Thursday 30 June 2011

No rain, please.

Only a quick blog tonight as we have cut the grass in second field (just the bit at the top and side - the rest has the sheep in it) and now we have to drag the Woofler out.  Carl is taking the Mule apart as it is Seriously Sick and a large quantity of bailer twine which is wrapped round it's underneath bits is not helping matters . . . nor is the hole in the exhaust . . . not  is the bearing in the wheel which is kaput!
Babies are doing well.  One of Tilbo's ear straighteners has fallen off but the ear is now straight so that is him half sorted.
Bert has been asleep virtually all day so maybe she will be next?

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Going well

We have a name - Squadron Leader Tilbo (not sure what the i stands for but we had to have a vowel, Judi!).

Today much time has been wasted in watching the two of them.  Slinky is adventurous and charges around sniffing at everyone - she now weighs 11kg so is doing fabulously!  Tilbo is still a bit sleepy but has lots of mad bursts of energy in between.  Zara follows him around constantly and chases Slinky away if she comes near - Zara isn't his Mum, Cassie is and she is very laid back about it all!  Greeves was scared stiff of them yesterday but today has been having tentative sniffs at Tilbo - Slinky is far too lively for him!

Sam and I have also prepared the barn for the hay which we are hoping to start cutting soon. 

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Give us a vowel, Carol

Thank you for the comments yesterday - why am I suddenly typing in italics?  You (ah!  that's better - normal typing!) may have noticed yesterday that Tlbo's ears were a bit floppy - they have now been taped and he looks rather like a Lufthansa jet coming in to land!  I cut up a sweet pea pot into an ear shape and taped it to the inside of his ear with insulation tape (I could only find red).  He didn't mind this and nor did Cassie so hopefully when it comes off in three days - he will be fine.
He does look a bit cross though!  The name Tlbo is has stuck but, as Carl says, it lacks a vowel!  So he has to be renamed - Squadron Leader is my current favourite!

Slinky is very lively and seems to enjoy dashing between the two paddocks and giving her Mum a heart attack at the same time.  She soon shoots back to Mum though when something frightens her!
Shame I got so much purple spray all over her but I am worried about having another Matchless problem (he died last year) so I am spraying liberally and dipping in Iodine.  A bit overkill I know but I am not taking any chances.  Tlbo keeps himself to himself much more at the moment but Slinky is getting acquainted with every one else and seems to have taken a bit of a shine to Lily.

In between cria watching we did a spit off for both Prue and Little Star - both spat - and then attempted a mating for Sherbert.  She has had all her medications and sat immediately - then we hit a snag, luckily!  We decided to try Alf - our young white suri.  He was very keen and got on, orgling crazily but despite knocking on the door he couldn't seem to wiggle into the right place!  Everytime we tried to help it disappeared!  Sherbert eventually got fed up with this young boy and gave him a look which said, "I need a man, not a boy!"  We decided to leave it for a day and then when I got home I was reminded Alf is, due to my stupidity several years ago, registered as listed non breeding.  Presumably if he did sire a cria we couldn't register it so we will have to think again.

Monday 27 June 2011


Phew!  We've had another one!
10am this morning Cassie looked a bit restless.
11am she took herself up to the second paddock leaving everyone else behind in first.
She then started walking backwards - this had to be a sign of imminent birth (unless Andy had been giving her secret dance lessons).  We then had rolling, groaning, straining and backward walking until 3pm.  Interspersed with sleeping or resting.

Finally a head appeared and at 10 to 4 out came a little boy - a lovely dark brown - into a rather overcast rainy day.  I sprayed him and put a coat on but he didn't want to get up so in the end I held him up to Cassie and after his first drink he was away - in a very tottery manner! 

Sun is now out and coat is off - just in time for the arrival of the shepherd to shear the sheep!

The Slink (despite some good suggestions, she just has to be Slinky) is very lively and getting very adventurous (she weighed 10kg last night) - Greeves is scared of her and runs away if she comes near!

So now we have two - The Slink -

And Tlbo (a temporary name - The Little Brown One!) -

No more yet - next we should have Bert whose 11 months are up next week, on Wednesday.

Sunday 26 June 2011

This is Great!!

Such an exciting day - it has been wonderful - my first cria of the year!  Last night we went out to check the girls as it got dark and Crispie looked really uncomfortable but not as if it would be in the night.   I thought it might be today so got a flask and the knitting ready.  When I let the chickens out she was grumbling but still with all the others and lying normally but, after a quick return to get the dog, I settled in the Mule and prepared for a bit of a wait.  Apart from the grumbling she showed no real signs until about five minutes before when she got up and strained a bit and then had a mammoth roll.  Baby was born, quickly and easily, at 10 past 11.  Within 10 minutes it was up and luckily I caught her (it's a girl) straight away to spray the navel as she then zoomed round the field with Crispie moaning along behind her.  Afterbirth was soon out  - only problem was baby took ages to suckle - she tried everywhere but the right place and I couldn't catch her to give a hand.   Finally, she managed, by going under Crispie's tail between her back legs!   I am so pleased with her, Carl and Sam haven't seen her yet as they are shearing at Irene's.  I hoped and hoped it would be a girl and a solid white - that is all I wanted.  Crispie is a Suri but not a wonderful one so we mated her to Dude as a little experiment - and I really am very pleased.  She is so bright - better put a photo in at this point!
She was born at 337 days and looks big and strong but I am waiting for Carl to get back so I can weigh her.  She has spent all day enjoying the bright sun.

 - with Mum always by her - you can just see Crispie's nose at the top of the photo!  What is, I think - but it is a bit early to tell- brilliant is that she appears to have lovely little locks coming already.  I never thought we'd manage that!  Tonight I am going to try to find  Alf's baby picture (her half brother) and Lily's and see how she compares.  If you squint you can just see some little locks starting to twist in her very first fleece shot!

I have just eaten an entire lemon drizzle cake in my excitement and feel a trifle sick!  Brilliant!!!!!!
Oh!  And a name!  The Wise Woman has suggested I name her after a potato - - which is a possibility! - but I am tentatively calling her The Slink (slinky for short) as she is so silky feeling.  Mind you, Carl hasn't had his say yet!  Oh, I love it - who will be next?!!

Saturday 25 June 2011

Pesky chicken!

Weather was foul this morning , which was not what we wanted as we hoped to finish shearing ours.  So we checked over the boys and cut a few toenails and then Carl and Sam set to work on making the tractor wipers work.  Somehow they succeeded in making the interior light work from the wiper switch but still no wipers!

The weather then started to improve and I had a long chat with Bert, which was sadly constantly interrupted by a pesky chicken who kept pecking at us.
By the time the weather really turned and the alpacas dried, it was too late to shear so now Sam and I have been running round putting more water containers out.

. . . and many thanks to Willie for an alpaca article he sent me this morning - I like getting interesting post - thank you Willie!

Friday 24 June 2011

A day for yawning

Shopping this morning while Sam got the 'new' chain harrow ready for action - it is very big!

We then checked over the sheep and I am very pleased to report that all eyes seem to be clearing up well.  I had half an eye on the alpacas all day but no one produced and I could not really kid myself that anyone was likely.  In fact everyone looked a little tired and listless.  I don't think Greeves could yawn anymore than he was!

Thursday 23 June 2011

A Little Ballroom Dancing

It has been a while since the last blog and I shall blame it on a back log of things to do.  I think we are all now more up together although the list is still long!

The alpacas have all been in slightly odd moods today, despite the weather.

I blame it all on Emily who had a mating to Dude last night which she appeared to thoroughly enjoy - rear end tightness problem finally cracked!  Emily has now decided it is so much fun she must have a go at mounting everything in sight.

The weather today has been challenging - showers, downpours and even hail at one point.  Luckily, this evening has been lovely which was just what we wanted for the arrival of the Red Van!  Viv and Andy from Reddingvale Alpacas arrived with the gorgeous Canchones Referendum.  He strutted out the Alpaca Van (the number plate of which I am very jealous of - and that is not beginning to talk about how much I covet the van!) and wasted no time in getting to work.

Zara was very ready for him and sat down immediately - he has got the loudest orgle imaginable and stirred Dude,  across the paddock, into a frenzy - at some points Carl and Andy were having to shout at each other to make themselves heard!  Andy finished the proceedings with a quick fox trot which was immaculately excecuted but was somewhat spoilt by the wellies!  (I believe Carl is attempting an Irish Jig in the background!)

Job done and then it was time for Andy to get reaquinted with Dylan, who certainly rememberd him and came over for a snuggle.  I was keen for Viv to have a look at Cassie who is 331 days today and we think there is probably a week or so to go - so no babies yet!

Referendum then settle back into his Alpaca Transporter and away they sped.  I have not had one cria yet and here I am thinking about next year's!!

Friday 17 June 2011

A visit from the vet

More rain today!  Sorry, no photos as it really has been horrid - weather wise.

Despite the rain we had a lot to do.  First was the visit from a very nice vet we hadn't met before.  Father Dougal looked at Sam's sheep with bad eyes and suggested we separated them with their lambs from the rest of the flock.  The Orbenin treatment was right and two are clearing but the other we must have caught too late so that one had to have an injection under the eyelid.  Hopefully they should all gradually recover but it may take a little time.  In cattle the infection is called New Forest Eye and the bacteria can be passed in the uterus before they are born where it lays dormant.  Think I have got all that right!  It is highly infectious and the vet, much to Sam' delight, said to top their paddock as their is lots of long grass which the infection could transfer onto.  He did not need telling twice!

We then had a look at Sherbert, the Suri who I have not been able to get pregnant since she had Lily 2 year ago.  She had an injection of Estrumate and then, once she is receptive, she'll get antibiotics once a day for 6 days with Oxytocin from days 1 to 4 - mating on day 5.  Sounds like fun!!  Luckily Sherbert is the most laid back alpaca around - she just stands there chewing and gazing up from under her fringe!

It was very interesting the way the vet did the inter muscular injection for Sherbert - I missed it as I was holding her but Sam said he put the needle in first and then attached the syringe with the stuff in it.  Why?  What is the advantage, does anyone know?

No babies of course but I shall go over and check all is well in a minute.  I then have to get some clothes and sandwiches sorted out for tomorrow as we are off on an jaunt with Irene an Si from Ashdale Alpacas- more on that tomorrow!  Sam will be home alone and in charge - birthing kit at the ready!

Thursday 16 June 2011

Baby thoughts

Rain!  Lots of it!  We do need it and it is doing good so I mustn't grumble. 

Thoughts are now properly turning to babies as Crispie is 330 days on Sunday and that is when she had her last cria.  Cassie is 335 next Wednesday.  I have to say Belinda still looks far more pregnant than anyone else.  Well, apart from Bert who isn't 335 days until 7th July and looked as if she was about to have it this evening! (I know her nails desperately need cutting - she is having  them done at shearing - for all she loves to be stroked, she does not like her feet done!)

I have a visit from the vet tomorrow morning - I am afraid The Vampire Vet is on a course so he can't come but never mind.  His reason for visiting is to check out the sheep eyes.  We have had a problem with two of Sam's sheep - they have suffered before and a three day course of Orbenin cured it but this time it is not responding and one, Jordan's mum, looks like she is going blind.  I told Sam to get advise from The Shepherd but he won't - I think he is a bit embarrassed that it has got so bad.  Hopefully, the vet will be able to sort it out tomorrow.  I also want to get some help with Sherbert who I couldn't get pregnant last year and am having the same problem with now.  A combination of Estrumate, Excenel and Oxytocin has been suggested over a six day period so I will ask about that.
Today Carl and Sam have been shearing, we didn't think it would come off but with luck and the aid of a poly tunnel they managed!  I have spent the morning (well an hour of it) at the hairdressers and the rest of the day hiding in the field due to visitors at the house.  Unfortunately I took my car over to the fields and  I fear it is now stuck in the mud!  Carl may need to tow me out later!  Sam is desperate to find a job which requires taking the tractor on the road.  He almost managed when he discovered some things that needed transporting to the field from the house but I put my foot down.  He may have passed his test but I am not letting him anywhere near the road until he has had some advanced driving tuition with his Dad!  I can't get over the fact that the first time you go on the road in a tractor is on your way to the test!  It took me many, many hours of driving lessons before I managed to pass - and four attempts - mind you I think Sam is already a far better driver than I am but he lacks experience.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Let me in!

Bert discovered the Mule held a bucket of food this morning.  Here she is leading Belinda astray!
After this she was desperate to get in the Mule for the rest of the day - despite the bucket being moved.
She even tried her, I'm so cute, look!

Dude ignored everything and just lay around.
Cassie has spent most of the day all on her own by the poo pile - maybe soon!

Monday 13 June 2011

He passed!

Sam's tractor test this afternoon - and he passed!  I have never been so nervous in my life an spent a restless morning with an even worse afternoon!  Sam was also very nervous but the examinr phoned first thing to check were they were to meet, which gave Sam a chance to talk to him first and I think that settled his nerves a bit.  He refused to let me take him down to pick up the tractor and set off at least an hour too early.  I know he had to check it over and take off the loader but I am sure that does not take 2 hours.  Anyway, he passed and is over the moon.

Most of the alpacas who should be giving birth appear to be heading in the right direction.  Cassie, the brown in the photo, seems to have changed shape over the last day or so, Bert, at the back, spends most of the time lying down and Lily, at the front, definitely looks more rounded.

Even Greeves appears to be growing - slowly!
The wasps, which Carl removed yesterday, are very busy rebuilding their nest in exactly the same place!

Sunday 12 June 2011


Today it rained - it really, really rained.  Carl and Sam had to cancel their shearing job and we had to light the wood burner in the end, it was that cold.  The alpacas were shivering but the wouldn't go into their shelters until this afternoon, they just lay around looking miserable.  I sat in the caravan keeping a close watch on Cassie and Crispie.  I had a good book and a thick jumper so all was going well until I heard a scratching from the cupboard.  I tried to ignore it but when it became accompanied by scurrying I left very quickly and fetched Carl from where he was dealing with the wasp nest.  A family of rodents had moved into the caravan via the battery compartment.  They had tunnelled their way up beneath the very seat I was sitting on, eating the carpet on the way.  All rest was therefore over as everything had to be removed, everything had to be hoovered, everything had to be washed, investigations had to be made of the surrounding area - including moving and looking behind everything.  I am now scared to go in there so got repeatedly soaked today.

The mower is almost fixed ready for haymaking when it eventually gets sunny again and Carl keeps muttering about Red Van Man already having cut, dried and baled his!

Sam and Carl have just returned from a second tour of the route to Sam's tractor test.  They met the Shepherd who is lending his tractor for the venture and now Sam is doubly nervous as he told him if he passes he can do the woofling for him this year - something that is a dream come true for Sam!  How he will get through tomorrow morning I don't know - I am planning a list of jobs to keep him occupied!

Saturday 11 June 2011


Thank you for your kind comments on Smudge - it is very nice to have sympathy when you are feeling bad.  Little Wee spent yesterday and this morning searching for him, (or at least that is what it looked like) but is now settled down on the settee with Cruella.  Strangely, Little Wee rarely curled up with Cruella on the settee - she always went upstairs and slept with Smudge on the bathroom chair but she hasn't been in the bathroom at all today.

Very oddly, this evening, Cassie didn't come for her food.  This is extremely unusual as Cassie usually bowls along neck out and screeching, pushes everyone she can out of the way and eats like crazy.  She is not at 11 months for another 10 days, she looks completely fine - maybe she was just tired and couldn't be bothered.

Now I have discovered a wasp nest in the girls' top paddock filed shelter, complete with many wasps!

Friday 10 June 2011


I am afraid this is not a happy blog tonight.  I went over to feed the lambs this morning and saw Smudge in the road.  He looked like he was just lying down and I called him but he didn't move.  He'd been knocked down, obviously by something coming at speed.  He was in a pool of blood and his eyes had come out.  It was terrible.  I am glad no one came past as I was crying and grovelling around in the road trying to find his eyes.  I found one in the bank but the other had gone.  He was still warm but very dead.  Spent the day crying having put him on the water butt with a tea towel round him.  Don 't know why I had to find his eyes, just didn't seem right not to.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Tapping is about to begin

Despite the fact that it has been intermittently raining all day and that we haven't finished shearing - thoughts are turning to hay making.  Carl has the mower in bits getting a bearing sorted, then the bailer needs a service, then the barometer is going to need daily tapping in preparation.  Inspection of third field is due tomorrow (not that we have time to bale yet anyway as we have lots of shearing booked in) - inspection of third field is bound to involve a lot of tutting, picking blades of grass and staring skywards (none of it of any real value as what we will really do is look out the lounge windows and wait for signs of anyone else baling!).

I have mostly been alpaca watching today but I did manage to clean out the chickens and somehow allow my sheep to escape.  Trying to get Stumpy back was a bit of a nightmare as she is like an unstoppable steam roller coming towards you at full pelt with ears flapping in the breeze!  They are now all safely back in with extra strengthening on their gate which they appear to have pushed open somehow.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Revision and Matings

Sam and I have had a very busy day of field maintenance (Sam is on exam leave but more than 10 minutes revision at a time seems to cause him to incur strange illnesses).  In addition to bouts of revision we have also been doing the highway code in preparation for Sam's tractor test on Monday - something he is more nervous about than anything else (I am also exceedingly nervous but now know how to check coolant levels on a John Deere, maximum speeds, the correct way to reverse round a corner, the MSM routine . . . ).  I have now decided that despite signs to the contary, no babies are coming until they are officially due which means Crispie and Cassie are first and don't reach 330 days until 24th and 22nd June respectively.  I shall therefore not mention births until then!

I will, however, mention mating!  I am having a little trouble with Emily who I don't think is pregnant.  We tried a couple of times last year but she would not sit and when she did it was brief and reluctant.  This year we had a little investigation and she was very tight - Dude didn't get in very well and kept falling out.  We tried a gentle bit of lubrication but I was worried not really knowing what I was doing.  I thought maybe we had solved the problem but now I think not so I took a little advise from The Gynaecologist this evening and following this had more of an exploration  - she is keen to sit now but I am still not sure I have quite cracked it!

Carl is outside welding up the Shepherd's sheep race at the moment as it sustained a little damage - it's a bit of a rush job as he needs it for tomorrow!  Sam is now helping him, having first helped me with Emily - although most of the time he was doing something in the corner of the barn which was of great interest to the girls - and totally incomprehensible to me!

Tuesday 7 June 2011

A bit of wrestling from the girls!

The rain has started to do a little bit of good and things are looking marginally greener.
Everyone is a bit grumpy at Westhill - Carl has been doing too much, Sam has exams and the girls are big and uncomfortable.  Today Lina and Crispie had a  fight because they both wanted to lie in the same place!  It started with Lina coming to lie down almost on top of poor Crispie. (Lina on the right)
Then Lina got very aggravated as Crispie didn't immediately get up and move.
When rolling on top of her didn't work she tried kneeling on her - Crispie, normally the mildest of creatures who is easily pushed out of her spot, held firm and Lina went off in a huff!

Crispie is just too uncomfortable to be bothered with anything much!

Sunday 5 June 2011

Rain, at last!

Too wet for photos today - but I am not complaining, we certainly needed it.  The water butts are all full and the alpacas look far more comfortable.  Well, apart from Carolyn who took at least 10 minutes trying to kush tonight, the baby was kicking like a little demon.  She's not due until July so there is a bit of time to go yet.  I was a bit chilly over in the fields but steam was coming from the noses of the alpacas who haven't been sheared yet so despite the rain I think they were still hot.  Dude does look more comfortable now though, Judi - hope your rain is as refreshing as ours is!

Saturday 4 June 2011

Hard at Work

After last night's hilarity - and rather awful blog photo, sorry, we were back to some normality today.  Lots of paddock maintenance - which involved much driving around on the John Deere attacking docks and the odd nettles, Poo Picking everywhere, cleaning water containers (water is reaching critical level now as both butts are almost empty - as is Billy).  The alpacas have mostly been lying around watching all this activity.  Here's Flemenco looking over her shoulder.
Dude is now far too hot and over fleeced even though we gave him a second shear in August last year.  Sadly, Carl and Sam have no time to shear him until one evening next week - ah well, looks like it could possibly rain tonight!

Sam is developing a new line in pet sheep and has been busy halter training the lambs - he's not doing too badly but it does look rather funny!

The lambs are all growing well - even George's twins are looking quite big.

Friday 3 June 2011

Ladies getting larger!

It's no good - I can't blog properly tonight.  Carl and Sam have just returned from an epic shearing adventure and now we are completely curled up over one of the funniest things for a long time - sorry, fits of giggles are overcoming me again! 

Just have to leave you with a picture of big Cassie going to the toilet (not the hilarious event of the day!) - she has both hiccups and wind and when not relieving herself, has been snoring!!

Thursday 2 June 2011

Anonymous said . .

I am so sorry - I can't leave comments on anyone's blog for some reason!  Firstly I could but only if they were anonymous and then when I tried to leave a comment for Pat and Sid at Toad Hall Alpacas it just wouldn't let me comment at all.  So I am silently reading and attempting to investigate the problem (and I do hope the cria are okay - Debbie and Pat and Sid).

It has gradually got hotter today.  Sam and I were up early to get the lambs fed ready for the Ascension Day Service at 6.30am this morning - always good this one as it ends with breakfast in the village hall.  Delicious and well worth the washing up! 

The boys didn't seem to mind the heat today and did a great deal of play fighting - which I missed on camera, just catching  the aftermath!
Barry is nearest the fence with Dylan nearest the camera (having trouble covering his equipment!), Barnaby behind him with Alf at the back looking downhill and Harry (recognisable as he is black!).

The girls were much quieter (no babies of course!).  Zara looking cute.
Bert, as usual looks cute - wanting a cuddle!  I know she only looks gorgeous to me!

Wednesday 1 June 2011

A Day Out

A very good day out today at the Bath and West!

The weather was just right as it could have got uncomfortable if it had been any hotter.  First we met up with Lynn from TaiWind and were just looking at her team when along came Carol and Peter from Ashton Lane who had both succeeded in the casual yet smart  "I am equally at home with a field of alpacas or a Buckingham Palace Tea Party" Look - Something  I sadly failed at as I realised catching sight of myself in the toilet mirror (incidentally, I was fast becoming good friends with the Polish girl in charge of the toilets by Blue Entrance as I seemed to visit many times and she was always there cleaning - we reached the eye contact and smile stage by lunchtime).  I then bravely went to say hello to the Mighty Patou Male who was looking formidable with his show team (he did deservedly well).  I tried and tried to catch the attention of one of the Inca Team but they were very busy and I desperately wanted a close look at a black fleece - Lynn came to the rescue as she noticed me dithering around like a wet weekend and got Tim Hey's attention for me.  So I saw a lovely black fleece - thank you!  A black fleece and a white fleece seem to me to be different kettles of fish and we have not got enough black alpacas to really have much familiarity with what we should be looking for and I need to grab every chance I can to gain more understanding (well I need Lynn or someone helping me grab chances as I fear I am a little retiring in real life).
We spent most of the day  around the alpacas but made many sorties in between out  into the showground.  One thing not to miss is the sheep show by a New Zealand man - very, very funny  and informative - particularly the sheep dancing at the end (brilliant performance by the riverdancing Texel).

A great day but I have now come back to something of a poser.  The trouble with writing a blog most days is that you can make a real idiot of your self - and I think that is what I am about to do right now!  Flemenco - not 11 months until July looks imminent.  Really, I am not making it up - she does!  We'll see!