Wednesday 29 May 2013

Did the earth move for you?

Last night I had trouble sleeping (too much to think about) and at one point I thought my days were numbered as I felt a fluttering through my body.  I felt it might be a heart attack so had a quick prayer run through but didn't like to wake Carl to bid him farewell as he was snoring and had already become annoyed as I had punched him in the back to make him stop.  Boring story I know but the interesting thing is, this morning I heard there was an earthquake in Wales at around the same time.  As I am still alive I wonder if I felt the earth move in bed last  night (due to seismic activity - nothing else!)?

The weather is improving a little so Sam and I got the sheep Clicked this afternoon (to guard against fly strike) -  it went well apart from Sam (on purpose) jamming me in the run with a Scottie in front and the massive Stumpy behind - my foot is somewhat flattened.  The improved weather has also cheered up the alpacas - lots of playing from the young boys.  Here are Dippy, Mick and Arctic.
And thank you for asking, Lisa, Reg is doing well!

Monday 27 May 2013

And . . . relax!

Well, we have survived another weekend of shearing!  My back is fine despite lugging big boys around and Carl and I only had one minor tiff when I wasn't sufficiently on the ball with passing the oil for the clippers.  We still have lots of ours to do but we are getting there.  Next weekend is 'serious cracking on', as Carl puts it, in order to try and finish all of ours.  I have my doubts as I have already booked some in for next weekend.
I was hoping to get the fleece sorted as we went but the wind was pretty strong today and the garage is full of cars which are all jacked up being welded.  The barn was a wind tunnel so that was out and the garage was full.
It is now time to relax and catch up for half an hour before the start of another week.  Carl and Sam have been away shearing all day today and Sam has now disappeared again to do some sort of deal over something with a mate of his, all very mysterious!

Saturday 25 May 2013


I am in the middle of what I think of as shearing hell at the moment.  I am trying to coordinate Carl and Sam shearing, not very successfully, whilst trying to avoid putting myself in as handler, not very successfully!  They have been off shearing today and somehow I have managed to make bookings for tomorrow morning which involve me handling (Sam is working all day)  - this is likely to finish my back off for good as we also have to do some of ours in the afternoon.  Never mind, I am sure one day I will become fitter.   Tomorrow I hope this little group will all be sheared.  Despite moaning I am looking forward to it as there are a few there who are I am not totally convinced are pregnant and it will be nice to see if it is all fleece or if they are starting to look larger. 

Carl has been lurking with The Shepherd this evening, playing with the Shepherd's new toy - a comb and cutter sharpener.  We now have lots of lovely resharpened combs and cutters ready to use.  Sam is rolling around on the floor complaining his tummy is really heavy - I think he has eaten too much chocolate.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Seems a while since I last blogged.  All is well here but we have been chasing our tails a bit trying to do too many different things at once!  Carl and Sam dodged the weather to do a bit of shearing last week - not ours, they are still waiting.  In amongst the alpaca shearing were a few Angora goats and two small herds of sheep.  They do not like doing sheep so Sam is not going to be happy when I tell him we need to crutch ours out tomorrow!  Shearing has not been easy this year due to the weather and we have postponed several bookings so my shearing diary is now a logistical nightmare.  I am hoping to get a few more of ours done this weekend but it is looking increasingly unlikely as I think I have just about left time for Carl to have a shower at 6 minutes past seven on Saturday night!

I have been home alone driving the John Deere in ever decreasing circles tackling my invading docks, poo collecting, zooming home to hoover and place flowers strategically around the house, attempting to halter train on my own and sorting fleece.  This year I have decided to try selling some of the fleece to Ackroyd and Dawson which is fine but I need to sort it roughly by micron and that is challenging for me.  I had my fleece stats back, very quickly (three days and they apologised for the time it took!) and will share them on the blog once I have got to grips with them.  I am pleased with them as they were as expected (with one surprisingly good one) - Yossers and Greeves were great and I am now trying to make sense of the bit showing growth over time.  Initial thoughts are that they have been overfed at some points - but I may be wrong, have to study it more when I have more time.

Church on Sunday evening and the Grave Digger was almost dancing in the aisle  over his 200% lambing (I will not dwell on my lambing at the moment as it has been a complete  disaster).

And I do wish I could share with you something else but there is such a remote likelihood of it happening that I can't!  It is very funny though!  So here is a photo of Arctic instead!
Spot the odd one out!

Saturday 11 May 2013

A bit of movement

Despite the weather we have achieved quite a bit today.  Alpacas have all moved paddocks again and now have pretty good grazing.  Here is Arctic waiting to move!

The big boys are still a bit short on grass but they are in a big paddock and  are in 'dashing around and fighting mood' at the moment so don't mind much.  First spot of rain and they dash for the shelter.  Paddocks not in use have been chain harrowed and a bit of grass seeding was accomplished.  Sam was late home as he started the milking at work - on his own as his boss has delayed getting back.  He came back all excited so didn't mind working late.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Samples to Australian Alpaca Fibre Testing

Today I have been getting my fibre samples organised to send of to Australian Alpaca Fibre Testing.  Only the first few to go and it would be better financially to wait until I have them all but I am too impatient for that.  I have remembered to put them in paper envelopes this time and not plastic bags and I have curbed myself from sending almost an entire fleece in each sample this time!  A finger size sample is what it says and a finger size sample (quite fat fingers) is what Trevor Selby is getting!  I am interested this year to see the report which shows the micron change over time.  Last year it was really interesting but I had no record of which paddocks they were in or what and when I was feeding.  This year I am hoping to be able to look at it and compare it with feeding and whether the paddock had Grasstrak and so on - interesting!

I am also hoping I will be able to understand the statistics more - and of course that at least one or possible two are really exciting statistics (for me, anyway!)  Hopefully the results will be quick - last year they were phenomenally quick and I am not expecting that sort of speed this year as they are very busy and there are lots of shows going on.  They are in the post - just got to be patient now!

No photos today due to lack of time and lots of drizzle.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Reg to the rescue

Today the weather has been glorious and I planned on a bit of a photo shoot with the alpacas but it was not very successful!  They were far more interested in rolling in every bit of dust available, knocking into their waters to splash themselves, falling asleep and ignoring me - so this is the best of a bad bunch!
Beautiful Alf!

Gorgeous Yosser - who would not look at the camera!

This afternoon saw a bit of drama in the sheep field.  I was just filling the water when I noticed something at the top of the field.  At first I thought it was a young deer as it was so big but then realised it was a fox - and a big one - and it was heading for the little black lambs.  I started to run up hill screeching when a little white bundle careered past, tail wagging - Reg!  The fox took one look at him, turned tail and disappeared!  Reg then went back to sleep in the Mule!

Monday 6 May 2013

Shearing Phase One

Phase one of shearing completed!  And it was very hot!  Quite uncomfortably hot actually but we only had seven on the list to do so it was fine.

First up was Cool Dude who took it all in his stride but insisted on occasionally lifting his head (despite the neck bag) to check Carl was getting it right!
And very happy he is now that he is naked!  He immediately rolled so is no longer gleaming!
I was on clearing up duties so I didn't manage to get proper shots of everyone.  I'll be out with the camera next week for better shots of the boys - who look lovely!  Harry cried all the way through but was very good about having his rather lethal fighting teeth done - and he looks gorgeous, a lovely blue black.  Yosser took it all in his stride and looks wonderful.  Alf was the real surprise - he just shines and gleams.  Here are all the boys after shearing.  Just so elegant!

And little Greeves is beautiful!  He is the one who has just been sheared!
Even the youngsters were very calm about it all - although Arctic did look a little nervous when Carl got stuck into his top knot!

As usual everyone was amazed at the 'new' alpacas appearing in their paddocks!  There are a couple of sheared ones in there somewhere!
Must go and get the fleece out of my clothing now as it has worked it's way in everywhere!

Sunday 5 May 2013


Thank you for asking, Lisa, Reg is doing fine.  Fostering him on was only partially successful as Reddybrek does not really like him much but he does get some milk from her.  So, with that and a bit stolen from his real mum and top up from me he is doing fine.  What he like most though is riding around in the Mule!

Today it is very hot and I am onto my last drop of water in the Bowser.  Tonight will be refilling the Bowser from the barrels which fill from the barn roof and then getting ready to shear a few tomorrow.  Dude is going to be relieved to get his coat off.
We are only planning to do a leisurely five or six and I am really looking forward to seeing them looking all elegant again!

Saturday 4 May 2013


Grace joins the
Native Americans

Wednesday 1 May 2013

You may not want to read this

This blog  post is not for the squeamish!
Do not read on if you are at all sensitive.

I left the electrocuted lamb with Mum and his brother until the evening and then went with Carl to remove it at night time because I did not want to attract anything to the field.  Mum was still next to it crying and as we took it away we thought - there is something we have to do here, Reg has no Mum and here is a Mum wanting a lamb back.  We have not done this before but we decide to have a go at skinning the dead lamb and putting the skin on Reg.  A bit of a long shot as Reg is a monster, white and three weeks old tomorrow but it seemed a waste not to try.  Skinning went well but getting a little lamb coat on a big lamb was more of a challenge and we had to use a little bailer twine to keep it on.  Reg didn't seem to mind.  Mum was a little shocked her lamb had miraculously grown so much and she is a little suspicious - which I am not surprised about! 
Sadly the coat stretched so much the tail bit pinged off which gave Mum a bit of a shock and was not ideal but there is quite a bit of back end stuff although it is hanging round the side a bit.  This morning she let Reg drink while she was eating and he had a full tummy so must have drunk in the night.  Later I stood with her and she let him drink but she does butt him off a bit.  We'll make the pen smaller and give it a little longer and see how it goes.  He is sleeping up next to her and her original lamb is fine so there is hope.

. . . and Sam is very happy as he bought himself a quad!