Wednesday 29 August 2012

What a Jolly Day!

Today is going VERY badly - too bad for pictures.

I have lost two halters.
I have discovered someone - who still refuses to walk on a halter - does not have his microchip in - which I have just retrieved (whilst searching for the halters), still in it's packet from behind a caravan cushion, and inserted it in the twilight. (well, I hope I inserted it in his neck - not in the twilight!)
I am urgently needing a bale of straw which Sam is trawling for around the local farms as I type - if he comes back with a tonne bale there will be big trouble.
It has rained all day and the track is a slippery mud pit which the stock trailer now needs to slither up (and it was spotless).
Carl has bashed his finger with a big thing and it is black and throbbing.
Sam has no wellies.

I am off to cry in a cormer and I will enlighten my readers on what all this drivel is about another day!


Sunday 26 August 2012

Nothing runs like a cria

Sorry - I have been  on the John Deere too much today!  The babies have kept us amused

 - whilst we completed a long list of tasks - checking Lily's ear (we had to cut the ear tag out in the end as, where it had pulled, there was a quite nasty infection brewing up), pressure washing the stock trailer (slightly Heath Robinson affair but it works).

Then the lambs were weaned and everyone moved to fresh pasture.  The alpacas also had a move round after a bit of body scoring and foot trimming.

Carl cleaned up and wrapped up the bailer while Sam got to know his cria - still not named.

Friday 24 August 2012

Carry On Haymaking!

We have had a bit of a time of it with our second lot of haymaking.  We only cut three quarter of the 10 acre field as the weather looked dodgy and we would at least have a little left to cut if it all went wrong.  We have succeeded but it was very touch and go - despite rain around, the field remained dry but the grass  was so thick and the ground underneath was damp so it took a lot of woofling.  On the final day the woofler had a blow out so we were woofling on one wheel.  Luckily Sam was there to woofle and row up but the bailer then struggled and had to bale at a walking pace or it sheared bolts at a tremendous rate..  By the time we had got 500 bales in it was dark and getting dangerous as the stack was touching the barn roof so the rest had to stay  on the field until the morning.  Carl and Sam were at work so it was down to me and the Mule to pick up 300 bales - not an easy task as the Mule can only carry 7 at a time without dying.  The tractor and trailer were loaded up and parked in the barn ready for unloading but there was no way I could throw them on to the top of the mountainous stack so it was down to Mule and I - after the 30th trip I had had enough but luckily Carl arrived home from work and we got the trailer unloaded and went up to get the rest with the tractor - which jackknifed and skidded down the hill with a full bale trailer on the back!  Regardless of health and safety I was sitting on the wheel arch which was actually quite a good thing as I prevented a bale slide with my back (which now aches).  Carl skilfully managed to avoid all fences and righted the tractor so ultimately no harm done!  Sam then arrived and we manhandled all bales with the help of an elevator made from a ladder.  So that is done!
And, in the middle of haymaking chaos,  one of Sam's two alpacas gave birth.  Bianca has had a very lovely little girl.  Her she is today - rather damp as it is now raining.

Whilst Sam was woofling I popped to the shop for a haymaking picnic which I had just bought when I had a text from Sam,  "Quick, get back Mum, Bianca is having her baby!!" Despite Bianca being very fat she had her cria very easily and quickly - it was out by the time I arrived.  She does not have a name yet but looks very splendid.  Whilst Mule carting the hay I was pondering cria fleece and have come to the conclusion that we have two types.  One type is what I call the Kevin Keegan (tight greasy perm) and the other is the Marilyn Monroe (wavy concertina - longer and silkier).  I may or may not bore you by pontificate further on this one!

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Getting my entries ready!

Well, thank you Country Chicken and Anonymous Andy!  We have movement - albeit jerky and crab like!  We are not at a stage where we can be seen in public but there is progress so it will be more of the same tonight and maybe we will be okay.

A few pictures and then I have to go and complete an important task.  I have just realised that the closing date for the Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece and Fibre Show is fast approaching and I have not done an entry yet.  Due to other things going on at the beginning of the year we were not able to remain on the organising committee but we will still be going and are looking forward to it.  It is a great show - particularly if you can get there and listen to the judge.  I have not got a lot of fleece left that hasn't been processed so I am not hoping for a winner this year but I do want some fleece in so I can get all nervous and feel my blood pressure hitting the roof!

First photo is an introduction to Westhill Dippy - still stained with blood and with the most enormous umbilical cord which has already been dipped and sprayed several times!
Tulisa remains tiny (although I have to say she doesn't look too bad in this photo) and keeps losing weight and then putting bits on - I am only weighing every three days as it gets very disappointing.
Storm's eyes are gradually improving from the fly problem and I now have some wipes which I am using on them.
Finally, a quick one of the sheep who are desperate to escape back to the top of the hill where they are not allowed at the moment due to the hay making.

Monday 20 August 2012

Digging his heels in

We are currently teetering on the edge of a crisis or two.  We have cut the 10 ace field for hay and the weather has been causing Carl heart failure.  So far we have avoided it being rained on despite rain all around at various points and Carl is manically woofling as I type.  Sadly we don't have an acrobat which is what I feel it needs to toss it nice and high - it is still very damp and the ground under it is damp which is not helping.
Crisis number two concerns a show we optimistically entered and are due to attend fairly soon.  We were supposed to be taking four but one young man, who shall be nameless, is flatly refusing to walk on his lead.  He makes no fuss about it but just digs his heels in and remains as still as a statue.  I have tried various halters, short rope, long rope, with a friend, without a friend, in the field, in the run.  I have 'ratchet, ratchet, ratcheted' until I am blue in the face.  I have coaxed and encouraged, stamped my feet, sworn prolifically.  Sam has tried, I have tried - all to no avail.  He is not stressed or worried, no problem with having his halter on, he just will not move!  Sam tried pushing him while I encouraged from the lead end but we just ended up doing a slow wheelbarrow race.  I cannot think of anything else to try once we have played our final card tonight.  Once Carl has woofled and we have had tea he is going to try - up to now he has been too involved with his intimate relationship with the hay to do anything else but tonight he is going to give it a go and if that does not work he will be too embarrassing to take.  He was only going as a companion for Yossarian anyway.

Belinda has had her baby - a boy and completely daft!  He has no idea who his mother is but appears to think it is String.  Belinda has to chase round after him to get him to drink.  I think he is going to be called Westhill Dippy.
Apologies that this is a boringly pictureless blog!

Friday 17 August 2012


Not really much to report today - certainly not on the cria front as there are no more - yet!  With the weather being as it is there has been little opportunity for photos.  The best I can manage is one of Yossarian trying to assist me with Poo collecting (and of course if I was better at projecting an image of alpaca perfection I would have first removed the poo which you,hopefully, will not be able to see, and made him stand up properly - ooh and not cut off his nose -before taking the photograph!). 

And Greeves looking Greeves like.  I have to  have a word with Carl about his topknot as he looks like he is wearing a mushroom!

We tried him out at mating last night but it was a disaster (Greeves that is, not Carl).  I thought it would be best if someone else was working next to him so Alf went in to do a spit off and then Harry did a mating anD we put Greeves in with Bea.  Alf took exception to this and almost cleared a six foot fence to get in with him while Greeves tried to get to his mum, Lina!  Meanwhile, Harry is alternating orgling and squawking when he thought Alf was getting too close for comfort.  Yossarian was prancing round like a maniac trying to catch Alf unawares which wound Alf up even more.  A complete shambles!  We gave up and decided to wait for a calmer moment.  One good thing though, once the chaos was calmed as Harry was still going like a good one, we gave him his cydectin injection and trimmed his topknot - didn't even break his stride!

I have a little problem with eartags at the moment.  A month or so ago I had one which got caught and ripped the ear a bit and now Lily has caught hers and developed a crusty scab with puss under it.  I am having to pick the scab off each day or two, bathe it and spray it.  It is improving and I am glad I have long nails at the moment as they are very handy for picking but I shall have to look at different ear tag types and see if there is anything better.  I use the button ones at the moment.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

I am a dolphin

I will not mention the weather (bad - still not cut main hay!)

Promising start in the phone shop yesterday but all went rapidly downhill.  Carl bought me a new phone which gets the Internet and email on it - or at lest the box says it does - but it does not.  The Gentleman began well by asking if he could help.  As I had an orange phone and this was an orange phone shop I felt he probably could.  When I explained the problem he asked me if I was a dolphin, not a question I have ever been asked before, and, after further discussion, I felt I was more of a raccoon but a little finger tapping on phone led us to conclude that I was, in fact, a dolphin as he had suspected.  This was, apparently, a good thing but not good enough as it turned out.  I had to phone technical support myself and then return when this had been sorted for him to work his dubious magic on my email.  Having sat under the pylon in first field for most of the morning I now do appear to have Internet on the phone - email remains a closed book!

The cria are all doing well - despite Storm's eye problems with the flies and Lady Tulisa still being a midget.  I have been using the horse fly repellent which was recommended and that is helping.  Storm has also had some Camrosa round the fly bitten places on his eyelids and they are starting to heal - thank goodness.

Still four more cria to go - Belinda who is second from the right and enormous - and Bianca next to her who is both enormously pregnant and fat - should be next.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

We have Balloted!

The saga of Prue continues!  It was suggested that we tried a little ballotment.  Now I thought I knew how to do this but didn't really - now I do, or think I do (if I have this wrong - feel free to tell me!).  my understanding (with the help of The Island Lady) is you stand behind, pick up the tummy and then drop - within a minute the baby should kick or move and you should either see or feel this.  Carl misunderstood at first and thought he had to pick up the whole alpaca and then drop her.  Having resolved the technicalities we had a go - in fact we all had a go and after the initial shock Prue seemed to find the whole process quite enjoyable (possibly not a good sign).
. . . and we are STILL not sure!  Something did move but was it just her stomach bouncing around?!

Dude then did some spit offs and everyone spat except Little Star who was not keen but then did go down.
Trouble and String were both desperate to get in there with him but they have to wait a bit and String can't as he is her dad!  Little Star's mating was not terribly successful as she ended up lying on her side and I did not want to leave her too long like that a she is little and he is quite a weight - I thought he might end up crushing her ribcage!

Sunday 5 August 2012

Prue - The Mystery

Thank you, Jenny - I shall go in search for some of the horse product tomorrow!  The flies are still quite amazing here - despite the rain which is going from mild to moderate with alarming frequency.  I had problems once before with Barnaby Rudge getting fly bitten eyes but this year it has been worse for poor Storm and now for Lady Tulisa.  I had to resort to some orbenin in the eye for Storm as they were so raw on the eyelids and that did clear it up a bit.  Lady Tulisa's are not as bad but where she is still tiny and thin she does not move around as much.  I am now supplementing Tulisa with a bottle and, oddly, Lina seems to like this as she lies down next to me while I feed the baby!  If you knew Lina you would know this is really quite remarkable.  She is still dreadful with Carl and almost as bad with Sam!

We have had a busy weekend as I have been looking after the Shepherd's house and animals while he had an emergency trip to Cumbria (where the weather was better than it is here - in fact he hit a thunderstorm on the way back through Bristol earlier today).

But now for my real mystery - - - Prue!  Prue is supposedly pregnant.  She has spat off and she still does spit off.  She is VERY happy.  She has a largish tummy BUT she is now 381 days - so she can't be pregnant, particularly s there is no real udder.  I tried putting her in with Dude and she spat and kicked - normally she drops like a stone.  I tried her with Harry in case she preferred them black - she virtually jumped out of the pen!  Yet she just can't really be pregnant - she is a very little alpaca normally - here she is now.

Sam  held on too her last night whilst I poked around at her tummy and I am sure something pushed back!  Normally I wouldn't need someone to hold Prue whilst I fiddled around with her as she is very amenable.  But it must be all my imagination - but then again I was creeping around on my hands and knees yesterday, as you do, and (skip following picture if you are of a sensitive disposition) I am sure she is softening up at the back end - see the inner pink bit showing which it didn't a day or so ago.
Time will tell - but there is no mistake on the last mating date and, practically, it is not realistically that likely!
So here are a couple of cria pictures to end - first up is Trevor!  Somehow, Trevor always seems to require an exclamation mark!

Then Lady Tulisa - who really is as tiny as she appears and this is a rare moment without her coat.
Finally, Arctic Lad - must do the rest when the rain stops again!

Wednesday 1 August 2012


Seems a while since I last blogged but I think it's only a few days really.  I have been battling with flies which are attacking the cria eyes.  Poor little Storm was covered in them but the application of lavender oil has helped.  The flies had even eaten away at his eyelid so I had to resort to some eye ointment and they are finally starting to heal up.  Lina's baby - Lady Tulisa - is also having problems but not as bad.
They are even making their presence felt in my photos!  We have been getting on with matings and Harry (Black Arrow) has, very enthusiastically, had his first two attempts.  Sam was at home today so , a well as more matings, we managed to Crovect the sheep and do a bit of alpaca bonding! (Sam with Trouble in the photos).  Trouble is just gorgeous - like her Mum, Bert!
And Little Star who is also turning out to be just like Bert (her Mum also)!
No more hay making yet due to the weather but also the big tractor has gone back to Landrover Man as one of his tractors suffered a bit of an accident with the radiator and there was an urgent need to do some hauling.  Sam has also been very busy as he has been working extra for a contractor - which he loves!

Oh!  And Carolyn's cria now has a name - JJ Cale! JJ for short!  I am afraid I forgot to get a proper picture of him but he is the one lying down at the back.