Thursday, 25 July 2013

Snakes Alive!

Today started on a very positive note (thank you GHN, Mother, The Aunt and The Chippendales!) but it has gone rapidly downhill!

Took Mother to Stur this morning and heard about yesterday's adventure.  She had gone through the hall and see a very large snake scooting towards the shoe rack.  This would have been enough to send me screaming down the road never to return!  Mother, however, is made of sterner stuff and, arming herself with a large broom and a bucket, she managed to capture the snake and headed off up the hill with it.  This proved trickier than expected as the snake insisted in trying to writhe its way out of the bucket.  It was returned to the undergrowth eventually but I shall be keeping my eyes open as I do not want to encounter it or it's friends!

I then made my way back to fleece sort as I have a buyer for some fawn and to check the animals.  All alpacas were fine but I found a horrid sight in the field with the sheep.  Yesterday morning all the sheep were in for ear tag and feet checking and everyone was fine.  Last night Sam checked them in the evening and they were still fine.  This morning I did the water and I am pretty sure everyone was fine - but I cannot swear I did not miss one so the incident could have occurred in the night.  In the top corner of second I found a very dead Number 31.  She had been attacked and the whole of her back end eaten away - even the hip bone had been ripped out.  I did find the bone hanging by some ligaments to the top of the stock fence in third field and it looked like something had jumped the fence carrying it and it had got caught.  I really do not think a fox could have brought her down as she was a big sheep who had twins the last two years.  It might have been a dog but I don't think she was mauled in the right way for that.  You may think me silly but I would not rule out a big black cat and there have been reports of them around the hill.  I am looking for tracks this evening but the ground is so dry it is unlikely I will find anything.  I am very sad about this sheep as she was one of my favourites.  I could give you a picture at this point but it would be very gruesome.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hay without a hitch!

I am having a bit of a sit down now having completed a vigorous rain dance as we are scraping the bottom of the barrel for water.  We have managed to achieve quite a bit in the last few day.  We cut hay on Friday evening and had it baled and in the barn by Sunday night with no haymaking dramas whatsoever.  We were very lucky to have the help of Sam and the Dairyman to get it in.  Bit of a pep talk going on before it was all hands to the pumps!
Sam and I had sorted the barn out before we started so stacking was easier than usual and the Mule had very little carting to do this year as we used the big trailer.


Carl also managed to fit in sharing 20 alpacas on the Saturday so it was all go.  Monday was all alpacas checked over, feet done and remedial halter training.  I hesitate to show you the halter training photos as I am the only human featured - this is the best one of String having her halter put on (she is very good and was halter trained last year) but just look at the vast expanse of shorts - a small battalion could camp in them!

Yesterday we delivered a group of lambs and went to deliver fleece for processing in the afternoon.  Today Viv and I have sorted the catalogue for Ellingham show, Sam and I have retagged a sheep with a lost eartag - - and come to the conclusion that Little Star is not going to make the halter training grade!  She has no fear of a halter on but just does what she wants and not what we want.  She is also far more interested in boys than anything else!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Christina Aguilera arrives

Bit of catching up to do in this blog but I'll be brief.  The  alpacas are all doing well with the next ones coming into their 11 months.  Prue is one of these and as usual she looks big, saggy at the rear and generally pregnant - as last year I don't think she is though.  She is just an old flirt!

The coloured alpacas and Sherbet stay in the shed for most of the hottest part of the day and just venture out to kick over all the water containers they can.  No one  has been mated yet and Dude is very fed up about the whole business!

Six of the lambs were ear tagged today and are ready to go to their new home soon.  Reg is staying here as he is just too dog like to do anything else with.

 . . and I have a new car.  The old one was expiring slowly  and we had reached the terminal stage so now possess a very clean, shiny car which Carl calls a Christina Aguilera, I call a Fussy Opal and Sam calls a Vauxhall Aquila.  It is obviously aimed at the elderly School Mistress due to the seating position  which is very upright, the very large clock and date illuminated on the dash in case you forget what day it is, it's roomy capacity enabling one to wear any form of headgear whilst driving, the excessively thick red line marking 30mph on the speedo and the fact that you can go anywhere at any speed in any gear.  It has very handy boxes under the front seats which I call Storage Containers and Carl calls incontinence trays.  Carl and I are still at the stage where we get the giggles when we go out in it.  Sam is threatening to fit a snorkel kit. 

This next few days is going to be very busy due to shearing and hay making (I know we are late with the hay but we have just not had a chance to do anything about it yet).  Carl sorted out the woofler and the bale sledge tonight, the tractor has a new starter motor, we are nearly set to begin the manic marathon!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Postman Pat

Quick blog - really to say there is no proper blog yet!  We have had a very busy weekend with a show which was great (barring a small hitch on the way there), shearing and a slight problem with my car - off to look at a Postman Pat car tomorrow.  We had another cria which I am not sure whether I have mentioned so here is a photo of Sherbet's little boy and more news in a few days!
He is quite big!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Ellingham and Ringwood Show

Looks like the hot weather is continuing for a fair bit longer so I have started to anxiously tap the sides of the water barrels in the hope that there is still plenty of water.  We are getting through a bowser full quite rapidly and this is not helped by Cassie coming up to the gate and looking at me longingly until I tip a bucket of water over her.  The fleece is remarkably water proof so I have to rub the water into her and then do a second bucket.  She loves it!

All cria are doing well and Ohno is beginning to join in with the others a bit more (sounds like a school report!)

Sam and Carl went over to check out a temporary sheep paddock for a little group to go to.  We don't need the grazing but they want some sheep to eat the grass down in preparation for viewers as the house is going up for auction.  I have fallen in love with it but it is way outside our paltry budget -  I shall be going to check the sheep and pretending it is mine!  Sam is off helping our house neighbour tomorrow clearing scrap and doing a bit of strimming - then they are off shearing so I shall be home alone again - which means halter training on my own and I don't find that easy.  Halter training has reached critical stage now as progress is slow and we have two to take out at the weekend and a show coming up.  Now I hope you don't mind but I am going to make a little show plea.

For several years now we have taken our alpacas to Ellingham and Ringwood Show.  It has always been a great show and we have had lots of interest and sold several animals through going there.  This year they asked if we could organise a show there for this year as the alpacas drew so much interest.  We agreed but as I am well aware we have very limited knowledge of showing I managed to get Viv and Andy from Reddingvale to help - actually it is really us helping Viv and Andy as they are much more knowledgeable about such things.  There is an awful lot to do and I take my hat off to all of you who organise BAS shows but we are plodding along with much help from other breeders.  Problem is we need more entries and the show entry closing date is tomorrow.  Please enter if you can, entries are via BAS website.  We have got some cracking sashes and rosettes and it is a lovely friendly show.  Many thanks to our very generous sponsors who will get a big mention very soon!  If you want more details you can find them here -

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Glorious Brown or Glorious Fawn?

Today has been like being on a Greek Island without the sea, or the freshly squeezed orange juice or the stuffed vine leaves!  For one with a lot of extra bulk in the stomach and top body area it has been too much.  I was stuck at the fields all day with a miniscule bottle of water and an apple as Carl was mending my clutch which took forever so I am now red and sweaty.

I have looked out the BAS colour chart and shall be checking on Gloria tomorrow.  Being a novice breeder of coloured alpacas the distinction between dark fawn and brown is tricky but I think you must be right, Mark.  I know the black one is black (tentatively called BA, or BA Baracus) but Gloria may need a rethink.  I had a complaint last night that her photo was covered in flies so I have been trying to get one of a flyless Gloria which was not easy.  She is very good at posing though, she can stand like this for ages!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Cria line up

Drove past the Grave Digger twice today in the space of ten minutes, waved manically to GHN (really needs to now be known as The Rock Chick - How can anyone look so with it and glamorous whilst mowing the lawn?!), then spent the rest of the day distributing water.  Sherbet has learnt how to knock the drinkers off the gates so she can roll in the water.

Shearing is not quite caught up despite a major push by all of us last night and the boys today but we are getting there!

Now for a baby catch up.  First up is Maria, oldest and bossiness.  Her fleece doesn't look wonderful but Flem (her Mum) tends to have cria whose fleece comes on later so she may be okay.
Then we have Emily's little man - he is the one at the back as he is a bit shy but his fleece shows some promise.
Zara's baby spent most of his time today in the fleece shelter, it was roasting hot, so the picture is a bit gloomy - lack of light  doesn't show off a  black cria very well!
And here is Lily's  baby - named Ohno (my first words when I saw him!).  He has a lovely personality!

And finally Gloria who has a strange fleece. 

She looked like a suri when she was born but this morning she had 'huacayad up' which I have tried to catch in a photo not very successfully - this is a back leg shot.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Have a cigar, Harry!

What an exciting day I am having!  This morning both Sherbet and The Slink were looking decidedly uncomfortable.  With Sherbet nothing has happened and I think that was a fly problem more than anything - she has a nasty sore on her back but the Camrosa has now arrived so hopefully I can get on top of that.

The Slink, however, soon produced a bubble of water bag and shortly after a part of head - but no feet.  A lot of heaving later and I felt it was time to intervene.  The Slink is pretty nervy and this was her first cria so I anticipated problems but she was a little darling.  Many a time I have run round trying to catch a sheep with part of a stuck lamb hanging out it's back end but alpacas just seem to want help (I know you made a comment about that Lisa but I forgot to reply - sorry).  It was a very tight fit but, once I had got the legs out, with a lot of lube and easing out squelched the head with a great sucking noise!  A few pulls downwards when she strained and once the front end was clear I left her to let the rest slither out on it's own.  This was an exciting cria for me as it was Harry's first (Black Arrow - he's black!)  The Slink is white from white so I knew it could be a Multi and I was fine with that - - but that isn't what we have got!  Firstly - I am trying to drag this out to frustrate someone I know who will be reading this, sorry, it is a little girl.  And the colour?  A solid brown!  Her name is Glorious Gloria and here she is!
She had only just popped out so she is a bit messy and, as usual, the purple spray went everywhere.  Shortly after this Sapphire noticed her, plonked herself down next to her and spat at anyone who came near - including her Mum!  I had to tempt her away and then keep pushing her back down the hill!

Lots more to say about today but I now have to go and get ready for a shearing push - trying to get all bookings completed by Sunday due to the weather which is boiling!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Cria Gazing

Yesterday was a day of wasting time - watching the cria!  Four so far - Maria, the oldest, has a mind of her own and does not want to be weighed, checked over or cooperate in any way - but she does want to play and annoy everyone who is sleeping.

She does have competition in the annoying stakes from the little black baby of Zara's who is just completely cute!  He is either flat out asleep or trying out his mating skills complete with baby orgling!
Having a go at Maria

Carolyn may have been a little large for him

Back to Maria with Carolyn and Emily's cria looking on

Maria again!

Emily's baby is a little softie who Maria seems to have adopted as her best friend.

. . . and then there is Lily's baby who is, frankly, weird.  I confess I was a trifle disappointed with him when I first saw him.  I know you shouldn't say that but when he was first born the first thought was - fawn ears and neck, white body - not surprising as Lily masks a lot of colour but I had hoped for something better! 

Yesterday, though I had a change of heart as he is just so sweet.  Weird and I can't make out his colour as close up he doesn't look fawn.  But the strangest bit is he is so docile and so is Lily which is not normal for her.  Baby charges around normally but if he is kushed and I go over to him he just sits there (I am NOT fussing him, honestly)  and I can touch him and he just gives me that Different Strokes character look - "What you looking at?"

Having said all that I have several oddities at the moment.  Trouble and Little Star are both remarkably laid back.  My first thought is whether they are really pregnant - time will tell.

Tonight we have just returned from a meeting which in involved Green Wheelbarrows, Elton John Tribute Bands, Gold Wings and a very large choir!  More on that next time!