Tuesday 31 August 2010


I woke up this morning in agony - cramp in the back of one leg!  I was screeching like a banshee and all Carl could do was laugh!  Once I got over that it was a big round of waste management as I hardly did any yesterday.  Sam went to Milborne Port today so I just kept going until all was clean - it isn't by now, of course.  I then had a long talk with Peter who is making the rosettes for the Great Western Region Fleece Show.  The talk on the rosettes was very brief - they are going to be good and all is in hand - mostly it was about hay and the price of hay, corn - he's got all his in, meat prices up slightly but so is feed . . . 

The weather has been lovely today and I was even back in shorts for a brief spell.  It  has turned colder this evening and the jumper is back on but it looks like it could be good again tomorrow which is just what I want as I have plans for the John Deere!

An evening shot for Alf tonight.  The little white specks are alpacas!

Monday 30 August 2010

Matings and Visitors

I don't know where the time goes - we have achieved a lot today but there is still a long list of tasks to accomplish!  I can remember when I had time for a long soak in the bath almost every night - those days are long gone!  The Chippendales came to visit and were impressed with Mum's new house; I think they also enjoyed their trip in the Mule.
Sam did a bit of strimming in the village and was most impressed with a flame throwing weed killer - I have told him he cannot have one or the alpacas will all end up with singed topknots!  His plan is coming on well.  If you haven't guessed. it is sheep!  He really wanted to breed black alpacas but has finally realised that he will need money before he can commence his own herd.  Sheep are his way forward.  He has done a deal with the Shepherd and has agreed the purchase of 5 (or 6 depending how his money goes) Welsh Mountain sheep (which are black).  He went down to investigate them carrying a wallet full of all his savings supplemented by a Roses tin full of pennies.  He picks out the ones he wants in a week or so and is busy now checking fences and making feeders.
Carl and I have been body scoring, trimming nails and checking everyone over.  Dude had a few spit offs to do - Carolyn raced around and almost jumped the fence to get away from him, very conclusive, Islay spat like crazy, excellent!  Lina, however, sat!  We had mated her and she was very happy but suddenly got up as if to say, "Okay, I've had enough now, go away!"  She has remained very friendly though and I thought she wasn't pregnant.  When we put her in this morning I thought she wasn't interested and then she sat when he started his orgling - she sat there very happily - - -
(a little mating shot for Alf of Lina and Dude!)
But then, like last time, she suddenly got up and wanted no more to do with him - they'd been happily snuggling up for 15 minutes or so before that so I really don't know!

We nearly had a falling out over moving the field shelter as I got it stuck in the gate.  It was not my fault, I couldn't interpret Carl's hand signals and I couldn't heat him shouting STOP - I have told him before that I cannot hear over the noise of the Mule but he forgets.

Now I am going to try and get that bath tonight!!

Sunday 29 August 2010

Getting Windy

Down to Woolland Church this morning where it was almost standing room only and they ran out of hymn books!  The vicar did the service to the letter so it was quite a rush to get back for Greeves bottle and it ended up a little late.  He has spent a lot of time today staring at the chickens - just a shame he doesn't run around a bit more.  His eyes are also very weepy so I am bathing them to keep the flies away.

It has been terrifically windy with odd showers - wind is very difficult to catch on the camera but they sky has been looking very stormy.
. . . but I didn't really manage to catch that, in fact it all looks very pleasant in the photo!  A bit of mating for Dude tomorrow as he has a rendezvous with Emily.  It may not come to much as so far she has shown little interest but we will see what happens.  She was heading in a determined way towards the rolling pit this evening so no doubt she will be filthy!
Sam went to the village after lunch to attempt a little strimming but the weather was too wet so he will try again in the morning.  When he finally arrived back, after eating all Granny's biscuits, he set about furthering his money making scheme which involved a lot of drilling, sawing and moving gates on his quad.

Finally, a picture for Alf - a sheep, not ours, The Shepherd's sheep enjoying some fresh grass on the hill.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Boys at large in the Forest

Sunny again!  I have been home alone again as Carl and Sam went back to Mum's to collect a few garden bits for her (also her old dishwasher which she has given me - clean cups from now on!).  I sent Sam with the camera to get a few scenic shots of the forest to cheer up Alf but he came back with a very sorry crop - a wall, the back of a camper van and some strange man in shorts - the best of the worst are featured above!
Somehow, they also managed to return with a trailer and the truck full of other stuff including a ride on mower (we searched for ages for one and now they are popping up everywhere!), an automatic water feeder which is actually for a dog but Carl is adapting it for alpacas, an awful lot of top strand wire for fences and various implements.
 I spent the day cleaning fields and chickens while keeping an eye on Greeves and feeding him.  Weigh in tonight was not good - according to the scales he has lost 700g but that cannot be right as he looks and feels bigger.  He doesn't exactly run around a lot that I have seen but he looks quite bright - we'll weigh again tomorrow (I tried weighing only every third day but could not stand the suspense!).

Friday 27 August 2010

Sam's Idea

In fact a very nice day!
The flower lady gave me some tomatoes which were very welcome as, despite Carl showing everyone his tomato plants, we only have green ones!  I managed lots of waste and spent a lot of time watching Greeves who is becoming more lively each day.  I have just fed him and he was cuddled up next to Lina - neither of them moved an inch as I fed him!  I think they have all enjoyed the sunshine today.  Here is Sam with Lina and Greeves, Barnaby Rudge is lying down at the front of the picture with Velocette behind them.  I managed to work Sam's mobile phone to take them which was remarkable but the quality is not that good.
Sam has had an idea!  He now has a scheme which will make him money, as he has none.  He has spent most of the afternoon on the phone after having seen an advert in Blackmore Vale Magazine.  He made arrangements to go and see this source of  future wealth although I am not sure the lady he was speaking to realised his age as she asked him what vehicle he would be driving so she could look out for him.  He was tempted to say he'd be coming on the bus if his Dad wouldn't take him but considering the items he was negotiating for that might have seemed rather odd!  When Carl got home he got a bit of advice on the prospective purchase and they did seem rather over priced but another alternative popped a head over the hedge and we have just got back from a visit to do a deal.  There was a lot of grass chewing, leaning on sticks and head scratching but Sam is now the proud owner of . . .
Can't tell you what yet as two more weeks until he takes ownership and he has a lot to do in preparation.

I had better go and get on with my knitting now but first a picture specially for a friend who, I only heard this afternoon, has a nasty injured ankle and is a bit house bound at the moment - I thought I'd do a daily picture for him as he can't get out so here is the view across the Vale taken from the garden this afternoon. (Get better soon if you read this!!).

Thursday 26 August 2010

Ashton Lane and Reddingvale - all in one day!

I spent most of the morning running round with hurdles.  Last night we got all prepared for a visit from Ashton Lane Alpacas with their suri stud, Legacy.  We had set up a nice secure mating pen by the field gate which looked perfect in the torrential rain and gloom last night but when I checked it out this morning it just looked too small so Sam and I set about making another one and found it difficult to agree where to put it.  Sam did a lot of bossing me about and I did a lot of getting cross with him but we got there in the end!

Peter and Carol arrived with a very ready Legacy, he was practically leaping out of the trailer.  Lily took very little encouragement and a very satisfactory mating took place.
Luckily the mating was completed before the rain started again and the mist began to engulf everything.  Legacy was quite keen to repeat his performance with Lily's mum, Sherbert, but that will have to wait for a while!
Quick bit of tea and then another visitor.  Andy from Reddingvale Alpacas came along to collect the show schedules for the Great Western Region Fleece Show which Carol from Ashton Lane had produced.  They look very good and will soon be winging their way to all the entrants - once Viv has put them all in envelopes!  We gave Andy a quick look at the alpacas but as the mist had really descended by then he couldn't really see much except the brake lights of the tractor!  Somehow Carl managed to entice him into his shed, despite the poor man being desperate to get back to cook tea, but I managed to rescue him before Carl dragged him to his greenhouse to show off his tomatoes which is his usual next step with visitors!

Greeves is doing well today and has put on some weight and is moving around quite a lot!

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Rain again

I went to the dentist again today but I am not going to dwell on that.

Not much to say today as it has rained dreadfully throughout.  I have been leaping in and out the Mule at breakneck speed trying to keep a bit dry.  Greeves has fed less and barely moved from the field shelter which seems eminently sensible.  In fact he has remained fairly dry all day despite not having his coat on.  He sits there in state, chewing on bits of hay and gazing out at the rain.  The chickens have made quick sorties out of their house and then dashed back in, clucking away in a very bad tempered manner.  Sam finally made it to Milborne Port but goodness only knows what he has been doing as the weather has been dire.

Now we have to go back over the fields and set up a couple of pens ready for tomorrow as we have an exciting visit planned - hopefully the weather will not stop play!  Then Carl has to pop down to Mum's as the back has dropped off the plug for her bread maker and she seems to be in a bit of a cookery mood!

Tuesday 24 August 2010


Greeves was actually pronking this evening!  The rain and wind gradually eased during the day and this evening it has been lovely.  I set off early this morning to drop Sam at Milborne Port only to find the road closed - even the one via Henstridge - so we had to give up on that in the end.  Mum  came up this afternoon to have a go at feeding Greeves as we need to have someone able to do it before the Great Western Region Fleece Show comes round.  I am just hoping he is a bit keener on his bottle by then!

I sent Carl and Sam out on an egg hunt this evening as I cannot find where the hens are laying.  I think they still are as they keep making that triumphant 'I've laid an egg' noise but where they are doing it is beyond me.
Looking for eggs seemed to involve a lot of leaning on sticks!  I crept up on them in the Mule and they were not doing much hunting!  Mind you my creeping up was pretty fast as the Mule seemed to be going everywhere at the rate of knots today - I realised just now that Sam had put it in 'high' which makes it go much faster.
Now I have a serious appointment with my socks.  When I returned from the Fleece Show meeting on Sunday Carl kindly pointed out that I had odd socks on, and I had taken my shoes off, so I am going to pair up any socks I can find.  I thought they were looking at Billie-Jean (the boxer) lying next to me but it could have been my socks!

Monday 23 August 2010

Full Steam Ahead

It certainly rained last night!  Bowser and all water butts are full to overflowing, the track is very slippy!

We had a late evening last night as we went to a Great Western Region Fleece Show meeting, which was, as usual, great fun!  All the details were finalised and we ended up letting ourselves in for something which we are going to regret I know!  I blame it all on Debbie at Barnacre - enough said for now!  Just come along to the show, you'll see what I mean and can have a good laugh at our 'display'!  Details are all on the show website - link at the bottom of the page (that is details of the show not our 'display' - everything bar that is very professional!).  It is very exciting that so many people have entered and I really hope they enjoy the day - and, of course, get a rosette!

Greeves made a few tentative attempts to join in with Velocette and Barnaby Rudge today.  They are the only two cria in with him; the others are with the other herd.
Pictures are not very good tonight as the rain has continued all through my waste management, hay delivering, water filling. . . It did clear this evening for a couple of decisive spit offs and a check on Bert's hard skin - cream still in place!!
Dude has been prowling a bit this evening, disappointed his advances were rejected!
Now it is a lovely evening so I am off to feed Greeves without getting wet!

Sunday 22 August 2010

Perky Greeves!

Wet, misty, rainy - still!  I hope it is a lot better for others who are trying to complete their hay making.  I am feeling quite pleased today as Greeves is a lot more lively - he had to be chased for his weigh in tonight.  He has not put any weight on today but does look a bit better.  The Kick Start yesterday got him up a bit and then this morning, following an email last night, we gave him a selenium injection (Vitisell).  Everyone looks very bedraggled and dirty today but I felt it was time for a photo to celebrate Greeves perkiness!  Here he is with Lily and his mum, Lina, behind.
He gave me quite a run around when I tried to feed him just now!
Lina is also getting a bit better with Carl - she is overcoming her pathological hatred of him and even deigns to have her neck stroked occasionally!
Not quite sure about the pose Carl is striking - I call it the Catalogue Man look! 
It has been a short blog tonight as we have just got back from a Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece Show meeting (more on that tomorrow) and it has been a hairy drive through Hamoon as the rain was coming down and bringing out armies of frogs which Carl kept swerving in an effort to avoid them.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Marmite - Love it or hate it?

Greeves was still looking very sorry this morning but I did get his bottle down him.  Carl and I then left Sam to look after things while we made a trip to Mole Valley.  I couldn't find the product that was recommended and the only thing I could find was Lamb Kick Start so I bought some of that and we rushed home to see if that would help.  It comes in a little pump action bottle so was very easy to administer - and it smells of marmite, looks like Marmite and tastes of Marmite.  The taste thing was accidental!  It says to twist the top shut after use to save evaporation but I succeeded in squirting it all over me and then ended up eating it as I was trying to push rain soaked hair out of my eyes.  Not a bad taste but it didn't cause me to leap around he field with boundless energy.  It seems to have had some effect on Greeves who has been standing up and grazing more.  The weather has been horrible though, very misty again, and Greeves does prefer the field shelter when it is damp.  He sits right under the hayrack and so is covered in hay.  He has had his coat on all day, despite Velocette trying to pull it off him.

With the weather as it is a photo proved problematic - everyone has been rolling in mud and the visibility is poor.  So this is Lily before she was sheared when the weather was lovely!  She is soon going to be mated - more on that another time.  Her fleece is beginning to get that lovely drape and swing back - I love it when the suri' s run.

And the other wonderful thing today was that Islay spat beautifully at Dude - she did not want him near her so I am really hopeful she is pregnant.  If she can hold on to the pregnancy this time that will be very exciting.  I expect Carl to be in the barn with her constantly from a month or so before she is due - Islay is his favourite alpaca (closely followed by Bert of course).  And another thing - that white cream I am using on Bert seems fairly miraculous.  We have had virtually constant rain or drizzle here but it does not wash off, drip or crack.  I'll say no more yet but it may be working.

Friday 20 August 2010

Greeves becomes more of a worry

The rain has barely stopped all day. Not always heavy but very misty up on the hill.  I went to do Greeves' early feed this morning and thought I'd lost him.  He was in the middle of the field all on his own, flat out and drenched.  I got that horrible sick feeling as I saw him and for no useful purpose I started to call him and run from the top of the field.  The rest of the girls and cria came charging up wondering what was going on but he didn't even twitch.  I sat down - still nothing and then as I picked his head up he opened one eye.  I got the bottle down him and got him up.  He walked down to the field shelter and lay down again so it has been a worrying day.  He's got his coat on now and looks okay lying in the shelter, kushed properly - and he has put on 300g but that may mean nothing as the scales are very dodgy.  Sometimes I think he is improving but he is not lively like other cria.  I never fuss him when I feed him - just get the bottle down him and move away but he never moves away from me, I just wish he would run off once or twice.  But  then again, that is a bit deceptive as he does run away from Carl and Sam.  Yesterday when I went over to feed at lunch time Lina was lying flat out on her side and he was lying next to her and neither of them moved a muscle when I sat down in between them to feed him - and there is nothing wrong with Lina, she still gives Carl the odd nip if he gets too close.  We'll see how it goes tomorrow and have a word with the Shepherd if there is no improvement.

My old SORN  Honda which has been sitting in the car park for the past year waiting for Carl to do something with it has been getting a bit of attention lately.  I have had two gentlemen offering to take it away so far - one even offered money!  I think we'll have to do something about it or it could turn into a bit of a liability.

Sorry, no pictures today - the mist has not lifted long enough, despite being reasonable down in the village.

Thursday 19 August 2010

The Knitting Graveyard

Sam was late to bed last night as he went to Gillingham and Shaftesbury show so I didn't really expect much assistance this morning but he surprised me.  He was up before I was an even brought me a cup of tea in bed.  He then went to check on Granny's fridge.  Carl looked at it last night and there was nothing wrong with it - still fine this morning!  He then  walked to Okeford and back in search of a new second hand phone, cleaned the stock trailer and dumped the muck in the back of the Mule!  He enjoyed the show and, as expected, sniffed out the two lots of alpacas there.

Irene and Si from Ashdale Alpacas popped over in the afternoon and Irene took the contents of my knitting graveyard to "sort out" - one jacket with a perfect back but a front I was unable to invent a pattern with shaping that worked, one lopsided scarf, one lovely shrug which was sadly developing a triangular back and a strange item which no one could work out what it is yet!

Greeves lost weight dramatically today - everything he has put on in the last three days - but I am hoping it is the scales that are dodgy.  I shall try weighing him again in the morning.

Then a bit of a drama as Cruella got stuck up a tree.  I was alerted to it by Smudge standing on the car underneath and crying.

Wednesday 18 August 2010


A peaceful, if wet, start to the day with a quick sprint to the library bus - made even quicker as the Gentleman Farmer gave me a lift down after he had released his new bullock onto the hill.

When Carl got home it all went wrong - and it's all my fault!  We had to move the mobile field shelter into the girls new paddock and this is accomplished using the forks on the tractor.  Unfortunately, the tracks are very slippy after rain, which is why they need strips of hardcore - for safety.  Carl succeeded in getting the shelter into the field and then slid down the hill and rammed the field shelter into the fence breaking part of the back, getting the tractor stuck, breaking the fence post.
 As Sam was not back from the show, I had to hitch up the Mule to drag him out and there was a lot of shouting!  What Carl seems unable to grasp is that I cannot hear what he is saying above the tractor and Mule noise so it was no good telling me to, "Hold it there!"  "Reverse SLOWLY!" or anything else.  He got me in such a muddle I confused the break and accelerator and there was nearly another Mule incident!  In the midst of all this, Flamenco escaped and went careering off down the track in search of fresh grass (Carl left the gate open) which was all my fault!  Finally, she remembered she had left Velocette behind and came trotting back.
 We got the tractor out in the end but it is a good job Carl has gone down to check on Granny's fridge which appears not to be working as I am not sure whether we are talking at the moment!

Lily has developed a strange hunched walk whenever anyone goes near her which indicates she most definitely is ready to be mated!
 And - Greeves, for the third day running has gained 300g!  Early days but maybe we have turned a corner.  Here he is with Barnaby Rudge and his mum Lina in between downpours.  The one who looks like she is levitating in the background is Crispie - she isn't really, it's just the hill rising up!

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Greeves puts on (a little) weight

A dry start to the day and then, later on, we had quite a downpour.  Sam was at home which meant I could get Granny into Sturminster for some shopping.  We did a few spit offs this afternoon with the girls and, I'm pleased to say, everyone was totally uninterested in Dude's advances - even Islay!  Islay is far too much of a lady to spit but she backed away into a corner and steadily munched her way through a bale of hay whilst glaring at Dude.  I am really hoping she can hold this pregnancy.

Little Greeves was much better on his bottle today and put on 300g which is much better than usual. Sam did manage a photo of him but he is rather wet and bedraggled.  It was quite a job though as Velocette will insist on popping up in front of the camera.

Finally, this is Greeves - still looking very much a baby!

Tomorrow, Sam is going to Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show with his friend - I am rather jealous of that but we can't all be away at the same time.  If there are any alpacas there I am sure he'll hunt them down and pester the owners!

Monday 16 August 2010

Bert's Ears

No blog last night as we were carting bales until late with a quick trip to church in the middle of it for me!  Carl was playing around with the twister thing on the baler again so these bales turned into bigger ones - not my favourites as they are heavy.
Now an amazing thing is happening to Bert's ears!  Bert, my favourite alpaca, had a mite problem before we had her and came to us with thick leathery skin on her tummy, ears and the tops of her legs.  We have spent ages rubbing various concoctions into her and some hair has grown back but she still has bald bits and crusty places.  We were recommended another cream to try and I found a big tub of it on the internet.  I won't tell you yet what it is called as it is early days but it does seem to be working.  The great thing is it doesn't run, rub off or crack.  I tried to get a shot of Bert's bald, crusty bits as a before photo but she wouldn't stand still and this is the best I could do.

The Gamekeeper called round this evening with a list of shoot dates - feels like Autumn is upon us already - and we had a mutual moan about a petty tyrant and his dog.  No blackberries in the field yet, despite there being lots at Mum's old house but I did find a bag from last year in the freezer and, as some of the apples were ready, I made some crumbles for the freezer.  Last year all the apples disappeared.  One day they were there and the next , all vanished - no sign on the ground, nothing, so I am getting in quick!

Sam spent the day at Milborne Port where he had a good time despite the chip shop being closed.  He gets embarrassed when I go to pick him up and rushes to the car before I have a chance to get out.  One day I will surprise him and get there early all dressed up to the nines (no hope of that really what with feeding and clearing poo!).

More baling tonight but now we are finished.  It has been quite a struggle this year and I am not sorry we are finished.  We also managed to get the sheep moved - they were getting desperate for fresh grass.  They are very difficult to photograph as they just wanted to be tickled and they get too close.

Greeves is doing fairly well but the weight is still slow to go on.  I will try for a picture of him tomorrow.

Saturday 14 August 2010

A day out for some!

Rain - a lot of rain.  Lina took a great dislike to my coat so I had to take it off to feed which meant I got soaked.  Greeves has been much more livley today so I have also been chasing him with his bottle which, at least, has warmed me up a bit.  My new teats arrived in the post today - THANK YOU!  So, despite the rain, we are doing well - and, of course, the rain is making the grass grow at last.

I have been on my own today as Carl and Sam went to Ellingham show with Irene and Si from Ashdale Alpacas - I couldn't go because of Greeves.  They had a great time - well, Carl and Sam did, haven't spoke to Irene and Si yet!  Irene appears to have kept Carl under control - Si and Sam appear to have slipped off together to talk PS2 whatever that might be, something computer I think.  Irene got Carl sorted with his marketing, insisting he put all his leaflets out at once and not palm them one at a time as if they were under the counter magazines as he usually does!  Irene knitted under the gazebo like one demented and they succeeded in selling several knitting kits, gloves and hats.  Unfortunately, Carl cannot remember which gloves and hats he sold despite me giving each one it's own individual name - you would think he had never had the Dartle glove or the Trotwood scarf explained to him.  Just work out what is left he says - not so easy when all the knitwear is at Ashdale ready for the next outing!  Now the online shop is very out of date and there will be several emails tomorrow to Irene to try and work out what Carl sold.

Working with another breeder is great.  I am hoping to train Irene to thump Carl every now and again to keep him in line.

Friday 13 August 2010

It's raining!!

Well - it rained!  In fact it poured!  I tried to will the rain over Toad Hall way but it was having none of it.  We were all wuffled ready, bailer set, about to row up and the heavens opened!  Never mind, there is plenty in the barn already.

Greeves has actually been running away from me today which makes feeding even harder but it is much better to see him acting like a normal cria.  Dobby, the wether, keeps peering over at him from second field - he's not quite sure what to make of him - one moment he is blue, with his coat on, the next moment he is white, coat off!
After rain stopped play with the hay, Sam and I popped down to check on Mum in her chapel.
You can see the rain glistening, malevolently, on the drive.  On the way back up Sam photographed Dad's grave with it's amazing onions (the wreath I put on his grave contained an onion as he was a great gardener and very good at growing onions - it took root!).
Sorry there has not been much on alpaca news but the rain (which we have been wanting for ages, but not today) has stopped most things happening.  Carl has also been trying to rest his arm which is still hurting a bit.  When Mum moved she gave us a TENS machine she had and Carl has discovered it.  I don't know if it is doing him any good but he finds it hysterical because it makes his arm leap about and he has taken to sticking the pads on different parts of his body as an experiment.  I am going to study the instruction book tonight because I am sure you are not supposed to do that!

Thursday 12 August 2010

Please don't rain!

First I must say a big thank you for the 'teat emails' - looks like that one may be sorted.  Many, many thanks!

It has been an anxious day watching the clouds.  The hay was due to be wuffled this afternoon as long as it stayed dried and Sam got himself all ready - and then after one row the PTO shaft broke.  Sam was quaking in his boots as he phoned his Dad to tell him!  Carl fixed it when he got back and then raced round wuffling like a demon.  Now it is an anxious wait for tomorrow.  Sam has to get it rowed up ready for baling as soon as Carl gets back and then, with any luck, we'll be baling like mad.  Sam was going to Milborne Port tomorrow but has had to put that off sadly.

We tried again with mating Emily but she is not really interested yet so we'll give it another go in a few weeks and then, if not, wait until next year.

That only leaves Lina and the suri matings to sort out.  Lina may be Sunday as I don't want to leave her too late.

Now I have to stop blogging because Sam insists on finishing the blog for me!!!!!!!  This involves a lot of technical uploading of a video which, I will warn you in advance, is very unclear (don't try downloading it Irene - it will take you ages!).  I think Sam is just trying to hint he needs a new phone!

hi everyone its me :)
I was just locking the chickens when I stopped because they were not all in so I went up to the top of 2nd field. When I was sat on the mule roof  I quickly grabbed my phone and took this video.
Sorry the video is not very good because my phone is so old and I NEED A NEW ONE or one with a better camera ;)

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling . .

It seems song titles are in as blog titles at the moment.  I'm just trying to keep up with trends here!

Down to Woodrow this morning to stock up on feed and on the way in to Hazelbury Bryan I saw something that really made my blood boil!  Good job I had a really jolly time in Woodrow.  My request for long thin teats caused great merriment - not only there but across Dorset as a phone search ensued.  This was followed by a lot of internet research which led to some very dubious sights - but, we do now have  a lead so some may be forthcoming.  Ordinary teats are no good for Greeves as I need something I can get right into the back of his mouth or I cannot get the milk down him.  I think he prefers his Mum's milk but she just does not have enough.  Greeves is doing fairly well but his eyes are a little bald.  He has had a bit of discharge and the flies have really been attacking him.  The fly repellent isn't much good and I don't like to put too much on - it's why he has a dirty spot on the top of his head.
 Barnaby Rudge spent so much time running around today and trying to get Greeves to play with him, he was flat out this evening.

Granny's move day today and that went well.  Her house is a converted Wesleyan chapel which has retained lots of character.  Carl came down this evening.  He was supposed to be sorting out the heating controls but spent most of his time checking out the shed and nearly giving the Gentleman Farmer a heart attack by bobbing up and staring at him through the shed window!  Mum was quite tearful when the neighbour's children brought round a card and a pot of jam and The Fairy delivered a cake.  I think she is quite excited now to be living back in the village she was born in.  I can see her wandering round with her trug, the cow bell and a glass of wine blasting out a few hymns (she seems inordinately attached to her cow bell!).

Tuesday 10 August 2010


Rain - all day - various degrees of rain, but rain!  Now, however, it has stopped!

Greeves has taken up residence in the field shelter.  I put his coat on last night as he was a bit shivery, he also has a touch of diarrohea again but, despite that, he has gained weight and is now 8.6kg - not much I know but an improvement.  Also, last night, he had a little pronk which was lovely to see.

Bert, I am pleased to report, is not as cuddly today.  She stood a neck tickle for a few minutes but then gave me a look and wandered off so it looks like all could be going well with her pregnancy.

There was no blog last night as I had to collct Mum's Mum's best tea set, the tantalus, the cow bell and the best china - that could not be trusted to the removal men.  Personally, I think it would have been safer with the removal men than in the Jalopy but there!

Sunday 8 August 2010

Nothing runs like a . . .

No day of rest today - but, brilliant!

Greeves has been on one of his weight putting on days - not lively and he still looks a bit wasted at the back end.  I think this is because he is not moving around too much and not building his muscles up - I am hoping that, as the weight starts to go on, he will move around more and get stronger.

We also have a new acquisition - and it is . . . a John Deere!  Actually it is Dad's old garden tractor but Sam loves it and will not leave it alone.  He has already constructed something so he can fix the garden roller on the back to roll things. At the moment the cutting deck doesn't work as it needs a new drive belt or some such thing but once Carl has sorted that out the nettles will be history!  The great thing is, I no longer have to keep shrieking at Sam to slow down on his quad as this is lovely and slow - even when you have got it on 'hare' which is top speed -  'tortoise' is nice and steady and you can drink a cup of tea whilst driving.  It is not as good a the Mule but still very handy.  Thank you Dad!
 In the background you can see we have finally cut the rest of the hay.  The weather forecast is a little dodgy for Tuesday but The Shepherd was round this morning and said we should be getting on with it and Carl didn't need telling twice!  We also got all the lambivac and the rest of the wormer up to date - plus a few feet trimmed so it was fairly hectic.

The really brilliant bit of today, though, was a very special encounter for Cool Dude.  Readers of the old blog may remember Islay's mating last year which was most unpleasant as she really did not want to get involved and looked at me very accusingly throughout.  She was scanned pregnant but didn't present anything.  The year before was the same.   This year we tried her with Dude a couple of times and she wasn't interested so we decided to let her in once more along with Belinda to do a spit off for Belinda - and Islay sat!  She had her ears pricked up the whole time and even gave Dude a little romantic nuzzle.  At one point she nodded off a bit and Dude, not being that experience d slipped out and went a bit frantic.  She just waited for Carl to reposition and they merrily carried on.  Better just make that last bit clear - Carl repositioned Dude on Islay, not himself obviously - he has to be very hands on at moments but I don't think he is replacing me with an alpaca yet!  Whether anything will come of it we will have to wait until next year to see but it was really lovely to see - and I didn't have the camera!

Then we had a pea incident.  We had some micronised peas to try with the alpacas to go with their Camelibra.  The only one who didn't like them was Sam.  He asked if you could eat them and I told him Les had tried them so the silly child put a handful in his mouth.  He has been coughing and spluttering ever since.

Saturday 7 August 2010

Not an alpaca blog tonight

It has been a bit of a day today - and not much of an alpaca day! Sam shot off this morning to help The Shepherd get some lambs ready for market while Carl tottered about fixing the hole on the roof. I fed the baby and then rushed back to Mum's to help with some packing ready for her move next week while Carl was in charge of fending off Lina to get some milk in the baby.

Trying to get Mum to throw some of Dad's things away was tricky. My sister in law had the best idea and disappeared upstairs with several boxes, tape and a pair of scissors. She had cleared two bedrooms whilst Mum and I were arguing over the need to keep a set of old Bonham sale catalogues and a whole pile of books on Picasso. My brother disappeared to research the value of Dad's collection of old cigarette cards and then had to burrow deep in the skip to find the cat basket he had accidentally thrown away yesterday. Packing is not finished but in the end we started to get somewhere after my other brother located a role of bubble wrap to pack Mum's mother's tea set. Few disasters so far, apart from one brother putting Mum's Muddy Fox Mountain bike in the skip, along with the cat basket (I can't really see her charging round Ibberton on a mountain bike anyway), my brother almost going head long down the stairs after this photo.

It is all beginning to look a bit empty - we moved there 40 years ago so it has been a long time in the family. This was my bedroom. It took me a long time to move out, as I kept going back, but when I finally did leave them in peace Dad used it as his studio - he was a very messy painter!!
I missed the village fete with all the moving and Carl and Sam have shot back over this evening to collect a few bits - normality and alpaca updates tomorrow, possibly!

Friday 6 August 2010

Bertie Blog!

I am not going to complain about the rain because we do need it - but! We do need to cut the rest of the hay! At the moment that is scheduled for the weekend - possibly!

I have been worried about Greeves as he was losing weight again but then this evening he suddenly put on 600g. Rob at Wellground, more on that in a second, suggested weighing every few days instead of daily and I expect he is right. Anyway, this evening he is looking okay although a touch of diarrhoea seems to have recurred but not bad like before. He much prefers nibbling on hay to the bottle and I tend to have to pull a long stalk from his mouth before we start the bottle.

This evening we had a trip out with Bert. Rather unexpected and an example of excellent customer service. Bert's baby died as you may remember and it was very sad - for Bert and us. It would have been sad anyway but this was a real little cracker. It is easy to say when they are dead but really and truly he had a stunning fleece and such a presence from the moment he was born. He was a Samson baby and had that wonderful Samson head to go with the impressive cria fleece.

Anyway, that was that and we had to get over it. I was speaking to Rob, getting advise for Greeves and he said, "Well, when do you want to bring her over for the remating?" I was shocked out of my little socks! I certainly wasn't expecting that as Matchless had survived for several days. We talked through biosecurity and the result was a remating for Bert this evening! I wish I had a picture to show you because she loved him, she was so happy, ears perked, little bow glinting (a red butterfly ear tag!). Excellent result! We felt a bit guilty as we kept them chatting about all things alpaca and they had had a very busy and productive day - just can't help it!!
Now Bert's back and happily ruling the field shelter with fresh hay - fingers crossed for her and her baby - it is going to be a long and anxious wait!

Thursday 5 August 2010


Today we had visitors. Irene and Si from Ashdale alpacas came calling and we spent a long time having a good talk about future plans, looking at the alpacas and sharing news. Irene brought the most fantastic piece of knitting - she's on advanced knitting - and I showed her yet another glove - I'm on beginners knitting. I like knitting gloves, or at least I like knitting the first glove, when I come to the second glove I keep forgetting what the pattern was. Even if I write it down as I go along it never seems to make sense the second time round.

When we went over to see the alpacas I asked Sam to take a photo which I assumed he had done. I have just downloaded them and we had a choice between Irene's arm or Si's backside - lovely as they both are I couldn't really figure out how to make them relevant to my readers! No photo record of that visit then (mind you I think Si was wielding his camera so there might be one on their blog!) Irene was telling me what fantastic fleece both Exhibition and Delilah have, and with the genetics behind them I am not surprised, so I am hoping to get over there to see them sometime soon.

At the moment I am tied to Greeves who is doing terribly or brilliantly depending which way you look at it. His weight was down again today which is bad, but he is much more lively and actually sucking on the bottle more which is good. His running is a bit wobbly - rather like a new born but then he hasn't run much until this evening. He was trying to play just now and actually tried a little jump at the back of Velocette.
This evening Carl and Sam went down to the village to help put up the marquees for the fete on Saturday. Lots of people there and Amber, who accompanied them down there, growled at them all! Unsociable animal!

Wednesday 4 August 2010

A few dramas!

Bit of a drama on the hill late afternoon. As Carl and I went over to feed we noticed blue flashing lights at the top of the cut. It appears that one of The Gentleman Farmer's trees had fallen down in the howling wind that suddenly sprung up. P.C. Dave, or that's who it appeared to be, sprang into action to prevent any accidents and landrovers appeared from the undergrowth - within minutes the road was clear and all was back to normal. There had been two other dramas and a very pleasant visitation before that however!

Firstly, the Cup Cake Fairy fluttered by with a wonderful box of the most magnificent cup cakes with cherries on top. Carl sneaked one as soon as he got in and said they were the moistest cup cakes he had ever tasted (mine tend to be rather dry!). That was a lovely break as I had been attempting the VAT which insisted on being £10 out and breaking off to do Greeves just kept making it get worse and worse.

Then we had a mini drama. I went over to feed Greeves and as I was sitting in the field attempting to force milk into him the heavens opened. I rushed to get his coat on and suddenly heard voices. All the alpacas looked up and a troupe of walkers descended saying they thought it was the footpath! I almost asked them to use the foot bath but then thought it was too late anyway so just ushered them out keeping them on the track.

Then we had another drama when Our Real Neighbour noticed a tile missing on the roof. The wind had really gusted across earlier and it must have removed it. Carl climbed the ladder but it was just too dangerous and slippy to get right up so he has now gone to collect Sam and then he is going to try negotiating the gulley and doing something a bit Heath Robinson as a temporary measure. Spot the hole!

And finally a shot of some of the girls - you can always tell Lina as she cannot help posing for the camera. Greeves is lying down and Velocette is standing behind with Belinda by the fence looking the other way and Sherbert, Bert and Carolyn at the back. I did try to do what Debbie at Barnacre does and put labels on but it just ended up looking like a cobweb! I'll try again on less of a dramatic day. You can see how the rain we had is needed - the paddocks are getting bare!

Next bit of field waiting to be cut - mower at the ready!

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Naked Lady!

Well - not quite naked and probably no lady but . . .

Mum came over this morning to check a few things at her new house - she moves to the village next week. My brother brought her and managed to save one strawberry from the punnet he was eating to give to Bert who greatly appreciated it! I then had to rush off for yet another dentist appointment. I felt he had enough to put up with dealing with my teeth without the sight of my legs in shorts and so I put on a long skirt. By the time I got back I had to rush with the bottle for Greeves and there was no time to change the skirt. Lina did not like the look of me! She didn't spit but just kept prancing away when I got near and taking her baby with her. There was nothing else for it but to remove my skirt and Lina was quite happy for me to then feed Greeves in my second best knickers! Thank goodness no one can see from the road or the footpath!

Frantic getting in of bales this evening, not ours, as rain is forecast so Sam and Carl have gone off to help.

Monday 2 August 2010


8.4kg! Little Greeves put on a whopping, for him, 700g since yesterday. He was much brighter today and the diarrhea has gone. Feeding is still a question of squirting but he does have the occasional suck and he is not fighting it. We sometimes start relatively normally but then he tends to lie down and I have to hold the bottle in his mouth but as that is the only way I can do it we have to be happy with that for now. It is also rather relentless but I have gone back to 2 hourly feeds.
What with feeding and the chickens it has been non-stop. The chickens have taken free ranging to extremes and keep escaping onto the road and sedately walking up towards the ridge, happily clucking and pecking. When I go out to get them they cluck along behind me back to the fields to the amusement of passing motorists. I'd just got them back and was warming Greeves bottle when the Neighbour came round to say a passing walker had thought they were his and come to alert him as they were out again. I think he quite enjoyed telling me as he has been waging a battle with motorists who keep telling him his sheep are out and they are not his! Sam spent the afternoon with his friends and came back insisting we get on with this hay making as hay is now £5 a bale. This has stirred Carl up into more weather watching and he is now fired up to cut tomorrow! Fingers crossed!