Wednesday 27 February 2013

That's me

Thank you for the birthday wishes yesterday, it's hard to believe where the times goes isn't it.  How my life has changed since my management days in an office with colour co-ordinated bags, shoes and nails!  I wouldn't change it for the world.

Basil the goat is feeling a bit happier today, although he is obviously still feeling rather sore and giving me that look, you know the one that makes you feel so guilty.  It was for the best Basil; honest.

It has been a glorious day here today, all the animals have been out enjoying some sunshine on their backs and there has even been a bit of drying out going on.  Mind you it is going to take some time for things to really dry up.

I have been out this afternoon with the camera taking photos of our latest knitwear and some of my dad's fabulous hand woven scarves.  Hughie came over to check out the ones that were spun from his baby fleece, they are sooooo soft.
The boys were very sneaky at the end of my photo shoot, I had lots of things to carry, knitwear, heads, hands, camera, phone and the mannequin so I ended up leaving the mannequin at the gate, wedged so it wasn't in the mud whilst I put my knitwear down.

In the few seconds that my back was turned the boys scarpered through the gate and were stood at their pen waiting to go to bed!  There was no sign of them when I came through the gate!!

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Happy 6th Birthday Barnacre

Today is our birthday, it is 6 years today since the arrival of our first three alpacas, from the left: Willow, Duchess and Blossom. This was them back in February 2007.
As anyone who keeps animals will know we've had happy times and sad sad times along the way.  Sadly we lost Duchess and her daughter Blossom in 2009, Duchess had an internal bleed; Blossom cancer.  But not before we had two wonderful cria from each of them.

Willow has been a fantastic member of the Barnacre team, she was the initial face of Barnacre and has produced us 4 fantastic daughters with whom she is very close.

First born was Chiquita who won reserve junior champion among other rosettes in her show career.
Next was Layla, a brown girl, currently pregnant to our Double Fawn Champion Sandstorm.
Third in the family is Angelica, a bundle of fleece from our Supreme Champion Legend of Spartacus.  Just like the rest of her daughters Angelica is very close to her mum and sisters.
And the latest daughter is Palace, who is a complete scruff bag just like her mum!
Hopefully willow is pregnant to Gianmarco's Masterpiece this year so this should produce a wonderfully fine cria.  I wonder if she will have another girl?

Whilst the alpacas enjoyed their birthday celebrations poor Basil had an appointment with the vet to be castrated.  He was far from impressed with his little outing, but soon sprung back to life when vet Sam went back inside the practice!

Monday 25 February 2013

Shout, shout, let it all out

Two days on the trot, not bad eh, I've not managed that for a while.

Thank you for the tips on AD&E paste Barbara and Bev, like you Bev many of our lot used to love the paste so I will give the alpaca care paste a try next month.

We woke to a sprinkling of snow again today, but thankfully the sun soon melted it so everyone got to eat a bit of grass.  Although they were all ready to come back in by 4pm despite the lengthening daylight hours.

I've been busy updating our online shop with more stock today and booking in some Sunburst matings, he is one eagerly awaited boy!

We have lots of things on the boil here at the minute so times are very exciting, we have new arrivals of all shapes and sizes due over the next few months so Spring and Summer is going to be one very busy, exciting time.

Basil obviously heard the vet call this afternoon to make sure he wasn't fed after 6pm tonight in readiness for his little op tomorrow as he managed to escape with the help of our pedigree Angora Billy goat Galileo and was helping himself to tea from the sack.  He is now penned in on the concrete floor unfortunately so he can't eat his straw bedding with just a bucket of water for company.  I'm not sure who is shouting most Basil or his pedigree Shetland tup mate Galaxy.

Sunday 24 February 2013

A welcome treat

Oops I'm in trouble again for not blogging since Wednesday, there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

I've been busy with a variety of things since Wednesday.  Along with the usual every day jobs I've received an order for 12 balls of hand spun Barnacre Alpaca yarn so that's going to take me a while, I've been doing a bit each night.

There have also been a number of additions of knitwear in our on line shop, including ladies and men's gloves which always sell out quickly and some baby wear.

This weekend our great friends Gill and Ross have been up, Paul and Ross were repairing a fence knocked down by our neighbours horses.  All the posts were rotten and it was in an inaccessible area for the tractor so it was manual knocking this time.

Whilst the boys were doing that job Gill and I were mucking out the girls, there are a lot of them in there so it takes some doing!

Today has been weigh day for all the weanlings, and with the exception of Pepe everyone has gained weight, I'm not sure if there was a problem with the scales with Pepe as he's happy and eating and doesn't look to have lost weight.  I'll keep a close eye on him and weigh him again mid week.

It was also AD&E paste time, I'm not sure if anyone else has found that since the colour has changed and the vitamin K has been added hardly any of the alpacas like it, in previous years most have happily enjoyed it.  I might have to switch to injectable, but I hate injected when there is another option.

Paul & I are still very excited about the arrival of Sunburst in a few weeks, and to celebrate we have decided to off a £75 discount off all matings to him for the first five customers, in addition to our multiple mating discount, get in touch if you are interested.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

First time visitors

The springlike feel had disappeared today,  in fact its been freezing which hasn't been helped by our ground source deciding to switch itself off due to low pressure.  It's a good job I'm the handy one round here!!

Nature is something that is every important to Paul & I and we are what we can to encourage the birds onto our hill.  Since we arrived, and the builders left the variety of birds has slowly increased.

Last week for the first time we had a woodpecker on the feeder and today it was the turn of the Brambling, the first one I've seen here.
The photo's are the best as they were taken through the kitchen window.  We regularly have 30 plus finches at the feeder, including chaffinch, goldfinch and green finch.

These are two of the feeders I filled this morning which by the end of the day were almost empty.

The birds round here have appetites like our alpacas, huge!  The alpacas are getting through carrots like you wouldn't believe at the minute.

Monday 18 February 2013

Cria chasing

With the sun shining this morning and a slight delay in letting the weanling's out the race was on to get up the hill.

I thought I would try and get a series of photo's of the morning out and evening in.

On your marks....

This is them just leaving the shed, all those new owners out there can you spot your boys and girls?!

Now this is where I get left behind, get set....

I take a short cut but it's steeper and wetter; bad move!

The charge is on once they get into the channel...

Lily is last, she has a hot date booked with Sunburst sometime in the future.

Who won....

I have no idea because other than the last few they were mainly in the field already.

As I said I planned to photograph the journey back down the hill, but they were that quick by the time I'd go the camera out they were already half way down and by the time the lens cap was off I could only see Luca and Linus who are still missing there mums a bit so generally hang back in the hope they will catch up!

They were a little naughty tonight and had a bit of a run round the yard before they went to bed, someone smelt the haylage and there was a gathering at the bale!!!

Thursday 14 February 2013

Be my grey valentine

Roses are red
Wyona Sunburst is grey
Book him for your girls
And it'll make their day!

We love our greys here and we've had some lovely grey cria from our black stud Loki, like our grey champion Emery.  At Westmorland County Show last year Paul and I spotted perfect boyfriend material for Emery; who won her class, Wyona Sunburst who won Grey champion.

Sunburst had fantastic presence and a fleece which just blew us away and clearly had the same effect of judge Cathy Lloyd from EP Cambridge, who highly commended him in the championship lineup.  Some months later we were lucky enough have the opportunity to buy him; we couldn't believe our luck! 

Sunburst's pedigree boasts an impressive lineup including Bluegrass Waterloo Sunset, Jolimont Warrior and Jolimont Conquistador.  You can read more about him on his stud page, and as soon as he arrives here at Barnacre (early April) you are more than welcome to come and have a look and rummage.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Loving Liberty

I know, I know, it's ages since I blogged.  I've been getting abuse from all angles so I thought I'd better find time to blog.

We have now weaned almost all of last years cria (two to go) and like many people this year we seem to be weaning some at much lower weights than we would usually like.  30kg is usually our aim but many have been in the 20's this year. 

Thankfully as of yesterday they are all now eating hard feed, Lacie and her best friend Palace were the last.  Palace is Willow's baby and anyone who has been a longstanding follower of the Barnacre herd will know that Willow is last for everything and her all her offspring seem to develop the same attitude to life! I think peer pressure persuaded Palace that it was a good idea last night!

As we spend so much time with our alpacas (and all the other animals for that matter), we have lots of friendly weanlings.  At the weekend Liberty took a particular fancy to Taylor and there was some mutual loving going on.

Taylor was enjoying the loving just as much as Liberty, but being a 5 year old boy I'm sure he'll deny it if asked!

Thursday 7 February 2013

By way of apology

Today has been a lovely fine crisp day, we even saw some sunshine so for once, so all the alpacas went out to play and munch some grass.

The snow and ice in the channel was still pretty treacherous the further up you went, I ended up flat on my bum at one point - lucky for me I have plenty of padding.  So I decided that the livery girls and the boys wouldn't go up to their fields, the boys could have the bottom half of the channel and the field we have yet to finish fencing and reseed and the livery girls could have what will eventually be our garden.

This meant that had I had the luxury of having an afternoon nap this would have been the view from my bed.

Talking of bed, very early this morning whilst half asleep, I had the feeling one of the cats was doing something they shouldn't be.  I quickly turned on my torch to see Tilly sat on Paul's bedside cabinet having eaten through his shaver wire!  Eek, he already refers to the two younger cats as 'the beasts'.  I now have less than 24 hours to get the thing joined somehow and ready to charge when he's flattened the battery.  Typically this couldn't happen to his old one, no it has to be the one he got for Christmas!

By way of an apology said same pussy cat kindly bought me a little present this afternoon, the only problem was I didn't find the present until I put my foot into my boot.
Yes a flipping mouse!  Well at least it was in one piece I suppose and I had my socks on!!

Tuesday 5 February 2013

A clear head

Sorry for the lack of blogs, things have been both physically and emotionally challenging here of late and to say that I am well and truly sick of this snow (which yes we have more of) would be a massive understatement.  I have now cleared my head and am back!

Thankfully the snow drifts that we woke to this morning have started to melt and it's now raining so hopefully they will be a thing of the past very soon.  To give you an idea this was the drift on the patio door this morning which kept Izzie entertained for quite some time trying to catch snowflakes.

One good side to this bad weather our knitwear is selling well, I am also busy hand spinning a special yarn order for a local customer who has plans.  At the minute it's 50 grams of Ursula that I'm working on.

The alpacas have spent the last two days inside sheltering from the foul weather and are loving their nice new hay that we had delivered on Saturday, 20 big round bales aren't going to last long at the rate the last one vanished!

The weanlings seem to have settled now and they are all now eating hard feed which is good, the last few still with mums will be weaned in the next few days and hopefully weather permitting halter training will begin this weekend.  We have visitors who I know will love to help us with their training.

We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline here which are keeping us remarkably busy, hopefully we will be able to fill you in with some of them real soon.