Monday 26 December 2011


It's really quite amazing quite how quickly Christmas comes and goes!

Christmas Day held no particular major disasters for us.  Carl discovered that 1 Brussel sprout is 1 too many for his digestive system and the scented candles went into overdrive during the evening!  Christmas dinner preparation was fairly hectic and hit a bit of a low when I burnt the parsnips but all was saved by good company and a tasty bird - how I got bread sauce in my hair is a mystery.

But, of course, a real highlight of Christmas Day had to be a surprise entry on the Festive Field Shelter (very loosely interpreted) theme entitled  'Festive Hay Bar’ by Mrs C Rackers of Warrenfield Alpackers

Saturday 24 December 2011

A very happy Christmas to all!

All is now, almost done!  Just the electric fence to go on, the chickens to lock up, Sam to get back from work, a stocking to fill and then we can relax!

The cats are already relaxing - asleep on Sam's bed!

The dog is in a state of nerves and keeps dragging presents out from the tree - luckily she is just staring longingly at them and not actually unwrapping!

The alpacas are looking expectant - but probably only for carrots!

Lots of mud this year - as you can see but at least it has made getting to the fields easier.  Strangely everyone else's paddocks look far cleaner!  Take a look at this marvellous mud free Festive field shelter in France!  Brilliant Judi!

Jayne has gone for the Decorate an alpaca and human look - do take a look at the magnificent golden moustache!!  Not on Jayne, I hasten to add!!!!

So, a very happy Christmas to you all - and thank you for reading!!

Thursday 22 December 2011

Nearly Christmas!

As usual, Christmas has come upon me!  I have iced the cake, bought and wrapped the presents but I still have to clean the house, buy some food and find clothes which are not covered in mud.  That will, however, have to wait until the sheep have been moved, alpaca food bought, new hay rack constructed for Bert (she broke the old one).  I think she feels a little sorry about it - or maybe she is just planning her next misdemeanour (Zara is in the backgound, looking  grumpy because she can't quite get the hang of carrots and  keeps dropping them).
I left out Bert's legs as they are filthy and she looks pretty clean at the top.  Long distance shots also seem to work in this weather - Here is Greeves.
And finally - Trouble, Bert's baby.  She has recovered from whatever was wrong with her but I have gone back to giving her a night time bottle.  I relented as I was so worried she was going to expire on me!
And, talking of gorgeous  young ladies, for a better idea than my rather weak attempt at a Festive field shelter go to -

Sunday 18 December 2011

Festive Field (?) Shelters

I had better start by explaining my alpaca tragedy of last week - thank you all for your kind comments and emails.  I went over to the fields first thing and as I climbed over the gate I could see a small white bundle in one of the field shelters.  I knew it was not going to be good.  I ran down as fast as I could and was just in time to catch Axle breathing his last breath.  Bianca was with him - but only because there was hay there I think.  It was very upsetting as he had been lively the day before and, although he was small and thin, he appeared quite happy.  It was then a trip to the vets for the post mortem.  The vet phoned back later that day to say his heart, lungs and everything else where very healthy.  His stomach contents were all as they should be so he was eating well.  She was running some more tests with the VLA as there was a suspicion of one of the clostridial diseases being present - but not one covered by lambivac.   We are waiting the results on that so will keep you posted.  Despite him being wormed a month a go she also found a small quantity of what she called a particularly nasty stomach worm - one not seen often and which could kill very quickly.  I have forgotten its name so will have to wait for the report for that.  Very sad but have to put it behind us now and just learn from it.  One thing we have done is worm the whole herd again today even though they were done a month ago.  The wet, mild conditions are not good for this time of year.

The worming experience nearly turned into a complete disaster this afternoon - I hope all is well now but I am still a little on edge!  Half the girls, including Trouble the bottle fed, were down by the barn ready.  Now they love it in the barn - but, due to the amount of hay in there, calling it a barn experience is a bit over the top as there is only about 6 foot square of floor space.  Anyway  - it is dryish and they love to roll on the floor when all the fields are wet and their rolling pits are soaked.  I was standing at the side filling the needles ready with some vitamin D while Carl sorted out the wormer and, as usual, Trouble was fussing next to me.  Sherbert dashed in for a massive roll and kicked me in the process.  That was not the disaster, however, Trouble also got caught by a flying foot.  She was a bit fussy all the time we did injections but seemed okay.  We put them back and I got everything ready for the creation of a festive field shelter.  Half way through Trouble came into the shelter  crying and started rolling on her side, kicking her legs around and crying.  I sat down on the floor to look at her and she sat next to me but on her side, still crying.  This continued for quite a while with her walking and then suddenly dropping to the ground and lying on her side.  She seems okay now but I wonder whether she was kicked in the ribs or stomach and has a pain.  It seems sensitive on one side but nowhere near the injection site.  This did slightly take the shine off the Festive Field Shelter and it all ended up as a mere shadow of what was planned! 
Now I am sorry that I appear in it - not as planned - but this is just after Trouble had been sitting sideways with me crying.  And in this one I have just shed  tear as I thought I was suddenly going to lose Trouble!!
This is supposed to be a Festive blog, which means it should not be a catalogue of disaster!  So I am very grateful to Mr and Mrs Mustafbinat Theslowjin for sending me this delightful late entry - the fact that it is not in a field and is only big enough for a domestic cat is totally immaterial!  First class entry showing creativity, artistic use of clippings, enviable bunch of mistletoe and highly trained cat!

Wednesday 14 December 2011

The only way is up?

When you have a series of unfortunate events you tend to think - things can only get better.  Sadly, that is not true and today we had an alpaca tragedy.  It really was very upsetting, so I'll wait till next week and then return with a festive field shelter blog.

Saturday 10 December 2011

Come on Barbie, Let's go Party

We needed to be up and out early this morning as we had an appointment to help with feet and vitamins and our animals needed sorting first.  All seemed to be going to plan except there was ice on the water which needed breaking and the hay in the barn was collapsing a bit after the high winds.  In the end this meant we were a trifle late for our appointment but it was a fun morning meeting old friends  - including the enormous young boy who is Carl's particular friend - I fear the feeling is not quite mutual and Carl did get a rather hefty kick in an area he did not want me to check out for him!

All done and we headed off to the Marines to take a look at the pink truck.  It is only pink in a certain light and I think it is officially known as Shiraz - or that is what the hefty builder who is selling it calls it!  After a bit of toing and froing over prices it looks like we may be soon driving around in the Barbie Truck!  I can't really understand how we keep talking about reducing vehicles and yet we own more and more - the D-Bat, the original moped, the current truck and Uncle Festa all MUST go!

Friday 9 December 2011

An Encounter with a Traffic Warden

Yesterday I took Mum into Stur to do some of her Christmas shopping.  I parked in the car park and got, I thought, a ticket for 2 hours.  I thought wrong!  I ambled back to the car while Mum went in the Coop only to see a traffic  warden photographing my car.  Charged over, bags flying and told him how incredibly stupid I was - thought I had got a 2 hour ticket and resignedly prepared to take the ticket and pay the fine.  But no, he wished me Happy Christmas and said it was fine!!

The wind was strong last night and the sheets have blown off the barn - no where near the northern weather though and I am hoping all is well up there.  I have been flitting between fields and house trying to think about both animals and Christmas at the same time - not working very well.  Bert had a very sleepy day.  I think either the wind kept her up or she has been spending too much time preparing for Christmas!
The three little girls are only into rear end photos at the moment - String, Bea and Slink, Bea has a red spot on her leg so I can tell which is her and which is String!
And poor Yossarian has finally settled with the boys!

Wednesday 7 December 2011

All in Pink . . .

Carl has a heavy cold - in fact he is at death's door - in fact how he managed to eat all his tea is beyond me.  Despite this he has suddenly cheered up due to having been offered the possibility of a new truck.  I have not agreed yet but this has not stopped him enumerating all of its virtues - chief amongst them appears to be the fact that it is pink!  He has told me it is pink several times now and all I really want to know is how much the tax and insurance will be and where he intends to keep it whilst getting rid of the old truck (I don't think there is anything wrong with the old truck except that you have to get out and fiddle with the wheels to get it in and out of four wheel drive).  We will see . .

Bert had a bit of a paddy tonight.  She was hoping to have carrots as she had seen me giving the other girls some this afternoon.  When I  went in she jumped up and came sniffing around only to get very disappointed when she saw I was just cleaning out the water trough.  I cleaned and refilled and - I am sure this was deliberate - she went over and tipped it up!

Axle is still a midget (skinny is the worst thing) and I cannot find the stuff I was recommended - sounds a bit like codeine, I think, and apparently it is used in Australia to help with growth issues.  Any ideas?
Axle is at the front with Trouble, the bottle fed, behind.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Gloomy Outlook

A tragic occurrence in the village in the early hours of Sunday morning meant the road through Ibberton was closed for much of the day - we could still see smoke from the hill at lunchtime.  Sam stayed in bed for much of the day but was up and back to work, still snuffling, on Monday.

The sheep have now all had their feet checked and trimmed.  They have also been moved back into pylon paddock - their favourite as it means they can rub against the pylon and lie in the stingers, something they thoroughly enjoy for some reason!

The weather has now turned colder but a wet, drizzly cold - not a nice crisp cold.  Carl and Sam have been  working on mud prevention which has involved the tractor and their new bucket.  Not sure how successful the plan is - not sure they are either!

Saturday 3 December 2011

Talking dogs and investment opportunities

It has been a busy day today and we have only just got back.  Sam is now ill, he has a horrible cold and is curled up on the settee sniffing and moaning.  He didn't finish work until six and has been working every day for weeks - I think he has just got thoroughly run down.  It looks like tomorrow he may have to give up and languish in bed!

We were off early to start the day with a bit of car dealing - thankfully we are now one car down and it is only Uncle Festa who is still lurking, waiting to be removed as he does have a new owner.  Further negotiations meant we now have a trifle more room in the barn which was good as I then had to get the girls in for their check over.  Flem had a bit more work on the abscess and Axle had a bit of poking and prodding.

It was then a quick trip out and that was quite an eye opener.  We went to look at a possible investment - and bumped into Andy and Viv from Reddingvale at the same time.  I think both Viv and I were quite speechless over this 'investment opportunity', Carl definitely warmed to it and Andy was in his element!  Coffee afterwards (and I have never before heard a dog say 'Mumma' so convincingly) - I have a feeling Andy could be a late entrant to the Festive Field Shelter competition, he was rather coy over the form of decoration he might be using but there was a certain competitive gleam in his eye!

We then raced back to do the sheep feet but some visitors in the late afternoon meant that sheep feet is a job for tomorrow.

I will take a photo tomorrow - I did aim to do some today and had a lovely shot lined up of Cassie charging straight for me in search of apple - she has a real turn of speed for a lady of mature years - only to find at the critical moment that I had forgotten to insert the camera card.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Festive Field Shelters

Okay, the gauntlet is down!  The Festive Field Shelter competition is on!  I have tentative interest!  Barbara queried who the judge would be and I have considered contacting the great and good of the alpaca world but fear rejection.  Maybe a prospective judge will materialise, and as to prizes - there aren't any!!  But you could use the photo on your Christmas cards next year.  We can just post our photos in the week before Christmas and see what we get!  I am considering a Mary and Joseph in the stable alpaca theme - Carl said this would be inappropriate but I don't see why.  My brother, who is now a Baptist Minister, once performed the nativity with his teddies and, despite Mary's dress continually falling off and her giving birth to a panda, it was reasonably tasteful and got the message over (mind you he was about 4 at the time).  So, festive field shelter photos the week before Christmas - chickens allowed!  (there are no rules but then as there is no judge and no prizes this is probably immaterial).  Ah, and do not leave your field shelter unattended and remove everything immediately or who knows what disaster may strike.

On to more serious matters, it is pouring with rain and no one will let little Axle in the field shelter.  He may have to have a coat on - which is what I am going to try to do now, find his coat!