Saturday 31 July 2010

A slightly perked up Greeves

Little Greeves was really flat this morning. I had put his coat on as it was beginning to rain last night so he was dry on his back but he wouldn't stand or raise his head to feed. I struggled to get a bit of milk into him and then decided to give him a teaspoon of glucose mixed in a bottle. Gradually, over the day, he has perked up a bit and this evening I am celebrating a weight gain of 200g. Here he is, looking a little more perky.

We are also celebrating Dude's performances so far! He is a bit fed up tonight and a little bit feisty as no one welcomed his advances. The four we have mated so far all spat off for the second time - very convincingly! Islay still is not interested and Emily we are leaving to tomorrow. I am going to give Lina another week as I want to get the baby gaining weight properly first. The Suri's are desperate to get at him but that is not going to happen!

Carl and Sam have dabbled with a little fencing today - they were not going to do anymore yet but we are getting so short of grass in the current paddocks we need to create another secure one. Amber, the dog, has to go on her bailer twine lead when the tractor starts up or she tries to run back to the house!

In fact, it has been all go all day - except for the cats who have been asleep in what was once a flower border - Smudge, Cruella and lack of time have put paid to all that!

Friday 30 July 2010

A visit from Easter-wood Alpaca Stud

A visit today from Jeff and Sheila of Easterwood Alpaca Stud. We had been trying to arrange a visit for ages but births meant none of us could leave things. Luckily, they had a break in their births and with a farm sitter on hand over they came. It was really lovely to meet up and we had long alpaca conversations whilst doing a tour. Most surprising was Lina who appeared to fall madly in love with Jeff. I had warned Sheila that Lina was a bit protective and then over strolled Jeff and she was straight over for a neck rub! Bert, of course, wasn't being left out and wanted a cuddle - well most of them did! Jeff was attracting the girls like a magnet! We had a good talk about fleece and processing, future plans and heard about an excellent crop of cria they have had this year - looking forward to visiting soon to see them!

Sadly, that can't happen yet as Lina's baby is still not out of the woods. He has stopped putting on weight and is now shrinking - from a 7.9kg high he is now back down to 7.4kg despite the bottles. However, I have decided he must have a name now as I can't keep calling him Lina's baby - so he has been named Greeves. I am getting to know him exceedingly well (he was almost called Mr Kipling but Carl vetoed that!) as I am now having to up the feeding frequency as he cannot take too much at a time - he just spits it all back up again.

Carl is on mad barometer checking now the mower is mended - he's champing at the bit to get the next crop of hay and keeps looking gloomy and muttering, "It's going to be a hard winter, hay is going to be in short supply . . . " The fact that we have around 600 bales in the barn is forgotten. He and Sam seem to have teemed up on a 'We need a new tractor campaign' and I keep being shown pictures of 'cool' tractors and told about the delights of 'shuttle gears' and the merits of 'Valpadene' - I may have got that all wrong as, to be honest, they mention the word tractor and I shut down!

Thursday 29 July 2010

Mule Accident

Last night, Carl was run over by the Mule - I had told him before not to turn round and bend over in front of anything that is moving towards him. I have to say that it was not me that ran him over and the person who did was very sorry but it wasn't his fault anyway. Carl is fine but does has some rather nice bruising which might mean he will take more care. I have given him some Health and Safety advise but his response to that is unprintable.

Sam returned from his camping trip this evening after having a very good time. He seems to have eaten a vast quantity of battered Mars Bars which are, apparently, delicious. He also smells despite having sampled the delights of Milborne Port public toilets.

We have had a very busy day cleaning paddocks, Carl has today and tomorrow off, doing toenails which appear to be growing at an excessive rate and giving Dude a second shearing. His fleece was so dense and he was beginning to find it difficult to see out so we thought best do him again now to give it time to grow before winter. He still has some more matings to do so we need him lively and not overheating! Here he is after Carl had finished him and he had sampled the delights of his rolling pit (Dude rolling that is and not Carl) - and Dude was a very good boy!

Wednesday 28 July 2010


The title has nothing to do with anything - I just can't get that song out of my head this evening! My headache gave me a rather disturbed night and I blame it all on that and my dream of a Tipsy Bookmaker!
We have just weighed Lina's baby and I can't believe it - he is 7.9kg - a gain of 0.8 in a day! I have been going like mad with the bottles - he still will not suck much but is beginning to have tentative goes. I wait until he has drunk from Lina first and he always goes straight back to her afterwards. She has now got used to me giving him a bottle next to her so it has been working fine - just hope the weight keeps going on. I think we are almost ready to name him now!
I fear Smudge, the cat, had a bit of a near miss on the road this morning. I heard a squal of brakes and a few seconds after Smudge came hurtling through the cat flap. He's been asleep upstairs since then so maybe it scared him a bit and, hopefully, he will be a bit more careful!

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Bert and Me

My tooth has settled quite nicely but I have had a nasty headache today. The dentist phoned this morning to check I was okay which I thought was exceedingly nice of him. Lina's baby has put on no more weight today but he hasn't lost any and he is more lively. He actually had a go at the Camelibra tonight - a little young for that! The flies have been really attacking his eyes so he looks a little bedraggled.

I think Bert is ready for mating already! She is always a bit cuddly but is now getting ridiculous! Sadly, this photo also shows my 'new' haircut which, as can be seen, is now virtually the same as it always was. It did look different when I came out of the hairdressers! Bert's eyes are bald - they always have been. She had a bad case of mites before we had her and, despite lots of improvement, we have never succeeded in getting the hair to come back on her eyelids.

Luckily the picture doesn't show my legs as it has been so humid, I had my shorts on and Carl has taken to calling me Stanley Matthews as they appear to be very wide and long in the legs - ballooning about in the manner of Eric Morecambe! And it is the body warmer that makes me look such a strange shape (I hope!).

Like Lina's baby, the flies have been getting on Bert's eyes and what she likes most is having her eyes covered up and rubbed! She stands there for ages like this making little soft sighs!

Sam is now camping - minus a tent, sleeping bag, torch or even food! I tried to get him to pack proper things like apples, spare underwear, toothbrush . . .

Monday 26 July 2010

My tooth

Today was the dentist. Not good! My old dentist had broken a root filling as he put it in and this new one was trying to dig it out - he couldn't. I ended up having to have the tooth out and it was a big one and it was horrid. When it was out you could see the filling sticking out of the bottom of the root. I always feel I am going to drown when I am at the dentist and although he assured me I wouldn't, the picture of a tropical beach on the ceiling was not very reassuring. The rest of the day I ambled around feeling very sorry for myself. Sam must have felt sorry for me to as he poo picked the boys field without being asked. The dentist said not to lie down for a few hours so I managed the rest of the waste and readjusted Barry's hernia contraption. The rest of the time was taken up with trying to get Lina's baby to drink. I didn't think I had done too well but tonight he weighed 7.1kg which is, finally, 100g more than he was just after birth.

Sam is away camping now for a couple of nights - which seems odd as he doesn't have a tent! Mind you, the size of his army rucksack, I should think he could sleep in that!

Sunday 25 July 2010

Busy Day

A very satisfyingly busy day today. We have done injections, trimmed toenails - alpacas and sheep. Bert's group of girls have been moved - along with their shelter which has been given a thorough clean. We did a very satisfactory spit off with Carolyn and a promising mating with Belinda, who Dude obviously was very taken by as he kept giving her little kisses! Carl topped the paddock the girls moved from. There's very little grass left in there but he wanted to get rid of the old stalks and odd nettles. He's also mended the mower so we are all set for the next batch of haymaking. There's very little grass anywhere about. Landrover man's cows have plenty of room to roam but even they are beginning to turn their attention to the nettles.

Lina's baby lost all yesterday's weight gain and so we're back to 6.7kg again. I am still having to squirt the bottle down his throat but he is quite lively.

The rest of the cria are all doing well - Velocette has taken to chicken chasing!

And - it's my birthday and I got presents and funny cards!! Tonight we are going to share some chocolates before resuming the bottle feeding battle! Oh, and Sam said I should post a birthday photo of myself. I told him to take one of me looking glamorous with a few alpacas - what I forgot is that you have to dress up first for photos and it's no good trying for a glamorous photo when you are bent over bottle feeding. Hundreds of pictures of my bottom have had to be deleted out of the vast quantity Sam took! In the end I decided the world was not ready for that!

Saturday 24 July 2010

Cuddling Bert

I am very pleased to say that Lina's baby put on 200g today! I have managed to get 500g of milk into her so far but it has not been easy as he really resists the bottle and I have had to squeeze it down his throat but it has got to be done. Lina has been very good about it all and just grazes next to me while I grapple with her baby. She wasn't keen on Carl weighing him - I don't do that as I want her to accept me so I can feed on my own.
The SFS and friend came over this afternoon and Velocette was a little charmer - coming over to say hello and doing her cute look. We were in the middle of matings and sorting out a barbed wire alternative to electric fence on Dude's pen. Electric fencing is not working well for us as things keep blowing against it or growing up to it and shorting it out. Nothing appears to be getting in but we wanted a second line of defence so have had to move to plan B despite the gates looking like something out of Colditz!

It has worked well, going for a touch of colour amongst the cria this year as Barnaby Rudge and Barry Norton look really attractive in the paddock. We were going to look towards adding some black to the herd but now I think we might consider brown as well. Barnaby is only ever going to be pet quality (his mother is our blue eyed white) but his fleece is really lovely with a tight crimpy curl. The challenge is now to make the right breeding decision for Prue - it will have to be a dark, solid colour - and then hope for a girl we can continue to breed up from.

Bert has stopped looking for her baby and is now in her intensely loving mood. She came up to the gate this evening for a real cuddle, snuggling her face into me and sighing with great appreciation as I rubbed her eyelids - something she really enjoys! Bert, as I have said before, is my very favourite alpaca. She was one of the first imports from Peru and, I think, probably took a while to get over that. When they were sheared a couple of years ago by Tim Hey he still remembered her from when he selected her in Peru. She has had a mite problem in the past and, to look at, has some rough patches but, despite all that - if you look at her closely - you can see she is something special and you can see why she was picked to come here. I always knew Bert was capable of producing something very special and she did this year - hopefully, we'll do it again soon!

Friday 23 July 2010

Clumsy Cats and Tunnelling Chickens

Lina's baby is still the same weigh - 6.7kg - despite my best efforts. I was going to wait until he was 7kg for a photo but have decided that could be a long wait, so here he is.

Carl and Sam have been away labouring for the day so I have had a peaceful time communing with the alpacas - along with managing waste and attempting the bottle (bottle for the baby that is - not quite at the stage of hitting the bottle myself yet). Things were interrupted a bit at lunch time when Smudge, the cat, spectacularly fell in the water trough - again - he is not very agile due to his club foot, withered leg and missing claws!
I sat with Velocette and continued my conversation on focusing her efforts on gaining crimp in her legs at which she untucked one leg - stretched it out front of her and stared at it. That's only really funny if you were there but it made me laugh! Barnaby Rudge spends most of his time with Velocette although he is making little attempts at playing with Lina's baby. Lina's baby isn't really up to it though.

And here is Velocette - fast becoming a real favourite!

This afternoon I did one of my favourite jobs - I went on a ragwort hunt. This involves driving very slowly round the fields in the Mule and veering of at a pace if I spot a speck of yellow. I don't have to do much getting out the mule as I don't tend to find much but today I did spot and pull two bits. The job was safely accomplished despite being in imminent danger of disappearing with my Mule down some steadily growing holes. These holes are caused by the chickens and started out as little dust baths they scratched out for themselves. Sadly, they have continued scratching and now appear to be tunnelling. As you can see some holes they can sink themselves into completely!

Thursday 22 July 2010

All spick and span at Cap'n Rob's!

Sam on holiday is wonderful - for me, not sure about whether he agrees! I confiscated his phone last night so he got a proper night's sleep (didn't work as he sneaked it back in the middle of the night) and left him to look after the animals this morning while I went to sort out boxes for the Great Western Region Fleece Show. On the way back I made a quick detour to Wellground for an alpaca fix. Rob and Les appear to have a whole battalion of weapons at their disposal to generate extra alpaca fascination! Firstly, there's Imprint - she is just so lovely! Velocette is, if I remember rightly, her half sister and she has exactly the same temperament - coming up to say hello, making little mewing noises, gazing at you with her big, limpid eyes - adorable!
Second weapon in the Wellground armoury is mighty clean alpacas. I just had to gaze in awe at their gleaming whiteness. I at first suspected the pressure washer, but no - that was for the barn. Then I saw the trick - "Oh, Les, is that a spot of poo on that cria?" At which Les, or it might have been Rob the action was so slick, burst forth and removed the minute speck from a cria fleece! This amazing cleanliness has to be a combination of top notch paddock maintainance, Poo spotting at 100 paces and, of course, top quality, dense fleece.
Third weapon is Lalique. Wow! You only have to walk in the drive and that one catches your eye.
Well after all that I sped home to discuss fleece characteristics with Velocette who hummed to herself, ot bored and went to sleep.
Barry's Hernia is better but not cured and as his hernia belt is now too small we've been using half a tennis ball and a cohesive bandage but the bandage has lost it's grip and keeps dropping off so after a bit of bottle feeding with Lina's baby it was off to the chemist for another. Lina's baby is still a worry but he had put on 0.1kg this morning - not much but we are grateful for small gains at the moment.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Tumbling Towers

Lina's group spent last night in the barn as it began to start raining and although the cria had his coat on, Velocette was determined to remove it! I've spent most of the day trying to get it to partake of a bottle but it is very stubborn and has a tendency to spit it back out. Lina, however, is much more cooperative and has not interfered at all so that is some progress. I sent Sam down to the Library van to get me some books as I didn't think I could leave the alpacas at this stage. He moaned a lot about this before he went as books are of little interest to him and he didn't really see how, with his dyslexia, he was ever going to find a 'nice murder' and he refused to ask the Library Van man for a book without sex in it! He came back much happier and with a good selection due to the help of the Cup Cake Fairy - thank you!! He also met The Keeper of the Graveyard mending the Church yard wall - apparently, Sam says, the church tower is now leaning. I hope he is exaggerating, wouldn't want it to tumble into the garden below! Here it is in the snow earlier this year.

I did take a picture of Lina's baby but I thought I would wait on that one for a few days! Now I have to check on Amber, the dog, I was on the phone just now and she had a rather nasty fit.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Teeth and Hair

Lina's bay had a tiny milky moustache round his face this morning! He has not gained any weight but he hasn't lost any and he is more lively than yesterday so we continue to monitor - goats milk at the ready.

Sam was home today as college has now broken up for the summer so this meant I could get into Blandford to visit my new dentist. I took the enormous step of going to a private dentist just to check my teeth were really as bad as the old dentist said. Well, all is not lost. This lovely man said only two of my teeth have a problem and that was caused by the root canal filling breaking when it was put in. I feel better now knowing it is not my fault. Sadly, the cost of putting it right is BIG. However, I am not quite ready to fall apart so me and my new dentist are tentatively going to embark on a course of treatment, amounting to two pages and spiralling upwards in terms of cost! We'll see how far we get.

I also had my hair cut. It's now very straight, very shiny and curls into a provocative sweep across my chin - or at least it did until approximately 10 minutes after I got back and then, after chasing Barry to check his hernia and sitting with Bert to comfort her it reverted to it's usual wild tangle!

Monday 19 July 2010


Thank you for your sympathy over Matchless - and I'm sorry it wasn't a happy blog to wake up to so I've taken a few relaxing photos for Willie! This first one is the Drove - in the spring it is full of primroses and wild garlic. By the end of August it is so grown over it's like a little tunnel. My uncle and Grandad laid a lot of the hedging at the side and Carl is starting to continue it.

This is the view from the bottom of third field followed by a view from the top of second looking over first field to the Blackmore Vale.
And finally, Barnaby Rudge!

All attention here has now turned to Lina's baby. He is 'drinking' like crazy but we are very unsure whether he is getting enough. He lost weight yesterday and today has stayed at that weight - 6.7kg. Lina is a highly protective Mum and will not stand Carl near her baby - yesterday she screamed when he got close! Today she wasn't so bad but there is no way he could feed her. She doesn't mind me touching the baby and I can put a bottle in his mouth and take his coat on and off now but I am trying not to intervene too quickly - although at the same time I don't want to leave it too late. We're keeping a very close eye on this one!

Saturday 17 July 2010


Yesterday evening started badly. Bert's baby drank very well all day until the 8pm feed - he didn't really want any but I wasn't too worried as he had done so well during the day and he was very lively. Carl went to do the 10pm feed and as he was going out the dog started to create a terrible racket. Carl discovered a group of lads, some very intoxicated urinating in the car park and looking around. They shot into their car and roared off when they saw him. It wasn't until he came back that he realised they had stolen our post box. Then we started to hear thumping music and there were a few cars driving fast up from Okeford. We never normally hear much at night except animals so this was all very odd and Carl said he would do the night feeds as the music was going on and you could hear shouting in the distance. I went to bed to catch up on sleep only to be woken by Carl at midnight saying the baby still wasn't feeding and it had started to shiver and have diarrhea. I rushed over with him and as soon as I got out of the Mule I could hear it's rasping breaths - just a couple of hours before it had been charging around. Despite the expense I know I am in for it was time for the vet. He arrived and gave him antibiotics and anti-inflamatories and said he was very cold and to warm him up as hypothermia was setting in. This is easier said than done. Carl put his jacket round him and surrounded him with bales which was the best we could do. At 2am I thought he was gone as his breathing was no longer rasping but as I went over he lifted his head which he hadn't been able to do when the vet was here - he was very cold though and I sent Carl back to make up a bottle which he drank a tiny bit of. I rubbed him to try to warm him up. It's an awful thing when you can feel a little life slipping away. Bert's baby was so gorgeous - he had a presence and such a dense fleece you couldn't see the skin - you just couldn't get through the dense, tight, curls - and he shone. I rubbed and rubbed him to try to get him warm with great waves of unchristian anger towards the council and The Three flowing through me. You can't take a sick alpaca back over a field on his own to a house to warm him up.

He died at 4.50am
His name was Matchless.
He didn't need to die.

A sad lack of reading material

No photos today, I'm afraid but I am going to try for a night shot tonight!
It was another long night and I was beginning to despair a bit with Bert's baby who really took some tempting with the bottle. The midnight feed was a bit of a farce and all because of the cria coats. Big mistake having two coats both the same colour! I was struggling to get the bottle in what I thought was Bert's babies mouth when there was a terrible anguished scream behind me. I turned round to see Lina looking frantic - I'd got the wrong baby! Very little went in the right baby after that so I settled down with the book to wait for the next feed. Sadly, the book I had taken down got a bit scarey and something started rustling outside so I abandoned that and now know in fine detail the constituents of Lamblac, how to collect a swarm of bees, how to tell if you've got strawberry foot rot and the properties of alcoholic hand cleaner - I even considered tasting it at one point (I believe they have had to remove it from prisons for just that reason). I was thinking we would have to try a stomach tube with Bert's baby and then suddenly it drank a whole 200ml and came up for the bottle as soon as I went in. Things have continued to go pretty well for him today. Lina's baby has lively times and her udder seems fuller but I am still unsure whether he is getting enough. We'll see when we weigh him tonight.

I'm pretty tired now as Carl and Sam were away shearing today - the best behaved alpacas he has ever had the pleasure to shear! Carl got himself a Sat Nav which is something he has never had before and Sam says he is a nightmare with it - he keeps arguing with it! Sam says it tells him to turn right and he tells it he knows a better way and turns left! I know how that Satt Nav feels! I haven't met it yet but tomorrow we are, hopefully, going to a Great Western Region Alpaca Show Meeting and I am to be introduced! All depends though on how the babies are and if Sam gets on with feeding okay - he's usually quite good but I don't want to give him the responsibility if things look a little dodgy. Must have some tea now and get weighing and feeding again!

Friday 16 July 2010

Stern words with Lina have no effect!

This is Bert's baby this evening!!
Why is it that the babies with problems arrive at the worst moment?! Bert's baby started well with his plasma but then he really started to fight against the bottle - and the rain lashed down and the wind blew! I stayed down with them - we got Bert's lot in the barn - not that it was a lot of use as the rain howled through. Sam rigged up a light connected to a battery so that I could see how much he wasn't drinking - 9.30pm 25ml, 11.30pm - 15ml. I was soaked by then and stomping around thinking how much easier it could be . . . but then I looked around me as I sat in the dirt next to Bert, surrounded by alpacas chewing the cud, some asleep with their necks stretched out. Do you know? Despite everything, that was really magic! Even Islay didn't move when I bumped into her. Not so good was the baby who was starting to shiver despite his coat. 1.30am and the rain had stopped and the wind had dropped and I felt decidedly bleary! 3.30am getting a little fatalistic by now. 5.30am got stuck half way over a hurdle in the dark having dropped the torch and somehow managing to get my coat twisted round a post. By now I am beginning to consider other career options - then Bert nudged me as if to say, "Get on with it and feed my baby!" 8am feed 50ml but it took a long time to get him going. He has no name yet though Carl wants to call him Vincent Black Shadow - daft as he certainly isn't black! Today continued with bleary eyed feeding and then suddenly it was mad panic again - Lina's baby started to appear! Now this was one strange baby (had to be really with Lina) it's a boy but we are tentatively pleased about that. Lina is ultra protective which is why baby is now purple all over one side - she was not keen on me spraying the navel! The odd thing about this baby was it took not a blind bit of notice of Mum for 5 hours! Lina chased it around and all it wanted to do was glare across the paddock at Dude and roam the fence line - it made no attempt to suckle or even sniff around Lina, nor around all the other interested alpacas! Lina however stuck to him like a limpet and the fuss when we gave him plasma was incredible. We think she has some milk but not much and so have given her some Oxytocin - another one to go. We're going to try her udder later - having first put on our body armour! He may need bottle feeding but we will weigh him first, check the udder and see how tonight goes. Getting the plasma into him and keeping Lina calm was enough to make us forget about weighing earlier! And getting the cria coat on - well! Got to stop now as feeding beckons! So this is Lina's baby - - -

And a huge thank you to Wellground and Reddingvale for their help.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Bert's baby!

The barn is calling me so I am having to do this quickly! The day started quietly with a slow stroll around managing waste - very slow due to our second night of the smoke detector going off. It has taken to going off at 3 in the morning - the first night I thought it was Carl's alarm so shouted at him he'd set it too early. He said sorry and turned his alarm off and we lay there for a good 10 minutes before we realised what it was! Much good that is! Anyway, Bert then started to look increasingly imminent so I had to get them all in the barn as it was also raining and blowing a gale. This was not an easy task as fences needed to be temporarily constructed to make it all safe. To cut a long tiresome story short Bert produced a beautiful solid white little boy, sadly, she did not produce any milk! Rush back to the house to phone Wellground HQ and defrost plasma. Then rush back down to attempt stomach tubing. The wonderful Reddingvale had offered to come and help but I don't like to impose and I thought I had better give it a go myself first but it proved very difficult - this is one very lively, strong cria. Bert was very good and made no fuss at all about me getting involved - after last year I think she expected me to! After 10 minutes of struggling with a flapping tube and struggling baby I thought I would try it in a bottle - and, he drank it all down! That emergency over I got the colostrum ready - mixing it with the milk and waiting so it didn't curdle with the plasma. Baby then decided he didn't want to play sucking games! Finally, Carl came home and between us - but mostly him - we got some into baby. Going back to try the rest in a minute. His Dad is E .P. Cambridge Samson and, of course, his mum is Bert (Roberta) and Bert is a very, very special alpaca! - So here he is at three hours old - not sure what his name will be yet but I think, and I am not good at judging cria this young, he is rather special!
Lots of flies and dried colostrum on him I'm afraid!

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Just a picture

The Mule has let me down! It ran out of fuel this morning down by the barn and so I have been trudging up and down hills all day. The car also ran out of fuel so Carl moaned all the way to the garage about having told me to keep an eye on gauges. Never mind, we're all fuelled up again now. I tried again for baby photos but it has been really dull and intermittently raining so just one Carl took this evening. This is Velocette who is an extraordinarily friendly alpaca - Barnaby Rudge is with her and the inseparable two - Lily and Emily looking on.
Now Carl is in the barn stroking his hay in a loving sort of way and Sam is sitting in a hedge - I am going to sit down, put my feet up and look at a hair magazine as having seen the picture I am getting my hair done!

Tuesday 13 July 2010

No more Crinkles yet!

Thank you for all the mite advise - very gratefully received.
I tried to get photos of the babies, or Crinkles as someone called them today!, but it was too wet - not heavy rain although there must have been quite a bit in the night as Billy the Bowser was full again. I managed a good barn and field tidy up despite the drizzle. Barry had a couple of hernia checks but I think I am going to have to go back to the tennis ball as the truss is not really big enough anymore and the front strap seems to pull it slightly out of position after a while.
I also, I think, succeeded in sending a text to Mum to check she is okay on her exotic adventure - what she will make of it I don't know as I am not very good at texting and the phone insists on texting 'bacon, bacon' in amongst most messages - all to do with predictive text I'm told.
Sam was very tired this morning after his weekend away and I had to push him out of bed for his work experience. He got there on time after moaning the cornflakes were soggy and enjoyed himself when he was there. He was milking today. He has also taken to wearing his Grandad's flat cap which he says still smells of him. It suits him but he takes it off when he gets to work and puts it on when he gets home!
Carl got home and went straight off to help the Shepherd getting some hay in and then moving some very large cows with Goose Farm Man.
No more Crinkles yet but Bert is really tired and doesn't want to get up much. The way Lina rushed down for her Camelibra this evening with stomach swaying, I don't think she will be producing yet!

Monday 12 July 2010

Itching and scratching

Today has been a bit of a catch up day as the hay making took a bit of a toll on the waste management. The alpacas and I have all been troubled by nasty biting flies and we have all been stamping and shaking our heads. I have been creeping up behind them with the fly spray trying to catch them unawares. Little Velocette runs up to me and thinks it is a great game while Bert lies there and lets me rub it in her topknot as long as she doesn't actually see the spray. Bert's paddock has had a bit of a mite flare up. Where we have been fecal sampling rather than routinely worming and have had negative counts they haven't been getting their cydectin and I fear this is the problem. I have been pestering the vets to prescribe a dog treatment which was suggested for mites but they were not too keen and want me to try two heavy doses of cydectin first. This meant a new order of syringes as I have got to give them 6ml at 7 day intervals - my syringes won't hold that much! My new vehicle drive over disinfectant mats arrived today - the old ones needed replacing and, despite being very expensive, it had to be done. With tractors running over them they have to be tough things.

Sam came back from the Eden Project this evening. He had a great time but I think he was sorry to have missed the baling (probably not sorry to have missed all the stacking!). He seems to have eaten a lot and drunk a huge quantity of Cherryade. They were there with a group of inner city students who were amazed at how dark it was at night and asked when the street lights went on!

It looks a remarkable place. We have never been there, maybe one day.

Sam had just finished his tea when he rushed off with Carl to return some sheep to their rightful fields. Sheep are amazing escape artists - it seems to me if a sheep can find a way of killing itself, it will!

Saturday 10 July 2010

Fun times on the hill

I'm back to my blog - and I have cheered up! Thank you for all your kind comments - they really helped and, whatever the rights and wrongs of it all I'm sure things will turn out for the best in the end - whatever the best may be! Anyway, things have been too busy to keep feeling sorry for ourselves and I have now got lots to write about so sorry for the lengthy blog to come.

Firstly, haymaking. We cut the hay last week and the heavens opened during the night. Carl and I both lay in bed listening to it and not saying a word! Cutting is always a nightmare as our tractors are old and we have lots of steep slopes but this year was fantastic. The Shepherd lent us his massive tractor - a McCormick and it is the best thing - there is air conditioning, a little passenger seat, a holder for your bag of mints (mints supplied) and it is all automatic hitching things on.

Sam and Carl both took turns driving round, after Sam had given Carl a driving lesson, with huge smiles on their faces. The mower, our own and an ancient Claas, gave up on the last bit and spectacularly fell apart but most was done so that was fine - it is the reason, though, why we have one long square of grass in the bottom of the field!
Then it was back to the Fordson for woofling.

Carl had to go down to Coxes to get new tines for it as we broke a few last year on the flints - there are hundreds of types of the things - in the end he had to take one down to get it matched. We turned it twice and then got it all rowed up and the baler ready. On to the International for baling and this year Carl got the bale sledge working. That is a spectacular thing! It gets all the bales into groups of eight - at first it wouldn't open the little gate at the back to let them out so I had to run behind pulling the string. I was beginning to get a bit fed up with this when it miraculously started working - perfect, . . . . . until the baler twine ran out! The new reel wasn't tied on properly so Carl then had to work out how to rethred it which he managed eventually, though we do have a couple of bales with many strands of twine round them!

Unfortunately, we didn't finish baling as it was too dark. There were some spots of rain in the night but not too bad so we let the rest of the hay dry and then woofled it again and rowed it up. Baling was eventually completed at 3pm - and still hundreds of bales to get under cover - with the Mule carrying eight at a time it was going to be an all night job. But then, look what appeared!

The Shepherd with bale grab and huge trailer! Took a couple of hours and it was all in!

So, we now have a barn full of lovely fresh hay.

Sam has been to work experience at a farm in Bagber this week and he has really loved it. He has been milking, cleaning the parlour, working with lots of big tractors and coming home every night telling us where we are going wrong! Including the fact that we cut the hay at the wrong time! He is now at The Eden Project on a college trip with Kingston Maurward for the weekend. This has meant all the baling was down to me and Carl. Sam took the most enormous bag with him - which he packed himself - so no doubt he has his ipod but no soap! Mum is also away as she has gone to The Holy Land with one of my brothers. She was looking forward to it but a bit nervous - particularly about spending a night in a Bedouin tent. Her main worry seemed to be that she might snore - I told her I expected the camels would be snoring anyway so she could always blame it on them!

The babies are all doing well and Barry Norton's hernia seems to continue to improve. He is now used to his truss and it doesn't seem to bother him at all.

One hiccup this week with the Jalopy. My fault as I left the lights on and the battery went flat. I also got a bit annoyed with the movement book as we'd filled in all the births when the babies were born but I couldn't put in the micro chip numbers as I didn't have them. They arrived this week but fitting the numbers in the space was annoying when I just wanted a bigger box so I could just put the sticker that comes with the chips in the box.

Back to alpaca pictures tomorrow, I think - maybe Bert or Lina will have produced! Lina is 335 days tomorrow and Bert is 339. Life's fun!!

Monday 5 July 2010

A break in the blog

It was going to be a jolly blog today about Lina and Crispie, the Great Western Fleece Show . . . but I just can't do it. The alpacas and everyone else is fine but I have been deeply upset today by a lady I don't even know, or I hope I don't, and a couple in the village. I don't want to blog misery, so I am going to cease blogging for a while. I'll be back when I am happier again.
Thank you for reading.

Sunday 4 July 2010

What can I say?!

I can't really begin to tell you about today as I am so tired and so much has been going on! All I have time to blog is that Prue had her baby - a boy with, there is no other way of putting this, a mighty odd looking face - looks like he has been having fun with his mum's make-up bag!! Sam starts his work experience tomorrow so I now have to go and check he has got everything ready - for today I'll leave you with a picture of the baby and tell you all about it tomorrow.

Saturday 3 July 2010

A short update

Good to see Mum today - seems a long time since I have had a chance to visit. Carl was left in charge and there were no disasters - in fact he seems to have got on better without me there!

We checked Barry Norton's hernia when I got back and it certainly seems smaller. It is very odd - you can feel the hole it is popping back into. I pushed it back and then the truss went on again. He is gaining weight nicely now, all the cria are and they are all very lively. Velocette is a little over friendly and will run up for a kiss but then her Mum is very trusting. Lina is not quite sure what to make of it and has rushed over to check what is going on every time Velocette runs over but I think she is beginning to accept it now. Prue is now huge and rolling around but still not producing.

Friday 2 July 2010

Barry Norton Update

A quiet day today with intermittent rain and an overwhelming tiredness making even knitting a chore. Barry Norton's tennis ball seemed to be effective this morning - I took his cumberband off to check and pushed the hernia back up - it is definitely smaller. Sherbert has been really bothered by the flies today and so tonight I attacked her with the summer fly cream. It could really be done to be applied in the morning but I am going with Sam to visit Mum so Carl will be in charge tomorrow. I think he is looking forward to being on his own and not having me bossing him about - he's already put in his order for tea in bed!

Sam arrived home from school with a golf ball - thank you Grey Haired Neighbour! - but I haven't used it as the truss arrived. It is a very smart black number with lots of velcro straps. He is wearing it tonight but I am not totally convinced that the home made one wasn't better. We will check tomorrow and see how it is doing.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Barry's all balled up!

Sorry there are no photos on the blog again - I've reached my upload limit and can't do photos until the weekend. It sounds like we may be able to tackle Barry's hernia ourselves. His truss is on order but in the meantime, with the help of many suggestions, I am having to improvise. Not possessing any golf balls or flipflops, Barry now has half a tennis ball strapped to his little problem. I have pushed the lump in and am hoping the tennis ball will keep it there. Strapping the tennis ball on was no mean feat. My first thought was gaffer tape but after my experience with the plaster on my burn I could imagine the agony of that pulling on his fleece. So I found the rest of the cohesive bandage I used on Yoda's leg last year (should have thought of that with my burn). He looks a bit odd with a blue bandage round his middle but if it works he will thank me in the end. The rest of the girls were extremely interested in his cumberband - Flamenco got quite excited and Belinda, his mum, had to check it was still her baby.

I had to spend a bit of time this morning sorting our Sam's work experience with his very efficient Work Experience Teacher at school. He is off to the Eden Project the weekend after next and so will miss a day of work experience and then another day due to exams at college. All sorted in the end - he has an exciting couple of weeks.

Carl is into extreme weather predicting at the moment in preparation for hay making - his barometer tapping finger is becoming a little swollen!