Wednesday 29 February 2012

A worrying moment

My heart nearly stopped this morning as I drove through the field gate.  I could see Little Star flat out with no other alpaca anywhere near her.  I had the camera out as I had been trying to catch a nice morning view over the valley so for some daft reason I wasted a minute taking a photo of her before charging across.

From the photo you can see her ears are pricked and she is simply asleep - but my eyes aren't that good!  Anyway all was well and after sorting everyone out it was a trip to the library van where I found a very exciting book - how to knit two socks at the same time on one circular needle!  Yes, I know, how can you write a whole book about that?!  However, it is something I have not been able to master and I feel sure I can adapt it to knitting two gloves at one which will save having to try to work out what I wrote on old scraps of paper whilst knitting the first glove!

I then went up with Mum to clean the church for the last time this year - someone else's go next month.  This took a while as we had to get the bird mess of the chairs!

Now Sam should be back a little earlier tonight as he is at college today.  I had been getting a bit worried about all the hours he was working and even thought of having a word with his tutor but then yesterday afternoon Carl got a phone call from him.  "Dad is it alright if I am late back tonight?  I've asked if I can work late."  He was driving a mini digger, removing tree roots and making holes - so exciting he didn't even require paying!!

Monday 27 February 2012

A little excitable

Fairly busy couple of days - and lovely weather yesterday so we are full of the joys of spring.  The alpacas are very grumpy and fighting over food, hay, water, the best place to sleep - looks like a fair few are well and truly pregnant!  Brilliant!  Lambs are due first - 5 weeks to go for them.  I am trying desperately not to think about the cria due or I will start wishing my life away again.  It is impossible, though, for me not to start crawling around checking for udders and swollen back ends - just can't stop myself!
Zara is one of the first due and I am really hoping she is as I would love a black cria.

Crispie is due in June which seems ages away but I am sure time will fly!
I seem to be using a lot of exclamation marks tonight but that is because I am a little hopeful about a visit we are making tonight.  Fingers crossed we may have news sometime soon!!

Saturday 25 February 2012

Twinkle and toes

Firstly, I have yet another car - Twinkle this time, a sort of pretty blue colour and another Peugeot but somewhat newer than the last one.  It appears to be alright and Carl calls it a convertible as it has a sunshine roof.  I think I am going to experience one or two issues with it as it has a security code you put in before it will start. 

We caught up on alpaca toenails today and gave everyone their wormer.  Their behaviour whilst this was happening varied from the spitters to the cryers to the good as gold ones.  Islay, despite generally being very hard work, was extremely good.  We always cut her nails while her feet stay on the ground and she is much more comfortable with that, it is the leg lifting she hates.  Here is Emily, not too convinced she is pregnant as she tried to mount everything around her as soon as we had finished feet!

Bianca, one of Sam's alpacas, was also one of the very well behaved ones - despite Sam's cuddling and constantly grinning at her!
Now I am sure you would like one of Bert or Lina having their feet done - both a pair of madams - but no one remembered to take a photo!

Tuesday 21 February 2012

A coffee in Blandford

I had a morning out today which was a rare occurrence.  Took a bit of effort to find some reasonably presentable clothes and to change into them in a rather cold field whilst avoiding the mud and passing motorists!  It was worth it in the end and I spent a pleasant morning in a coffee shop in Blandford catching up with a work colleague from my dim and distant past.  I have to say she had weathered very well and didn't look a day older than when I last saw her.

No fleece shots yet, Barbra, due to this little outing but I am watching out for the perfect day!

Monday 20 February 2012

Driving with an annoying Yeti

I have had some very useful tips on fleece shots so, once I have tried them out, I shall publish the results and Debbie can judge from the results if the tips are a thing to share with the world!

We have had a busy and fairly unproductive time here.  Saturday we had to go over somewhere near Bath to look at new Kubota tyres for Sam.  The entire journey Carl and Sam were annoyingly hysterical as they had changed the sat nav back to Yeti voice.  This is completely useless as it just snorts randomly, laughs spasmodically and makes strange Yeti noises.  The tyres were no good.

Carl went somewhere to collect lots of tin for which he says he definitely has a use - we will see. 

The Truck is very good at pulling things and is comfortable but Carl has managed to break the aerial - quite dramatically as it shot out the hole and unwound lots of wire at speed.

My car is due an MOT which means I am now looking for another one as the list of things needing doing to it is far too long.  It also uses a lot of petrol which is not good.

Body scoring at the weekend was exciting with Little Star.  She was Bert's first baby here and so was a bottle fed girl and has always been fairly good about everything - slightly temperamental at times but easy to handle.  She has now changed and turned into a mini Bert - stamping, spitting and finally sitting down and moaning.  This is actually quite good as it is exactly how Bert is when pregnant and you want to do anything to her.  I had thought Little Star might not be pregnant but I am changing my mind.

Friday 17 February 2012

I'm no David Bailey!

Today's challenge was photos of the 'Show Team' - and all did not go well!  Weather was fine, batteries charged, fields gleaming and poo less - should have been a piece of cake.  First up, Yossarian who would not put his head up unless he was pooing - so the face shot is where he is relieving himself!
Trying for a whole alpaca shot was hopeless as he refused to put his head up and look forward.
Mind you, that was better than String, Trouble and Slink  who turned their backs to me.

Maybe head shots would do, I thought, but that just reveals how dirty their beard's are (I don't think Bea can see a lot either!).
And as for fleece shots!  I took hundreds, a mammoth feat on your own as I had to hold them round the neck (normally I hold them at the head) and part the fleece with one hand whilst operating the camera with the other - except for Trouble who stood there but I still only managed to get one from her neck which was not all blurred and that is rubbish.
So - I would be very grateful for any tips on how on earth you get a good fleece shot - and no clever comments like "You need a good fleece in the first place!"

Thursday 16 February 2012

Much debate in progress

Might be needing to rent Sam out, the way we are going!!  He was back at work though today so no help from him here.  Despite a horrible cold I managed to clear the fields and a lot of spilt hay.  The alpacas all seem to be very messy with their hay at the moment.  I think it is probably because they are eating so much more of it and I am filling it up more often due to much less grass in the paddocks.

Sniffling and snuffling did not stop a bit of halter training this afternoon and Trouble did very well, Bea was a little bit more jumpy, Yossarian did not collapse once (I think he was about to at one point but I managed to push him back into an upright position so I am not counting that little slip).  Now I am kind of tempted to make a little foray into a show.  Carl is a bit ambivalent about it and as he is the one who would have to take them round the ring (I would be a quivering jelly)  I think it will have to be his decision in the end.  I shall just do a bit of background research and see what he thinks.  Anyway, even if we don't, I am now going to call my selected few The Show Team!  So, providing there is no rain, tomorrow I am on a mission to get photos of The Show Team so I can unveil them on my blog tomorrow!

And the peacocks - they haven't been back in the garden but spend some odd moments sitting on a fence a garden away from us.  They do make a noise but not a lot of noise - and it is a nice chattering noise - at the moment!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

A visit from two big birds

I had rather a shock when I went out in the garden this morning - -

The cats also had rather a shock and dashed off to hide in Amber's basket for the rest of the day!

Sam had the day off work - his first full day since Christmas - so I let him stay in bed but he was still up by 8am and we had a very productive day poo collecting (there was rather a lot), moving his sheep and trying to sort out the bottom track which had such amazing ruts in it that even the Mule was beginning  to bottom out.  Thanks to the Wellground roller it is now much better.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Ken gets a top

Still frozen on the hill this morning.  Everywhere else was defrosting nicely but we still had snow.  Alpacas and sheep in the distance!

After we had done the animals Carl had an assignation with two young Forest nymphs.  He went to collect the Truckman top for Ken The Truck - they kindly carried it round for him (possibly fitted it as well) and then they returned to their painstaking poo collection, hay clearing, paddock maintenance. . . .

Meanwhile I did some poo collection with Sam who got back from work early.  This was good as he can actually reverse the Poo Picker into awkward corners. 

Once all the work was done Carl returned having sorted out his hands free kit, set up his climate control, turned what was a deer on the side of the truck into what he calls an alpaca - looks more like a deer with out any antlers to me.  Here is the truck before top was added.

And. . a small puzzle this morning - who are Di and Mick and why do they carry cuttings of snippets from the blog?!!!

Saturday 11 February 2012

Ken's Wagon arrives

It has been another busy, cold day today.  The snow appears to have almost gone everywhere around here - except in our fields.  Carl had to drill a hole through the ice in the barrels which collect the water from the barn roof.  It was the only way we could get the pump in to pump water into the Bowser.  This slowed us up a bit but we still managed to body score everyone and trim a few feet - much easier when the ground is hard.  Last night we were late back as we went over to collect the new (pink) truck and Carl spent half the afternoon with my hairdryer getting the old sign writing off.  We then went over to collect Sam (his bike is fine but we wanted to do a little detour on the way back to show him something).

No I am having a sit down with a bag of Maltesers and I will get a photo or two for tomorrow (including the Truck - named Ken)

Thursday 9 February 2012

Stuck to the ground

Flippin freezing here and I am having Mule problems.  Yesterday, I kid you not, my Mule was welded to the ground.  I left the hand brake off the night before to stop that freezing up but didn't give a thought to the tyres freezing.  First there was mud and then when that froze the Mule was stuck.  I had to carry water and hay round by foot and was revving and rolling the Mule spasmodically in the hope that I could unstick it before I had to get to the top of second for the sheep.  Eventually, with the aid of my spiked fence post we finally succeeded.  I have to be a little careful with the fence post as the day before I had been pounding at the water drinkers to defrost them and the spike went right through the bottom of one.

Today things got even more dire as the Poo Picker froze to the ground and this I could not free - despite carefully ramming it up the back with the Mule.  I think the tyres are frozen to the body as well (via a layer of mud).

Our neighbour has just told us snow is forecast so I am not looking forward to the journey tomorrow!

Ahh!  And house number 2 looks highly unlikely despite an evening playing with helicopters!

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Cute baby alpacas (not!)

The challenge for this morning was nice fluffy, cute baby pictures.  I rose to the challenge, I crawled around, made mad clucking noises, sat patiently - all to no avail.  They either found a desperate need to poo or wee, had their ears down or spat at each other.  I have some fantastic poo shots, bottom shots, top of the ear shots and that is about it!

Trouble with ears firmly down and Yossarian looking like a demented seal.   Bea and String have just trampled a new bale waiting to go in the rack (mine all seem to love pawing hay and rolling in the spillages)
And finally Bea and String with filthy little beards!

Tomorrow is another day!  It is getting a lot colder here so I have wrapped up lots of barrells of water in the hay which will hopefully prevent it freezing overnight.

Monday 6 February 2012

Talking to Elvis

W have had a bit of an absence from the blog for various complicated reasons.  Life has been full of ups and downs and we range from manic hilarity to hunchback gloom.  However, as we are currently on a shaky high, I'd better do a bit of a catch up blog!

The animals are all doing well despite a shaky start to the year.  Can't remember if I mentioned but routine sampling showed Greeves had a fantastically high count for cocci.  He showed no signs whatsoever - lovely little poos, body score good, lively.  We drenched him and have also had a sample sent to Baycox to try to determine the type of cocci we are dealing with (some are not supposed to be pathogenic) and then we will be able to make a plan!

We had one day and night of snow which was luckily at the weekend.  Luckily, as it meant Carl could drive up and down the hill!  The hill was, as usual, very exciting with Ladies stuck, tractor jackknifing, 4x4 spinning and a poor lone young lady wandering around.  We did a bit of escorting down the hill, rescuing a damsel and standing around shaking heads with complete strangers and by the next day it was gone.  I had to hide water in the hay as it froze quicker than I could get it round but now we are back to mud.  Here is the snow arriving with Cassie hurrying for the shelter while Lily lies there looking annoyed and Sherbert continues to eat!

And here are the sheep - bothered about nothing except their hay!

House hunting was very depressing and we had started scrapping the bottom of the barrel and then we suddenly found a real possibility - slightly challenging location for the main fields but a distinct possibility, investigations ongoing on that one.  We had a quick trip to see Red Van Man on Saturday to catch up on news and then dashed back to pay a visit to do some toe nails for some boys we had sold before Christmas and in amongst that we had a phone call with some information on another property (like buses - you wait ages and then . . ).  This one is interesting but not without it's difficulties - ongoing research there!

Sunday night was Chinese with Elvis which was a totally surreal experience!  First time we have been out for ages which was very nice and left us feeling more as if we were normal people (well. as normal as you can feel when Elvis has been crooning away next to you whilst eating noodles with a black bean sauce).

Sam has finally got a motorbike which appears to be reliable and which, despite falling off in the snow, he enjoys riding.  He also had Sunday afternoon off and spent most of it cuddling Bianca and Sapphire (his alpacas)!

Now I have just about, and very reluctantly, put my little ones on the sales page and on alpaca seller - just got to try and get better photos tomorrow - then we have 2 days poo picking waiting.

I'll be back as soon as I can, hopefully tomorrow and will hopefully soon have news of what is happening!  In the mean time I am going to read everyone else's blogs this evening as I have a lot of catching up to do!