Thursday 30 September 2010

Cute booties?

Just a quick blog tonight as we have had an evening out and only just returned.  As soon as Sam returned from school Carl and I hared over to Ashdale Alpacas for a quick meet up with Irene and Si.  We raced round looking at their fabulous cria and then gorged on Irene's novel line in cup cakes - lemon ones are definitely the best!
I delivered my knitting and then proudly unveiled my idea for a new line - I think Si almost wet himself when I opened the box and peeled back the layers of tissue.  I soon realised the tears in Irene's eyes were not tears of joy at this fabulous new line.  They began as knitted booties but I had the (I now realise daft) idea of sticking them in the washing machine and felting them.  I have to admit that on mature reflection it would take a baby with mighty well developed leg muscles to be able to kick with these booties on - they were rather thick and heavy for a new born.  Oh well, have to think again!

Wednesday 29 September 2010

A bit of an accident

Today it rained - lots of rain!  I forgo the pleasures of waste management as I am still trying to get rid of this lingering cold and I thought another drenching might not be the best plan.  Not much to say about the alpacas today - except that they are wet, very wet!

I forgot to mention yesterday my chicken incident at the weekend.  We were moving all the haymaking equipment round to try to get it reasonably sheltered before the winter and tempers began to get a little frayed as Carl's plan and my plan turned out to be different.  In the midst of all this I went to go back in the Mule to get Greeves bottle when Carl started waving and shouting at me.  I reversed, thinking that was what he wanted, only to have him tell me that I had run over a chicken - twice.  I had caught it going up the field and then, not realising, run over it again when I reversed.  It stumbled off into the hedge bleeding from the side of its' head and I thought it would have to be put out of its' misery later on but, at feeding time, it stumbled back out and at bedtime it had tucked itself up in the chicken house.  I did think it would not survive the night but it is still with us - wobbly and walking a bit crab like but eating well and venturing into second field.  I did feel bad though and Carl did not help by constantly calling me a chicken murderer.

The rain stopped this evening but the valley looked very spooky from the garden - lots of pools of mist.  I haven't quite got the hang of nighttime photography so this was the best I could do!

Tuesday 28 September 2010

I'm back - sniffling but fine!

It has been an interesting, tiring few days at Westhill - and I have gone down with a cold which has not helped matters.  I apologise, though, for the lack of blogging.  Thank you for the emails - we are fine!
My troubles began with a Capital Letters problem - my keyboard started to go very funny and would only type capitals.  When I started a blog it all came out in capitals and looked like I was shouting at my readers so I had to wait until it miraculously sorted itself out after I had pushed every key and combination of keys I could think of.

Then I had to knit like a demon to meet my knitting target for Irene at Ashdale on Thursday ( still several pairs of gloves to go).  I would have got on better but so far I have three gloves none of which match and only four complete pairs.  A combination of knitting in the Mule and sitting around in a damp field then gave me a nasty little cold accompanied by aching bones which slowed progress even further.

Then I made an unpleasant discovery in the poo pile (skip this paragraph if you are eating).  I found a lot of frilly white stuff in some cria poo which must have belonged to either Sunbeam or Barry Norton.  By crawling round after them I identified it as Sunbeams' and so collected a sample for the vet.  I thought it was tapeworm but it looked a bit more pretty and frilly (rather attractive in a Predator kind of way) than I expected however, he confirmed it was indeed tapeworm and the wormer we used did not effect tapeworm.  Strange that only one had it and where did it come from?  Anyway. we gave her a course of Panacur and that seems to be fine now - more fecal sampling later!  The vet said they cope well with tapeworm but I really did not like the look of the monster pieces in her poo.

Then Greeves needed a lot of attention to get the weight to start going on but I think we are getting there slowly.  He is nearly 13kg now and runs away from me whenever he sees the bottle which is hard work but good!  Not a clear photo of him I'm afraid - he is at the front with Barnaby, Lily and Emily behind.

Carl has been very busy making new footbaths as the old ones were getting worn and one disappeared.  He also succeeded in setting fire to the vegetable bed which was quite an unexpected surprise.  The raised bed is now somewhat less elevated.

Sam has been very busy with his sheep.  He made a lovely race for them but they have now destroyed it.  Excuse the state of what was once my dining room in this photo but it is to show you Sam's latest creation!  He has made a lego contraption which attaches to Irene's wool winder so they are tensioned and he can make nice smart balls of wool quickly - that has kept him occupied for a few nights!  Don't worry, Irene - the lego is easily removable!
There is more to say but I have just been asked for some knitting advise and I know the answer - I think this means I must have misunderstood the question!!
And as I have neglected Alf's photos for a while - here is a hedgerow view for you!!

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Knit and Natter with Alpaca!

Back to normal now and a lot of catching up to do!  Poo collecting is finally up together and all shelters and water troughs have been cleaned so there is no excuse but to get back to the knitting.  As it was such a nice day I decided the field was the best place for this and there was no need of the Mule for shelter but the alpacas were a bit of a distraction.  I was just thinking this evening that I needed to get a photo for the blog when Sam appeared with the camera so we have alpaca knitting photos this evening!

From the back - Velocette, Lina in the middle and little Greeves at the front.  Lily then appeared just in time to make me lose count of the stitches.
This started to bring the other girls down.
Greeves is now 12kg and has decided grass is just as good as hay.  I am now trying to get him onto Camelibra but that may take some time! 

Sherbert, the suri, was in trouble this morning.  She like to rub on the hay rack and this morning when I went to fill the hay she had rubbed so hard it had broken free on one side and was hanging precariously over Bert's head!  Almost a calamity there - it had to be removed until Carl got home as I couldn't fix it.  It's sorted now and Carl is mowing the lawn - in the dark!!

Monday 20 September 2010

Just one more!

Sam says I can only do one more blog about the GWR or you will all get fed up with it - but I have told him I have a few more things I have to write and I have promised I will not mention Lily and Emily in this blog or it will sound like boasting.  So I will not mention Lily and Emily (gorgeous little superstars that they are!).

You may notice that a lot of my photos feature a box in the foreground - this is because I spent most of the day standing behind a box, or in front of a box, or carrying a box.There were several people at the show who arrived just before the judging started and who remained glued to their seats almost all the way through with a short break for lunch.  I really would have liked to have gone round with a little tray of ice cream like those ladies you once got at the cinema - I would have given them a free one and I really hope they won lots of rosettes (if they were entrants).  I met up with Ashill Alpacas - the place we got our first two wethers from and I was so pleased they did really well.  Sadly, Dominic didn't need to wear the special microphone thing as the acoustics of the hall were good - he would have looked so good with it on but it is a credit to the venue.  There were a good few members of the public there who came to look at the stalls and some of them came and sat down to listen to the judging which was really nice to see.  Unfortunately, I did not have time to look properly at all the trade stands but it was good to see a packed hall.  If the GWR happens next year, we haven't had our post mortem meeting yet, I think there could be even more as there is a lot of room outside which could be utilised.
Some of the classes were quite big - particularly the fawns and whites - and there were some very fine fleeces there.  Supreme Champion was a stunner - unfortunately they don't seem to have a website and I don't suppose they will read this but I send them many congratulations and hope, if we go again next year, to be able to congratulate them in person.
Now that is it - back to normality tomorrow (possibly) - and in case we have The Mighty Derek on board again next year, I shall be practising my catching skills in advance.  He kept throwing disused envelopes back hand at me - felt like I was in a rugger match at one point.  Luckily, I restrained myself from diving for his legs and bringing him down.  He managed o do the whole thing with very little movement and a completely straight face while I was jumping around as if I was being attacked by mosquitoes!

Sunday 19 September 2010

A little more on the GWR!

I have to confess that I was up late this morning.  It has been a very hectic few days.  Friday was setting up for the GWR show and I was surprised at how smoothly it all went despite having so much to do.  We had been invited to a 50th Golden Wedding Celebration  in the evening and we did not think we would be able to make it - but we did and it was a lovely evening which ended with a really professional slide show of the lovely couple in action!  Lovely food and I took a long time looking at the bride's wedding dress which was beautiful.  We had to rush away at the end due to an early start on Saturday morning but again it all went smoothly,  The show itself was very, very good.  I was surrounded by boxes all day but still managed to listen to most of the judging and the comments were so helpful.  What really made it all come to life for me was that the judge handed round fleece samples to illustrate his points.  Waiting for the results was nerve racking - you didn't know if yours was first or not placed at all!  Even we didn't know as, although we opened the envelopes of those that didn't win as soon as that class was judged, we just pinned them on the boxes and didn't have time to read them.  I was so proud when Lily won first in the white junior suris - I thought I would burst.  It was a real struggle to not cry and I was shaking like a leaf waiting for the judge to open the envelope.  His comments were just lovely but I wished I could have written them down so I could remember exactly what he said.  It was all good though and I raced home when I got back to tell her - she was not impressed!  This morning I tried to pin the rosette on her and get a photo but she wasn't very cooperative!

Then came the real shock.  I knew we had entered Emily obviously but at the start of the show the judge had moved a few round that were in the wrong colour class.  I entered Emily in the cream class and of course had no idea if she was still in it or had been moved.  So. he judged that class and the winning boxes were all lined up on the table.  Then he did his comments and then read out the 2nd to 5th names - Emily wasn't there so I thought she either wasn't a winner or maybe, with luck, had been moved and still stood a chance.  Just have to wait for the fawn classes.  The rest of the creams were judged and then they did the colour champion with all the firsts.  I was busy moving boxes so only listened with half an ear as I was sure she could not have got a first.  She did!!  Emily got first place!  I was then really flustered and nearly put the next class out before the judge was ready.  Dear little Emily!  My blood pressure was sky high at this point!

How the judge managed to keep going all day is beyond me - and he was really thorough throughout.  Lunchtime brought a talk from The Natural Fibre Company.  I could only listen to the first half as I had to get some lunch but what I did hear was very interesting and has given me some new yarn ideas.  I only managed a quick look at the trade stands but have made some useful contacts for later on - and I really want one of Oaklyn's pillows, that will be on my Christmas present list.

Today we have been 'recovering' which really means not achieving very much at all!  I spent ages trying to get Emily and Lily to pose beautifully for the blog but all they wanted to do was eat their rosettes or stamp on them.  They are also filthy from rain, mud rolling and hay - so this is the best I could do!  Why is it other people's alpacas stand there looking clean and proud of their award?  Here is Lily, minus her rosette which fell off -
And above are Lily and Emily who both turned their backs on me with their rosettes on the wrong side!

Saturday 18 September 2010

The GWR Alpaca Fleece and Fibre Show

My feet are killing me and I have alpaca fleece in every orifice but what a great day!  We have just returned and Carl has gone for a takeaway so I am just going to give you a few pictures and tell you more tomorrow - but it was really fun and so interesting, I hope everyone else there thought so too!  I think they did from the comments we heard!
Here is the day before picture when we got everything ready including making many, many boxes!
All the trade stands were set up on the Saturday morning but we got them organised the night before.
Today Sam began to develop a bit of a brush fetish!  The fleece wall was beginning to form at the side of him.
Dominic Lane judged constantly, talked constantly and did a tremendous job.
I ran around getting redder and redder - almost bringing on the next class before a class was finished in my eagerness!
. . . but Dominic judged on with his loyal helper Carol always at his side!
We also had the invaluable help of the Mighty Derek who kept the Aylett contingent  in order.

The How To Make A Poo Briquette display also created interest - hope there are many people out there on Sunday morning playing with poo - I am going to be collecting it all day as we know have poo back up!

I really, really have to just add though that we did win two rosettes and I was over the moon - still can't believe it!  But now I have to go and rest.  More news tomorrow - including details of my lovely winners!!

Friday 17 September 2010

Nearly the GWR!!

My stapling hand is now weak so a quick blog!  We have been preparing for the Great Western Region Alpaca Show all day and the box mountain soared - it all looks so impressive.  I did take some preparation pictures but I think I'll leave them till after the show or I might spoil the effect for anyone going.  The sashes and rosettes are gorgeous and everything is looking good!  Trade stands all organised - and a fascinating collection of things to see it will be.

Mum was left to look after baby and got covered in alpaca spit from Lina who was not keen on this interloper!  Greeves actually appeared pleased to see me for once when I went over this afternoon - I think he missed me!  Lina just ignored me as usual.

Now I have got to get our white coats ready, tidy up for the Chippendales who are coming to look after everything here tomorrow and be ready to be up at 5am to get animals sorted before we head off.

The Standerwick Centre at Frome Market is a lovely place - great food as well - come along, it's going to be really fun!!

There may be no blog tomorrow as we anticipate a late night with the packing up at the end,  I'll do lots of photos for Sunday's blog.
Good Luck to all who have entered!!  (I am a little over excited - but then again, you should see Rob!!)

Thursday 16 September 2010

All boxed in!

We are in box land at the moment.  The house has been full of boxes, it has been constant twilight here as the boxes cover the windows, the truck is full of boxes, the stock trailer is full of boxes.  I never want to see another box again!  They are all ready to go to the Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece and Fibre Show tomorrow when we will be setting up and transferring the fleece into them.  We have just finished getting them all into the trailer ready for an early start in the morning.
Sam has been given a day leave from school to help with the set up but in return he has to write an article for the school newsletter about the show - complete with picture.  This he is not terribly excited about!
In amongst the mayhem Si from Ashdale Alpacas popped over to show us a ball of their wool just back from the mill - lovely and should be on sale very soon.  Irene has entrusted me with the task of knitting some gloves from it, a job I shall be taking very seriously but not starting until Sunday as the next few days will be manic.  Actually, Si didn't drive all the way from Devon just to show me one of his balls; he had to pick up something from Sturminster.  He also brought over the most gorgeous, soft jacket Irene has knitted from our wool but I forgot to photograph it and he took it away again!  I'll get a photo soon.  Then I had to race down and do the church window with Mum as this is the only chance we had before Harvest - will probably have to tidy it up on Saturday, or Mum will as I will be running round in a white coat!
Now I have to go and get this microphone thing checked over again and packed up - all very exciting/nerve wracking!

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Bumper Cars

Today one of my BIG problems was almost solved - as long as Lyn The Postie is in overdrive that's sorted!  I popped to the Library Van with a quick pit stop into Mum's where a very nice new wardrobe is being constructed.  I was waved at by a rather surreal giant orange hand and then had a very anxious afternoon waiting for news of Mum's first drive out in her car.  She came a cropper first thing this morning when she became  entangled with a crop of dustbins when reversing it out of the drive.  That dented both her confidence and the bins (she doesn't have Internet so she can't read this!).  She came up this evening and she said the trip out went well (hill starts still need a little urgent work - lots of those around here!) but she went with a very calm lady beside her which helped her confidence enormously.  Thank you!!

Greeves is proving a very tricky feeder as he will not conform to a schedule.  The best way to do it is to wait until he shows signs and goes to Lina and then top him up when he finishes feeding from his Mum.  This is fine but means I have a stiff bottom from sitting in the Mule knitting and trying to accomplish other tasks.  I tried to do the accounts in the Mule but after the fifth dash to retrieve a receipt I gave up!  Quite windy today!

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Entertainment for alpacas

Greeves is getting out of his shed a little more now and can be quite perky at times.
He is not quite at the stage of joining in with Barnaby Rudge and Velocette who spend most of their time arguing!
Sam's sheep are amazing.  They take no notice of me, the Mule or the dog - except to run away if I get too close.  The Shepherd was up on the hill this afternoon and, as soon as they heard his truck and the dogs, they were up at the gate looking across at him!  Every evening, Sam has been getting the sheep into the pen and race  he has made which is very funny to see.  He opens the gate, whistles and shakes some stones in a bucket and down they all come!  They wait patiently for him to open the gate and then trot in.
The girls find this intriguing.
He then sends them through the race (several times!) and finally lets them back out through a gate set up he has made!

Monday 13 September 2010

Feeling Flustered

Some of today has been BAD! - so I'll tell you about last night instead.

It was a meeting of the Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece Show - fun as usual, although we were a bit late arriving due to Greeves not wanting his bottle.  We are not allowed to look at the fleece entries of course - but I caught a tantalising glimpse of a veritable tower of fleeces all in their bags ready to be moved to the showground where they will be put in boxes.  We tried out making up the boxes to display the fleece and Andy from Reddingvale Alpacas has to get the prize for fastest box make up!  We also tried out the thing I collected for Dominic, the judge.  It was not, as Barbara suggested, a Cheryl Cole outfit (that is a thought for another year!) but a rather neat microphone with speaker in a belt.  I fear Rob took rather a fancy to it - I can imagine him by the Wishing Well using it to attract Les' attention!

I was a little distracted at the start of the meeting as I was waiting for a call from Peter at the Rosette Company about the pick up point for the rosettes - but that is a whole new tale to be told another day, maybe!

Just as we were leaving I had a call from Sam, "Mum, don't worry but where are the plasters and do we have any bandages?"  Panic!  Turned out he was constructing a race for his sheep and had cut the end of his finger with the saw.  I now have a blood covered best towel but he is okay!

Sunday 12 September 2010

Sam's venture begins!

An early start and a lovely day today.  The hang gliders were out in force so the thermals must have been good.
Sam was wizzing around getting the electric fence turned off, putting out vehicle mats, renewing the boot wash, counting his pennies - today he chose and collected his sheep!  Exitement levels were very high and I was very glad he had an appointment with some lawn mowing later in the morning or I think he would have exploded!  The sheep settled in straight away and were soon alternating grazing and falling asleep in the sun
The alpacas were a little concerned about these black things across the other side of first field and Dude kept up a constant warning screech and charge around, tail up, for most of the morning.  They have finally settled but are still keeping a wary eye on what the sheep are doing.  Caedmon and the boys up in second were also on guard which was suprising as they are used to sheep.  I think it must have been because they had never seen a black one before!  They are very funny; as soon as they start the screech all the three sheep and the three lambs run over and stand in the middle of them.  The sheep don't look at all concerned they just graze and chew but they don't move away from the alpacas at all!

I had to pop to Shillingstone for milk in the middle of all this and as I got to the bottom of the hill at Belchalwell Cross a chicken walked across the road in front of me.  I am sure it was one of mine but I was left with a dilemma - Do I pick it up and take it home and risk being accused of chicken rustling if it is not mine or do I leave it to get eaten by a fox?  It is a long walk down the hill so part of me says it can't possibly be one of mine but on the other hand it did look like mine!  In the end it was settled for me as it shot into the hedge and across the field.  I will have to do a count tonight.

The reason I am blogging early is that we have a GWR meeting tonight and Carl is helping Mum collect some things this afternoon with a detour to sort out the thing I need for Dominic, the Judge, on the way home.  I also have an ongoing rosette collection issue I am trying to resolve - don't worry, the rosettes WILL make it!!!

Saturday 11 September 2010

All Go!

I was so overwhelmed by boxes, tangled up knitting, rosette conversations that the blog didn't get written last night.  When I finally reached bed in the early hours I was shattered which led to a late bottle for Greeves.  Carl was up early to get on with his fencing but he thought I had already done the bottle and returned to bed.

We got through lots of body scoring, spit offs and, unfortunately, a remating.  Carolyn sat which was not expected.  Lina, however, did spit violently at Dude - the poor boy was quite flustered!  This evening the Shepherd came over to tell Sam he could go and choose his sheep tomorrow.  He also had a look at our sheep and pronounced Teddy, "A good Doer" and Stumpy a little on the large side!

The weather was good all day as you can see from the sky.
We had several visitors besides the Shepherd so it has been a busy day and we need to have an earlier night as a lot is happening tomorrow!

Thursday 9 September 2010

GWR getting closer!

Now my back hurts!  It has been a day of GWR Fleece Show today.  Carl zoomed home from work and then went over in the truck to pick up the fleece boxes.  Lovely and sunny when he set off but on the way back things were looking ominous.
Worrying moments - on the back of an open truck!  He got home safely, however, but then we had problem two.  Where to put them and how to get them to where we were going to put them!
After much debate and a lot of brute force Carl and Sam got part to the shed door, having negotiated the broken Honda and the not wide enough gate - but how to get them through the shed door?
And that is only the first and smallest pile!  We did manage and all the rest went into the front room which is now rather dark as they cover the windows!

At the same time I was having conversations with Peter from The Rosette Company.  We are not trusting deliveries to get these rosettes so Kevin and I are having an assignation at some point somewhere for the hand over!  Details still being negotiated!

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Carl needs hosepipe!

A very nice sunny day again but I have been chained to the Mule - knitting!  It took me quite a while to corner Greeves for his first bottle this morning, he is moving around much more now.  Most of the girls spent the day at the top of the hill either communing over the fence or sunbathing.  Bert did do a little dance at one point but other than that they all had a fairly lazy day. 

Particularly Emily who took control of the rolling pit and snored terribly!
Now Carl has gone in his shed to make something.  The reason all the fences are taking so long is the added barbed wire and electric fence fortifications and it is all getting very expensive.  We wanted to put low level barbed wire and Carl has done the first bit running from an invertor which is not pleasant if you forget to turn it off in the morning!  But he has put it on electric fence posts in front of the stock fencing.  This is fine but not very aesthetically pleasing so I wanted those screw to the post hooks.  We found them for about a pound which sounded great until we realised we would need around 2000!  Then Carl had a brainwave in bed last night.  He woke up muttering, "Must get some hosepipe!"  I have been fearing for his life all day and wondering if the fencing was getting on top of him.  But no, he has a plan!  More on this later if it works!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Sucking on the Bottle!

It seems dreadful but today Carl had to top the new paddock.  It's just too long at the moment and the docks were beginning to erupt.  He does enjoy doing it though, he trundles round with his ear defenders in, grinning like an idiot and singing something about Daisy's bikini!

Another little confession - we ran out of goat's milk for Greeves on Monday morning and all they had was semi-skimmed so I had to revert to Lamblac.  I was worried today that I would be confronted with a runny bottom.  But no, in fact he has made his best ever weight gain.  He is now 11.5kg from 10.4kg on Sunday!  (Could be just my scales of course).  This morning we also hit a bit of a milestone as he actually sucked from the bottle.  It was painfully slow and we both almost fell asleep half way through - but he did it!  The rest of the day we were back to squirting but it is a start.  He is still a big fan of hay and I put a small bit outside the field shelter this afternoon to try to tempt him into the sun a bit more.

Mind you, his Mum, Lina, is also a hay fiend - with no desire to share!
This evening he was grazing at the top of the hill amongst the others which was good.
He's in there behind Flemenco! 
More thinking for the Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece Show this evening - preparing a little display and negotiating with my brother over a little something needed by Dominic Lane, the judge.  I am really looking forward to seeing him - I just hope it's the weather for Aviators as with this thing he needs, which I hope to get from my brother on Saturday, I feel he will resemble something from Girl's Aloud or perhaps it was Fergie from Black Eyed Peas!  Can't wait!

Monday 6 September 2010

A bit of a drip

It was very fortunate that I managed to get all the paddocks cleaned up this morning as later in the day the rain became torrential - wind was also fierce at the top of first field - quite calm at the bottom!  Here are Belinda and Barry Norton in a beautifully clean field - before the heavens opened.

Before the rain came I also spent some time peering at Bert's ears, trying to see if I am imagining the hair growth.
Unfortunately, in the photo above, she would not prick her ears up - but I am hopeful still.  Greeves retreated to the shed as soon as the first spot of rain hit him and remained there chewing all the hay he possibly could  while I sat in the Mule with all doors firmly closed,, knitting.  Sam is in trouble tonight though, as I think it must have been him who has picked the plastic stuff off a couple of little screw holes in the roof and now cold drips fall on me periodically.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Anyone for Tennis?

Big difference today between the weather in the fields and the weather at the house.  Quite nice at the house - occasional little showers - over the fields windy, quite strong at times, and chilly.  Carl was over there most of the day fencing and is now pleased to have finished the new paddock.  I am just planning the next bit of fencing for him!

We popped over to Reddingvale late afternoon on a bit of Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece Show business and to take a little peek at their animals.  They have a lovely variety of coloured animals and some real characters - one of their brown boys was particularly engaging.  There were several very nice cria and a particularly nice little fawn.  Sadly, they would have noticed if I had secreted one in my body warmer - they know all their animals extremely well!  It is always lovely to visit as there is always so much to talk about and to see - couldn't stay too long though as Greeves needed feeding and Sam does not find that easy at the moment.

Greeves is turning into a bit of a shed dweller.  He loves it in the field shelter, under the hay rack, where he sits in state stuffing vast quantities of hay into his little mouth.  He is doing okay but still not that lively until Sam tries to catch him to feed or Carl tries to weigh him.

Now I can't do a photo tonight or type much more as we have a calamity occurring in the hall.  Carl is bouncing around in his dressing gown like Martina Navratilova, trying to kill hornets which are attacking us by flying in through the cat flat.  He is swatting them with the Blackmore Vale Magazine and I do hope he has put his underpants on!  I have also been ordered to knit by Irene at Ashdale as we have now run out of gloves to sell.  I have got Flamenco's wool to knit up which means we can now have something other than grey to sell.  Yikes - a hornet is in here now and Carl is leaping around attacking the Willow Pattern on the dresser!

Saturday 4 September 2010

A bit of a day!

Today started with Carl taking Sam into Blandford to get his hair cut while I pottered about with the animals and set things up ready for the tasks we had for today - a few injections, spit offs and a possible mating.  I was a bit unsure about whether Little Star was ready for mating and had decided not until next year but then she started showing a lot of interest in Dude.  After talking about it we thought we might as well put her in and see what happened and, at first, it looked as if she might sit but then she seemed to change her mind so we left it at that for today!

This afternoon was time to get the fleece ready for the Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece Show and what a fiasco that turned into!  We have never shown a fleece before and these were the first alpacas Carl had sheared - a combination which was never going to go smoothly!  We ended up thoroughly depressed and ready to hurl the whole lot own the hill!  It all began to go pear shaped when I pulled one of my hairs out of the fleece and went further downhill when we realised why some people take off the tips of the cria fleece.  Following this a beetle flew into fleece on the table and needed some extracting (I am sure he left a leg behind) and then a strong wind blew up across the valley.  I had already memorised the fleece tips on Irene of Ashdale's Face Book page and we started looking for uniformity of staple length as we continued to skirt - we began to wonder if we had any sandwich bags in the cupboard to take our show fleeces in - sacks seemed a bit wasteful!  If any one out there has even the slightest concerns about sorting their fleece for the show - forget the worries, you cannot possibly do any worse than us!!  Carl kept telling me that it is the taking part that matters and I replied B.............
We then gave up and decided to do the rest tomorrow.  Here is the abandoned fleece sorting table.

And here is Cruella trying to remove fleece from her mouth.

Carl went off to fence while I did battle with a particularly truculent glove I have invented.
Sam is getting a barrage of  post lately - all offering him insurance for his house, car, health and even pets.  Saga is the worst offender but today they offered him a free pen.  He rarely reads anything but must be the only person around who diligently reads every word in these mail shots.  He said in 35 years when he is eligible he might take up the free pen offer!

Friday 3 September 2010

A visit to Ashdale Alpacas

The eye cream seems to have cleared up Greeves eye immediately - no runny eye this morning!  He was also a little bit livelier which is good.  We popped over to Irene and Si's (Ashdale Alpacas) this evening when Sam came back from school and left him to weigh Greeves but he couldn't catch him which was an excellent sign!  While Sam was running round the field we were enjoying Irene's very lovely cake.  Her own recipe I think and containing quantities of beer.  Carl totally ignored my Look which tried to convey, "No you must not have another slice, you've nearly eaten it all!"  I had a lovely picture to show you of Irene operating her wool winder but sadly there was something totally inappropriate in the background so it cannot be put on the blog!  She has knitted a fantastic jacket type thing involving multitudes of needles - in return I presented her with one pair of gloves which require 'finishing'.

We had a quick look at some very lovely cria and work on the barn.  They are making great strides forward. Carl then discovered their books and started borrowing them so I had to take him away.

Carl giggled all the way home over Si's joke - - -
A big game Hunter came across a little boy standing by a very large dead elephant.  The Hunter said,  "What on earth did you manage to kill that with?"  The boy replied "Oh, it was just me and my club"  The hunter said, "It must have been a very big club!"  The boy replied, "There's about 300 of us"!!!

Sam's first day back at school was 'okay' - that seems to be about all he can remember about it!

Thursday 2 September 2010

One man went to mow (constantly)!

Sunny again today!  Looks like it may be a good September.  Sam is not happy - school tomorrow!

I spoke to Yohav, my vet, yesterday and this morning went to pick up some Orbiven eye ointment for Greeves, who has a weepy eye, and Barnaby Rudge whose eye has been attacked by flies.  That has now been applied so, hopefully, will start to take effect.  Other than that it has been a day of alternating waste management with knitting.  I have to get a bit of a spurt on with the knitting as we are seeing Irene from Ashdale Alpacas tomorrow.  The weather was so good I could knit in the field but Sunbeam and Barry arguing got a bit distracting after a while!
Sam told me several times that he was dying - due to a sore throat - but still managed to race round attacking every stinger that showed itself!
The Great Western Region Fleece Show schedule arrived this morning and reminded me we still have to sort our fleece out.  The fleece boxes are all ready for the fleeces and Carl viewed them this afternoon so everything is hotting up!

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Carl gets his chopper out!

The chill in the air last night affected Carl - he started chopping up logs in earnest this evening in preparation for the firing up of the log burner.  I am not looking forward to having less daylight to get all the jobs done but I do like evenings in front of the fire.

Today has been gorgeous weather and Sam and I have been making great use of our mowers to get the spare paddocks spruced up for the winter.  We set our cutters high and dealt with a few docks, stingers and that straggly dead grass you get left with.  We were having such a good time I had to send Sam down at a run to catch the library van.  I had always smiled a bit at those gentlemen with large lawns who spend ages getting neat stripes across the grass but I have to admit I caught myself, whilst trying to remember the tune to, "You can't always get what you want", endeavoring to get neat lines across the paddock.  Sam spent most of his time going backwards as his Yardman goes much faster backwards!

With such lovely hot weather today we had vegetable stew and dumplings for tea - very tasty but totally inappropriate - and Sam is still moaning about what he calls the 'brains' he was forced to eat (dumplings).  He had been very helpful up until this evening when he became very silly due to being overtired and a sore throat.  He was supposed to be getting his school clothes ready but instead of that he had been rolling around on the floor pretending to be a monkey having tried on 3 shirts all of which are at least 4 inches too short in the arms.  He has now gone down to granny's - probably to complain about being made to eat brains!

I am also delighted to report that the back of Sherbert's leg has cleared up and hair is appearing!  Two years ago the shearer cut her leg just on the back where it bends and despite lots of things tried it kept opening up again.  Well, one week of my amazing cream and it is healed!  Plus hair is growing!  Bert's ears look very white and I don't think it is all the cream.  I am not sure yet about the tops of her legs, I would be surprised if it worked there as they have had hard skin for years and years - but, something does appear to be happening!  Also the cut on Sherbert's udder is healing.  The cream is called Filta Bak and acts like a sort of second skin.  If you wanted to use it you would have to satisfy yourself it was right and safe of course but it does seem remarkable and the person who recommended it to us also says it works.  We bought a tub of it on the internet from vetscription.  I was going to do a photo of Sherbert but the batteries went on the camera so I have failed on photos tonight!

Carl has not failed though - he has nine ripe tomatoes!