Saturday 29 December 2012

Rain and wind doesn't deter visitors!

Despite torrential rain and howling winds the alpacas had visitors this afternoon.  And, despite very soggy, muddy alpacas I think the visitors had a good time!  Trouble and Bea came up on their halters to say hello and then we braved the mud to meet everyone else.  It was, I think, the first time in wellies for out visitor from Beijing and he wore them like a professional!

The high winds in the night had lifted the sheep field shelter and blown it a good 20 foot which damaged a fence and broken the hay rack but luckily did not take out the electric fence.  It was originally just behind the bucket.  Luckily no one was injured but the shelter needs a little work!
In fact we have a big list of jobs but have been unable to achieve anything much at all due to the weather.

Monday 24 December 2012

A lovely early Christmas present!

Following an early shopping trip (and I mean REALLY early - Carl's decision) all the animals were given a few extra rations this morning as the weather has been so grim. You will notice in the photos that I am the one struggling with the mud and wind whilst Carl lounged on the Polaris (the Mule is terminally sick) with the camera.
My hair is ruined but the girls were pleased to see me. Islay, as usual stood at the back, waiting for everyone else to finish.
Emily came over to get a bit of hand feeding and - amazingly, so did Islay. She is the one with her ears pricked up behind Emily who is the first in the line.
And then - Islay ate from the bucket I was holding and she has never done that before - Carl didn't quite catch it very well as he was so surprised!
What a lovely start to Christmas!

A very, very happy Christmas to you all - may you have many magic moments!

Saturday 22 December 2012


An eventful day and I am exceedingly cross with myself as part of it is my fault and I feel very bad.  I had an alpaca injury this morning but it is now sorted and I feel too guilty to tell you about it - suffice to say that it involved an ear, an eartag and a loop of bailer twine.  I have very humbly apologised to the one involved.

The second event actually occurred yesterday but I only found out about it this morning and involved mother collapsing in the Graveyard and being rescued by the grave digger - slightly bizarre if you think about it.

I can't give you a photo as everyone, everything and everybody is so muddy - wind is getting up now but no more rain yet. 

A very big thank you to the Mule Lady who cleared the road at Woolland which has made life so much easier.
And a very big moan at those in this house who are incapable of making novelty ice cubes.  It is very simple - piece of fruit in an ice cube - they put them in drinks but do not refill the tray.  I am now  off to invent more types of novelty ice cube (and rescue the Christmas cake as the icing has had a bit of a land slide and the tasteful blue stars have bled into the white icing).

Friday 21 December 2012

My loneliness is killin' me . . .

If Carl sings that to me once more, or asks me when I am putting the mini skirt on I shall hit him.  I had my hair done this morning and it is now very straight but flops a bit in my eyes so I have tied the side bits up and he says my hair (not the rest of me) looks like Britney Spears - AS IF!

Fairly uneventful on the driving front today - no more rain so the flooded road has subsided a bit.  We are getting through a fair bit of hay at the moment and are having the normal alpaca arguments about who gets the best spot in the field shelter.  Strangely, it is not always the dominant ones who seem to get what I would consider the best place -  some seem to prefer it just outside.  Carolyn, the most gentle, calm alpaca, always likes the side, looking out.  Not a good photo I am afraid.

Two methods of tree decoration in our house - my preferred method, choose, at length, appropriate ornaments.  Festoon tree with lights, place baubles, remove baubles and replace in better position, admire whilst cat sneaks up behind jumps on tree and brings the lights down, replace and so on.

Or there is Sam and Carl's method - tie string of beads to top of tree, walk round tree wrapping tinsel firmly, throw four balls and a fairy at it - stand back and admire.

Not much in it really!

And what is Sam looking forward to most about Christmas? - (Luckily not his presents!) - seeing his Grandparents!

Thursday 20 December 2012

Father Christmas is having a bad time

A fairly adventurous day today.  We have, as have most, had a fair amount of rain and as I went through Woolland this morning I did think the flood on the road at the corner was fairly deep.  I got through but it was a case of gripping the steering wheel and trying to think of something else.  In the afternoon it looked deeper - and longer.  A trip round the other way would have taken ages if I was to avoid the fords so I went for it - and nearly didn't make it.  I have a bit of a wet carpet and the force of the water in front nearly made me stall but we gripped tight and pressed on.  By the time I reached the field (where I slid sideways through he gate) I was steaming.  Steam was pouring from the bonnet, the exhaust, even the wheels seemed to be puffing out clouds.  The inner mechanic in me told me to leave it running for a while until the steam dispersed but I did take the long route home!

All animals are soaked and crowding into the field shelters so my only photo for you tonight is of a fairly wet, but happy, looking Flem.
And a very clean, for me, looking car!

Father Christmas is also on the verge of a nervous breakdown at the moment.  FC has diligently sourced, ordered, wrapped, hidden Sam's presents which are mainly Mitsubishi Truck related as that was the love of his life.  Now the fickle hearted child has decided he wants a Land Rover, has found a Land Rover, has viewed a Land Rover and may BUY a Land Rover!  He will now receive L200 based products he has no need or want for as he no longer 'hearts' his L200 no matter what one of FCs presents says - and where he will park the flippin' Land Rover I do not know as FC has a special L200 Parking Only sign for him.  Blow and double Blow!!!!

Tuesday 18 December 2012

This might have been a funny blog

I have really tried today to bring you a video of one of the funniest alpaca moments I have encountered - but I just could not opeate the video bit of the camera.  I will have another go later in the week, when the rain goes away again!  I will have to tell you about it instead and it is not at all funny unless you can see it.  In fact I was not going to trouble you with a photoless blog but then I was reminded. 

Lina's baby, Tulisa, is a tiny little thing but very feisty and independent.  Lina lets her feed when she wants her to but will quite often bite her ear or push her away.  Despite this, Lina is fiercely protective.  She forgets Tulisa for ages and Tulisa wanders away out of sight.  Lina is, to put it bluntly, a funny thing and tries to be the boss.  If she sees me appearing she rushes over to check what I am up to and get a bit of attention.  Now, if you stand around and talk to her for a bit and then say,  "Lina, Jalopena, Where's you baby?"  She perks her ears up, looks round and then charges up the field to find Tulisa!  She had done it several times but I thought it was a fluke - but it isn't.  She can understand what I am saying, I am sure she can!  This would have been very funny with video evidence. 

Now I am off to grapple the turkey from the freezer and check how long it needs to defrost.

Monday 17 December 2012

You've got red on you!

Little bit of accidental overloading has led to the field looking rather like a scene from Shaun of the Dead.

The ram has paste on him this year, to mark the backs of the ewes he has served, and this needs renewing periodically.  It comes as a powder and you mix it up with oil.  I had forgotten to buy some oil but found a choice between a bottle of cod liver oil or a bottle of used chip fat.  I decided the cod liver oil was the best idea and Sam rolled him whilst I applied liberally to his chest - rather too liberally as it turns out.  Ram is now a delicate shade of pink, everywhere, and the ewes he has served since look like they are victims of a road accident.  Close up it looks quite violent - even in this long distance shot you will see immediately who has recently been serve!

Thursday 13 December 2012

Halter Training

I had to visit the vet for cat wormer tablets and the  accountant for money type stuff first thing and was nearly late when I encountered the Scrap man in Stur.  That all went surprisingly well.  What did not go so well was trying to get Cruella's worming tablet in her when I got back.  She has spat it out four times so far and, despite a towel, has seriously clawed me.

Cold and frosty today so Sam and I made the most of it by doing some foot trimming - impossible when it is all muddy - and halter work - again, impossible when it is all muddy.  Sam bought a new tow rope which he wanted to use for catching the alpacas.  They were all so surprised by the blue colour they just stood still!
There were several feet in need of attention and not everyone was well behaved which looks positive on the pregnancy front.  Halter training focused on Mick and Arctic.  Mick is being very good.  We haven't reached the stage of putting the lead on yet, he is still getting comfortable with having the halter on and off plus having his feet picked up.  Arctic is currently at the bottom of the class!  He likes to sit down!

However, finally, we got to standing up, being held and not having a panic  - may not sound much but I think it is one of the most important parts!

Wednesday 12 December 2012


Fairly unremarkable today.

Except Sam did stop hedge cutting at 12 minutes past 12 to check the world was not going to end!

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Wilting Sweet Peas

Today we have had proper cold and manful breaking of ice was required, as opposed to the gentle tapping which has been required so far this winter.  A fair bit of sliding around on Woolland hill so I avoided that and went up and down the cut which was fine.
I am afraid that not everyone I hoped was pregnant has carried their pregnancy through.  Lina is my pregnancy detector as she is constantly trying to jump on anyone not pregnant!  She is on the left with Trouble on the right, Arctic at the front and the not pregnant one lying down!
By lunch time the sun was out so perfect weather for getting photos ready for January when Alpaca Seller gets updated.  My plans to get Greeves on film were foiled by Yossarian who constantly slunk in front or behind or generally got in the way.

And I had to include a photo of my gorgeous (to my eyes only) Bert.

Sadly, I did not wrap my sweep peas up terribly well last night and I fear there may have been a casualty or two.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Hide and Seek

Today's main task was catching up on poo collecting - but we got distracted by the sheep and ended up playing hide and seek with Two Tone - which is a very odd thing to be doing with a sheep but she really does play hide and seek and gets very annoyed and stamps her feet if she can't find you!

Tulisa had no bottle today despite the cold.  I am debating weaning her with the others who need weaning but I think it will probably wait until after Christmas anyway.  Arctic is one who has been weaned and he made no fuss whatsoever about it - and he is growing very nicely.
He has a real look of Dude (his Dad) about him and has a lovely temperament.  I have introduced him to the halter but not actually put it on him yet - that may happen tomorrow.

Saturday 8 December 2012


Last night I settled down to a little Amazon retail therapy only to discover my debit card had disappeared.  I had it yesterday for my trip to Yeovil but where it went I do not know.  Everywhere was searched - car, Sam's Truck, pockets, bag, the drive, handbag, purse - nowhere and so I had to cancel the card.  Now my spending is curtailed until a new card arrives.  It either got thrown away with the remains of a Cumberland ring, posted with the letters or left in the card machine.

We spent a lovely morning with Bueno and his friends - a few injections and foot trimming - then went to get a Christmas Tree (which Carl had to buy).  Followed by half hour of watching Yossarian careering around showing off after the round of feeding and replenishing hay racks.  Hay consumption is definitely on the up!

Friday 7 December 2012

We have much mud

A fair bit of rain in the night meant it was a very sludgy day today.  Sam had the day off so we went over to Mole Valley this morning and had a bit of a stock up.  The rest of the day seemed to be trudging through mud or sliding sideways in the Mule through mud.  Despite the mud the babies are all looking relatively clean, apart from their knees, - even Arctic who loves a bit of a roll!
Lady Tulisa is still very lively despite her size (obviously, she is the little one in the photo!).  The complete line up  at the front of the photo are - Sapphire's bottom, Mick, Tulisa, String, Arctic and Dippy looking the wrong way - as always!

Thursday 6 December 2012

Dancing on ice

Feezing cold today and very icy.  Despite my two jumpers I was still shivering and had to resort to my orange tango suit which is very warm but means I become very inflexible and have to operate in slow motion.  I went home to  sort out the sheep records an had a little worry about the cold effecting the suris - that was a stupid worry as when I returned Yosser was splashing in the icy water left in the rolling pit!
I have to keep breaking the ice and scooping out the water as I fear someone will break a leg.

Monday 3 December 2012

A thumping good day

It is Sam who has been thumping - I have been running around with strands of electric fence, attempting not to get it in a tangle.
So, once more the sheep have been moved!

As none of the girls looked in the least bit photogenic today I decided to go for a long distance shot with a few sheep in the distance but it still all looks a little drab
On Wednesday the forecasters are predicting an hour of sunshine at 3pm so I shall have the camera at the ready.

Sunday 2 December 2012

Serene and normal

I am so very sorry for the last confusing blog.  I cannot let it all out Mark - though I would like to - as I doubt many will agree with me and it is too 'alpaca sensive' I feel.   I had a cocoa instead of wine, and topped this up by getting cross with Amazon over a missing item.  Today I am on top of the world due to Amazon's exceptional service, a good cuddle with Yossarian and a 1 to 1 with Lina!

I have managed to update the website but don't check it out as I fear it looks a little tacky now and Sam is horrified about one part of the home page -  I will have to redo again and will let you know when it has reached Westhill perfection and is safe to view.

On the down side I have a sheep, Angelina Jolie, with a bad foot but I think that is improving.  I have trimmed it right down and sprayed liberally (also have purple fingers and jumper).  Also, the Ram developed a nosebleed.  I phoned the Shepherd in a panic (visions of getting his head between his knees or ramming a paper tissue up his nose - actually, I am not sure that is  best practise any more!) and he asked how he was in himself.  When I reported back that he was 'on the job' as we spoke, he laughed and said not to worry!

Today we weighed Tulisa who is steadily putting on weight and is a real little madam - just like her Mum, Lina.  Everyone is looking mighty healthy despite the foul weather they have been putting up with.  I am afraid I have no decent alpaca photos as I only took two today and they are both out of focus as I was trying to feed Bert a pear whilst capture the moment on camera and I was laughing so much my hands shook!  So, here is one of the leader of the Scottish blacks - first down for the hay when it arrived.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Like a volcano, I may erupt

I have spent the last few days being very cross.  In fact I have been so cross I have not blogged - even this blog has been revised several times to remove all trace of the subject of my crossness.  I have, however, just sent off my membership for the Large Black Pig Society of which I feel I will be very proud to be a member.  I will not bore my readers with my pig adventure (which may not actually happen anyway, but you can find out more on my separate Pig blog (I will try not to mention here this area of speculation again!)

It's no good, I must sign off as crossness is brewing up again and £120/£75 for 6 months/what do I pay membership for (flippin' dog shows) is flashing before my eyes.  I will return when I have reached a state of calm.

Sunday 25 November 2012

It's rained a bit

We have not had flooding as badly as many but it has been very wet - and it still is!  Sam is out on flood watch at the moment.  He likes to take an evening trip out to check the fords and I have had to have a 'chat' with him about the dangers of water (actually, he is very sensible but he does have a fascination with floods which began as a toddler in Italy where it rained a lot and he was constantly shrieking 'Floodage!' from his car seat!).  We had to move one lot of girls due to a very wet field shelter which we have never had before and we did have a big problem this morning moving the livestock trailer - the tractor had to be called into play.  That in itself was a bit of an operation as I had to stand on the axle and spray Eazi Start into the hole thingy on top whilst Carl turned it over.  Not good as I was wearing  my best trousers.  The alpacas are spending their time on the highest available ground.
Most of the sheep are sodden - apart from these two, George  and Two Tone, who have taken up residence in the hay shelter!  They just pop out when they see me coming.
The Ram has chosen Stumpy (the one at the back) as the one he likes to lie with!

And Christmas preparations have begun as today I defrosted the freezer!

Monday 19 November 2012


A very productive, if cold, morning of cleaning all field shelters, watching the ram, filling hay racks and generally tidying up.  Trevor, Storm and the rest of the Mums and cria are enjoying their time in pylon paddock but the photo is a trifle boring compared with last night's photographic masterpiece I am afraid!
This evening we are suffering rather.  Carl has finished installing the woodburner and last night it was lovely.
Tonight, however, the wind is up outside and this has turned it into a smoke belching monster.  Carl is up a ladder with his head torch, the dog is passing out in the lounge, Sam has disappeared down the garage to buy chocolate and I have retreated upstairs - which is where Little Wee is heading as the belching smoke terrifies her!

Sunday 18 November 2012

Alpacas at night

Well, what did you expect?!

Saturday 17 November 2012

Visibility - Good

I am out of the mist - today visibility has been much improved, not that I have seen much of it as I have been stuck on the computer updating the online shop for much of the time.  I hate doing it as it always seems to get in a muddle and the pictures go in the wrong place.  I usually start off with enthusiasm but gradually get bored and then  my product descriptions get daft.  Just can't help it.  Here is a picture of one of my new items - The Market Traders (don't ask!).  You can visit the shop if you really can't resist viewing my knitting - Westhill Knitwear

And tomorrow the ram arrives - bit late, I know!

Friday 16 November 2012

Is there anybody out there?

Nothing to say today.  I am lost in the fog - and so are the animals!

Thursday 15 November 2012

A lover of tomatoes

Today I made the Christmas cake - and burnt it slightly.  Hopefully, a bit of scraping, plenty of brandy and a layer of marzipan will sort that out.

Sam and I spent a good while taking photos to update alpaca seller and doing a bit of handling with the cria.  This was made more difficult by Bert who tried to get in on everything. 

Bert caught me eating a tomato (attempt at a diet) and now loves tomatoes which she eats very noisily.

So, more photos than words tonight.  First up is Dippy.
Then Mick, Sam's alpaca.
In fact Mick is so cute looking here is another one, with Arctic who appears to have no ears!
And JJ
Finally, Bert who insisted in getting in the way all the time - probably searching for tomatoes!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Reservoir Dogs

Very sorry about the lack of blogging but Carl has had some time off work so we have been having a holiday.  Mauritius?  Greek Islands?  Scuba diving in the Alps,  belly dancing in Morecombe . . No, we stayed at home and tackled a long job list!  And we are very pleased with ourselves as we now have a wood burner (not quite working yet and took a while as there was no chimney), all alpacas body scored (some fat) and toe nails trimmed, received visitors (well the alpacas have, not us), fenced, moved sheep, visited a place I will tell you more about another time, moved field shelters.  It does not sound much now I have written it down but it felt like a lot!  We tried to take a trip up north but just ran out of time.

This morning I moved the boys into their winter quarters which was slightly dodgy as they had to run past Dude - Alf and Dude were desperate for a bit of a go at each other, Yossarian was leaping around like a maniac and Greeves was trying to get in with the girls.  Harry just didn't know which way to turn!  After much puffing and panting we got there.There was then a great deal of posing at the fence

Marching in the manner or Reservoir Dogs
With the occasional jump around
And a bit of grazing thrown in

I then went to check the sheep and as usual Two Tone and the other pet sheep charged over for some serious back rubbing.  I was bending over to get a bit of weight behind the back rubbing when I noticed another sheep appearing just behind me - couldn't believe it when I turned round as it was the leader of the Scottish Black Face gang!  They were, at first (the other three still are) very flighty and I had to seriously focus on not reaching out to touch her - which was very tempting.  One day, when she has gained confidence maybe she will  accept a tickle in the field - that would be a wonderful achievement.

Monday 5 November 2012

A touch of snow

We have had a sad event here but I want to forget it at the moment so I will tell you about that another time.
Yesterday I was woken up by a very excited Carl telling me it was snowing!  It didn't last long although there was still a faint trace of snow on the ground on the hill at lunch time.  All alpacas are perpetually damp at the moment but that does not stop Lady Tulisa dashing over to see if there is any chance of a bottle whenever I appear.  Just after my quiet moment with Bea, Tulisa appeared behind me humming - you can just see her beginning to realise I am there!
I have spent two very unfruitful days attempting to move the sheep electric fence.  I was doing well without a single tangle, despite having to move it from behind the pylon, when I realised there was not enough.  Sam assures me just two strands will be a mistake so I have had to stop and wait for some more to be delivered.

Monday 29 October 2012

A bit more poo!

Today started mega badly.  I got in the car and it had died in the night - it would not start.  I went into panic mode as I knew I would have to drive Carl's truck and, I know this sounds wimpy, I have never driven it on the road before - it is just too big and 'manly' for me.  I girded my loins and did a bit of reversing in the drive to check I knew where reverse  was, gripped the wheel and kangarooed down the drive praying I would not meet anything on our wiggly narrow roads.  I crept along at 20mph and even hit 30mph going through Woolland - but I almost reached my nemesis going up the cut.  I was half way up round the bend when careering towards me was The Gamekeeper followed by a small van and a transit - three vehicles at once is almost unheard of.  Automatic driving took over and I pulled up the bank ( I think I even lifted my hand from the wheel to wave in a sort of action man grip type of way with a rictus grin on my face), everyone passed, I came off the bank and drove off finally making it to the field gate - and never have I been so pleased to pull into the field!  Once I was there I decided to stay there until Carl came to rescue me but, having no food, I then had to walk to Okeford which is a VERY long way.  I then had to walk back which is uphill a lot of the time.  Luckily, The Builder passed me as I was on the long stretch back up the hill and he gave me a lift.

Teddy, one of the sheep, had by then got her head stuck through the stock fencing (due to her horns she can get through but then not back again) and, as I could not find the bolt cutters, I had to spend ages sawing away with a hand saw blade I found in the barn.

I expected Carl to appear at 6pm with my car all charged up and raring to go but he didn't as I forgot I had the car keys with me.  Finally, Sam appeared with Carl and I have a car diagnosis, "Damp!"  How can that  be?!  I have been damp for weeks but I still go!  It had better start in the morning or there will be serious ramifications!

On the alpaca front, Dilly did a poo today - which I retrieved.  He must have done them before (after the mega long one) but this is the first I have seen and it is mighty odd.  I have never known a 3 and a bit weeks old cria pooing like this.  I cut it in half as the outside looks like a chocolate eclair - in fact the inside does as well.   It appears to have a membrane round a hard chocolate bean - quite a big one considering the size of Dilly.  I have a photo for your delectation as I wonder if anyone else has a cria who poos like this - should I be worried?
 And, as that was an unpleasant photo, here is Dilly with Dippy who he is trying to make friends with!

Sunday 28 October 2012

Weight gains - weight losses

Cold and wet - me and the weather!

We managed most of the Lambivac but then it started to get too muddy and wet so we had to stop.  Dilly has drunk a little more so far today but he has lost weight and is back to 6.4kg which is not good.  Tulisa, however, has gained weight, 2kg in a week and a half, and is getting very demanding with her bottles!  She also looks completely gorgeous - in a monkey kind of way!

This afternoon we went on a paddock check and have now sold Trevor and Storm.  They are not ready to go yet but a lovely new home awaits them when they are.  It is the ideal alpaca home and I am very happy to have sold them.  Storm I was originally rather keen to keep but I had an ultimatum - it had to be him or Yossarian and I really do not want Yossarian to go.  In the end I may have to very reluctantly add Yossarian to the sale list - not because I want to but as I really haven't enough suris unrelated to him that could be mated to him - and he is very lovely!

I have been trying to get some decent photos to send to someone but everyone started sulking and turning their backs to me - I put it down to the weather.