Thursday 28 October 2010

Teeth, yet again!

Yes - back to the grim world of dentists for me!  I had two days of intense pain which culminated yesterday in bouts of crying, curling up in bed and wandering distractedly about the field brandishing the poo shovel and collecting nothing.  Following far too many paracetamol than can be good for one person, Yesterday afternoon I phoned the dentist and begged him to see me.  Today he did.  He drilled, he poked and he injected.  I loved that injection - no pain for a good two hours!!  Sadly pain returned but I am now on a pain break as miraculously, following a painful bowl of soup - the pain has gone.  I am typing this with my head held very still in the hope that the pain will stay away.

My plea to all my readers today is - look after your teeth!  I want no-one, not even the people I am not terribly fond of, to suffer this agony.

Back to alpacas.  The girls now have a new field shelter which they are already very fond of.  Carolyn is now in with Lina and seems to be taking over top dog spot.  Lina is a bit put out by this and got quite annoyed this afternoon when I was giving Little Star a neck rub.  She jumped on her and chased her away and then came and stood by me as if to say, "I'm the important one here!"

Now the pain is returning and Sam has just come in to say two chickens are not in bed - Carl is moaning that the torch has gone missing!

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Wet and Windy

Horrible wet weather today - just what you want for a few Lambivac injections!  Never mind - it was all done, all body scored and any feet that seriously needed it trimmed (as little as possible of that!).  Then Carolyn and Sunbeam and Prue and Barnaby Rudge had to swap herds ready for the weaning plan in a few weeks.  We had to stay at the house in shifts as we were waiting for a fleece collection and then, once that was done, there were a few hedge trees to plant and a lot of poo to collect (it didn't all get done - too wet).

I then had to go and sort out Dad's tax - poor Dad, he has been gone for over a year and they still want tax from him.  He never had investments or suchlike and worked until a few months before the end (teaching art to groups) and still they want tax!

Blowing up a gale out there at the moment.

Monday 25 October 2010

An Alpaca Day Out

Sam has been in charge today - and a very good job he made of things - even a bit of nettle trimming thrown in!  Granny popped up and got roped into feeding him and then escaped to make more sketches of the alpacas.
So where were we?
Firstly, we made a whistle stop trip over to Ashton Lane Alpacas were we revelled in beautiful suris and talked wool (even Carl is becoming quite knowledgeable on knitting now - despite the fact that he cannot knit!).  We then did battle with the Sat Nav as we made our way to Easterwood Alpaca Stud.  We had been promising ourselves a trip over there for ages but there hadn't been an opportunity up until now.  I can honestly say we were completely blown away by what they have there.  We were so impressed with their crop of cria.  Sadly, young Navigator was sold - someone is a very lucky new owner of that one.  Now, I have forgotten the name of the next cria we saw but I have never seen one that colour - glorious!  A sort of peachy fawn and stunning crimp literally everywhere.  That is not to even begin to mention their up and coming stud.  We were so bowled over time was whizzing by!  Jeff and Sheila are always so welcoming and their log cabin was a real palace (lovely bit of tiling Jeff!).  We talked and talked alpacas and then Sheila brought out the knitting - really impressive and not surprising it is selling so well.  The online shop should be good when it is up and running.  It was a real effort to tear ourselves away but we really had to in the end and, after a debate over M3 or M4 (it was M3 in the end) we wended our way home - a very satisfying day!
I think the photos recording  the visit  are crying out for captions - -

Particularly this one where Jeff appears to have had quite enough of us for one day,  "GET OFF MY LAND!!"

Sunday 24 October 2010

Alpacas and cup cakes

Sam had a great time at Granny's with my brother and finally reappeared this afternoon after a little light lawn mowing.  That meant Carl and I could take a trip to Ashdale Alpacas.  I only had one pair of gloves to contribute to the knitting emporium as my baby blanket was rejected, being too small for even the smallest of babies.  Carl was desperate to get down there to see the progress Si has been making on the new barn.  I have to say that I have never seen such perfect blockwork in my life!  It will be one posh barn.  Irene also has a cup cake sideline and they are delicious - we brought some home and I had to photograph them before we ate them!
Finally, we had to wave goodbye as Irene masterfully organised her alpacas (the little one next to her is a dog!).

Saturday 23 October 2010

Mend the Mule Day?

As expected, Mend the Mule Day didn't proceed very far.
It was really windy this morning - torrential rain last night - so no T-shirt today Jayne!  This morning even the garden seat took flight and sailed across the lawn.  Carl and Sam went off first thing with the old car on the trailer for a trip to the scrap yard - it was closed!  They'd all gone off shooting for the day!  They then went into Blandford where Sam purchased a packet of screws and a very smart JCB jacket which looked brand new but was only £3 in the charity shop - he's very proud of it. The search for parts for the Mule amounted to a dead end but a lead for Monday so that was the end of that for the day.

Carl then set to banging in fence posts for the neighbour whilst I continued my poo collecting which takes forever without the Mule.  Had to be cleared well though as tomorrow morning we have lambivac injections to do and a trip out later on - so long as Sam is back by then.  He went to Granny's this morning and phoned just now to say he was staying down there for the night - she has a better television and is a better cook!

Friday 22 October 2010

Pedal Bin Liners

Bin cleaning - horrible job!  Once upon a time I used to use my old carrier bags to line the kitchen pedal bin - very hygienic, very easy but now, in my efforts to save the planet, I have seen the error of my ways and march into the supermarket armed with a mismatched selection of my own bags (unless I forget them of course).  This is fine but I no longer have bags to line the bin.  Everything, therefore, gets tipped into the bin where it festers away until someone empties it into the dustbin.  I then have to wash out the horrible mess in the bottom.  I would far rather be collecting alpaca poo but the bin was seriously needing attention  first thing before it crawled away on its own.

Fields then beckoned and I took a few photos.
The sky is beginning to look a little more wintry but this morning I was in a t shirt, it got quite warm.  Much colder now though and the log burner is roaring away.
Greeves continues to, very slowly, put on weight.  He rarely stops grazing but still looks a real baby to me.  He seems to have adopted Lily as his surrogate aunty as he is usually with her.
Thoughts are now tuning to weaning, not for Greeves though.  It is a job I hate; we're going to try something slightly different this year.  Instead of weaning all the babies together into a separate pen with Dobby as foster uncle (a job he did not enjoy last year) I am going to attempt to wean the boys and girls separately.  This is rather complicated as it will mean swapping a couple of the Mums round first to make it work.  That is the task for Sunday morning as tomorrow is Attempt to Mend the Mule Day.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Pretty Prue!

Sorry about the spasmodic nature of the blog recently; we've been so tied up with planning various things recently that time seems to be flying by.  The weather is turning rather cold here - even a bit of frost this morning - and another field shelter is becoming a little urgent, as much to put the hay in as for anything else.

I thought I'd give you a picture of Prue this evening.  She has not been on the blog for ages and is my blue eyed white - and there is a long story behind why we have a BEW!  Prue is a bit of a loner who will never feed her babies anywhere near the other alpacas.  She sleeps apart from the herd and rarely interacts with the others.  She is also the easiest animal in the world to handle - lifting her feet to have them trimmed, practically laying down by herself to be sheared and never making a fuss about injections.  As other breeders will know, BEWs tend to be deaf - Prue may possibly be a little hard of hearing but her eyesight seems phenomenal.  It is hard to tell if she can hear as she is very placid and has never jumped or been spooked by anyone coming up behind her suddenly.  However, she does love her food and does not share!  She happily spits her way to the trough and is not prevented from eating by this, unlike everyone else!

Sunday 17 October 2010

On my own

A solitary day for me today - no Mule, no Carl and Sam.

The Mule is very sick of course . . .
I am going to try to find the thing you put down your sock which tells you how far you have walked - that should be interesting!
The Shepherd was rounding some of his sheep up this afternoon with the dogs.  I find it quite incredible how he does it and I had to sit in the field and watch for a while - Caedmon also found it very interesting and stood at the top of his paddock staring intently.

Carl and Sam have been down in Devon helping Si and Irene put up their barn.  I phoned Carl earlier and he said they had finished one layer of blocks which didn't sound much to me but he said it is all in the preparation - I hope Irene is cracking that whip hard enough!

Saturday 16 October 2010

Mule Down!!

The Mule is broken!

The poor Mule has ground to a halt.  It appeared to be grinding out bits of metal from around one of the front wheels for a while but I forgot to mention this to Carl.  I did find I had to hold the steering wheel at a strange angle to get it to go in a straight line but I assumed this was the ruts in the track.  Sam went down the field tonight and phoned Carl to say it wouldn't steer and the wheels were pointing in different directions.  I was about to strangle him for breaking my Mule but apparently it is not his fault.  I am not sure what is wrong with it but many words were bandied about like calipers, sheared somethings and worn hubs.  It is propped up on blocks at the moment amongst much shaking of heads and talk of parts required.  I am not allowed to touch it - well it's wheels are off anyway - and I must now walk everywhere which takes ages.

Carl and Sam were beating today and, before the Mule broke, I was having a jolly time zooming around clearing fields, checking fences and doing the odd bit of knitting.  Greeves is 3 months today and I really didn't think he would get this far but he is a very independent little chap.  Here he is with, from the left, Flamenco, Lina behind him (his Mum), Barnaby Rudge, Vellocette, Lily (just her neck!) and Emily.
They were all lined up watching Sunbeam and Barry Norton fighting - which is what Sunbeam and Barry Norton have been doing for most of the day!

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Library van visit

A very busy day today as along with the anuimals I had to fit in a quick run down to the library van.  Several people there today - it's a very useful service - and cakes!  On the way back I was suprised to see around 20 people in the chrchyard eating their sandwiches and enjoying the view.  Then, when I got onto the cut, I was met by The Grey Haired Neighbour who kindly gave me a lift the rest of the way.  I was very grateful for that as it is quite a pull up the hill with a bag full of books!

Sam is now pestering me for something called a set of handwarmers for his quad.  Carl has suggested he makes them out of cut up plastic milk cartons and I have offered to knit him something - he is not impressed!!

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Quentin Tarantino at work

Another nice sunny day today but it is definitely colder - the body warmer remained firmly on, all day.  I had to do a bit of trimming under the electric fence as the grass was beginning to touch it in places and, I don't know how it happened as I was watching the alpacas whilst cutting, somehow I managed to cut the electric wire in half.  Carl was a bit annoyed about this but all he did to fix it was tie a knot so not such a disaster after all.  Some of the girls were in quite a sprightly mood.  Here are Velocette, Barnaby and Barry with Greeves just out of the picture leading the way and Lily bringing up the rear.
I really wanted to get a moving video of them but it kept coming out fuzzy.  This one Sam took but it still goes fuzzy in places.  It may be a bit too big a file to view; I find these technicalities a bit confusing.

Mum popped up this afternoon to tell me all about the Keeper of the Churchyard's incident with an apple tree - he is fine but may have a slightly dented fender!

The Lord of the Manor is lambing which seems a strange time of the year but has made me think it is time to start thinking about a ram for Stumpy and co (it will have to be a very big one to cope with the size they are!)  Sam is trying to time his lambing for half term (thank goodness!).

Monday 11 October 2010

Pot Belly Greeves

Greeves has put on weight again which I am pleased about but I am a bit concerned about his shape.  He is still bony on the backbone but his stomach seems very rounded.  We moved that group onto a fresh paddock on Sunday so it may be that the grass is a bit rich and long for him - he certainly never stops grazing.  He also managed a little cria camelibra this evening.  Carl gave it to him from his hand while I kept Lina and Flamenco occupied.  I think if I can get him to eat more of that morning and evening it might be better than his bottle which he still loathes!  I was worried Lina might not be pregnant after all as she still likes a neck rub so I got Carl to go over and try giving her a stroke - she bit him!  Think she may be okay still!
Lovely sunny day today which did not help my photographic skills.

The chickens again explored their new house, one goes up and down the ladder for most of her time, but they still did not want to go in there at night so we picked them all up and put them in - hopefully they will realise what it is for tomorrow.

It seems incredible but today it is a year since my Dad died.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Hatching Plans!

It has been an extremely busy day and sadly I have no photos for you tonight.  We have been hatching plans in amongst completing the list of tasks we set ourselves for the weekend.  Not all the tasks were finished, as usual, but it was a good day.  The chickens love their new house - during the day - at bedtime they all trooped out and went back to perch in the old one which was due to be removed tomorrow!  Fleece sorting is not quite complete and quite a bit of it blew away as the wind is still quite strong here.  Now I have to return to our plan hatching which is really getting quite exciting!!

Saturday 9 October 2010

The Hunt

The Hunt was out this morning and the alpacas spent the time in a state of nervous tension!  The boys gathered their sheep together at the top of their paddock and kept guard throughout - how they get those sheep so organised I just do not know.  Even little Pugsly and Two Tone just stand there next to Caedmon waiting to be told all is safe again!

The girls did a lot of whinnying - especially when the dogs and some of the riders got into third field.  In fact Prue was on edge for most of the day and in the afternoon, when the hunt were long gone, started setting off a panic alarm when she saw a glimpse of the Shepherd's sheep through the hedge. 

The SFS came round his morning and brought a pretty impressive delivery with them - more news on that tomorrow.  They did complain it was cold here but as male SFS was wearing shorts and a t shirt I did not take a lot of notice of that.  It appears he is now setting up as a dressage instructor which seemed an unlikely role but he has always been a keen horse man, particularly with the spectacular rides available to him from his woodland home with adjacent holiday cottage (!!

This afternoon Carl carried on constructing the new chicken house whilst I sorted more fleece.  All girls now appear to be pregnant and holding their pregnancies except for Sherbert and I think I may have to wait until spring with her.  Prue is having a rest year so she hasn't been mated.

Sam went off to do some gardening in the village this morning and then went to Granny's to do something for her (that seemed to involve eating a lot of biscuits and walking the dog).

Friday 8 October 2010

Breezy fleece sorting

Rather a stiff breeze today which played havoc with my fleece sorting.  I put the sorting table in the barn to try to get a little shelter from the bales but it was still quite an effort at times to keep the fleece from blowing over to Turnworth!  Mum came to help so we managed to get almost everything sorted, just a little more to finish at the weekend.

Not quite sure what Mum was doing here but she is wearing her new jumper!

I looked forward to weighing Greeves this evening as I anticipated that it would be easier with the modified sling.  It was, but the weight was not good news - he appears to have lost 750g over two days.  He isn't feeding well but is lively so we will weigh again tomorrow and then have a rethink.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Constructive Day

Quite a constructive day today despite a headache which has only just lifted.  I adapted the weighing sling on Debbie's advice and it is all ready to try tomorrow.  I also knitted an entire glove (I am just about to unpick half of it as I have discovered a dropped stitch which is creating a very attractive ladder) and have had a thorough check of all alpacas.  Most of them are slightly cleaner than they were - but not Greeves who has returned to his favourite spot under the hay rack and who now looks rather like a hay rack himself.  I managed to catch the back of Lily and Emily looking clean and watching the dog - before they had a good roll in mud!
Lambivac time is coming up so I now need to get that sorted and we are almost out of Camelibra - again!

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Weighing baby

Nice weather this morning and I started to whip through the task list . . . and then Carl appeared!  He had the  day off and his list started with putting up the new chicken house.  The old one's are rotten so the idea was to get them all into one house, they spread themselves between two at the moment, and give them a house that doesn't leak and flap in the wind.  This job involved me holding things and passing things and pushing things - all of which I did wrong!  This took most of the day and I had to sneak away and hide amongst the alpacas every now and again when he got moody.  It is now almost finished but not yet ready for occupation as it has to be positioned and weatherproofed.

Weighing Greeves has now become much better since we acquired a luggage weigher for £3.99 in the garage (can't remember who it was that suggested the idea but very good plan) - coupled with an old towel it works a treat - almost!!  It can get a little precarious at times.

I have just had the most wonderful time watching the cria charging round at breakneck speed - pronking and leaping.  To me the sight of an alpaca pronking is one of the funniest and most magical.  Mine do it most at dusk and they just look so happy.  Greeves joined in but stops when the others start to get a bit too rough, he is a lot smaller than they are.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

The Glorious Fifth!

A lovely sunny day today.  For alpaca drying it  was very near absolutely perfect.  Our newly actioned electric fence planning works but Sam made appeal that please the current and power turned down as a pain from a shock very nerve wracking.  Have been fraught, road-accident chicken died in night.  It was probably best.  We have been busy, I had to do knitting under last knitting orders from Irene.  Night starting drawing in helps the knitting!  I also have council tax to sort, was planning to update you on . . .

On to Glorious tenth now!  Not the best name, Officer, for a dog - Sunday was animal service at church and noone was called that.   There were dogs there and their owners, good thing our cats didn't go- preferring an agricultural to a church environment.  Now, back to my knitting consultant and get orders - Si (Ashdale) over today but we were too occupied to remember to give him the knitting.  There it lies, forlorn but completed in all its' splendour on, or perhaps I should say, draping rather elegantly across, one table.  One good spit off performed yesterday and that side (back to fifth) sorted, of course.  I hope all the girls are holding.  The table is loaded with records with vets coming chatting with us during the next week.  On another subject little Greeves, the bottle-fed cria is with  other cria more, thank goodness.  A week ago he was lone sight in the field.  Woman passing by the gate from the road were often the very first to stop.  Ramblers like to look, even sat by the native hedge on picnic chairs to watch.  "Her down hill" as my own Mum is sometimes known at the moment really likes the walk up hill to end with a spot of the alpaca watching.  I held council when she jokingly, laughing made the sensible suggestion of several drawings being made as interesting Christmas cards.  My first comments were,a good idea, although I did think that they might not stand still.  Did, I think, to me seem a good plan and to work well with Mum's display talents!  It has been a crazy day today and certain degree of weariness and apathy has overcome us and towards an evening sun set the effort of keeping alert whole day does seem a thing of immense, miraculous achievement.  The idea of becoming a rambler like a very nice lady I met earlier who was just relaxed, smiley and very keen on walking and happy seemed very, very appealing and relaxing.  Now I have enjoyed a good bath once the baby had been fed, alpacas checked!!!

So that is the end of the glorious fifth/tenth - the title must mean something or I am going round the bend.  Very tiring but okay.  Now we just have to wait, more news when we get some.
Oh, and back to normality, great excitement for Sam down the cut last night as there was a car on its bonnet and the breakdown lorry pulling it out - no one hurt I am pleased to say (except the car of course)!
Photos tomorrow to make up for this drivel!!!!!!

Saturday 2 October 2010


Today has been a little unpleasant as I have had to spend most of my time cleaning the house while Carl and Sam have been doing all the animal tasks, including moving some of the girls around.  I had to retain charge of Greeves feeding, though, so did manage occasional forays into the great outdoors.This was very necessary as I was wrestling with the hoover and did need to escape its' clutches.  The hoover has developed Intermittent Working Disorder which means it requires a good shake every now and again to get it going - a bit like Carl as he has a bad neck at the moment and is walking around with his head on one side rather like a quizzical Robin (or Igor, depending what mood he is in).  Anyway, all is tidy so tomorrow we are back to normal.

Friday 1 October 2010

Rain and wind

A sort of paperwork day today - and very wet.  High winds last night and there was a tree down across the road up through Bryanston into Blandford.  One tree had also come down in first field but it was quite small and we propped it back up again so it might recover.
All animals were totally drenched, as are all humans!  Despite the rain, Bert still fancied a bit of a neck rub which was probably more enjoyable for her than it was for me as she made me exceedingly wet.  I am pretty sure that she is holding her pregnancy as the cuddles are now only when she wants them - she is a little different personality wise to most alpacas!  It was far too wet today for any photos so here is one from a couple of days ago of Bert reclining.  Caroline is at the front and, yes, she is still a little on the hefty side!

It is soon time for the ram to come to call and Sam is quite excited about that.  I don't know how my sheep will get on; they too are fairly large as you can see from Stumpy.