Monday, 31 May 2010

Guitarists get the girls...

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

As you can see, our grass needs a real kick up the backside, so the rain forecast for tomorrow morning is very welcome. We laid a land drain in the autumn, and it was well-compacted back in the trench, but now a large gap has opened-up. However we'll be thankful for the dry weather forecast for the rest of the week, as it's the Bath & West show, wed 'til sat.

The Docks haven't noticed the drought, being so deep rooted, so we've cut off all the seedy stalks by hand (2 sacks full) - they appear similar to asparagus, and a part of me wished that they were (!), but then a field of alpacas are a lot more rewarding.
One of our hens decided to incubate four of her eggs, and she hatched two of them out - you can see one taking a ride on mums back in the picture.

I tempted Autumn Gold to have her first 'solids' this week, with a few pieces of carrot - she's still not interested in the daily supplement of NG-1. I've got some Total Solutions drench to give her some trace elements, but not sure how frequent to dose - have e-mailed the manufacturer, but no reply - any suggestions? I might compare the content details with the NG-1 details.

We trimmed toe-nails today - it's interesting how much faster the babies nails grow, in parallel with their general growth.

I spent yesterday performing a bit of surgery, turning Llamas into Alpacas - I used a scalpel on the llama decals that came on the trailer, and changed them into alpacas. I also got the 'air conditioning' working - the side vents were seized-up when I bought it, so several doses of WD-40 over the last fortnight, and some 'gentle' persuasion got them moving - they're nicely greased now.

I finished the afternoon with another guitar lesson - Ambrosia seems very interested, and particularly enjoyed my version of 'One' by U2 - they always said that playing guitar was the way to get the girls - I never thought it would end up like this.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Mucky pups.

White fleece soon to be available - one careless owner!
Nettle collection service offered - my baby fleece is due to be shorn in 4 weeks time - I'll pick up any bits left on the ground, leaving your paddock completely clean!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Sunflower terrorism

Yes Debbie, we too desperately need some rain to get our grass going. Since the little bit of rain we had last week, the ground is dried and cracked again.

I'll gladly part-exchange four sacks of Nettles and Docks for 2 hours of rain. I've spent the day clearing the field of these weeds just to expose a bit more grass.

We checked over the girls this morning, looking in all the nooks and crannies, and body-scoring - we're thinking of not shearing Moira this year - she's a nine year old maiden, who came as companion to Minnie - she grows a thin fleece, but last years sample was 17.3micron, and it's only 2 inches long at most - does any one aware of any draw-backs to this? -

I sowed a few sunflower seeds today - Mrs. Smallholder gave me permission to put some in pots, and some in the alotment, but as there were some spare, I've put some around the garden, and I've got a few left which I'll discreetly drop into neighbours gardens for some surprise brightness! - hence, the title of this evenings blog.

Anyway, a few photo's from the lighter side of alpaca behaviour today.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

I don't believe it!

I've just been to the Mariah Hill site, linked from Barbaras blog - alpaca fibre is being used to soak up oil from the spill in the gulf of Mexico - I checked whether it was April 1st today - on closer reading it does say they are using some of the fibre, so presumably only the poor quality bits. Interesting all the same.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

And the funny thing was...

I forgot to mention in the last blog, an incident that had me chuckling away on my own in the office today.

As judge Matthew went through his selection of placings yesterday he compared the first two side by side, then the next two, and then I found Ambrosia was being considered for closer inspections, I dared to think there was chance of a placing.

So when he stepped towards me, rosette in one hand, and offered his other hand to shake mine, I started to clap! (I'm laughing now as I write this) I quickly stopped and we laughed - but was I applauding myself (I hope not), or applauding his choice? I've no idea, except I think I was ready to applaud all the placed competitors, with a stiff upper lip.

In order to take Minnie in the trailer for mating and for shearing I'm going to try and halter train her - I slipped it on a couple of times on sunday, and let her shake it off, and tonight I managed to fasten it, and she tolerated it for 10mins or so, while eating some feed, and some hay from my hand, so, progress.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Pretty in pink.

North Somerset Show - Several layers of clothing were needed today with little respite for removing any with a northerly wind blowing, but the rain kept off except for a five minute shower, the sun made many appearances and the fields had dried after the early weekend rain, so we are feeling that after-glow that you get on your face after a day in the wind and sun - not only that, but the glow may be the reflection off the pink rosette that Ambrosia won for fourth place! Although only a small show, the junior white classes will always be keenly contested, and so it was, though Valley Alpacas Davina was clearly a deserved winner, and it was a very friendly affair. The set-up for bio-security measures worked well, with plenty of space for penning, line-up, and entering and leaving the ring.

Judge, Matthew Lloyd gave us useful summaries of his decisions, though he could only be heard by (some of) those in the ring due to the competing fairground organ on one side, and the livestock tannoy on the other - hey ho, they have been staples of British Country shows for much longer than alpacas.

There was much interest from the visitors, with hardly a break between enquiries for a cuppa or snack. Most entertaining question of the day came from a gentleman who thought that the halters were worn to stop them spitting! Now there's an idea for development...

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Finger-picking to poo-picking

I thought I'd do an early blog for a change, having already achieved a bit of outdoor work, however I see Debbie's taken first prize today. The weather is damp, breezy and cool, so after the morning feed and dog walk while I still had wet weather gear on, I picked a bucketfull of poo, topped-off a load of Docks, filling a sack, and another 'thack' of 'thithles' - funny how a lithp can come on even via the keyboard. I'm actually waiting for the show-girls to dry off so we can have a dress-rehearsal for the North Somerset Show which is tomorrow. I've put the Stone Roses on the CD player, having got inspired by 'Im in a Rock 'n Roll band' which was on telly last night (frustratingly delayed by the snooker by an hour and half).

I'm reading Marty McGee Bennetts: 'Llama and alpacas as a metaphor for life', and got inspired on tuesday, the last evening of the fine weather, to take my guitar out and 'entertain' the herd. They didn't join in, they weren't spooked, but they haven't enquired about my next gig either, so I think I need to work on them when the weather improves...

Our herd had a full-on pronk and frolick the other night - I'd read of other breeders' doing this recently, and our cria did it last year, but I was excited to see Minnie and Moira joining in the other night - though it was a bit like watching your aunties dancing at a wedding disco! I wonder if it is a spring-induced thing (the season, not a steel coil!) The pictures aren't great as it was dusk and cloudy, and I had no time to prepare, just point and shoot.

Anyway time for coffee, then Show preps.