Sunday 31 July 2011

A Whirlwind of a Weekend

To be honest, I am not sure how we have survived the last few days.  So much has happened, some good, some bad.  Since the last blog we have sold little Barry and Barnaby, delivered them and organised follow up  visits to assist with husbandry and handling.  We have returned Jed to the Isle of Wight, sad to see him go but he has done his work and done well.  I think Dude misses glaring at him!

There is a lot more to say about our trip to Warrenfield Alpacas but I am saving that for another day!!  We have also trimmed all toe nails, body scored everyone and started our halter training amongst feeding Trouble.  She is lovely and is already eating a fair bit of grass which is very good. 

Tilbo's leg is doing okay - it does not slow him down in the least and he has an amazing trick of whacking the other cria round the head with his splinted leg.  At first I thought it was accidental but now I am not so sure!  The Mule has now been fixed properly so the Jalopy can be retired again.

Sam  is the one with the most exciting news as he has just started his own alpaca herd!  I can say no more at the moment as he is in the middle of debating his herd name and logo and devising a breeding plan  - all will be revealed when he says so!  In between all of this, Sam has made a hay rack for his lambs.  They seem to enjoy climbing on it as well as eating out of it.  Here is Sammy Davis Jnr at the front!

Friday 29 July 2011

Fires, bales . . .

We have had a couple of manic days and are just recovering.  Dude did his second mobile mating a couple of days ago and was miles better.  He still has a slight issue with walking on the halter but getting straight down to the job went swimmingly.  Dude was in fine orgling form and I think he is beginning to associate the stock trailer with girls - which is not a bad thing!  Our destination was Reddingvale, always a good place to go and it gave us a chance to view some gorgeous coloured cria - particularly splendid fawn baby.  Viv had marked the occasion with an impressive bit of toe nail painting - glad I had my boots on, can't remember the last time I even looked at my toenails!  We delivered a few fleeces from other breeders ready for the Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece and Yarn show and then had to rush back to feed Trouble.  We also had to get to bed early as Thursday was bailing day.

Bailing Day was not as smooth an operation as we hoped for.  We began with a major breakdown of the Fordson, just as it had started to row up 10 acre.  This meant a quick swap to the Leyland which has been parked up for ages.  Third field has quite a steep slope in it so we knew the little 2 wheel drive Leyland might struggle and it did!  We were lucky to have the help of the Marine who manfully trudged around rowing up all day.  We did have an exciting stop mid morning when the field accidentally caught fire!  This is quite a scary sight as it takes hold very quickly.  Luckily the alpaca water barrels were in the back of the jalopy so I zoomed rally style across and we soaked the area whilst Carl did a sort of Irish Jig on it.  Crisis averted we hooked up the bailer and the sledge and got going.  Then the Leyland ran out of diesel so the marine had to hot foot it to the garage while the bailer gradually caught up.  The grass was so thick we had to go pretty slow and we got through a great many shear bolts!  Back with the diesel - white diesel, expensive - start woofling and then we spring a diesel leak!  The Marine plunged to the ground and plugged the gap, Carl rushed over with a spanner and I had to remove my Tshirt for the emergency (luckily I had a sort of t shirt type bra on underneath or that could have really ended the day).  It did all feel like it was getting a bit much when we caught a glimpse of a flashing light through the hedgerow and up rolled the Shepherd, The Strong Boy, Sam, a massive McCormick, a large bale trailer and the bale grab!  It was a very good job because we ended up with 900 bales and that was leaving 3 rows at the bottom.  To say we were shattered last night is an understatement.  The Marine's Lady turned up with a camper full of curry and donuts which saved the day!  This morning a leisurely breakfast was called for but the Marines had to go due to an incident involving a garage, a police chase and a phone call!  So, instead we did spit offs, a mating, body scores and toenails!  All went well - I think little Yossarian was the one who had the most fun!

Sam and Carl have now gone off to do more bale carting - Sam did get a quick play with his cousin in the middle of all this.
Here it is - a barn of bales!  Waiting to be sheeted up!

And, Willie, up date on Sammy Davis Junior tomorrow hopefully!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Yipee Yi Hay!

Not sure about that blog title but I know what I mean!!

Okay, I did have a major disaster this morning which sent my stress levels sky high but other than that it has been a good day - and interesting!

I achieved one of my life time ambitions, almost, this morning - courtesy of The Grey Haired Neighbour and Alf who presented me with the most wonderful purple cowboy hat for my birthday (you won't remeber but I did mention on a previous blog my dream of strutting in tight shorts, stilletoes and a stetson pointing to fabulous lustre crimp . . . )!  I duly went out amongst the alpacas in my shorts (tight due to weight gain not fashion and rather like Eric Morecambe in that they are billowing in the leg region) and stilettos (not easy with a strained ankle!) and posed and pointed happily.  I felt rather like Kate Moss and in my head that was what I looked like!  Sam was on paparazzi duty and we rushed back to view the results.  Oh dear!!  My bottom is far larger than I thought - as are my legs and we won't mention the size of my bust!  Many photos have been rejected by Carl including Sam's favourite shot where I look like I have been caught short!  This is marginally the best, not very flattering but who cares!!

We then had a surprise visit from a fellow alpaca keeper, luckily I had removed my finery by then (although I still had my shorts on which can't have been pleasant for her).  We also got the hay woofled, topped roadside and I went shopping.

Monday 25 July 2011

It never rains, but it pours!

I hope I am not pushing my luck with that blog title - we have just cut 3rd field so no rain required!

Too late - I am looking out the window and it is raining!  I don't believe it!!!

Today has been a pig of a day and I haven't even opened my presents yet - I shall do that after my blogging.  I just cannot confess to the disaster I found in the field this morning - suffice to say that it is all my fault and it has taken me all day to sort it out.   In fact I am not going to dwell on today which has been a bit of a disaster.  We'll just have a few calming photos (which I will no doubt append the wrong names to, today being today!).  The first should be of Yossarian with String practising her Swan Lake routine.  Trouble is digging in the rolling pit while Belinda's baby, now named Be Cool - Bea for short, is standing at the side pretending to be a sphinx.

The next photo is Bea who I think is quite nice - she has certainly  got a very fleecy face and a nice beard!  All the cria look pretty grubby due to their fondness for digging and rolling!
Finally, we have Bea and Tilbo with Slink in the background - not sure what they are saying to each other!

Sunday 24 July 2011

Dude goes Mobile

Well first, it has been pointed out to me that the photo of me and Bert's baby was not of me and Bert's baby - I uploaded the wrong one and didn't check words and text matched - sorry!

Today was Dude's first time on a mobile mating.  Now what I would like to say next was what a wonderful, calm and impressive experience this was.  I would like to tell you how we loaded Dude into his sign written, air conditioned alpaca van.  How we arrived dead on time and led a strutting Dude calmly to the specially prepared mating pen.  How we stood and supped coffee whilst Dude muttered sweet nothings into the receptive females ear. . . . well it wasn't quite like that!

Firstly, we led Dude, quite happily, all going swimmingly so far, into the old stock trailer.  We trundled up the field, over the disinfectant mats and I thought I would just check him whilst locking the gate - only to remember I hadn't fed Trouble.  Bottle was all ready in the truck so a quick divert to feed and then we were off, almost, on getting back in the truck I discovered one of the magnetic signs had fallen off in the grass - quickly that was reaffixed and finally we were underway - 10 minutes late by now.  A few heavy going hills and we finally arrived 15 minutes late.  Not as professional as we hoped but okay.  Our destination was Ashton Lane Alpacas and Carol and Peter had everything set up and waiting - including coffee and biscuits.  Dude came out of the stock trailer beautifully - still going well!  Then Dude decided he was not going to walk nicely on his lead where he had a very receptive female sitting ready for him.  We pushed, we pulled, we did our 'ratchet, ratchet, ratchet' and Dude was just so embarrassing - dancing around like a circus pony .  Once he was finally in with his female he was more interested in gazing round and looking at the views.  At this point I felt like a Hamlet cigar was called for - then suddenly there was a bit of bottom sniffing and he was away.  Thank goodness - until . . . Carl in his wisdom decided to climb out of the specially erected pen to go and have a coffee - kicking over a barrier with a  great clank as he went and making Dude jump!  I gave Carl a serious look which Dude must have caught a glimpse of as he was back on and away again.

Not the smoothest start for Dude but we got there in the end.  He's got another to do on Wednesday so I am hoping that is a slicker operation!  Some serious halter training now required!!

This afternoon was baby weighing and redoing Tilbo's leg.  This meant getting the girls and babies down to the barn and disturbing the babies from their favourite spot - the rolling pit - where sometimes they all manage to squash in!

Getting them down to the barn is no problem - getting Bertie back into the field is seriously time consuming.  She drops like a stone if you touch her  and has always been very keen on nibbling hedges, which there are many of in the runway!

Saturday 23 July 2011

Sam and a bit of dodgy camera work!

We have had another busy day, well, this morning it was mostly Carl being very busy with the Shepherd's wife whilst I hid in the caravan - but more on that another time!

The new baby, Belinda's still does not have a name.  I want something with Cool in it as Cool Dude is the daddy but the best suggestion so far is Cool as a Cucumber - and I really cannot have an alpaca called cucumber!  Whatever her name she is a strapping great thing and very lively - she is already almost as big as the mammoth Slink and has to bend to get under her poor mum.  I sent Sam over this evening to get a few photos as I had forgotten during the day, but he seemed to be in a bit of an arty mood.  He took 200 photos but most were of black alpaca against dark hedge, views up Trouble's nose, out of focus or taken from strange angles.  These are the best of the bunch! 
Here is me and Bert's baby, Trouble, whose dad is Samson.  She is doing very well.

And these are Tilbo - brown with the broken leg, The Slink - white suri at the back, String (Pretty Cool) -  Flem's baby and on the right is Trouble!  We didn't manage one of Belinda's unnamed baby but she is in the video.
We then went into film producer mode - this is very hard!  Do not feel you must watch this clip - it's a few babies charging around, plus some grass and sky!

Friday 22 July 2011

Belinda's baby!

Things have been a little hectic and the blog has got a bit behind.  Today should have been a peaceful day of cleaning fields with a quick trip to the hairdressers.  I had just put the phone down this morning when it rang again - it was Sam calling to say Belinda had suddenly popped out her cria!  I have been watching for it for ages and suddenly there it was - our third Dude baby and another girl!  This is another solid white and a stonker at almost 11kg.  Belinda delivered her in minutes with no dramas and it was soon up and feeding.  No name yet as we are still deliberating.
As usual I have completely overdone it with the iodine and purple spray! 

Trouble, Bert's baby, is now doing well with her bottle and proving the easiest bottle fed I have had.  We are doing 350ml at a go with 5 feeds starting at a respectable 8am and ending about 9pm.  Long may it continue, but I am not banking on it!  Bert and I are finding even this easy routine quite exhausting and have to have several rests during the day!!

Trouble has made firm friends with Yossarian.

And I am pleased with Tilbo's progress (broken leg) as today he started to play with the others and managed several jumps.  The Slink (the suri girl) is a bit of a menace as, despite Crispie having lots of milk and weighing 18kg already, she is constantly drinking from everyone else.  I have never seen a cria do it before but she has it off to a fine art and sneaks in for a quick drink while the Mother's own cria is drinking - I am having to watch her with Belinda as she was trying to get the colostrum which the new one needs.  Flamenco's baby - String (Pretty Cool) is lovely and doing well.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

A Day for Reclining

No more accidents so far today but I have been somewhat incapacitated from yesterday.  My ankle has now swollen and getting around is slow going.  I have had to resort to a good recline every half an hour.  Despite this we managed to do Zara's spit off but getting the Bert back in the field afterwards was hard going.  She wanted to stay where she was and everytime I shoved her, she lay down.  In the end I got her back with a handful of alpaca mix but it took a bit of doing.  I am pleased to say that Zara spat convincingly which is good news.

I have no photos tonight as I was unable to hold my stick and the camera but I shall have a good go tomorrow.  Trouble is doing very well with her bottle and is following people around a bit less so that looks good - she has also put on weight.  She does have slightly weepy eyes but I put that down to the wind which is quite fierce today.

Now we are popping out for fish and chips as I am unable to drive so couldn't go shopping.  Sam will have to have his warmed up as he is off to help The Boys and The Shepherd with some bale throwing -  whatever that might be!

Monday 18 July 2011

Rabbit Holes

It's been a bit of and up and down time here.  Some people may have realised we have been attempting to sell our house and various things have conspired to make this difficult.  A visit to Stur late this afternoon and we set in motion some actions which we are very sad about but hopefully will be for the best.

When I got back I was not really concentrating when I went to feed Trouble and I ended up twisting my ankle in a rabbit hole.  This was very painful but I managed to crawl back to the barn to retrieve my phone and sent a series of frantic messages to Sam who was topping in second.  At the same time Dude was rearing up at the fence, desperate for Lily - I was shouting and waving an electric fence post furiously at him, to which he paid not a blind bit of notice.  Eventually Sam got the message and slowly appeared on the Fordson.  He helped me to the caravan where I reclined painfully, sending him to fetch coffee and fairy cakes (a bandage might have been more useful).  Unable to rise I remained there until Carl appeared and helped me back to the house.  I felt Sam had been helpful and concerned until I found the note he had left for his Dad -

Come to the caravan coz Mum is either dead or dieing and we need to get her out as she is starting to smell

Ah, well!  The ankle is now feeling better which is a good thing as Belinda looks mighty peculiar at the back end - a foot appears to be emerging under the skin at her bottom - either that or she needs a mighty big poo!!

I think tomorrow I would like a nice calm day.

Saturday 16 July 2011

A laugh a Minute

It has been a rather difficult time here, to say the least, what with barns, banging, radios, bats, dogs, fights, pigeons, guns - one day I will recount what is gradually becoming a sort of sort  of musical hall comedy turn!!  Any way, we have escaped from the caravan and returned to our house to regroup - and update the blog. 

So, the alpacas!  It has been a tiring time with Bert's baby and she has not been at all easy but I think we are getting there.  Here we are, me and Bert and our baby!  I have to say, Bert is looking far better than I am!
I hasten to add that I am not fussing her and keep away as much as possible but this was her day 1 picture!  We have called her Pretty Troublesome, Trouble for short, and I fear she will have Bert's personality!  At the moment she is feeding okay but only if I hold her head in a headlock which she likes - we are working on proper feeding!  She also will go up to anyone which is not what I want, particularly when people are looking over the gate as it is so tempting to go over and stroke her.  She was 9.5kg at birth but has now lost some of that weight.  Her legs and ears are beginning to sort themselves out though.

Tilbo's leg has slowed him down but he still manages to get around, feeds fine and is putting on weight.
It doesn't normally look as wonky as it does in the photo - I think I just caught it at the  wrong moment!

Slinky is now a mammoth 16kg, very feisty and the leader of the pack.  Yossarian, the other suri, you may notice has cream in his eyes.  The flies had attacked them so badly they were raw and looked quite nasty - I think the cream has done the trick though.  He is doing well but has to jump on anything that lies down and orgle frantically - he looks like some sort of stick on spider clinging on!

Then there is String, Flem and Dude's baby.  She is putting weight on nicely and doing well.
Yesterday we did a few more matings which was quite strange.  We are trying the two day thing this year and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  Islay (no, she is not pregnant much to my disappointment)  sat both times and Dude hopped on both times.  Crispie sat both times but Dude only wanted to know the first time.  The second time he had a good sniff but would not get on - when I opened the gate to try to get Crispie out Flem sneaked in, sat and he jumped on her!  She has now been mated too early but why did he not want Crispie - strange!
So, alpaca wise, things are going fine and just the three babies to come - Carolyn's Belinda's and Lina's.  It is now pouring with rain so we don't want any today.  Carl is out getting parts for the Mule so hopefully that will be fixed later.  I have sorted the Alf problem (the suri boy) so we can now try him out for a mating with Sherbet - Libby at Grassroots is a wonderful, very helpful woman.  Sam was going to help the Shepherd with his baling today but sadly that looks no good.

Thursday 14 July 2011


Sorry, readers - I know my blogging is sparse!  The alpacas are all fine - Bert's baby is a little tricky but we are slowly getting there.
We do have one or two non alppaca related issues at the moment - which I will reveal shortly and I am beginning to see the funny side!
But - due to issues which mean I cannot get to the computer I will not be able to blog until the weekend - so look out for me at the weekend - if we haven't been carted off by PC Dave by then!

Monday 11 July 2011

Bert's baby

This has just got to be a quick blog tonight as Bert has had her baby!  A little - well, 9.5kg - girl.  She was born at just over 11 months but still seems a little underdone despite her size.  She is a bottle feeder of course and we have got the plasma and colostrum in - bit of a struggle though.  So, pictures and more news tomorrow but I must get ready for my first night in the barn.

Sunday 10 July 2011

A visit from the Midwife . . and wife!

Bit of a strange 'will she? won't she?' day to today with Bert.  I kept thinking I might have to spring into action - about 4pm lots of rolling was going on and I did have a little chat with Bert and told her to either have it immediately or hang on for a couple of hours as we were awaiting the arrival of Reddingvale and I know Andy is something of a dab hand at delivering cria at the moment - has 'em out and running  before a vet has a chance to appear on the scene, whatever the presentation!

Well,  she held on and Viv and Andy arrived to perform a little mating - not personally of course!  I as usual was very jealous of their van - particularly the number plate.
I hope the picture is clear enough - I am now saving them a different way from the old Picasso way to make them easier and smaller to upload so this is a bit of a trial uploading.

Anyway, successful mating, biscuits eaten, coffee drunk - time to have a look at the babies.  No one behaved themselves very well - Flamenco, Lina and Emily were all trying to mate with each other.  Lina ran round screeching and trying to bite Emily's ear off.  Tilbo hobbled, String ran away  - general disorganised chaos really!  In my dreams I would be walking round elegantly in denim shorts, stilettos and wearing a diamante stetson whilst gesturing elegantly at peacefully grazing, immaculate cria and their mums with visitors  sighing,  "Ohh!  the crimp is outstanding!  Gosh, I can't believe the lustre!  That's a Supreme Champion if ever I saw one!  Just feel the density, Malcolm . . . "  Ah, well - probably twist my ankle and fall flat on my face!

 . . .  and as Viv and Andy drove off into the setting sun Bertie rolled . . . then rolled again . . . then farted loudly!

Saturday 9 July 2011

A D-Bat?!

Annoying day today and I am simmering and stewing impotently.  Seems to me some people can get away with anything planning wise regardless of anyone else  . .  Carl says I must not write anymore about it so I will just stew and erupt at some future point.

Tilbo is struggling to keep up with the other cria but is fine.  Here he is, having a drink with his strapped up leg!

I am reasonably pleased with how Yossarian is doing, despite him not putting on weight yet.  He is still wobbly but he does have bursts of activity.

He is quite keen on String (Pretty Cool/Sting - sadly the name String has stuck  - thanks, Barbara!) and seeks her out when he wants to play.

I made a major mistake last night and have ended up with something Sam loves!  My Mule has been out of action for several weeks now as I am still waiting for a new bit for it.  In it's place I am using The Jalopy - the little Peugeot Look I used to have as my car.  With the back seats out and the boot propped open it is okay - plus it has wipers and a heater but it is not good at towing the poo picker.  In the paper yesterday I saw something called a Polaris 6 wheel drive D Bat.  For some reason I assumed this was similar to a Mule with a nice little cab and a back bit - Carl and Sam didn't enlighten me and I sent them off with a pile of money to look at it.  It was a non runner as all electrics, brake pipes etc had been slashed but Carl can fix most things so I thought it might be okay.  Well, they bought it and it is nothing like I anticipated.  For a start it has 6 wheels, no cab and is sort of a quad with a tipping back.  The boys got it working this morning and here it is - not quite what I had in mind, I feel like I am on active manoeuvres and about to retreat from a tank attack.  Needless to say Sam thinks it is wonderful.

Friday 8 July 2011

Disaster - Tilbo

Went over this morning to find a severally leaking field shelter full of drenched alpacas and a badly limping Tilbo.  I checked over Tilbo and it didn't look good to me so decided to keep and eye whilst we attempted to get a tarpaulin over the field shelter - not easy in high winds.  Tilbo hadn't shown any improvement by the time the shelter was made leak proof and he was struggling to kush so the vet was called.  As I suspected - he has broken his leg.  The vet decided to splint in rather than use a cast so we spent a little time looking for something to use as a splint.  In the end Sam had to sacrifice his dingy paddle - well, there is not much water up here!  He sawed it up to make a nice leg shaped piece and this has been padded and strapped on.  Tilbo now looks as if he has a wooden leg and really needs renaming Long John Silver.  We have to change and check in 10 days time so fingers crossed.

Thursday 7 July 2011

A few pictures

All  babies seem to be doing well now - despite horrendous rain last night.  Sam was so worried about Yossarian's coat staying on he was over the fields at 4am checking things out.  So, to update - first is Slinky who is exceedingly lively.

Next meet Westhill Pretty Cool or Sting for short (Can you work that one out?!) - named by the Wise One.

Then we have Tilbo who is always immaculate whatever the weather - he is also a terror, always trying to stir up everyone else!

And finally Yossarian, the suri, who is doing just fine!

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Dude's a Proper Daddy!

I am really finding it hard to contain myself at the moment!  Carl isn't back from work yet and I just want to tell someone!  I know Dude has already fathered one little girl this year - but I haven't really counted that one as it was a suri mating.  The huacayas were the ones we were waiting for - and we have one, the first 'real' Dude baby!  It wasn't any of the ones that were due, it was Flemenco - due on the 16th July, so 10 days early.  They all seem to be early or only a day or two over the 11 months at the moment.  Last year Flem had a real struggle with her baby, but not this year - it was out easily in half an hour and she loved it from the start - on it's feet in 10 minutes and feeding straight away - it looks huge!  It weighs 10.5kg and is a girl, and what a girl!  We used Dude on a range of girls to see what he could do for each and this is one of my (gorgeous) poorer quality females with a fleece like a carpet, face like a horse and a light fawn colour.  Just look at the little one!

It has been raining on and off but the rain is not penetrating her coat at all - it is so dense you can't get through it to the skin - I'd show you the little fleece shot I did but you'd probably just laugh and I know it is hard to tell when they are a couple of hours old but really . . . Just have to wait till Carl gets back and drag him over there!  I took lots of photos in case he is too late back to see properly.
Slinky is doing well and now weighs a whopping 14kg, Tilbo rarely stays still, Lily's baby - now named Yossarian - is still a bit slow and quiet so I am keeping a close eye on him.  Picture updates on them tomorrow!

Monday 4 July 2011

What a surprise!

Yesterday I saw Lily rolling a lot but thought it was due to the flies bothering her.  This morning she was totally normal and as she was not 11 months until 26th July - a definite date as she was only mated once to Legacy from Ashton Lane.  So I focused on checking Bert and getting on with jobs - until precisely 11am when Lily calmly walked over to the poo spot, lay on her side and quickly pushed out a gorgeous little boy!  I say pushed out but actually, he crawled out on his knees, orgling on the way, at 11.30am!  In fact he orgled so loudly it got the boys stirred up and they went crazy fighting and jumping each other.  Easy,  peasy . . no, of course not!  Baby was obviously premature - unerupted incisors, down on pasterns, in fact it just could not stand.  By 2pm I was getting worried as despite holding him up he could not suck.  A tube of plasma was quickly defrosted and colostrum made up - still not feeding so he had those and it took until 4pm before I could get him sucking while I held him.  He has now got his coat on and is able to move around, very wobbly and he keeps rolling down the hill but he is feeding.  Lily is an excellent Mum, a maiden but she knows exactly what to do and makes no fuss when I hold him up.  He is a hefty chap for the time he was in there - 8kg. . . so here he is . . .

I will try for a better photo tomorrow - now I wonder who will be next!  It should be Bert, but who knows!!

Sunday 3 July 2011

Day 2 of a busy weekend

With shearing out of the way, today it was getting the hay in from the top of second field.  The weather was perfect and we now have a barn stocked with 235 lovely smelling bales of fresh hay - just 10 acres to do and we will be finished!
The SAME was a pleasure to drive, the bailer did not have a single tantrum - after we had sorted out the twine, and Sam and I worked as a perfect team on bale gathering and stacking.  We made an elevator out of a ladder which helped enormously.
So, here we are packing up, job done!
No more babies yet.  Bert is the next on the list - any time now would be okay, except the longer she hangs on the better due to the bottle feeding involved!  She is still very scaly with scabby places but I was surprised when we sheared her that there is some re growth of hair on her tummy - in fact quite a lot seems to have grown back on her legs as well.  We used lots of different things on her but I think the last thing we used - Filta Bak - seems to be the one that has made the real difference.  It has taken a long time to grow through and we haven't applied more since last year but it must have been a help as nothing else made much difference.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Day 1 of a busy weekend

Complete the shearing day - with a little woofling in the middle.  Hay is drying beautifully - smells wonderful and no rain - - - yet!

We had shearing to complete as today's task.  Now, normally I am assistant to Sam who is shearing assistant.  Normally I am required to brush, collect fleece, photograph things, comfort the screechers, check there are no signs of mites, get in the way, provide drinks and "Manage Things".  This is all fairly relaxed and very manageable and this is how we started out.  We had the worst to do today along with Dude and suris.  Lina set the tone for the day with screeching, spitting, weeing and generally being as obnoxious as possible.  Next up was Bert who followed suit but also added in farting and pooing.  By this time I was not looking forward to Islay who is normally a monster with kicking on the way in as well as everything else - but she was a little star, good as gold!  All going well and then Sam had to go off to work with the Shepherd making me shearing assistant number one ( in fact only assistant) - Managing Things, Photographing and making drinks went by the wayside as I now had manoeuvring animals onto the mat,  passing oil, toe nails, bag labelling  . . . on the list.  Carl and Sam have a really good system - Carl and I do not!  All my fault, I know, but "Lift the back end round" is a bit beyond my capabilities!  Anyway, we managed with Carl only getting cross a few times when I wasn't quick enough moving things, picking up fleece, putting the bag on the neck. . . In fact I forgot totally with Crispie and she was so good we only noticed when Carl started on her neck!
It was all leading up to Dude though and there I was a little worried.  He is a lovely tempered boy - but he is a big boy and strong so I wasn't quite sure if I could manage that tricky moment of getting the ropes on before they are stretched.  Well, he was superb!  I won't say he came in and lay down but he certainly was not scared - the only time he twitched was when Carl was doing round his equipment and at that point he lifted his head , turned and glared - he had the neck bag on but treated it like a feather!  We have never had that quantity of fleece from one alpaca and the blanket kind of peeled off, not separating at all.  He looks gorgeous now - or he did until he rolled!  . . . and Dylan has a rival for the biggest pair of under tail ornaments in the Westhill Herd!

Now I have to check on Carolyn - not due until August (not one we sheared today) but she is behaving very oddly.
Hopefully, we will be baling tomorrow and I will try for photos.

Friday 1 July 2011

Solitary Bert

Bert has spent all day on her own today - I don't want her having her baby yet, she is not 11 months until next week.
The babies have discovered the rolling pit and are desperate for everyone else to get out so they can have a go.

Tilbo's ears have now straightened and his tape is off - which means he looks a little more normal, but still cross! The hay has been woofled and is drying beautifully but there are one or two ominous clouds in the sky!