Wednesday 23 December 2015

Happy Christmas to all!

Summery photo - no rain or mud!

Rain and wind - lots of rain and wind.  Mud - lots of that as well.  The girls are temporarily back in the front field and the garden as the back field is just too wet.  They find this very exciting but I am not sure I am going to have many strawberries next year.  This morning they were all jam packed in the poly tunnel having strewn hay around with gay abandon.  Photo did not come out well so a summery one instead.

Sadly my truck blew up the day before yesterday.  I left it running whilst taking Greeves his hay and there was a sudden noise like a pile of scaffolding collapsing.  I drove it slowly up to the sheep with a lot of clanking going on and by the time I had got back to the barn it was steaming from under the bonnet.  I abandoned it and Carl has now diagnosed multiple problems - luckily he has also fixed multiple problems so I am field mobile again.

Well, we have a tree up, most presents and cards are done and delivered, mine pies made, mince pies eaten.  I have the best ever Christmas crackers this year - I have a bit of a thing abut crackers.  I don't like pulling them, I just like looking at them and guessing what is inside.  I have still got left over crackers from donkeys of years ago that I bring out every year but a few years ago now I realised that Sam was opening them and taking out any good prizes and then sealing them back up again so I doubt if much of any use is left inside them.  This year's crackers are disappearing fast as they are particularly good and people keep walking off with them!  They are penguins which you can reuse, they don't bang just make a little parp sound (you can make a cheap Lidl version with a McDonalds cup - just push the straw up and down in the lid - we discovered this on our long journeys at the weekend!).
Last bit of present wrapping - accompanied by a GHN produced CD!!

Incidentally,  me wheel spinning out of the drive as the Carol singers approached was not, despite whatever the Grave Digger might think, avoidance tactics!  Kane (the new ram) needed checking as he is a little feisty at the moment

A very Happy Christmas to anyone reading!!

Monday 21 December 2015

Goodbyes and Hellos

Well, what a weekend that was!  We have driven for miles! And I have eaten far too much takeway food to be good for me.  Harry, Alice and Saul have all gone to their new homes - always sad to see them go but their new owners are happy and I know they have all found excellent homes.

Weather here is not at all Christmas like.  Good for grass but bad for mud.  Getting the stock trailer out at the weekend was a nightmare with Carl having to resort to dragging it out with the quad with me on the back for ballast (and I have lost weight so I thought that was a bit cheeky!)  I can't give you wet alpaca photos so here's an old summer one!

And these are my new additions - The Dorpers!

With Kane the Dorper Ram.  Kane is not too happy at the moment as I haven't yet let him in with Leaf (my Southdown ram) - I think that move will need a bit of supervision and planning!

Friday 18 December 2015

Catching up

I have been remiss in my blogging I know and that has been as I have had a worrying time.  However, all is now well - in fact all is VERY well.  All alpacas are extremely well - in fact they are very, very well and healthy!  So, what have we been up to?  Christmas Fayres and markets mostly which has meant a lot of knitting.  We have sold well and my mind is busy planning new things but I am being strict with myself and there is to be no more knitting until Christmas is organised, presents are wapped, sheep feet are tackled (ongoing problem), alpacas are moved around and - important this one - sold alpacas are delivered!  Due to getting tests done and results back delivery of alpacas had to be delayed so Saturday we are off to Cambidgeshire (or maybe it is Lincoln) somewhere flat anyway.  Sunday it is Winchester way and then over Salisbury way followed, if time, by a quick toe nail visit down the road.  Come to thing of it I might fit a little knitting in during all that traveling.  It does mean I will miss the Carol Service at the Methodist Chapel and I am not sure we will be in for the Carol Singers on Monday Evening but we will see how we go (can't open my front door anyway at the moment as it has a severe warp).
All alpacas are wet, filthy, bedraggled and unworthy of a photo but next week we will see!

I have also gained a cat.  Can't find who it belongs to but it comes every morning and evening and shrieks at me from a perch on the recycle bin until I feed her  (or could be a him).  My cats are afraid of it and cower until it goes away.  When it first arrived it was very thin - but it is not thin now!

Sunday I am also collecting my new sheep - now when am I going to do my Christmas shopping?

Sunday 22 November 2015

Hope today, knitting tomorrow

Today saw us at another Christmas Market.  This one was at Hope Nature Centre and was the first time we had been to an event there with the knitting.  Not, however, the first time we have visited as they take a group of lambs each year for visitors to see in the animal park.  They also have our two original alpacas Dobby and Caedmon (although I think Caedmon has a different name now!). It is a great place to visit and was set up to provide work placements for young adults with learning difficulties.
Anyway, it was a lovely, if bitterly cold, day and I managed to visit the sheep and alpacas - good to see them all again.
The photo shows when I was setting up so I did organise it marginally better by the time it opened!  The new mannequin head was an attraction on it's own as it mesmerised children and one gentleman had to do a double take as he thought it was real!  Thank you to GHN for sourcing it for me!  We sold well and I also came away with three orders.  This is good but I somehow have to fill the orders and knit more for next weekend as we are low yet again.  I am going to crawl round to the Flower Lady next week as see if I can tempt her into taking on a hat as one she made was so popular it has been requested again!

Saturday 21 November 2015

Christmas Markets begin

It is very cold here - we knew it was coming but it is still a bit of a shock when the wind bites through you on the hill!

This morning we took the knitting to a lovely Christmas Market which was, thankfully, inside.  We sold more than I expected so I am rushing to finish another scarf for the next market which is tomorrow!  Looking forward to that one - Hope Nature Centre where two of our alpacas went and they also have five of this year's lambs.

When we got back from the market today we managed to fit in a quick bit of halter training after checking on a limping lamb.

Slow going as I have ended up with only one small halter!
Back to knitting now!

Tuesday 17 November 2015

In summary . .

Very windy
Very wet
Tumble dryer on overdrive
Kitchen a mess of tools and mud
Alpacas filthy

Sheep gone crazy and leaping around like lambs

Not much more to say really!!

Thursday 12 November 2015

Life in Leigh

Well, I have to mention the rain.  It is not that it is raining all the time but it feels like it wants to which is almost as bad.  It is also far too warm for the time of year.  Now I have mentioned weather I will not refer to it again!

Although weather may have been the reason why one morning last week I opened the back door to find a young ram standing on the path looking longingly at the cat flap - by the time I had found my boots from amongst the chaos which is the kitchen, he had gone and was no where to be found - not one of mine! 
Alpacas are all doing well but halter training with the cria has stumbled to a halt due to that thing I will not mention again.  Their weaning paddock is ready for them although they have a while yet with their Mum's.
We parked the stock trailer in their paddock after it was thoroughly cleaned and several girls decided to move in so I have added some hay and left it as a temporary shelter whilst the weather is so wet.

Carl was on holiday last week and we planned a lot of work on the kitchen - it was slow to dawn on me that Carl had not been actually listening to me whilst I was planning so, although some progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.   Carl seems to have spent more time creating a tool storage unit which I fear he thinks may be permanent!  He has spent most of this evening with the Tractor boys discussing the advantages of an in kitchen tool storage area amongst other things!

He is forgiven though as he did give me a lovely anniversary present - a meal out and a four legged present.  The meal out was a McDonald's Drive-Thru so no need to dress up there but the four legged present was a big hit - a Dorper Ewe!  We actually ended up with three as I chose one and then he wanted a different one and then we both thought, "What the eck!" and got a third.  They are with the ram at the moment but will be here soon.

Leaf, my Southdown Ram, is now settled in with his new friends having quickly completed mating the ewes - not tht long and it will be time to sort all the lambig equipment again.  81 lambs last year but shouldn't be quite as many next year.

Knitting has been a bit manic but I am now almost up to finishing off stage ready for our first Christmas Market which will be at Hope Nature Centre not this weekend but the one after.  Really looking forward to that! 

Sadly, it looks very unlikely that one of the felt hats will make it as they are still some way from acceptable (light years away actually!)

Tuesday 3 November 2015

kitchens and alpacas

We are in the middle of doing up the kitchen and it is slow going despite Carl having the week off.   The problem is there are so many other things that need doing and that are far more important!  I may be living in a tip for the foreseeable future.

The weekend saw most of the alpacas getting their vitamin D for the winter.  I have a few more to go but am having the usual problem with getting hold of vitamin D.

Halter training continues and, as usual - there are the good ones

and there are the not so good ones.  Slinky's little girl grunts and grumbles throughout!

Next job is to attack Harry's fringe as he is beginning not to see out too well!

Sheep are all doing well and the ram is now out and settled with his little group of boys.  The girls are all up in third field and charge down when they hear me coming.  Best Scottie really wants to follow me around all the time.
Tomorrow we are having a day off from everything an going out!

Monday 26 October 2015

A Day out

Windy here today - still partly in a T-shirt but the wind has played havoc with my hair do.  I had it done specially on Friday as I anticipated a flashy night out (Silver wedding anniversary) and what did we end up doing?  Ear tagging lambs in the rain and  moving barriers!  With the careful use of a Tesco carrier bag I managed to keep the hair relatively under control in anticipation of a possible day out Saturday - which I got but not quite what I would have liked as we spent it taking the lambs to market and having a Market Breakfast at Sedgemoor Auction Centre!  Ah well - maybe next year! 

Sunday did not turn into a day of rest either as it was off to the depths of Hampshire to do some Lambivacs - mind you that was fun and I did get a bag of chips on the way home!  Halter training did not happen as hoped on Sunday as Carl disappeared off with the Tractor Lads to do 'wooding' which basically means massive chain saws and logs appearing in the shed.

I don't appear to have any new photos this time as I have spent every spare moment knitting in preparation for Christmas Markets and I am also still struggling with the felt hats.  I am not sure felting is going to be my forte but I am persevering for the moment as I want to make on with knitted flowers attached and in my head it looks lovely!

Tuesday 20 October 2015


This has been a very trying week with a tragedy in amongst it - but I will not dwell on that!  It began with Carl feeling under the weather last week and (I have been banned from going into details) ended with massive overuse of the toilet and a decidedly drawn and thinner Carl!  On the plus side, he has decided one bathroom is definitely not enough in a house, I have slept wonderfully and have shed a little more weight myself!
Today I visited the Bionic Shepherd who is suffering but making progress - becoming fed up with being house bound whilst the sun shines but rain is forecast for tomorrow.  I am now just getting ready for alpaca mite prevention and vitamins when Carl gets home.  We were lucky to have Sam and Kristy's unexpected help at the weekend for sheep moving and alpaca reorganising.  With Carl being unsteady and needing to be within 2 minutes of facilities I didn't think he would be much help and handling all the moves on my own was looking a bit challenging (in the end he was okay if a bit bandy legged).  Sam also proved a little star by sorting out Granny's car battery for us so the week was easier than it could have been.
Little Saul is becoming a mechanic and is very critical of the tow bar on the poo picker!  The other cria are a bit scared of it but he is right up there!

FW and Walnut have to be kept away from the apples as they love them and eat any fallers they can find with great gusto - and a lot of noise!  Charging  over if they see me picking some for the alpacas.

Flem's cria has started to feel he is the boss but Cassies's little girl does not agree - Saul has just started standing up to him.
Now, once the alpacas are done I must get back to a fawn shawl I am attempting to knit and a pair of black gloves for light relief.  The Flower Lady called in with a pair of lovely arm warmers and a scarf this morning and so I have to keep up!!!

Monday 12 October 2015

A start to halter training

Lovely sunny day today.  The alpacas are going a bit apple crazy - I think I have overdone it a bit on the apple front as well!  We have just started the initial stages of cria halter training.  Everyone has their own method - ours starts slowly and then usually ends up in a mad rush as we need them halter trained for some reason and haven't got on with it properly.  Up until now the cria have just been living their own little lives, exploring their world with the occasional check over.  Sunday that all changed and it was into the catch pen for a brief introduction to leg stroking and seeing a halter for the first time.  I usually just let them have a look and a sniff but as Saul, Black baby and Flem's monster all stuck their heads straight in the halters, we went slightly further and rested it round their heads.  Worst was black baby.

He started keen on the idea but then decided enough was enough.
Next up was Flem's cria who did not want to be caught but then stood bolt upright
Star of the class was Saul
He was perfectly happy to stand with it almost done up
I have had complaints about the halter being pink but it is the only one which is roughly the right size!  We will just keep getting them used to seeing the halter and having it pushed up over their nose and then take it from there.

Sam then decided it would be a good idea to try halter training the Southdowns - which was definitely not what we were supposed to be doing.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Happy/Sad - and still no where to put the coats!

It is tipping it down here - and it was yesterday.  I have already changed twice and think I may need to do again!  I took a brief break in the down pour to take it to mean things were improving so decided to move the last little group of lambs - all set up and off we went and then it hammered down and one lamb decided he would rather make a break for it and go back to the field he had come from.  By the time I had tempted him out again, I was soaked. 

Last weekend we took the bulk of the remaining lambs to Sedgemoor so this will be the last lot when they are ready.  Here is an exciting shot of washing out the trailer!
We got home as quickly as we could as we had visitors - at least I did not have to worry about tidying the house as that is impossible the state it is in at the moment.  Not the least of my interior problems is that I have no coat hooks and so have coats everywhere!  Lovely afternoon and we will be seeing them again soon when we deliver an alpaca when he is ready to go.  It was a good end to a not so good week as I had a funeral to attend - a beautiful funeral but for a man who went far too quickly and far too soon.  Sadly, this has also led to me having a little group of girls (and two wethers) on my sales list  They are a lovely little group and include this dear little girl and the others in the photo (in total two wethers, a pregnant female and a female with female cria at foot).  If anyone is interested let me know and I can give you full details.  Or look on alpaca seller!

Tuesday 29 September 2015


Today I arrived back from the field to find Carl in bed - ill with a cold and I have to admit he does look very sorry for himself.  He is going to have to recover soon as we have a lot to do still!  The next lot of lambs are ready to go and will, hopefully, go on Saturday which will be a busy day as we have visitors in the afternoon - strictly speaking it is the alpacas who have the visitors!  Sadly, my house is in a right state as kitchen work continues - slowly.  I am in two minds whether to apologise for the mess or just to ignore it and let our visitors assume we always live amongst concrete rubble with the kitchen contents strewn around the lounge and dust everywhere.  (Come to think of it they might read the blog anyway!).

Last weekend was a foot weekend with three visits on Sunday and some shawls delivered.  It is always nice to see other peoples' alpacas.

I am tying to get on top of a bumper apple crop and do have some help from the alpacas.  They all have different ways of eating the apples.  String puts a whole apple in her mouth, sits down and sort of squashes and sucks it until it is gone.
Slink nibbles bits off delicately
Flem's cria looks insulted that I have thrown apples in the paddock
Saul goes for the little bits and always looks a bit guilty
Cassie races down with her cria close beside there and screeches her way around trying to eat as much as she can before Bianca ambles down and spits at anyone eating.
Lina's cria is still tiny and now getting bald bits so the vet is coming when he gets back from being away.  He is very lively looking (the cria - not the vet!) but does not join in when the others charge around and his fleece is very open.  If he was a lamb I would have said a trace element deficiency -  but vet will take a look and maybe blood test.
And - my sweet peas are bursting forth ready to over winter
This weeks drama so far has been Mother's chimney fire which luckily was quickly contained by the fire brigade.
Thursday is going to be a difficult day as I  have a funeral to go to - a lovely man who died too soon.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

A coat rack has been removed!!

Bit slow on the blogging still but it is because a lot is happening but not much very blog worthy!

Rather wet and cold here recently although today is lovely.    Everyone is doing well - even Lina's baby seems to be growing a little better.  Young Saul has discovered apples but is a bit slow and usually ends with someone stealing his apple which leads to a bit of a sulk and a run back to Mum for a drink on his part!
And these two lads always seem to always do synchronised pooing!

We went to market again last Saturday with moe lambs and never have I seen so many sheep and lambs in one place.  It was the busiest market yet with the auctioneers having to hastily erect extra pens.  Good job we know what we are doing now as it all gets a bit frantic.  I can't say I enjoy taking them but it is better than with the old ewes.  There are still 4 older girls who should be going but I have decided they are going to stay and then go next year if they have problems - with the exception of number 12 who is just too sweet, and Stumpy who is just too 'human'.

Sunday I had a nice surprise visit from our old landlords who we rented from a few years ago - really lovely couple and they are moving into the village which is really nice.  Carl wasn't here as he seems to have moved in with the Tractor boys.  An engine swap is just too tempting for Carl so he is very happy up to his ears in oil and spanners!  Work on the house almost started but ended with Carl removing two sets of curtains and taking down a coat rack before he disappeared.

Sunday 13 September 2015

A busy weekend

It keeps promising a drop of rain here but doesn't really amount to anything.  We altered what we planned to do expecting downpours but the most that arrived was a few droplets.  It is cooler though and I quite like that - makes the cria pretty lively (mind you in the blog photos all cria seem to be either asleep or about to go to sleep!) and we are avoiding fly strike in the sheep - so far!  Friday it was a trip out to do a few alpaca toenails and meet a relatively new cria then Lambivac for our cria Saturday morning followed by someone else's Lambivac at lunchtime.  Yesterday afternoon Carl fancied a rest and I planned to join him but Sam turned up and offered to check all the alpaca boys feet - an offer I was not going to turn down as there are a couple who are not that keen on foot trimming and an extra strong body is very much appreciated.  All alpacas now totally up todate - in fact, slightly ahead of schedule for once!  Today was another trip out for another alpaca visit followed by an alpaca and sheep visit.  After a quick bag of chips (the diet is going very well but this was a little treat) Carl went off to look at a sickly vehicle.  He has just rushed back to get another set of feeler gauges with larger writing on them due to his aged eyesight!  And I am about to go and organise the sheep race as we need to sort sheep again next week - they are very good now and line up ready for the weigher and race with the exception of two naughty Romneys who have red spots on them so they had better be good this time!!