Sunday 26 April 2009

Radio 'pa-ca?

Great excitement on friday morning, when my alpaca girls got a mention on Gaydar Radio. During the breakfast show they were discussing what listeners were going to be up to at the weekend, and my son mentioned 'in' the chatroom that he was off to see his folks in the country, where they have alpacas - the presenters picked up on this, and from this blog their conversation developed. Hello listeners.

We got Minnies toe-nails clipped with the help from a friend, Gordon at Little England Alpacas - he showed us how to handle her firmly, made easier by getting all the animals into as small a space as possible -thanks Gordon. We also put some Stop-it-All on Moiras knees, which are affected by mites. In the picture above, you can see how cracked our ground is due to the dry weather - the grass is growing, but we need rain for all the planted vegetables and new trees.

I came across an old electric guitar which the owner had been left by his father and he had no use for it himself. It had a Vox scratchplate so I made him an offer, as Vox are renowned for their classic amplifiers. One string was missing, it probably hadn't been played for twenty years, so the other strings were brittle, and it had a layer of undisturbed grime on it. Googling around I couldn't identify it, though it had a serial number embossed into the neck. My local music shop reckoned that it was probably a self-made guitar, rather crude, but with genuine Vox pickup, electrics and scratchplate. Un-deterred, I cleaned it up this morning, put new strings on it and got a tune out of it - hooray! It may not be a classic, it may be crude, but it was music, and it has an attachment to the early days of rock music, and it came through some effort and taking an opportunity myself..

While on a musical theme, I've always enjoyed word-play, and here is my list of songs or artists with a camelid influence:

A llama Morrissette - Ironic
Crowded House - Wether with you
The llamas and alpacas - California Dreamin'
Paul Simon - You can call me Al-paca
Lady Gaga - Alpaca face
Rocky Sharpe and the Replays - Rama llama ding dong
Englebert Humperdinck - Please re-fleece me
Snow Patrol - Spitting Games
The Staple Singers - I'll take you there
Elton John - Suri seems to be the hardest word
Michael Bolton - Huacaya we be lovers if huacaya be friends

Hope that made you smile - or perhaps you are wincing?

Sunday 19 April 2009

What's good for the hen, is good for the bunny.

This blogging lark is helping me to explore digitial pohotography - I only went digital in January - though I take a lot of photographs for my work, I never warmed to the idea of having another aspect of my work linked to the computer, so that if there was a problem with hardware, software, power supply, everything is held in the plastic box of unfathomable micro-chips - I have 17 photo albums of building projects in the office. But I've now seen the light - this week I surveyed a church for conversion (to dwellings, not another religion), and took 91 photo's. For the blog, if I haven't taken any during the week, I just nip out and take some as the sun sets, as I did this evening, so the pictures you see are only an hour and a half old.

The bales of alpaca hay is kept in their shelter, under tarpaulin so that they only take it from the manger baskets - recently a hen decided to wriggle its way under the tarpaulin, and climb onto the bale, make a nest and lay an egg, all while 'wearing' a blue tarpaulin 'hoodie'! Not to be out-done, a baby rabbit (probably orphaned) decided that if it was good enough for the hen, it would make a good nest for itself - and spends its days under there - not sure what the hen thinks of this, but there hasn't been another egg left there since.

We tried to get Minnie to have her toe-nails clipped yesterday, but she wasn't having it - she did introduce us to alpaca spit - if you are 'lucky' you just catch the spray 'eau de alpaca', and the odour lingers for hours, if you manage to catch the main missile -I think the main rule is, keep your mouth shut. She is more difficult to feed supplement at the moment - she holds back while the others get stuck in, so by the time she starts hers, the other two have finished and push her away from her own - I've got an extra bucket, but even that only helps partially - I may move the buckets into the field so that they have more personal space. Perhaps its something to do with only being six weeks from calving.

Monday 13 April 2009

Two out of three been jabbed

Decided to use the long weekend to carry out some husbandry - vaccinations, and I'd noticed Minnies toe-nails appeared a bit curly. Started with Pela who is easily restrained, though she is a quick kicker - then did Moira who likes to give us a run around, but took the jabs and nail clipping without fuss - then time for Minnie - she is the most timid, often bullied away from her feed, but she wasn't having any jabs or toe clipping. She just threw us off as soon as we were ready to jab or clip. In the end, decided to try another time, as she was going to get too stressed, and she is seven weeks away from (11month) due birth date - perhaps that's why she was reluctant.

Today I got them in for some T-Touches to make up for yesterdays 'traumas'.

Got the brush-cutter (heavy-weight strimmer) out, as the nettles are shooting up, and we need to keep on top of them to maximise the grass for the alpacas - spread some grass seed in the bare areas - despite being 50 metres away, within ten minutes the chickens were helping themselves to the seed...

Sunday 5 April 2009

SWAG, jabs and Ting Ting

I've been to the South West Alpaca Society Spring Show and Sale today -there were judging classes, trade stands, and in the Sale breeders can bring six alpacas for sale which are kept in pens for inspection. I met several interesting people who were willing to offer advice and discuss anything alpaca - it's a good opportunity to get tips and discuss problems that you might be having - everyone is glad to give a bit of their time and make suggestions. I stocked up on bits and pieces for healthcare and the expected cria - seven weeks to go. Moira has got bald patches on her legs, which i suspect are due to mites, so I need to treat that - I'm going to spray on some Stop-It-All, followed by their twice-yearly jabs.

Feedback on Peaches, the Pest Control Officer - within twenty minutes of setting up the web-cam last week, I had one eye on the t.v and one eye on the lap-top, and she appeared, went to her food then left and we rushed to see her pass the kitchen window - we've not seen her since so I've set it up tonight. Her companion has joined us, and is settling in before being allowed out - she is black/grey with white bib and paws - I've called her Smudge for now, but that's a bit predictable, so I might get it changed to Ting-Ting (by deed poll!).