him too!

We had four whites entered in three different classes, Casiphia was the first one out and scored an impressive 80.5 and was placed 2nd junior white from the biggest class of the show with 25 entries.  Casisphia is from our supreme champion Legend of Spartacus and is a very impressive young girl.
In the adult white class we had two entries, Lualeni and Tenzing from our 2008 and 2009 crias respectively.  I couldn't believe it when I saw the results, two rosettes!   Lualeni came 1st with a cracking 83.5 points and Tenzing was 5th on 79.5 points.  She scored 19.5 out of 20 for fineness and handle and Rob was very complimentary about Tenzing's fleece in particular his very impressive staple length.

Our final entry was Veruschka in the senior white class where she was placed 4th (74.5 points).  Veruschka is mum to Casiphia and Tenzing and this year she has had another white boy called Cazenova from one of our other elite studs, Gianmarco's Masterpiece so we will see what he does in the show ring next year.

Having looked at all the results we are obviously doing something right as we had 3 fleeces in the top 15 overall scores and all 5 of our fleeces scored over 74.  Rob Bettinson in his summing up of the show said that any fleeces scoring over 70 are excellent so you can imagine how pleased we are with our breeding programme.  Here is our haul of rosettes:

Friday 11 November 2011

Judging the judges judging (Paul)

Day 2 at the Border Mill in Coldstream and as we continue to work our way through 152 fleeces, madness is starting to set in - or at least become rather more noticeable:

  • Rob has now used up his repertoire of UK accents (and beyond),
  • Shirley has cycled to Aberdeen and back,
  • I have created all the anagrams possible from the word 'fleece' and nearly convinced Rob that Twitter is quite fun (follow us @barnacrealpacas)
  • Debbie has counted all the 'contaminated' fawn fibres in the white fleeces,
  • John has worked out how many calories come from eating a biscuit after each fleece (and then wrecked the calculation by sneaking a blueberry muffin),
  • Melanie has used up all her band-aid and neurofen to keep her finger working,
  • and Juliet - has kept the mill spotless, the fleeces (and children) all in order (on the neat matching shelving - the fleeces are on here, not the children) and has nearly worked out what the 3 poles are protruding from the window - you really need to visit the mill to follow me on that one.

Anyway, how about I shut up and show you some pictures.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Scottish National Fleece Show judging

It has been another busy day, this morning after the morning feed rounds we headed up to The Border Mill as we are helping out at the Scottish National Fleece show again this year. 

After a slow start with the suri's we are now getting on well with the Huacaya fleeces.  Judge Rob Bettinson is doing a fab job and called it a night after we finished the junior browns.  Hopefully judging will be completed by the end of the day tomorrow ready for the results and fleece day being held on Saturday.  So if you are at a loose end at the weekend do come and say hello and have a look at what you can do with the fleece of these fabulous animals.

By the time we got back tonight, after a very foggy drive home all the chickens had taken themselves off to bed and the main alpaca herd were wondering what on earth we were doing turning up at 8.30pm with torches.

Oonagh, our herd matriarch was soon over to see what we were up to, and letting everyone else know all was OK. 

Following our day at the hill yesterday here is the latest update photo.  Our builder is still hopeful that we could be in for Christmas!

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Hunter gathers

I really do wonder sometimes where all the daylight hours go and we haven't even got to the shortest day of the year yet!

After the routine feed run this morning we went straight up to the hill as we had a couple of meeting booked in.  I think both went quite well and hopefully we will hear the outcome of the most important one in the next few days.  Sorry for all the cloak and dagger but I can't tell the world everything.

The house is coming along nicely, unfortunately the shed seems to be taking forever.  At this rate we will have the house finished before the shed, which is where we are supposed to be living now in caravan number two!

Whilst we were up on the hill we needed to gather some of the fallen stone that is scattered all over the place.  We want to make a bit of a feature with some of it in our inglenook fireplace.  Some of the pieces looked somewhat bigger when we got them back to the house, I'm not sure we will be very popular with the builder when he sees it.

Talking of builders, they have been given strict instructions not to use our fire place material as hardcore for the drive. 

Tuesday 8 November 2011

I'm in trouble

The poor little weanlings are still humming away.  In fact I think these the most vocal batch of weanlings we've had.  I'm not sure if it has anything to do with age as some of this group, despite being big are younger than I have generally weaned in the past.

Geena has developed a bit of a limp today, I'm not sure what she's been up to but I'm keeping a close eye on her. 

I'm in trouble with my niece Faith for not announcing what our tup will be called.  Sorry Faith, blame Uncle Paul he told me I had to keep you all guessing for an extra night, then I forgot! 

Well remind me never to listen to Carol's suggestions again because her choice of  Wesley won.  I wanted to call him Tonka as he's built like a Tonka toy, however that will have to be reserved for another tup in the future.

I'd best get back to my knitting, I'm not allowing myself to bed tonight until I've finished the mans hat I'm currently knitting as I need to get on with some orders.

Monday 7 November 2011

All present and correct

I'm pleased to report that the newly weaned cria were all present and correct this morning.  They were humming away and very pleased to see us though.  Their mums on the other hand, with the exception of Lualeni don't seem to have noticed anything is missing!

We had a meeting up on the hill this morning with the kitchen designer amongst others, I've been having difficulty deciding on the kitchen.  As long as it has an aga and a Belfast sink I'm pretty easy to please.  Hopefully we have now agreed on the design and layout.

When we arrived on the hill there was a batch of sheep exploring our ancient earthworks at the bottom of the hill.  Initially I only saw three, but 3 turned out to be 32!

Back to the alpacas I'm pleased to say that Kate is now back to her old self and gaining condition again.  All this makes the vet bill I received at the weekend worthwhile.  Loki's ear is also looking better which is good.

Today is been a fantastic day for knitwear sales, Carol, Mum and I are already working on a number of special orders and today we have received 5 more plus an online sale - looks like sleep is a thing of the past for Barnacre knitters!

Sunday 6 November 2011

A nasty but necessary job

Today was one of those days when we had to do one of those jobs you just hate; weaning.  The oldest eight youngsters, Neelie, Sahara, Ellie May, Emery, Celestial, Seymour, Spadicious and Angelica have been weaned from their mums.

Half of the group are way over our usual weight target of about 35kg, and only the oldest two are over six months.  Three of the mums are looking rather thin, Willow, Mary and Kate were definitely in need of a break.

Sahara was rather stressed by the initial seperation however the nice lush green grass took everyone's mind of their missing mums.

This evening the new grass had lost it's appeal and there was lots of crying for mum from everyone.  Spadicious tried to see if Emery had any milk on offer but he was soon put right!  Hopefully they will soon settle.

This afternoon we were up at the hill, it was a lovely afternoon up there.  The sheep were well and truly spread round, our new tup, who incidently won't be called Curly (sorry Faith) is going to have his work cut out serving the girls.

Here is the current view from almost the top of the hill, you can just about work out where the house and shed is (in the middle of the picture at the bottom of the hill).

Saturday 5 November 2011

Morpeth Farmers Market

We have been at Morpeth Farmers Market today with our range of knitwear and three of the boys.  Minimus, Ochre and Pearson were enjoying their outing and pleasing the public.

It was a slow start to the day but once the nice folk of Morpeth got up things got busy, I've now sold out of ladies and men's gloves for the time being.  As well as requesting more gloves from mum  I took orders for mum, Carol and I, so no sleep for anyone round here for a while.

In fact Carol was threatening to lock Paul & I out if her knitting list was too long.  Luckily she is too nice to lock us out or we may have been living in one of the field shelters with the alpacas or worse still moving into the hen house Dave is building!

Well on that note I'd better get back to my knitting.

Just one last thing, don't forget to vote on a tup name if you've not already done it. Voting closes at midnight tonight.

Friday 4 November 2011

What a difference 6 weeks makes

I've been up to the hill today, I can't believe how much has changed in 6 weeks (click on the photo below to see all 3 shots in one go): 

The sheep have settled on the hill and are exploring every bit of the place (well the sheep half anyway), I'm sure by now they know the place better than me!

On the alpaca front Loki's ear is looking a bit better, I will be keeping a close eye on it.

The girls are desperate for fresh grass, they are munching hay at a rapid rate.  Hopefully it won't be long before they are up at the hill where there is no shortage of grass, why is it always in the wrong place?!

At lunchtime when the girls got their sugarbeet I took the camera.  Here is a lovely family shot, first up is the super-friendly and adorable Lady Godiva (sire Golden Guinea)...

Followed by her mum Gabby and full sister Nadia pinching a quick drink.

The alarm is set for very early Saturday morning as we are at the Morpeth farmers market with the knitwear and some of the alpacas.  We will be there until 2pm so please call by and say "hello"!

Thursday 3 November 2011

Puss in ear not boots

Loki has an abscess in his ear, today I have been removing the puss and bathing it and he has a rather fetching blue ear.  I think one of the other boys has bit it as there has been a fair bit of argy bargey between them lately.

Do you think an alpaca can be prone to abscesses?  Loki has a big abscess on his side about this time last year that took ages to heal.

The tup  (who you can still vote to name at continues to wander, he seems to want to be friends with Golden Guinea, they are both a pair of posers so make a good pair, Guinea is now in a sheep proof field though.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Name that ram (Paul)

Evening all - just in case you were wondering, we are still mad about alpacas and I can't see anything changing that!

However, we are also very excited about our new farm and our (growing) flock of Blackface sheep.  We are now up to 115 ewes and of course our cracking new shearling tup or ram depending on where you live in the country!

We have received some great suggestions for his name and we need the help of new and regular blog readers to name him please!  All you need to do is pick one of the options by clicking on the link below:
Click here to help name our tup (ram)

As a reminder, here is his picture again and we will announce the results on Saturday night.  Thanks for your help!

Tuesday 1 November 2011

What fence?

Whilst we were up at the hill this morning I took a couple of pictures of the progress being made.  Things are looking good.
There were lots of men working on site, the big job of the day seemed to be installing the Klargester.  So we will have somewhere for the dirty water to go; we just need water and electric to try it out!

Our new tup seems to have settled in today, in fact he seemed to have become friends with Golden Guinea, he seems to have a thing about making friends with sheep.  The two of them had been posing to each other.

This afternoon the tup had gone through the fence and was sharing Guinea's paddock!  With those horns there was no way I wanted these two sharing a stud strip so some quick movement was required.

The three you girls have been returned to the main herd, Guinea has moved to another strip next to where the girls were and the tup (who still needs a name) is in Guinea's field.  Hopefully everyone will be where I left them in the morning.