Wednesday 28 November 2012

Boys on the job

Things continue to be busy on the farm, there are all the usual jobs which seem twice as hard  in the wet muddy conditions.  We have actually has all 72 alpacas and 16 goats in for the last few days as the weather has been so bad and the fields are so unpleasant.

I'm afraid the sheep have had to brave it though, we put Wesley our blackie tup out at the weekend and we picked up a couple of tups from a local farmer who has kindly lent them to us for a few weeks.  This was them watching Paul through the bedroom window not long before they were introduced to the ladies.
Galileo has also been having lots of fun with the lady goats, he is in his element surrounded by lots of flirtatious ladies.  Hopefully we will have some very nice angora kids in the spring.

We are getting through copious amounts of carrots at the minute as the alpacas now have competition; the goats love them!  You usually get a few odd shapes and sizes in the bags but I've not seen one like this before, they usually start as one and divide.
Who said two into one doesn't go!!

Monday 26 November 2012

Busy, busy, busy

I know I've not blogged for a few days which is unlike me, I am ok and the computer isn't broken, but thank you for the texts of concern!  Things have just been rather hectic round here.

We had three lots of visitors on Saturday which with rapidly reducing daylight hours we thought it was pretty impressive to fit them all in.

The first two lots of visitors were other alpaca owners who came for various different reasons, Jeannine & Craig wanted a fleece skirting lesson ready for sending their fleece up to the Border Mill.  They bought Jam-Pack's fleece over, ooh how I loved his fleece, he was one of our Gianmarco babies from last year and a real cutie and has a stunning fleece.

They also wanted to see the two little boys they have reserved to add to there fabulous herd of fibre producing boys.  Indigo and Azrael are at opposite ends of the size scale so it will be a while before the boys are off to join their existing gang.

Our third set of visitors came to walk the alpacas on one of our farm walk and talks.  It was a birthday treat for Lyndsey and her family and they thoroughly enjoyed it.  As you can see they proved a big hit with the girls.  From left to right we have Lyndsey, Cathy and Alec (dad was proving rather camera shy). 

Here they are off on their walk with Nadia, Minimus, Angelica and Piccolina, once again dad was hiding from the camera. 
Our walk and talks are proving very popular gifts at the minute, it's a great idea for a Christmas present as we make personalised invitations.

Sunday we had a full house of Pearson's cracking on with a rather long job list.  The daylight hours are so short we didn't manage to crack the whole list but we did get the most important jobs done and Ross took home a Barnacre Christmas Tree so he was happy!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Proving popular

Galileo is certainly a popular chap both on the blog and on the farm, the girls are desperate to get close to him; not much longer to wait girls!

All the alpacas seem to be enjoying their routine of going out in the morning and coming back in for their tea and bed.  I had an appointment today (more on that next week hopefully), so I was running a little late and it was getting dark by the time I got back but everyone knew the way.  It's the first time the new girls have had to come in when the light is fading but they didn't seem to mind.

All the chicks have finally worked out how to go upstairs in their coop to bed too which is great news, I've been having to reach in at night and put them upstairs and in typical chicken style they find the most awkward place to go were I can't quite reach them.

Our knitwear is proving very popular at the minute, mum, Carol (that's the two legged one not the four legged new girl) and me are knitting like crazy at the minute, I'm taking Christmas present orders as well as trying to replenish stock for our next outing next week.

Monday 19 November 2012

Meet Galileo

Just a quick blog tonight as I am drowning under a number of special order knitwear projects which I need to somehow find the time to fit in between everything else I have to do.  I'm currently knitting a scarf to go with a slouch hat ordered via a Twitter customer!

As I have had a number of requests for photo's of Galileo our new angora buck I nipped out to take a photo, only thing is he is friendly and rather nosey so kept coming to say hello and getting far to close to the camera so most of the shots were nostril shots.

This was the best of a bad bunch I'm afraid.

He is currently being quarantined before being introduced to the ladies who spotted his arrival and seem rather excited.  

Sunday 18 November 2012

A new arrival

We've had a busy weekend at Kirkley Hall Christmas fair this weekend, there were lots of people out Christmas Shopping.  I even managed to get a couple of stocking fillers which was good.  The alpacas were certainly missed, we were asked numerous times where the alpacas were - you'll have to come to Alnwick Christmas Market to see them next!

The new card machine has been put to the test, all we have to do now is wait and see how long it takes for the money to arrive in our account.

At home the hay consumption is rocketing up, the girls are getting through loads of the stuff.  It's a good job we have a hay field so are able to cut some of our own; although at the rate we are getting through it will be buying more in.

We have also taken delivery of our fab new angora buck, he looks very impressive, he arrived in the dark tonight so we can't wait to see him in the light.  Galileo, as he is registered obviously made an impression on the ladies as within 15 minutes of him arriving one of the girls had spotted him and had 'found' her way out of bed and was the other side of his pen looking on longingly.

We used a pet transport company, Expressley Pets, to bring him up, who did a fantastic job.  If ever anyone is looking for a transort company I woundn't hesitiate to recomend them, they're fully licenced, caring and reliable.

Friday 16 November 2012

Alpaca Visitors

We have had a lovely afternoon talking alpaca with our alpaca visitors who are planning on breeding quality fleece producing alpacas. Once again I forgot to ask permission to name them - I really must stop doing that!  They fell in love with a couple so I had to check the boot before they left.

It was a great excuse to have a rummage through some cria fleeces, I always find it fascinating how these evolve and change as the youngsters grow. 

Paul was trying to get them to take Basil, my little billy goat back to Scotland but I won't be parting with him anytime soon.  He is such a friendly chap and he clearly had a very rough start to life I intend to spoil him for a little while.

We've had more on line sales today and our new credit card machine also got tested with a purchase from the farm.  There are certainly lots of people Christmas shopping now.  Maybe I need to take a leaf out of their book as make a start on mine..... 

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Hay you that's my milk

Pablo, this years little pocket rocket from Chiquita is such a little sweetie, just like his half brother Minimus and full sister Piccolina.

From being a few days old he has tried to feed from whoever is closest, not because Chiquita is lacking in milk just he can't be bothered to walk to her.  It has to be said she doesn't feel the need to stay close to her baby.

He certainly isn't shy, our herd grump Kate (grey one at the trough) has been stolen from in the past and today was the turn of Little Miss Irraquoy.
Irraquoy is completely bonkers and had she spotted Pablo there is no doubt he would have been spat at profusely and chased round the field.  Pablo isn't daft though, he usually times his thefts when the girls have their head down in the trough, or when there own cria is feeding and he'll sneak in the other side.

Irraquoy's own baby, Pepe (aka skunk) was slightly bemused that his milk bar was busy so took to eating hay off Pablo's back whilst Pablo stole his milk!

Tuesday 13 November 2012

The turn of the ladies

Sorry you had a little longer than I anticipated to meet the new girlies, I had mouse issues, it wouldn't work.  I think it may have taken exception to the cup of tea I gave it to drink earlier in the day!

The new girls and their babies have settled in remarkably, they have already got into their routine and know their way in and out of the shed.  The chickens are something they are obviously not used to seeing as they get some very serious looks, especially if they are in the girls bed - so most evenings!

So let me introduce you, first up we have Cara, this girl has everything, fabulous fleece stats, the look, great conformation and she's pregnant to Patriot.  Her son wanted in on the photo too so that's his nose you can see!
Next up is Divinity, she too is the complete package, in fact her fleece stats are very slightly better than Cara's. 
Next up is Nicosia, we both fell in love with her as soon as we saw her, she has a very dense smoky fawn fleece and is pregnant to The Chief (grey) who sadly died earlier this year.

Then we have the two old girls; well it seemed a shame not to!  First up is Carina, she is a laid back girl with a very dense fleece for her age. 
And finally we have Carol, now how could we not bring Carol home to meet the other Carol!  This girl is so funny, she seems to have taken charge of the new herd (who are in quarantine at present).  She is very chilled out, unless that is you dare to touch her baby! 
Oops not quite the two girls we went to pick up was it!  Never mind you only live once......

Sunday 11 November 2012

The introductions begin

Sorry Dave, I was very tired last night so thought I'd keep you in suspense; plus I wanted photo's of the new arrivals.

And here they are, yes I know slightly more than the four we were supposed to be picking up.  It wasn't all my fault, Paul was as much to blame if not more, it was him who asked Mary-Jo to get a few alpacas in that met the criteria we were looking for.

I will start with the cria as they were easier to get some photo's of.  Here we have Cara's little boy from Bozedown Wisdom.
Next up we have Divinity's boy from Bozedown Rodrigo, a super fine boy still carrying 21 microns at 15 years old. 
Next up is one of the 'extras' that found themselves in our trailer, well how could you resist those fluffy ears and gorgeous apricot fleece. This boy who is about ready for weaning is from Bozedown Omen. 
Next up is the only female cria of the bunch, not that that seems to bother her, she is from Bourbon the Brown Futurity Champion for the last 3 years.

I'll save the adults until another night or this blog will be huge!

Saturday 10 November 2012

Home at last

What a busy few days we've had.  Thursday we headed off down to Bozedown to meet our new girls we purchased in the Alpaca Classic auction and bring them home, we were both excited about seeing them!

We ended up heading off much later than anticipated due to various issues, one of which was leaving mum and dad with the water not working.  So what was meant to be a leisurely drive down to Bozedown admire our girls, chill in the hotel and have a nice meal ended up with me driving on fumes in the pitch black looking for somewhere to park the trailer so we could eat.

After various calls to mum to make sure the animals were OK and they were managing with their depleting tank of water, a quick swim in the pool and sauna we headed off like a pair of kids on Christmas morning to meet Divinity, Cara and the two boys.

Having never been to Bozedown before we were very impressed with their setup, and as for our girls they are as stunning as the photo's.  Having looked at some more alpacas Mary-Jo had picked out for us we headed home with a full trailer via Beckbrow Alpacas to drop off their two girls too.

Literally from the minute we hit the A34 all the way up the M6 we sat in queue after queue after queue.  As I'm sure many of you can imagine this was a very long slow drive home what with traffic and alpaca stop checks it was very late when we arrived at Barbara's, who thankfully offered us a bed for the night. 

We wanted to let the girls have a bit of a stretch of their legs and answer a call of nature as they had not been at all in the trailer despite the the regular stops.  Down went the back door and out came the girls and cria, which had multiplied, Paul Heatherington's face was a picture, he thought they were going round in circles!

Bet you want to know what we squeezed into the trailer.............

Wednesday 7 November 2012

A day of two halves

Today has been a day of two halves, this morning I want to try and forget and this afternoon a much pleasant experience; we went to collect some more angora goats.

I will talk more about this morning when I have something to report at the minute I would rather stick to a happy blog - this week was supposed to be a nice one.

So off we set to Scotland as mum and dad set off for our house, first one there was on the feed rounds - that was mum then!

We found the small holding we were heading too with no difficulty at all which is pretty amazing with our satnav which is only any use if you are looking for a town centre type address.  Anyway the six angora girls were shut in a stable waiting for us.

They are so sweet and will be a great addition to our existing flock, so instead of 7 goaties left to shear I now have 13 - umm Rosemary are you sure Carl doesn't fancy a bus mans holiday!!!

By the time we got home it was dark so no photo opportunities and mum had fed everyone with the exception of Azrael who was making out she'd done his bottle wrong.  Once I got home he took it from her no problem which is good because we are off on another long exciting drive tomorrow and mum's in charge here..........

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Additional heads to count

Today we have been adding to the head count here at Barnacre.  Today it was Shetland sheep, we choose a tup for our girls a few weeks ago and we had arranged to go and collect him today, we also managed to coax three ewes out of the same prize winning herd.

When we got there today Phillip, the young owner had sorted out two other girls he thought we might like, so instead of three new girls we came home with five.  So our new tup (who in true Barnacre style needs a name) has 9 maybe 10 girls to tup in the next few weeks. 

He can't actually go out just yet as we want to go to the Alpaca Championship show in April so I can't lamb too early as leaving mum and dad to look after the farm is bad enough without the posibilities of babies too!

Shetlands have for generations been noted for their very soft and well crimped fleece, with their wool being the finest of all native breeds which is why I have chosen to keep them.  They also show an amazing variety of colours and patterns.  Our new boy who is brown has a lovely fine fleece which is surprising long.  It was too dark to take a photo when we got sorted so that will have to wait.

On the alpaca front, the girls all stayed in today as it wasn't very nice, they seemed quite content to sit in eating hay; as did the goaties!

Bridie's sore has been bathed and filled with intrasite gel, she is one tough cookie and takes everything in her stride.  She has started bending her legs a bit but having had them in plaster most of her short life it is clearly something that doesn't feel very normal.

Monday 5 November 2012

Free to roam

I'm not sure what happened to last nights blog, I had plans to write one, but after a long day out in the fields and evening in the shed we sat down to watch the grand prix and I did some knitting and I just couldn't keep my eyes open again - it was late; honest!

Gill and Ross came over, Paul and Ross were fencing whilst Gill & I mucked out, well Gill actually did most of the mucking out as we had alpaca visitors so I spent the afternoon with them showing them round and talking alpaca.

It was great to talk alpaca with some very enthusiastic potential alpaca owners.  The girls took great delight in showing off how friendly and approachable they are and Barbilla too a real shine to Fran.

Today was a big day for Bridie, she was booked in to have her plaster casts removed.  She's never really been too keen on these ones so I was looking forward to getting them off as well as I hated seeing her with them on.

She was her usual waiting room crowd pleaser, she is so calm and relaxed.  Having been cut slightly when the last lot were removed Sam was paranoid about his none cut saw!  First to come off was the right leg, the worst of the two and it looked good.

Second was the left, this one wasn't quite such good news.  When he started sawing I thought I smelt something not very pleasant, but just before we'd left I'd been dealing with a smelly goats foot so thought it might have been my hands (despite washing them three times!) so I didn't say anything.

Unfortunately it wasn't me it was Bridie's leg, she has a nasty dressing sore of the back of her knee.  I wonder now if this is why she has not been happy with this set of casts.  Her sore has been cleaned and treated and I will do this for the next few days and this will hopefully heel nicely.

Her legs are looking much better so we will see how we go, because of the sore we couldn't put anything on her left leg even if we'd wanted too.  Sam was pleased with the improvement which was encouraging.  This girl is a fighter......

Saturday 3 November 2012

soup, pastie and coffee? (Paul)

Evening all,

Debbie is yawning her head off to I'm going to publish a few words on the blog tonight otherwise we get text messages of 'wheres the blog??!!'.

Today was an early start - like so many Barnacre mornings! I thought I'd let Debbe wake up first (at about 5am) for a change, regular blog readers know that I'm often up first and bring her a cup of tea to bed, but today she just beat me by an hour or so.

We were off to Morpeth farmers market, a favourite of ours and despite a -2 degrees start to the day and very icy roads, we made it there and set up in good time.  The morning weather wasn't the best, it was cold and drizzling with rain, but the alpaca watchers were soon out in force and new and regular Barnacre Alpaca customers were soon packing the market to our fellow traders delight and Michael, the market manager who always makes us very welcome.

This year's regular trio of Minimus, Niveous and Seymour were as good as ever.  It always brings a smile to my face when I get asked (every 10 minutes or so) 'why are your alpacas so friendly?' - ha ah!

Thanks to everyone who came to see the alpaca, us and the knitwear.  We had another really good day and I suspect we are going to sell out of everything, again, before we get to Christmas.  So if there's something in our online shop that you have your eye on you'd better buy it, email or phone us quick!  A newish face on the market was a good friend of mine, Louise and her (nearly) able chaperone, Colin who sensibly invested in a new Barnacre Alpaca beanie!  Louise makes brilliant hand made cards so if you need one for a special birthday or christmas, please drop us a line and we will put you in touch.

Debbie and I also spoke to several people who are considering the alpaca dream.  Can you believe it is nearly 6 years since we got our first 3 alpacas - what a change from the cat we had at the time!  We have learnt so much along the way and we know how difficult it was to get good advice in our early days.  This is something Debbie and I are very passionate about sharing.   Alpacas and owning them is brilliant, so is good honest advice.

Seymour had some very special visitors today at Morpeth market, his new owners! So if you had your eye on a promising black stud male then sorry, but you are too late!  More details to be revealed in due course!

As for the title, a special thanks to Pat for the soup, Carol for the pastie (and more knitwear) and Dan for the coffee. It was a very cold day and I'm glad I had my alpaca hat on, and equally glad for the warm things that these kind people bought me.

Right, I have a bit of paperwork to do and then it's time to hit the sack myself.  Now shall I wake up first or second in the morning...

Night all. Paul

Friday 2 November 2012

Farm walk & talk

Just a quick blog tonight as I still have lots to do before tomorrow's Morpeth Farmers market.  It's always the same I end up running round like a headless chicken the night before a fair.  The boys are tucked up in the barn though for an early departure!

We had a lovely family round today for a farm walk and talk.  Minimus, Piccolina and Angelica had a good walk up the hill, they all really enjoy their stroll up the hill and don't mind at all that they are being led by complete strangers.

The girls went out for a bit this morning, getting them in there field wasn't quite as easy as getting them into the shed.  Some ran past their gate others ran back to the barn, but we got there in the end.

It was much easier getting them back in this afternoon, they all ran straight down to the gate, with the exception of Little Miss Irraquoy - need I say more; she's bonkers!

Thursday 1 November 2012

Ladies that lunch

I've had a lovely day today, the alpaca have all enjoyed a spot of sunshine before the rain has returned again tonight and I've enjoyed some time with a great friend.

After the morning feed rounds, filling all the hay supplies and giving the two boys their bottles I headed off for a meeting about  new event for us this year, the  North Tyneside Victorian Christmas Market.  We had been invited along with our alpacas so wee needed to check out space and location.

They have a great spot for us, so mark your diaries, we will be there 8th & 9th December with some of the boys and whatever knitwear we have left, there have been more on-line sales today and we are at Morpeth Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

After my meeting Gill, young Taylor and I went for lunch, very nice it was too.  It's not very often I get me time so I thoroughly enjoyed it.  So thank you Gill we will have to do it again sometime, it made a lovely change neither of us having to cook.

This evening I have been weighing a few of the cria, there are some huge variations this year in weight gain.  Thankfully Azrael has gained weight today, mind you the way he's been tucking into his milk and nice warm sugarbeet today I should hope so.

I have quite a little following now, Azrael, Bridie and Liberty all want to eat sugarbeet from my hand and Prodigiosus comes for his milk; it's so nice to be popular!