Sunday 13 March 2011

Smallholder to Stallholder

Mrs. Smalholder became Mrs. Stallholder at The British Alpaca Futurity - we took part by taking a Craft Stand, as shown above, with our knitted and felted garments made with fleece from our own herd, hand-spun and felted at home (with knitting by Joy's sister Hilda)  - other producers of excellent alpaca fleece products attended too. A large and high quality entry of animals in the show ring was accompanied by a shorn fleece competition, a fibre craft competition, and photography competition - one of my entries, a picture of an alpacas eye with another alpaca reflected in its eyeball, won a First in its class. Once I'd had the idea, and taken this picture, I tried to improve on it, but after several hundred attempts, this remained the best - Moira, whose eye is in this picture, was very wary of me getting too close, and either backing away, or constantly moving her head, looking around, or there wouldn't be an alpaca reflected, or there would be too many, or the others would come and put their noses up to the lens to see what was going on - some have said I obviously have too much time on my hands, but then any owner will agree that there are few better ways of passing time, than with your animals, is there? It was good to meet existing friends and make new friends with breeders from the alpaca community across the UK and Europe.

I had looked into getting a paddock cleaner while there,  but was 'trumped' when Mrs Smallholder revealed she had bought a weaving loom, and after carefully assessing the back of the car (an estate), I conceded that it wouldn't fit along with our luggage, the stall products and the several bags of alpaca feed that I had already bought, taking advantage of the Show discounts on offer.

So on return this afternoon, I cleaned the paddocks with the existing paddock cleaning equipment: trowel, scoop, bucket and barrow - job done - healthy exercise, no fuel emissions and no money spent (well not by me).

Returning to our hotel after the Fashion Show and dinner, I was amazed to hear in the hotel car park, a blackbird and other birds chattering away at 1.30a.m! -  must be the street lighting (no it wasn't the effects of too much liquid refreshment!).

Bramleys weaning continues, and I led her by halter for some lush lawn grazing with Minnie and Ambrosia, while letting the other three into the big paddock - this means they are now in adjacent paddocks, but after a little re-union kiss through the fence, they settled down to their own grazing and haven't shown any signs of distress - I checked at dusk and I'll look out again and check by torchlight soon.


  1. Excellent photo !! Im glad you shared it with us...sounds like you should have gone there in a transit van for all those important 1 in the morning ! very strange indeed.....glad the weaning is going well and the Craft Stall looks amazing....Im sure the weaving loom is going to be a great asset ! ....Jayne

  2. That is one very impressive photo Dave.

    Sounds like you both had an enjoyable time, we really missed the trip this year.

  3. Fantastic photo Dave, well done, great to see you both.

  4. A most well deserved first place Dave ...great to catch up with you both...and congratulations on the stall Mrs S...lovely stuff...don't forget the challenge!

  5. That was my favourite photo there - I hadn't realised it was yours - brilliant!

  6. Great photo Dave, nice one!