Sunday 29 September 2013

Departures and Arrivals

This weekend has seen arrivals and departures, saying bye to alpacas is always a real mix of emotions; great to see how excited new owners get but sad to say bye too.  Saturday was the turn of Snow and her cria Middleton.  This was Snow on Friday before she left, she has been here on livery for over a year and is a lovely girl.
And this was a very excited Jan from Castleside taking delivery on Saturday afternoon.  Snow was so chilled out I'm not sure she even noticed she'd moved house!

We actually ended up bring Palm-Olive (a Remarque daughter) back, she decided to sit when we spat her off and typically Gianmarco hadn't gone along for the ride.  So Palm-Olive and Isaac have come back for a few weeks to get her mated.  She clearly hadn't forgotten her old mates, Isaac on the other hand clearly found so many white mums a tad confusing!
Today Fran and Simon came to visit, they have a couple of girls on livery here.  First job from Fran was to feed Asher, I'm not sure who enjoyed it most Fran or Asher.

Then we did a spot of halter training with the young boys, Plato and Luca were on the list today and both boys behaved well, I was particularly impressed at how well Plato did, he was a good boy.
Whilst we were doing the halter work Paul had gone to collect some more Shetland sheep.  I do like my little shetties, so we now have another 11 for Galaxy to enjoy in a few weeks time.  As you can see they were happy to explore their new field - Mia (pet lamb from many years ago) is the supervising sheep checking out the new arrivals!!

Another arrival today was not a welcome one; one of the girls has aborted a tiny male cria, it's just over 6.5cm and fully formed.  No one was wanting to own up to it this evening so I'm not sure who it belongs to.  Going on the size of it I have my suspicions, it must be one of the early girls.  So sad.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Sheep racing at Whalton Show

Saturday saw the return of our annual sheep racing at Whalton Show.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for years may recall we were roped into entering a team into the first ever Whalton sheep race four years ago.

There are four teams of four sheep and the winner from each goes into the gold cup final.  Well we won the finals in the first two years races, in fact year one we had all four runners in the final!  Last year the young farmer of Ponteland were invited along and stole my crown, we came second and third in the final.

This year I was determined to regain the crown.  First our for me was the only boy in the team, spotty lugs.  What a disaster, he promptly turned 180 degrees from the starting pen and ran back to his mates in the holding pen - not a good start.

Next out, the inaugural champion Mocha, Mocha is now over 9 years old and had no teeth, but she's fast!  Things were back on track, first by a mile; I think I got a little excited - thankfully nobody has shown me any photos!

Third out was Mia, the 2011 champion; friendliest, greediest and wonkiest legged sheep ever.  Nothing stood in her way, with me screaming at the finish line we had another winner.  By this point Dick Thompson, vet and owner of the Corridge Crusaders team was starting to get a little disgruntled after three second places.

I didn't think my fourth and final girl stood much chance despite being Mia's daughter she is not as responsive to my voice, however like her mum she is greedy and the other sheep were all being encouraged by a bucket.......

Wahoooo she won!!!

Three in the final and you guessed it, a Barnacre one, two, three!!!  I'm happy again to regain the crown.

As well as the sheep we had alpacas at the show which always prove popular, as was our knitwear.  At this rate we will have very limited stock left for Christmas.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Final few matings; maybe

Time seems to be a very rare commodity at the minute, and one I could do with more of!
We have been doing what will hopefully be the final few mating of the year (or will it?!), I always aim to finish birthing in August whilst we still have grass growing.
Pressure decided she was ready for a date with Gianmarco at the weekend; naughty Eva is looking over the fence; she obviously hadn't taken then, and was remated to Sunburst.
Diamante took full advantage of her mum being mated to have a good chew on her ear tag - we don't have many alpacas with tags as I don't like them and don't need them to tell who is who.
Diamante is looking fab, her fleece is showing lots of early promise.

Just look at those curls.

Today was the turn of Sahara to be mated, she was mated to St. Patrick but after 6 weeks of spitting decided to sit again, so after a course of antibiotics (she did the same sit spit sit routine last year!) she had been remated so fingers crossed.
Also in the trailer heading to Beck Brow was Sunburst, he had a date with a rather nice black girl Lola, who thankfully seemed much friendlier than early reports of her behaviour on Barbara's blog.  Hopefully for Barbara's sake pregnancy wont result in her old personality returning!
I had a lovely rummage through some cria fleeces whilst I was there, it's always nice to see other peoples fleeces and I would have happily snuck a couple out if I thought I could get away with it :-)

Sunday 15 September 2013

Alpaca walk and talk and sheepies

I can't believe another weekend is over, I really don't know where the time goes.  It's been another busy one; yesterday as well as the usual farm chores we had a lovely walk and talk visitor by the name of Jane.  She had seen us at the Berwick Food Festival last weekend and wanted to come and meet the alpacas.

She clearly had a great couple of hours as we received a lovely email from her today saying...

"Thank you both so much for a great afternoon with your lovely alpacas. They were even more lovely than I thought they would be. You are both a mine of information too! I will be back to do the same again soon."

We started walking Liberty, ultra friendly and very chatty...

And finished with Minimus, ultra chilled and positively horizontal!
I think the last bit of her visit will be a highlight, feeding Asher.  Thankfully he has really taken to his bottle and is happy to take it from anyone which is always good.

Today has been a sheep day; weaning, shedding, vaccinating, moving and being hit in the face by one of the blackie tups - not ideal when they have rather large horns!  At least everyone is now where they need to be without any major issues.
I've got to say having worked with them all today I do love my shetlands; even the naughty ewe who didn't want to come in with everyone else.  My pet texel and texel Jacob cross ones are also very funny; that just leaves the blackies and the less said about them the better!!

Friday 13 September 2013

The highs and lows of farming

I can't believe it's been 10 days since I last blogged, so much has happened.

Firstly a week ago we got our planning permission agreed for our second barn, despite our neighbours quite frankly ridiculous objections!  Thankfully the planning committee took them with the credit the deserved (none!) and the plans were approved.  Hopefully we will soon be able to commence the build before the winter sets in.

Our euphoria was short lived unfortunately as the following day we had a poorly alpaca.  Faith hadn't been herself for a couple of days, but with a normal temperature and colour and eating we weren't unduly worried.  The vet was booked to come Friday as we were scanning a batch of girls we planned to get him to look at her then.

Unfortunately she took a sudden turn for the worst and ended up being taken into the hospital (with her cria Asher) and put on a drip, the vet suspected a perforated stomach ulcer initially.  After two days intensive care treatment (and a brief temporary improvement) by Sunday night it became apparent that we were fighting a losing battle and more Faith was in a lot of pain which the vet was struggling to control.

We had to make the heart breaking decision to put her to sleep and bring home poor little Asher alone.  The post-mortem revealed that Faith had cancer of the bone marrow, the vet was amazed that she had stayed in such good condition and managed such a fabulous job giving Asher a great start in life.

Rest in peace Faith.
On a much brighter note we, well I say we, I stayed at home on bottle feeding duties (thank you for my goodie bag Jan and the Macaroons Bev), Paul took our show team to Westmorland County Show yesterday.  He had lots of willing helpers so he managed the 7 well.
We had a fantastic day, 7 animals, 7 rosettes and 2 championship sashes!!  Our two grey girls in the same class came second and third, then our grey stud Sunburst came 1st and went on to be grey male champion.  That's his fourth championship sash, undefeated; how impressive is that!!

Next up was our intermediate brown girls, Ankha and Gypsy.  One, two...... way to go girls!  Ankha went on to win Brown Female Champion and judge Tim Hey couldn't have been more complimentary about her if he tried.  In fact he said in the Supreme line up that had he had a Reserve Supreme to award it would have gone to the brown girl!!

Next in was the white boys, Thor and Linus, Linus isn't actually owned by us, he lives here on livery (so he is treated as one of our own!).  Now these two boys can be temperamental when it comes to walking, Linus does a good line in comedy falls and Thor just sits down but both boys walked well thankfully, which is more than can be said for some of the others white classes from what I heard.
Another one two! Linus first and described as 'the full package' by Tim, and Thor second.
As you can imagine we were very pleased with the results, it goes to show we are doing something right!

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Who's been eating my tea?

Yesterday we had a number of Swedish visitors who were keen to see how we farmed alpacas on a hill farm and see what they could learn from us to take back to Sweden.  They were a lovely bunch of people and we soon managed to talk the whole afternoon away!

Anyone who own alpacas will know just how easy it is to talk away a few hours without even realising it.  Hopefully we gave them a lot to think about and we will be able to help and inspire them in the future.

Today was a day of routine jobs, nothing fancy just to usually day to day jobs, feeding, cleaning paddocks, antibiotics and I even managed to fit in finishing off the mans hat I was knitting ready to wash tomorrow so it will be labelled ready to go with us to Berwick at the weekend.

I did take the camera out with me, I got a new one for my birthday so these should be the last one from the old camera, hopefully the new one will be better. 

This little man is a real little character, he is from Layla & Sandstorm and is full of life and mischief.  I have called him Kamenwati, meaning Dark Rebel, note I say I - Paul hasn't either agreed or disagreed so it's now in black and white so he's officially named!

Talking of characters, here's another one, one of the pesky goat kids who think they are entitled to roam where they want and pinch alpaca food if they so desire!  Asher and Isla (who looks like she need bigger pj's tomorrow night) are not too sure that he should be there.

Sunday 1 September 2013

A birthday treat

We've had a busy weekend again, one day we will have time to relax I'm sure, just not sure when it will be!
Friday even Gill, Ross and Taylor came over, it seems like ages since we saw them.  Once again the Pearson's seem to have fallen for a black girl, this time Patience was the one to steal their hearts.  Patience is a bit hit and mill with her top up bottle so I wasn't sure if she would take it off the ever enthusiast Taylor, but she started off well.

Reinforcements were soon called for in the form of Ross, Gill was actually feeding the girls at this point and anyone who follows us on twitter (@BarnacareAlpacas) will have seen how popular she was.
Saturday was my birthday, but no lie in or day off, we were at Bellingham Show, so I was up just after 5am whilst Paul snored for another hour or so!!  With everyone fed and the car loaded off we went; and yes Taylor I did wear my badge!!
It was a fabulous day, the girls proved very popular as did our knitwear, in fact it was then second best day out we've had so far this year.  I've already been giving mum and Carol the hurry up on their knitting because at this rate we'll have nothing left for Christmas.

Today we have been over to look at some land so see it's suitability for alpacas and also make sure we are happy with the perspective new owners.  It is something we are always vary careful with, assessing all new owners and their ability to care for them in the way we do.  I'm not very good at parting with them I know.  I'm not afraid to say no!

Todays couple had nothing to worry about, their clearly have some fab facilities and care for the existing animals fantastically.  All I have to do now is work out who is right for them and if I can part with them - tissues at the ready.