Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The clutch arrived

The clutch kit did arrive so Carl fixed that and I saw the Bath and West disappear in to the great blue yonder - but no!  Carl has decided going would be a very good thing - so that is where we will be!  Luckily, this was decided before I ran over the pipe on the poo picker, yanking out of it's socket and causing much wailing and lamenting from both Carl and Sam.  They have now fixed it but I have strict instructions never to drive with it trailing behind me.

Sam is staying at home to look after the animals tomorrow - he is quite happy with that as long as I bring him back a present!  There shouldn't be any births yet, although Belinda still looks imminent.  Everyone in the girls' paddock has been tired today - Greeves was flat out -
As was Cassie, who is not a very tidy sleeper!
The boys though, were pretty lively - Barnaby Rudge is desperate to play with Greeves!

Monday, 30 May 2011

PLEASE don't let it arrive!

It has been wet, misty and cold today - which has made the morning task of taking a couple of up to date photos of Barry Norton and Barnaby Rudge impossible.  They cooperated by charging around and play fighting but the best I got in the way of photos missed the photogenic moments!
Dylan (the brown looking at the camera) appears to have droopy ear syndrome!
Now I am heading upstairs to trawl my wardrobe in search of decent clothes - smart but casual with a relaxed country feel to them - as we might go to the Bath and West Show on Wednesday.  This last minute decision relies on the fact that the truck needs a new clutch so Carl can't shear Wednesday (his day off).  That last sentence might appear to make no sense whatsoever but it does - just means if the part arrives and he fixes the clutch, we can't go to the show!!

Sunday, 29 May 2011


It's no good, I have to get it out of my system before anything else - I am very upset tonight by a couple I thought were friends.  It would be churlish to say more but I have lost my faith, temporarily I hope, in the basic niceness of people!  There that is it!!

Sam caused me pause for thought at lunchtime.  He told me a lady had said her cockerel kept going for Marines - Why Marines?  Was it only Marines?  Where were all these Marines coming from?  Then Carl enlightened me - it was Maran chickens - not Marines!

I went poo picking this afternoon - and, at the time, it was a lovely - if cold and windy - day.  I did more lying around and less collecting, as Sam captured on camera when my back was turned.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

One wheel on my - race!

Flippin' cold today!
I did a little desultory poo picking whilst Cal painted the door and Sam fiddled around with the sheep race he has made - looks strange but seems to work until he towed it up the hill and the wheel dropped off!
This evening we have done more spit offs.  I think the girls feel the best part of this is the run down the hill to get to the barn.  Half way down they all stop to have a roll and a good argue about who should go first!

Dude is in the background with Flamenco at the front, Carolyn looking rather bow legged (not due until August by my dates!)  and about to roll with Lily behind her.

Friday, 27 May 2011

In need of a finger and a little lubrication!

I have just about recovered!  Thank you for the well wishes - I did think it might be serious but I met a cousin in Sturminster this morning and she said there was a stomach bug going round so I think I was maybe being a little melodramatic.  Carl said it was probably wind and I should eat more slowly and chew my food properly (not easy when your teeth are disappearing fast).

Today it was back to clearing a mammoth load of poo (from the fields!) and the sound of all this activity attracted The Scrap Man who made me jump.  He was impressed with my machine - mind you I think he also coveted the Fordson, and the Jalopy, and . . .  We had a long ranging conversation about alpacas, tractors, property, helicopters . . . whilst I clutched the Poo Picker pipe to my chest and tried to forget that I was wearing a tight T shirt with no undergarments!

Emily has now, I have probably said this before, been mated to Dude and she did spit off but neither mating nor spit off were that convincing so I had a little investigation with the aid of lubrication and hopefully the problem has been discovered and sorted - so another mating followed which went well - do it again tomorrow on the Two Day Thing.  This may have been the problem last year when we didn't get her pregnant - I didn't try that hard as I thought she might have been too young then.

Prue is spitting off well so I think there may well be a little Jed baby on the way there.  Little Star is also a pretty convincing spitter so I am off to have a shower shortly!

Sorry there are not photos but I will get some tomorrow.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Laminating whilst I writhe

A sad lack of blogging from me I am afraid - because I have been, and still am a little bit, ill.  It had been coming on for a few days and last night reached a crescendo after tea.  Not wanting to be a nuisance I said to Carl, I would just have to lie down a bit as I didn't feel great and as soon as I got into bed great waves of pain and an inability to breathe hit me.  I couldn't sit up, I couldn't move and I really felt I had about an hour and 20 minutes left.  At that point I had a moment of extreme panic when I realised a) we had not written our wills and b) Carl has no idea of the password for the bank accounts - or even what accounts we have.  I struggled to rise and feebly called him but he was busy laminating the bathroom floor and didn't hear me.  Luckily, I survived the night and although I have done very little I am still in this world and able to move despite a pain across my shoulders and a swollen, painful stomach.  I shall retire to bed again in a minute and if I don't return to regular blogging tomorrow do not assume I have passed away, I may be just weak and wobbly.
I will just leave you (hopefully not for ever) with some cheering pictures of a pronking Zara!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Chasing our tails!

All go again today and not much time for sitting around alpaca watching.  I did take a few photos and as I was looking at them I realised that Greeves is actually growing.  He doesn't look quite such a baby anymore.  Here he is with Crispie and his Aunty Islay.
Belinda has been lying down and either sleeping or eating with the occasional roll.
I ended up wishing I was an alpaca as I have been hoovering, polishing and putting flowers in vases (definitely not normal behaviour for me!).  Carl has finished painting the house and is now finishing off some fencing - garden not field - it has been too windy to shear - we learnt our lesson on that one!
 No time to admire the view today!

Now we are off to Mother's who volunteered to cook dinner!

Saturday, 21 May 2011


Thank you for the comments on last night's blog.  Not September, Barbara, but Belinda is very odd and her 11 months is not up until on 9th July -  last year she went 361 days which could mean she would not have it until the beginning of August!! Can't be right! We first mated her on 12th June then she sat again on 25th July spat off and then sat again on 8th August!! If she had really taken first time she would be 341 days today but is that possible?  Has anyone else had an alpaca who has sat again - twice - but still been pregnant?

Only a quick blog today as we have been shearing - we were planning to do everyone else but the generator ran out of fuel and then we discovered the cans were empty - don't know who to blame for that!  It was all going so well with no nicks or traumas and Mother helping on the bagging up - never mind, tomorrow is another day!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Due Dates

Day of cleaning today - house and paddocks - paddock cleaning is the best as I can spend lots of time taking a break and sitting with the girls.  Belinda's baby  was really lively this afternoon - but you can't catch that in a photograph!

If anyone would care to guess when she is due I would be very interested to hear as there is something which strikes me as wrong on the due date I have for her!  I have included a rear end picture!

The only really lively ones today have been Little Star and Lily who have been keen to drive the Mule (still in action, if slow).

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Sitting in the Sun

I have been to the dentist and have had a filling - I have very little real tooth material left in my mouth.

Due to this, I have spent much of the rest of the day sitting in the field with the alpacas trying to resist biting my tongue to see how much it really hurts if you do that.  When I have not been sitting I have been rushing around with water as the girls seem to be getting through an awful lot!  Belinda and Emily (above) have been guarding their water to the death and despite being spat at by Bert who then retreated into the shed where she beat ten bales out of the panels with her feet!  There are plenty of waters around but they seem to develop favourite spots.

The peace has now been broken by Sam launching into some unspecified tractor activity.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Lambs on the Loose!

Bit of a day today!  I have had the great sheep escape - and lost a chicken.  As I took the lambs their lunchtime bottles I saw Caedmon jumping around, rearing up and pacing along the fence looking worried so I charged up there as quick as the Mule would take me (which is not very quick at the moment as I will explain in a bit) only to find a large heap of feathers outside the alpaca and sheep paddock.  My chickens free range but generally they stay in first field - this one had ventured up past the sheep into the Drove and Caedmon was stuck in his paddock unable to help.  The sheep were also making a lot of noise and something did not look right.  One Ewe was obviously going frantic unable to find her lamb - then they all started baaing!  Then as I struggled over the fence I saw what had happened - the lambs were charging around second field - having jumped through the electric fence!  It didn't take long to discover the electric fence was not working and the lambs had taken advantage of this.  They were having a grand old time running in and out the electric fence whilst their Mum's howled!  Luckily everyone is bucket trained so they all rushed back into the race when they thought feed was on the way!  Electric fence now fixed.

The Mule is undergoing another mid life crisis - something is sticking out of the hub, which is weird.  Carl has not got time to look at it so I can use it - slowly - tomorrow and then I have to have an alternative, temporary, field vehicle - it won't look pretty but Sam has big plans for it!  It may be revealed tomorrow (depending how my trip to the dentist turns out!).

Today I and the cats have also had a caller - still out there peering in the door and crying now!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Visit from Ashdale Alpacas

The morning was spent poo collecting, John Deereing and pondering the little phrases you develop.  I had an email last night from a lady referring to her Monday Friend - a friend who comes on Mondays of course.  Carl is forever complaining in bed about my Book Hand - you probably don't want to know this but I read my book before sleep whilst lying down and one hand always gets cold where it is outside the covers holding the book - "Get your Book Hand off me!"  is Carl's usual last minute term of endearment.

Herman needed feeding today but I feel he may not end up as quite as large as he should be - the teatowel caved in on him and he lost half of himself on it - very difficult to release him from the teatowel so some of him ended up in the washing machine.

Si and Irene from Ashdale Alpacas came over this afternoon and it was very nice to see them.  We talked over plans and had a tour of the alpacas.  Very pleased that all their hard work is paying off and things are looking really good for them.  They have some great alpacas so I am not surprised there is so much interest in them.  I did take the camera but forgot to use it so tonight's photo is  alpacas going to bed rather that Irene and Si!

Little Greeves, looking very dirty from rolling - and, below, Cassie, Islay, Belinda (looking far more pregnant than she ought to), with Bert on the right.

And, incidentally, does any other blogger have the problem of the spell check only working when it wants to?

Monday, 16 May 2011

Prue's spit off

Sam's first exam today - and he was nervous!  When I picked him up at lunchtime he was happier and said it had gone okay - next one Wednesday.

We managed to get poo picking, and a bit of moving around done in the afternoon, with a little John Deere work on nettles.  This evening was Prue's spit off - and she did!  Dude was in charge of that end of things and he really wanted to get to Emily after that but he had to be restrained!  He is now sulking in his dust bowl.

Sorry, that is really all there is to say about today - but hopefully, tomorrow, we have visitors and that will be a photo opportunity!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Glad I have no apples!

Carl and Sam were shearing today so we have all been rushing around chasing our tails - and Sam has the first of his exams tomorrow so it was early to bed for him.  Carl was impressed with one boy he sheared, saying it had a lovely fleece - according to him the really good fleeces come off differently. 

I have been attacking docks and buttercups.  Buttercups are my least favourite plant at the moment as they are do difficult to snip off with the John Deere - they seem to spring back and there never seem to be many less.  John Deere ride on mowers are a little addictive and I have to fight the desire that erupts in me to get stripes in the paddocks.  I tried to combat this by going in ever decreasing circles which has resulted in one paddock resembling a race track. 

And finally - the sight that met me when I returned from my John Deere race track - Smudge asleep in the fruit bowl!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Herman arrives and bubbles

Some rather upsetting news yesterday put a bit of a damper on the start of the weekend but animal tasks could not be put off so it was lambivac and body scoring for the alpacas, vaccinating and worming sheep - luckily we had a bit of help with the sheep as the SFS turned up on their way back from an alpaca auction near Dorchester.  The ex marine side of the SFS proved a dab hand at lamb wrestling although a lot of rugby style sliding seemed to be involved.  Sam's sheep were a lot easier as they went through the race.  Lady SFS brought me something called Herman.  Herman is white and bubbles and smells.  It has to sit in a bowl for a while and be fed and then after several days it gets cooked and becomes a cake.  The downside of this is I have to find some friends as part of the Herman has to be given away.

Carl is unhappy as he had to let Sam do the topping of top paddock because he had other things he had to do.  It is not that we have too much grass - just the dead bits needed to come off so it thickened up.  It has meant all the girls have had to go together for a while and they are not too happy about this. (Although in this photo they look perfectly content!  You can't see the others out of shot covered in spit and with droopy mouths!)

 Lina is jumping anyone who lies down (Can she really be pregnant?  She is still spitting off - maybe she just wants to dominate everyone after seeing Dude in action ?)  Zara is charging around pronking and really galloping with skid stops when  Dude looks at her. 

Greeves is fascinated with Cassie and tries to mount her - something he has no chance of achieving without a ladder.

Friday, 13 May 2011

More matings

Second matings for Emily and Little Star today with spit off for Prue at the weekend so it is all rather sexual here at the moment - on the alpaca front anyway!

Little Star went off and had a good think on her own after her adventures with Jed!

My most pregnant girls are all looking increasingly tired and spending lots of time in the shelter.  Greeves is not best pleased about this as he would like them to play with him.  I think the time is soon coming when he will have to be split up from his Aunty Islay.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Love is in the air!

Very nice evening - no rain, not too warm - time for a couple of matings!  And Dude got his first mating of the year.  Emily was a little wary at first but I am afraid Dude was in no mood for messing about.  He was in the mood as he came down the track - orgling away, he knew what was coming!
Quick check to make sure everything was where it should be and get a leg reorganised - Emily and Dude are both in need of shearing and we ran out of time last weekend.  Once that was done Jed got going with Little Star - but I forgot a picture, have to do that tomorrow when we do the follow up.  Sam was too busy taking sheep pictures and he was on camera duty.  This is one of the two bottle feds - Limpit and Nonlimpit with their mum.

Everyone is now in their right paddocks happily eating or resting and we are about to enjoy a nice bit of venison - and a rest! 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Rained Off!

Very proud of Mother this morning - she drove up to visit!  This may not seem much but she has not driven for a good while now and, despite being a good driver, had lost confidence.  She has had a few refresher lessons and is doing well.

Sam had the dentist this afternoon where he was told off for not cleaning his teeth well enough - told off by the dentist, hope that has the desired effect!  Met The Keeper of the Churchyard in The Coop and then dashed back again to set to with more matings but rain stopped play!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The two day thing in action!

Judi asked an interesting question on yesterday's blog and I am going to answer it but it might make for a boring blog for my non alpaca breeder friends and might sound ridiculous to my alpaca breeder friends!  Sorry in advance!

The question was - Why use a black for Prue?
Well - Prue has a problem!  She is a blue eyed white.  However, all her babies have lovely fleece.  In the past she has been mated to two whites and a fawn.  With one white she produced a multi with a slight blue tinge in mostly brown eyes.  With the other white she produced a solid white - with blue eyes.  Last year she was mated to a fawn - Samurai - and had Barnaby Rudge - a great fleece, strong and healthy, brown eyes and a solid colour apart from white in his topknot.  We purposefully got Harry (Black Arrow) because of all the solid black in his pedigree, with the hope that we might overide the hidden white spots in the white which is what I think causes the problems.  Harry is not ready yet so we are having a go with Jed.  What we hope for is a solid colour with brown eyes.  If it is a boy we will know we are on the right track, if it is a girl we will be able to breed on to Harry when she is ready and see how we progress.  That is the theory to my way of thinking anyway!!

Here is Jed, ready for action!

So - tonight was the second mating for Prue on the Two Day Thing.  At exactly 7pm we got them together and Prue retreated as fast as she could.  Jed chased her round a bit sniffing but he wasn't really interested in her and she certainly was not interested in him.  Looks very much like that could have taken - so spit off in 7 days from yesterday.  Poor Dude is on spit off duty for her - that is not going to please him one little bit!
Once Prue was out we brought int the next candidate - Little Star.  Little Star is registered as white but not solid but it is more of a fawn white now and she has a darker fawn patch on her neck and one on the top of her shoulder.  She also has a nice fleece despite the colour.  Her father was Koricancha Sinbad of Wessex so I am thinking there must be a good bit of black within her genes.  Her Mum is Bert who is solid white and was one of the original imports from Alpacas of Wessex.  Bert had one cria before we had her and that cria is registered as white.  I did see him when we got Bert and don't remember seeing colour on him - his dad was Wirracocha.  So - the thinking according to me is that crossing her to a black could bring out all that hidden black and give a black - or maybe a brown - or, of course, could be a fancy!  I don't know but I find breeding with colour in mind facinating!  Well anyway - after all that waffle - Little Star went in with Jed and was not in the least bit interested.  She had a jump around, Jed sniffed a bit, then Jed turned his back on her and mooned over the fence a t Zara who he is in love with!!  We shall try again tomorrow but this time Zara is not coming anywhere near!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Making babies!

Jed's first date with a lady this evening!  He ate a hearty tea, we have sorted out the problem with the plastic drainpipe - apparently he is used to eaing from a hand made, finely sanded wooden bowl and, not having one of those, I found an old salad bowl I thought might do (much more his style!).  Jed is a forceful, yet romantic lover who whispers sweet nothings in his lady friends ears, having forced them manfully to the ground first!  His first date was Prue and at first I thought we were on a non starter but he was having none of that and Prue quite happily let him get on with it!  Prue is not my best looking female but she is mum to Barnaby Rudge who has what I think is a very nice fleece - waiting for the fleece stats to come back at the moment. 
All went swimmingly - with the young boys watching at a respectful distance (luckily Dude didn't realise what was going on).

Then when Prue went back into her paddock with the other girls Lina went wild.  She got Prue to the ground, mounted her, orgled so loud Dude heard from three paddocks away, got very aggressive with Emily who was trying to sniff Prue and spat all over the place!
She stomped, stropped and posed!

And kept blocking Carl from getting anywhere near poor Prue!

We'll be doing it all again tomorrow!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Painted/not painted!

Yet another busy day and an early start.  Sam was in charge of everything here whilst Carl and I headed out to do a little assisting with foot trimming, condition scoring and handling - great fun and we were priveliged to  see a couple of delightful young cria.  When we got back we checked over the boys and sprayed the sheep against fly strike.  This was easy with Sam's in the race but for mine it meant creeping up on them with the gun behind my back and catching them unawares.

We have just had a mammoth downpour, which could not have come at a worst time as Carl had just put the first coat on the upstairs wall of the house - outside!  It has now all washed off into the water collection trough, not good and he is stomping a bit.  We also had a lot of rain in the night but none of the alpacas are any the worse for it and it has done the grass a great deal of good.  Jed is settling in well and spent a great deal of the afternoon sunbathing.  He was a bit wary of his feed trough which was obviously not what he is used to, but after a lot of sniffing and backing away, he tucked in and cleared the lot.  Watched closely by Harry and Dylan!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Welcome Jed!

Today has been another day to welcome a visitor to Westhill.  We set off at  6am in order to catch the ferry from Southampton - a cruise was involved for this visitor!

We were heading to Warrenfield Alpacas on the Isle of White - home of Mike and Sandra, and their alpacas of course.  They had laid on rather a lot of spectacular entertainment for us - "wild ducks" that waddled along after Mike as if he was Mummy Duck, cameras linked to a bird box where a nest of Blue Tits had hatched, a group of female alpacas bearing down on a basking fox amidst much screeching, various mechanical things to captivate Carl, much fleece rummaging of lovely young girls, an exceedingly good fig tree (keep the roots contained to get a good crop) and, possibly my favourite (apart from the alpacas), a moving television - brilliant!

However, the real purpose of our visit to Warrenfield was Warrenfield Jed.  Jed was coming to stay for a while for one or two romantic interludes.  We have Harry, a black, but he is not ready to work quite yet and I have three young girls who are crying out for a young black boy - so Sandra has come to the rescue with Jed!  He is a gorgeous boy with a lovely temperament and walks very well on his halter - I have warned Sandra that Harry also walked beautifully on his halter when he arrived - not quite so good now!

Jed had to travel on his own and cope with a ferry trip but as soon as he was on the ferry he settled down and was great all the way back.  We had a 20 minute wait for the ferry - despite driving super slow back to the terminal and creating a superior traffic back log.  Once at the terminal Jed moaned a bit and peered wistfully out of the back which caused great amusement to the holiday makers who swiftly got their camera phones out!  Carl and I attempted to look nonchalant whilst leafing through the colour supplements and hoping he would lie down.

No problems after that and when we arrived he had his halter on and walked out of the trailer and off down the track very happily.  Then the girls spotted him and charged over with Prue and Emily leading the way.  Zara insisted on showing him her bottom and bucking and rearing around in circles in an exceedingly flighty way - but she has a different lover waiting in the wings!

 The young boys were also keen to say hello and were very disappointed when he didn't come to join them.  Dude, however, was definitely not best pleased.  He did much rearing, sniffing the air and posing - finally alternating retreating to the top of the hill where he could keep an eye on his every move and charging down the bottom to check he wasn't intruding on his space!.

I have been sitting in the Mule making sure he settles and, finally, after lots of air sniffing and pacing he is grazing - although he hits the deck pretty quick whenever it rains - which it has been, torrential, on and off since we returned.  The photos of him are not that good as he is a bit muddy and the trailer got drenched on the way there - I will do better when the sun comes out.

I was a bit worried, with all the rain, about the sheared alpacas but they are very sensible - at the first spots there is a mad dash - led by Cassie in the girls paddock and Spike in the boys paddock for the shelters and they all cram in - except Harry who hasn't been sheared!

Finally, whilst in the Mule, I photographed these two, no idea what they are but I include them as Geoff has a lot of pretty birds on his blog tonight!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Jayne has landed!

It has been a great day today!  This morning Mr Owl flew over bearing with him - Jayne from Zanzibar!  We have seen Jayne on her home territory several times but this was the first visit of Jayne to Westhill.  After a nice cup of tea we paid a visit to the sheep where Jayne fed Nonlimpit and I surepticiously sat on Two Tone to stop her having a rub on Jayne's back - not a pleasant experience when you are kneeling down as she tends to knock you over.  We then had a cuddle of Greeves and fed a bit of carrot to Bert and Flem, the others kept their distance a bit as I think their minds are more on their pregnancies.  In fact Jayne said she saw Flem's baby move - and I think I did to.  We had tour of the grounds and then a spot of lunch - the salmon quiche was delicious and very little was left (more on that later), the honey ring swiftly turned into a horseshoe but the fruit cake was left until tea time.

Then back to look at the boys and some of the fleece from this year's shearing - did make me seriously think about the future of one of them!  I fear Spike's lump is getting worse and the vet will be needed next week.  I have to say that when we opened Harry's flece even I was impressed with the colour - what I would call a real blue black and nice and long.  Dylan's undercarriage impressed - as usual!

We then got the other girl's down and I left Lina until last as I feared a spit explosion but she managed to restrain herself nicely.  Emily I was quite impressed with, I am toying with a black mating for her (more on that tomorrow).  Lily, of course, I am always proud to show off - whether people want to see her or not!  But by this time I feared Jayne might be becoming a little tired of alpaca viewing so we returned to the house for fruit cake.  Carl had now returned so it was more chat and then a trip over to see Dude.  Dude is a little frisky at the moment and spends a lot of his time sniffing the air - I think he wants girls - so Carl and Sam cornered him with the rope so Jayne could have a look.

Hope you had a good day Jayne, it was a tremendous honour to have a visit and be able to show you our herd!

When we took Jayne back to Wellground we managed a sneaky look at a  cria.  That is a little gem for a lucky new owner (I think it's Donna - congratualtions!).

And now we have RAIN!!  With a bit of thunder and lightining!  We still have a livestock trailer to prepare though as we have another visitor tomorrow - more news soon.

Oh - and the quiche - I asked Sam to put the rest in the kitchen while we returned Jayne - he did but did not cover it and I returned to find Smudge on the worktop with a great chunk in his mouth - purring!!

And - if there are any spelling mistakes - I am sorry, the spell check does not work and time is getting on!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Preparing for a Visitor

I now have a delicious looking honey ring, a fabulous flan and a tempting fruit cake - Carl was very disappointed when I said he could not test them - Thank you GHN!

After a dodgy start to the day, involving an awful lot of rusty tin, things progressed swimmingly - but now I find I have achieved very little - Spike's suspected abscess looks bigger, the scab has come off the cut on Barry's shoulder and spraying it with wound plaster has made it look awful, Bert spat at me as I climbed the fence and Sam has "Unidentified, random pains" which looks like, so he says, he may not make school tomorrow.  Sock fluff and cat hair refused to be lifted and the kitchen walls are disgusting.  I have bags of unsorted fleece everywhere so I must now give up and have a bath with a P.G. Wodehouse for company!

Thank you for the kind comments on Greeves - sadly, he still looks like a cartoon character at the moment!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

I am the Greeves Fan Club!

Visit from The Grey Haired Neighbour this morning who sent me this very nice picture she took.  From the right - Crispie, Flem standing with Islay lying behind her.  Then lovely little Greeves (looking at the camera and scratching, Bert looking the other way and Cassie lying down at looking.  Behind in the other paddock are Prue and Lina with Carolyn and Emily lying down behind.  The Grey Haired Neighbour has now gone on a cake making mission in honour of The Great Jayne!

Greeves has me very overexcited at the moment - we had his fleece stats back this morning.  I know we have to be cautious on this one.  He has been near death's door at least twice and we must take into account that well known phenomena of starvation fineness (well, well known to all but me who only discovered it this morning!).  We really will not know what he is really like until next fleece sample and the current fleece has no hope for it due to the hay, seeds and probably even small colonies of pygmy tribes living undiscovered with in it BUT - there is hope!  His mean fibre diameter is 14.4 with an SD of 3.9 and 0.6 over 30 microns.  We have a lovely little tight packed graph all squashed up at the top of the page!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Lumps and Bumps

It's okay, I have stopped muttering (well, actually it was screeching)!  Good news and bad today.  First the good, Jayne from Zanzibar is winging her way over for a visit on Friday.  Lovely to hear her voice on the phone today, now I just have to get the house looking presentable - she has a very clean house, create food - she makes a very good cake and have a long chat with the animals to tell them all to behave themselves, some hope!  One of the Owls is flying over with her under their wing - roll on Friday!

On the bad side shearing has revealed a problem - poor Spike (the wether) appears to have an abscess.  It is a round lump, squidgy but does not appear to be painful.  If it is an  abscess it must be my fault and made doubly bad because it is really not where I should have been injecting.  I  am not happy with myself and phoned the vet.  The vet says just to monitor it for now so we'll give it a daily check.  Next I discovered poor Barry has a little cut on his shoulder which was not there yesterday.  Alf is starting to fight a bit and I hope it wasn't him that did it.  Now Alf has been sheared, he looks even bigger and the little ones look even smaller so I think I might have to take the two little ones out. 
The two bottle fed lambs - Limpit and Nonlimpit - are doing very well and no longer limp.  After a couple of days I ran out of the original antibiotic so used Excenell in desperation and that seemed to do the trick.  It also finally cleared Mum's mastitis.  Dobby seems very happy to have black lambs in with him (he is black) and he and Caedmon are back with my white Texel cross sheep but Limpit and Nonlimpit are in with them with their Mum (they are destined to become pets!).  This afternoon The Limpits were jumping all over Dobby while he tried to sleep - Caedmon (white) was on the other side of the field with Stumpy's baby (white) jumping on him.  I know I have said it before but it is fascinating how alpacas seem to react to different coloured animals.

Greeves surprised me just now.  I went over to give Bert her evening tickle (she is particularly fond of a rub under the chin and at the top of her leg) and Little Greeves came over for a kiss - he hasn't done that for several weeks.  He then surprised me even more by charging around and trying to mount every one of the girls - very unsuccessful as he is too small!  He does look rather odd at the moment as we tried not to shear him too short and it has made him look as if he has a very fat tummy!  Having said that he is actually getting much better, not really skinny at all now.

Little Wee has totally recovered from being spayed and, thank goodness, no longer roams around calling all the wild cats. 

She gets on very well with Smudge but Cruella is still wary of her.  The ladder is there as Carl is painting the outside of the house!