Thursday 26 April 2012

Back soon!

I do not like this new Blogger dashboard - can't find my way round it!
I am currently writing this on Mother's computer as I am now completely without internet and in the process of changing provider - there may now be a gap in blogging!!
I have not time to tell you about the latest Flask incident, Milk Fever, Flat twins, Shovel (doing well but Grace will only let him feed if I stand next to her), show you the latest photos, update on alpaca births (Little Star due today but not totally convinced she is pregnant) . . . will come back as soon as I am able.
. . . and I always feel bad missing  commenting on other blogs - particularly if there is some momentous news - I will be back to reading soon, I hope!

Thursday 19 April 2012

The Rent Boys

I thought I had better clear up the issue of the Rent Boys before anything else as I seem to inadvertently confused some people and have been in receipt of a strange email!  The Rent Boys are three wethers who live apart from the rest of the herd and earn their keep being sheep guards.  This year they have gone as Lawn Mower/paddock ornaments and have found themselves a very lovely billet where they are very happy.  We went to pay a visit to check them over and I am sure as soon as we drew up Cadders whispered to the others, "Quick, look cute or they will get rid of us and we'll have to go home!"

No more lambs yet and I am beginning to turn my attention to alpaca births so I hope they hurry up!  My photographic skills have not been up to much today with everyone missing ears or some other body part.  This is the best I can offer - Trouble (earless) and Yossarian, both of  whom were in the middle of fighting.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

A Few Photos

Possibly my internet problems are sorted - so I am getting  in quick before it all goes again!  And, as I have to get back to check sheep in a minute, it is mostly pictures.  The alpacas have all been moved to new paddocks - and, theoretically, split into first birthers, middle birthers and late birthers.  This was the theory but Bert and Sapphire had other ideas and pranced off into the early birth paddock despite them being late birthers - it seemed easier to just leave them there!

Quite apart from the lambing it has been busy - we shot over to check on the Rent Boys who are extending their rental as their adoptive owners didn't want to let them go yet - I have to say they looked very happy (alpaca rent boys).  We then had several sets of toe nails to zoom round and do for various owners - always fun to see other people's alpacas.

Then more electric fence needed to be moved for the sheep.  Now the lambs have been moved into fresh pasture driving amongst the lambs can be a little hairy - particularly with the little Blackies who hide in the divets.  Here some were before the move - imagine long grass all around them now.
Grace still does not like Shovel at all despite having been penned close to him for several days now.  She is feeding him but only when I hold her (although I have a suspicion he is sneaking a little as he is very agile and strong).
And here he is with Grace - near Grace but certainly not together!
Only 6 more to lamb now and then it is the start of alpaca watching!

Tuesday 17 April 2012


All is well bere - if a little frantic, but I have extreme internet problems and have popped to mother's to write this.  I should be back in a few days and then will do the photos - sorry about the last post with photo which didn't upload properly.  And I can't read other blogs until I go to Mum's so hope all is well with you all (I did sneak a look at a couple and know there is some good news and some very sad).

Saturday 14 April 2012

Shovel Head

Quite tired now - despite there being no new lambs - so the pictures were supposed to do  the talking.  The internet connection is so slow, though, that one has taken me an hour to do (I can't reply to my emails either if you have sent me one!).  Tomorrow I will try again with the rest of the photos.  In fact I am not sure even this photo is going to upload properly so if you only get half a photo or nothing at all I am sorry and will retry tomorrow.

This is Shovel Head (if there is a picture - I am unable to even check!)  who is still with us but Grace still dislikes him and I have had to pin her in a corner and push him under  to let him feed.  He has to virtually lie down as she has so low slung.  He appeared to have a slight weeing problem as he developed two squirts at the same time - one normal and one shooting off at right angles.  Strangely, this seems to have corrected itself.  His tongue is a bit red and swollen still and bits of him are wonky but he is strong.  He and Grace are still in a pen together but I fear it is not working - tomorrow is decision day.

Hopefully, a few more photos to come tomorrow.

Friday 13 April 2012

The Cat Walk

Today I have spent a lot of time thinking about the World Alpaca Conference and the Fashion Show in particularly.  We donated some yarn to support the fashion show and by now that yarn will be part of a garment parading the fashion show for all to see - not me, unfortunately!  Due to lambing we have not been able to go so I am hoping there will be pictures of the garments somewhere or I will have completely missed out!

Anyway, lambing is going well with lots of lambs jumping about and few problems other than Two Toni who loves her little boy lamb but has rejected her girl lamb and only lets it drink if the other is drinking as well!  This is the one she does not like!

And all the Blackies like Sam's play table he made for them!
Now, of course, all of that was written yesterday and at 5pm we popped back to the field to check on Grace (the Southdown) as she looked a little restless - she still was so the blog didn't get published as we stayed over there until 10pm when a bit of foot and a nose had appeared.  On checking the other foot was in place and everything did seem fine, if a little cramped.  Sam and Carl went home as they needed to be up early for work and I stayed thinking it shouldn't be too long and I had the trusty Mule to sit in, a flask, a head torch and a wind up lantern.  Sadly, running the Mule with the lights on didn't work to well as Grace just ran away so I tried checking with the head torch, which kept shining either in the sky or on my feet, and the lantern which required manic winding as I struggled around with my container of lube, blue spray and oral antibiotics - pitch black, no moon, middle of nowhere.  It did not go at all like lambing live - Grace would not stay still for more than a minute while I felt around.  She was up with a lurch and bowling down hill despite a monstrous back end and no progress by 1 in the morning.  I would like to see Kate charging across a field in the dark bearing Lube in one hand and frantically winding the lantern.  Then holding onto a midget but mighty Southdown whilst examining her back end in a gentle manner as recommended.  It was probably my worst animal night yet as I was so frustrated and I knew she was suffering. I ended up leaving the lights on the Mule without running the engine and the inevitable happened.  At  5 in the morning the front of the head was out, there was a heavy frost and the lambs tongue was stuck out and about 10 times normal size.  Part of one foot was out but there was not a millimetre of space to get anything inside.  I knew it was dead and I knew it had to come out urgently but no way could I do it on my own without ropes.  I phoned Sam and got him to race over before work - we both checked, dead and no hope of getting a finger in.  Sam improvised lambing ropes from bailer twine and we heaved one leg out which released enough to get the head.  The ropes had to then go on the other leg and he pulled (remember we knew the lamb had to be dead after all that time and we had to save Grace even if it meant breaking the lamb's legs).  Out it came on the ground and we were just turning our attention to poor Grace when Sam said, "He twitched!".  Vigorous rubbing, clearing mouth and nose, swinging him round, grass up the nose and a dose of Kick Start - he kind of coughed!  We laid him downhill to drain and rubbed some more and I ran for spray, antibiotics (ditched in the Mule by now) and colostrum.  Incredibly he was - and still is - alive.  Grace and he are in a pen together - Grace is just standing and facing the wall ignoring him - we will have to see on that one.  He is the strangest looking thing - I call him Shovel Head as that is what he resembles - and the size!  Enormous!  If he survives I will show a picture!

Saturday 7 April 2012

Dodgy Connections

Internet problems are besetting me at the moment and I have been off line for the last few days.  I had one glimpse of the World Wide Web a few days ago but after sending a few emails which took almost 3 hours I just turned the whole thing off and gave up - miraculously this morning it had cured itself!  Hope it is not temporary.

I am not getting a great deal of sleep at the moment as the lambs are due tomorrow and I did think Stumpy was imminent two days ago but it was just discomfort accompanied by rather a lot of wind.  Hopefully, at least one will appear tomorrow - maybe even later when I go back to check.

We have also been busy with fencing - I had to buy a new energiser for the electric fence and it is a pretty scary one which shoots off blue sparks  if it earths out.  It did come with a free fence tester which is a wonderful little thing you hold on the wire and a  multitude of pretty lights twinkle and flash if all is well - much easier than a piece of grass!  Sam has been inventing again.  This time a sprayer (which actually works, despite what it looks like)!
The weather has ranged from very warm T-shirt weather to freezing 4 jumper and long john weather - sometimes all in one day.  Today we are in cold weather which is slowing up what was good grass growth.  I need the paddocks that are resting to grow quickly as the girls are waiting to move into them.  It will mean Bert and her baby, Trouble, will have to be separated as Bert is not due for a long time and I need Trouble to stay with the other youngster.  I am not sure how Bert will take it as, although Trouble was a bottle fed, Bert is very fond of her babies!  Here are the pair of them - with one of the other issues behind them - The Rolling Pit!  Wherever I put the girls they always create a rolling pit!

Monday 2 April 2012

Sheep watching

This morning I was back to two jumpers, body warmer, winter socks and gloves - plus I  had to scrape the car.  By lunchtime the gloves, body warmer and one jumper were off and by coffee and a Garibaldi time the second jumper was off - strange weather!

Much of the afternoon was spent sheep watching as, although not due till next Sunday, a couple were doing a bit of pawing the ground and there was a bit of rolling from Old Grey.  Rolling is quite scary as they can only do it downhill and it takes a bit of effort to get going.  If they don't get going fast enough they end up threshing around on their backs until gravity takes over!  Most of the Welsh Mountains look like large black splodges when they are resting and about the thinnest is Teddy - posing by Sam's home made water drinker - borrowed from the alpacas!

Sunday 1 April 2012


After sheep checking I left Carl to strim under the electric fence whilst I went to the Palm Sunday service where we processed after the donkey.  There was a slight pause in the service as The Shepherd roared through - looked like he was after a calving rope as the Aunt may have been having difficulties (difficulties with a cow calving I hasten to add - not for her own use!).

Back at the fields poo collecting was followed by some halter training.  We have now progressed to obstacles - walking over disinfectant mats and jumping troughs.  Trouble is pretty good and Yossarian is brilliant - except he goes round the jumps rather than over.  They are mini jumps, I'm not planning to compete in show jumping events.  We have even ventured into two at a time training, although this seems to involve a lot of unplanned walking round in ever decreasing circles.

Carl is worrying me slightly as the sunny weather is turning his thoughts to bikes, everyone he hears he is identifying and extolling their virtues.  The worrying part though is his extolling the virt7ues of something called a Ural which apparently has a side car.  I now have a haunting nightmare which involves us roaring up the cut with me ensconced in the side car rather in the manner of Olive from On the Buses.