Wednesday 31 August 2011

Where next?!

The blogs have been getting increasingly sporadic of late and this is mainly due to a lot of difficult decisions being mad here and the necessity of being away from the house quite a lot!

Normal service will be resumed at some point but in the mean time please forgive my lack of regularity.  I think a lot of people realise by now that our house is up for sale and we are making difficult decisions about where we are going and what we are doing - all made even more difficult by Sam and his future.

We have also had to make a difficult decision regarding our land - and a decision we never thought we would be making - but life has very funny turns within it.  It should be a time of great excitement and plan making but sadly it is rather too difficult for that!  No doubt we will get through somehow and the right thing will happen but right now we feel rather like we are herding cats as one bit comes together another bit of the jigsaw flies off over the hedge (rather a lot of mixed metaphors in there!).  I have to say we are also pretty heartbroken at - possibly - leaving all the good friends we have made here not to say panicy about being homeless - with 3 chickens, 34 alpacas, 1 dog and two cats - not to mention 20 sheep!

It only remains to be said that we are pretty clueless about where we will end up now!   So - updates will follow at some point!

The alpacas are surviving all this trauma - in fact, despite me constantly telling them, they are completely oblivious.  All are doing well.  Lina's baby has put on no weight whatsoever in the last two weeks  but is lively and totally refuses the bottle.  Trouble, the Bert and Samson baby, is putting on weight steadily despite having very little of her bottle now.

From the left - Yossarian, The Slink, Trouble, String and Striker (Carolyn's baby and real name - Strikingly Cool).  He is a real little monster and very strong but lovely with it - here he is posing!

Sam continues to do his 'sort of' job' over at Stalbridge Weston - he loves it but I am not sure there is enough work there for anything anymore permanent.  He also makes frequent forays to Milborne Port which he now feels is one of the best places on this earth!  When we went over to pick him up the other day I made the acquaintance of a lovely young man who must be one of the leading authorities on cars - he was even able to tell me which car I had now - something I was unsure of - it is an escort and a very nice one with one drawback.  It has heat shield things under it and I have a tendency to bend them which makes them clatter if I don't change gear at precisely the right moment.  Carl says I am a fool to take it down the track in the field.

Ashton Lane came to visit at one point and as rain was threatening we set up a cosy cafe in the field (and yes those are the fleeces waiting to be sorted for the GWR show!). 

Luckily the luxury accommodation was not required but I did get the chance to show Carol and Peter Yossarian - sired by their Legacy.  He soon gave up scratchign and started to show of his baby orgling and jumping everything skills.

And finally - Greeves - doing well but refusing to look at the camera!

Thursday 25 August 2011

Little Worry Day

Not big worry day - that is end of September - but little worry day as today was the day Sam got his GCSE results.  We were not hoping for great things as, although he tries, he struggles with reading and writing due to his dyslexia.  He did as well as we hoped and is pleased.  He got Cs for Science and maths, passed his ICT and got his diploma for the two day a week agriculture course he has been doing at Kingston Maurward.  A D in English but they have sent the paper for remarking a he only missed the C by  mark - if he gets that he will have done very well indeed!

So - that drama over - he is up in one of the the lofts sorting out the mess of old toys he appears to have created over the years which we knew nothing about!

Alpacas are doing fine apart form Lina's baby - Accidently Cool or Axle to his friends - he is still 9kg at 2 and a half weeks - he was 8kg at birth.  Top up bottles are not going to well as he is spitting it out now after a promising start last week.  At least Lina is being a little angel this year and makes no fuss over feeding or weighing.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Cria photos

A busy day of knitting today and another pair of gloves almost complete!  Not sure I am that pleased with the patten I made up though - I prefer them a bit more lacy really.

I managed to get a few photos of the babies in between times.  String (Pretty Cool) discovered thistles and did not like them very much!  Yossarian is getting difficult to photograph as he moves so quickly and then gets too close or too far away - he is at the front and you can only see his side!

Tilbo's leg is a bit wonky but does not slow him down at all, or prevent him from posing.
Lina's baby is still a bit of a concern and he looks tiny compared with all the rest but he is very alert and runs around with the others.

Finally, Striker (Strikingly Cool) Carolyn's baby who is gaining weight well and enjoys the company of Yossarian - not sure if that is a good thing or not!  He's the one looking at the camera.
Now tomorrow we have a slightly worrying day - I won't tell you what it is about until tomorrow - and the I may go completely quiet on that subject if the news is not good!!

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Me again (Sam)

Hi everyone :)
It's been a long time since I have written a blog and becouse I have a new herd (still don't know a name for it) I thought I'd better tell everyone about it. I have two alpacas now and they are both female. The first member of my herd is Sapphire that I got from Warren Field Alpacas. She is a very lovely brown alpaca but unfortunatly isn't pregnent. she has a lovely temperament and  likes to be in charge.  I have tried mating her to Dylan but Mum says he is too young so we are going to try her with Dude today.  I might get a multi - I don't know!
My other alpaca is Bianca that we went and got yesterday from Redingvale Alpacas. She is a very calm alpaca and is starting to settle in now. She is also not pregnant but this maybe becouse of a SMALL weight problem so she has gone in a paddock with not too much grass to try and over come the problem. Bianca is solid white and will hopefully be mated to Cool Dude and we will have to wait and see what she produces.  I am going to try putting a halter on Bianca and taking her for walks round the paddock as she only moves around to get to new grass so I think she may need more excercise.
I will write another blog soon!!  This one has taken me ages as the spell check wouldn't work.

Monday 22 August 2011

Peter's Plums

Just had a very pleasant tea which was rounded off by a large helping of plums given to us by Peter at Ashton Lane - delicious!

We had visitors this afternoon, looking at the alpacas who behaved very well.  Selling animals is something I always find a challenge - I know I have to do it but worry about where the animals are going.  This is, I know, ridiculous as other people look after them as well, if not better, than I do but I can't help it!  This couple were lovely - the sort you just know would be ideal alpaca owners!

Much of the day has been spent knitting whilst alpaca gazing - very good for soothing tension, something I have a great deal of at the moment!  Now I am about to send Sam into the loft from where he may never emerge again, to sort out his old toys!  He has been working again today and, as usual, has had a great time.  It's the huge, expensive tractors he likes most!  He will be blogging soon about his 'herd' which has, incredibly, doubled in size already.

Saturday 20 August 2011

The Curry Incident

Sam wanted chicken burger, Carl wanted kebab and I wanted a curry.  Last night we were so behind with everything we opted for takeaway for tea.  I ordered a curry and just got what we normally have even though it was only for me, thinking I would save half for the next day.  It was very nice and somehow I ate the lot which resulted in a serious pain last night accompanied by odd noises and continued until this morning when Carl banished me to the caravan for a time.

A bit of a lie down with the knitting and I recovered enough to start on today's tasks.  Carl and I did a mating (alpaca mating obviously), trimmed every one's toenails, weighed babies and had another go at Sherbert's skin.  Sherbet is suffering a bit at the moment as she keeps getting sores on her back which crack open and then are pestered by flies.  The same thing happened to her last year and they eventually cleared up.  I have a suspicion that it is a touch of nasty sunburn after shearing and I really need to catch it earlier.  She is a suri, not a youngster but not particularly ancient and the problem recurs each year.  It is made worse as she scratches at it with her teeth and makes it bleed which attracts the flies.

Sorry about the lack of photos tonight but we had torrential rain this morning and when it cleared I had no camera with me.  This afternoon was too hot - too hot for knitting but I had to plough relentlessly on as I have the grand sum of two scarves and three hats here and have an appointment on Friday to take some knitwear to a shop who may like a few items to sell.  It is going to be a pretty meagre collection at this rate.

We were managing without Sam as he was having a rare day out with his friends - where he had a great time!

Looks like tomorrow will be busy as well as Sam has sold all his lambs and they are being collecting (we sold ours last night - except Stumpy's lamb who I refuse to part with despite the Shepherd thinking I am soft in the head!).  We also have to take Dude out on a mating - still not good on the halter, he is just too keen to get at the girls) and we are out in the evening on a special trip - more on that next blog!

Tuesday 16 August 2011

A bit of a natter in the car park

Last night I ran out of blogging time as we had a meeting of the Great Western Region Fleece Show Committee.  We should have got back sooner but ended up lurking in  the car park with Andy and Viv from Reddingvale.  Carl and Andy discussed hay making tactics and compared their equipment whilst Viv and I talked alpacas.

Now please excuse this next bit – it’s a sort of plea and I don’t like doing this on the blog so forgive me!  We need more entries for the yarn part of the Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece Show.  I confess that I was really keen on this addition to the show and I envisaged lots of people wanting to have balls of yarn judged by Jean Field.  We have had some entries but we really need more - there is no entry fee - I really, really want it to be a success so if anyone else could enter, just for fun.  I am desperately trying to hand spin something to enter - not much chance of that coming off but I will persevere!  The web address is and the yarn entry forms and rules can be found there.
Okay,  plea over!  Little Axle, Lina's baby has gained weight and is doing well.  Sometimes he takes a bit of bottle and sometimes not but as he has put on a kilogram in two days, I am not so worried about him!  This evening we had a visit from Irene and Si who we hadn't seen for ages.  Good to see them and hear all their exciting news.  They are doing very well with alpaca sales and knitwear - things are looking good in Devon!  In fact, Irene was talking so excitedly about plans and successes even little Yossarian got interested!

Sunday 14 August 2011

A New Car

The day started with a trip to Poole where I collected my new car.  We decided that the work needed on the other one would be too much so it has retired to the field for a rest!  The new one is silver and it has air conditioning - which works!  Carl is so amazed by this that we have been driving everywhere with air con on, shivering!  It is very clean and shiny and the radio/CD also works.  I was too scared to drive it back through Poole, which is a very busy place with many right hand bends, but the owner kindly drove it to the outskirts for me.

No sooner had we returned than the Bunny Murderer arrived to collect the Leyland - why on earth he wanted that I cannot make out - last time he drove it there was a diesel leak and, I believe, a breakdown.  I can only think he became attached to it after spending all day driving it around in circles.

The cria spent ages running around this afternoon and I tried to capture their excitement but I seem to get them blurred.  I think I may have to become adventurous with the camera settings.  This is The Slink, Tilbo and Yossarian.  Yossarian continues to be a bit of a pest.  He knows Trouble is getting milk from the bottle and has started trying to get in on the act!  Axle, Lina's baby, is very good with his top up - I just hold the bottle out and sometimes he has some, sometimes he does not (Lina takes no notice of it at all, thank goodness!).

We have just returned from a trip to The Shepherd's - interestingly the runner beans he grows come from the seeds my Grandad first bought.  Happily he was wearing a pair of boots - the other day he had taken them off only to have one stolen and buried by the dogs!

Saturday 13 August 2011

Packed Day - and another Baby!

It has been a fully packed day today - in fact it is now gone 9pm and I need my tea - so I will just tell you that we have had our last cria of the year!  Carolyn's baby, sired by Dude, a little boy - and I am really a little overexcited by him!  Give it a few weeks and I might be telling you differently but this one made me tingle, if you know what I mean!  Just a couple of photos tonight as I am really tired.
Not sure about his name yet!

Axle. Lina's baby looks tiny compared with everyone else - Carolyn's towers above him!  He had a bit of top up today but not a great deal and is very lively.  It is quite hard to get a decent picture of him.

Friday 12 August 2011

NOT what I needed!

Just a quick photo less blog tonight I am afraid due to aching in just about every bone in my body - particularly my back and legs, so I feel a little ancient!

Feeding Trouble tonight and Lina dashed over.  I thought she had mislaid her baby again but then saw him behind her (He now has a name - Accidentally Cool or Axle for short).  He fussed around feeding and then started trying to feed from Trouble.  This made me feel my suspicion that he might not be getting enough milk could be true.  I stuck the rest of Trouble's bottle in his mouth (I always make up more than I know she usually takes) and he drank the lot with Lina watching and looking as if she were saying, "About time  - you did that for Greeves!"

I don't want to start bottle feeding if not necessary so I shall make up double for Trouble and do her first then top him up if he looks like he wants it. Weighing tomorrow so we will see how we go.

Greeves has also been weaned for the second time!  He was weaned from Mum months ago and has no interest in her despite being back in the same paddock as her.  Instead it is now Aunty Islay he is being weaned from!  He is distraught but I can't leave him in with the girls for much longer and he has started to pester Emily.  Poor Greeves!

Thursday 11 August 2011

Lina's Baby

Today has primarily consisted of telephone calls - so much for relaxing with the alpacas, Judi!

We were very surprised that one of those phone calls was from the Police - not asking questions but just checking we had got home safely and that we were alright - lovely, very kind.  The policeman was the one who had been first on the scene and he said he was amazed that we had walked away from that one - he had got the fire brigade cutting stuff out before he realised we were already out of the car.

Any way, that is it on blog reports of the accident - hard to stop thinking of it though!!

Well, in the middle of our disaster Lina had her baby!  Sam was feeding Trouble, he looked round and there he was!  He started feeding fairly quickly and Sam did his navel.  He didn't weigh him so that has to be done - Lina is a fairly feisty mum!  She panics if he moves a foot away from her and then starts grazing, realises she has moved away from him and charges around screeching trying to find him!  Cool Dude is the father and we were thinking this might be the best cria as Lina is a good female.  I am not sure though!  I have a feeling there may be a touch of fawn in his top knot - I will investigate further!  Sometimes I find it is hard to tell if it is faint until they are a bit older.

Whatever colour, he appears well - if a little wobbly still on his back legs.  This is the best picture though as he is feeding - something which was a struggle for Lina last year as she did not have enough milk.  I am not topping up yet!
Tilbo, the little monster, had his splint off today and I think we are mended - if a little wonky.

He never stops!

The others are doing well - here is String (Pretty Cool)  - Dude and Flemenco's baby.
And this is little Trouble, the bottle fed from Bert and Samson - whenever I get the camera out she puts her head down!

Now Yossarian a right little B. . . ..!  He is the fawn suri attempting to mount Belinda.  String is at the front and Be Cool at the side.
And, finally, Be Cool - Belinda and Dude's baby,  still a bit yellow!

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Why there has been no blog for a few days!

Sorry to have been so quiet but we have been out for a little drive.  This is likely to turn into a long blog so if it gets boring , I have done a summary at the end!

We went in the fiesta which has a coded radio we have never managed to un lock - Carl, therefore, had to sing.  This would have been fine but he could only sing one song - Ring of Fire.  We stumbled across Viva Blackpool the other night on television which we hadn't seen for ages - there is a bit where they sing the Johnny Cash song whilst ice skating and the tune would not go away!  Any  way, we drove relatively happily until we stopped in Carlisle.  It stopped Carl singing as we appeared to be driving through the red light district and Carl desperately tried to avoid looking at 'Thongs and Things', 'The Private Shop' and All The Single Ladies (although that did bring on another song.)
So, a few pictures  of our little trip

Now I hope you took careful note of that picture of our car.
We still had more to do but then disaster struck.  The rain had been torrential and coming round a bend the car began to slide.  Unfortunately a car was coming the other way, there was a large drop down to a river on one side and a steep bank with telegraph poles on the other.  To cut a horrible story short we spun along the road, banging into the bank on the way - very nearly rolled (well done, Carl) and crashed minus the front half of the car.  The engine appeared to split in half, bits came off . . . The above may not be exactly right as I banged my head (possibly from a flask flying from the back of the car, possibly the door pillar moving position) and appeared to have cut my leg - the gear stick came off and the dashboard seemed to have moved back a foot.  The Police, Fire brigade  and Ambulances were there very quickly and were wonderful.  Luckily the people in the other car were okay.  Carl is bruised and I have a headache and stiffness - plus a weird leg but nothing serious.  I have never screamed or shaked so much in my life - and I could not for the life of me remember what my maiden name or who we were insured with.  If Carl hadn't prevented it rolling we would be no more (mind you then you would not have had to plough through such a long blog!).  Here is the car after recovery - they have put the bonnet back over and pulled the front bit back round but you can see it may not be repairable.

We had to go to the hospital and then talk to the police - so young - They were all fantastic and the police even found out my insurance policy number and phone number.

All that over we suddenly realised we had a big problem.  No car, place we didn't know, possessions in a recovery yard somewhere.  We needed rescuing, we needed an alpaca breeder!!  There was one but we didn't have her number.  This called for a tricky phone call as I then had to phone Sam to get him to get the number and I didn't want to worry him.  Sam was given the potted version and asked to phone Wellground HQ to get Jayne at Zanzibah's number.  Heartfelt thanks if you read this Rob!  All we needed was a number for a taxi company we assured Jayne but, despite being in the middle of a relaxing shower she rushed over, spent half the night helping us collect luggage, getting fish and chips and putting us up for the night.  Thank goodness she took us for a look at the Zanzibah babies as it was only then I began to stop shaking!

You must be getting bored by now so I will cut this short!  Next morning we hit more snags - no driving license with us so we couldn't hire a car, no passports so we couldn't get a plane.  Only thing to do was to buy another car so it was a trip to Anna's Autos!  (At this point Sam sent a text to say Lina had birthed - more about that tomorrow!!).  We acquired a fiesta - same as the old one but blue - and I met the most lovely puppy in the world (plus a blue pigeon!)  Thank you Anna if you read this!

Back to the Zanzibah workshop and while I stood around like a wet weekend the mechanics got down to business - fixing lights, checking stuff and pumping up tyres.  Can't thank you enough, Jayne!

So that was it, off we went, here we are back home!  Car has a great heater - great if it is -30 that is, permanently on and very full on!!  But other than that it was brilliant!

I am thankful we are all still alive.

  • Had lovely panninis
  • Saw sea
  • Had crash - wrote off car
  • Lina had baby
  • Got home
Points to Remember
  • Always take driving license
  • Know your insurance details
  • Have breakdown cover
  • Tank credit card
  • Take phone numbers
  • Ensure flask safely strapped in and tied down securely

Thursday 4 August 2011

Yellow Perils

Sadly, we now have a field of bright yellow spotted cria!  I had been rather worried about Be Cool's navel which still looked red and swollen - and very long, it did not seem to have shrivelled up as they normally do.  In my wisdom I decided dipping it in iodine again would be a good plan.  This I did but she is a strong little thing and kicked at the wrong moment - spilling the entire contents of a bowl, flicking it upwards along the way.  Her entire underside, back legs and beard are now yellow!  Trouble, The Slink and String then had a roll in the puddle - hence yellow cria!  This is a cropped picture to avoid the embarrassment of yellow legged alpacas.  I was worried Belinda might think she smelt differently but all was fine in that area!

This should have told me that I was not having a good day but I ploughed on regardless and attempted my spit offs.  Islay sat - for about the fifth time but sat on her side and Dude only seemed to get into the wrong hole.  No amount of shoving, pushing, pulling and fiddling would get him into the right place and in the end he gave up in disgust - Islay sat there loving it!  I think we'll try again next week.

Sam was off bale carting or unloading trailers or something so I then gave up and read a book for a while - seemed the best thing in the circumstances!  Sam has rejected several possible names for his new 'herd'.  He was very keen on Sam's Alpacas until he realised this would mean he would end up with Sam's Bert, Sam's Belinda, Sam's Little Fighter  . . . so his current favourite is Sundown Alpacas (but his Gran has told him that makes them sound like they are all on their last legs) or Cool Alpacas.  He is going to continue thinking over the weekend!

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Farmers' Leg

Has everyone else felt as hot as I have today?!
The alpacas certainly have.  Bert had a bucket of water tipped over her and then looked at me longingly until I emptied another over her.  Cassie prefers being squirted, Belinda likes a little trickle!  At this rate we shall be running out of water.
I am very thankful that I now have the Mule back and have been zooming around in that today, I needed to get a bit tidier as we had a visit from Reddingvale who came with a visitor for Cassie.  Top Brass was gorgeous and got straight down to things with a very willing Cassie and a posse of a admirers.
Tilbo is standing next to Mum and is using his leg well now - another couple of weeks and hopefully it will be fixed.  Carl was late home from work and missed it all but I did tell him Andy was planning a second lot of bailing in August and that got his competitive streak going!  He had Sam and I up in third with him to bale all the stray bits we left - 47 bales we got!!  I blame it all on Andy as I now have farmers' leg again (I was wearing my shorts and the bales prick your legs leaving a red rash all over them!).