Sunday 18 September 2011

P is for 'paca - or not.

Who can resist a rainbow?

No specific alpaca news this week, but I've transferred the hay from the shelter into the shed - the hens have followed suit and begun laying in the bales - Pixie, our Shi-Tzu finds them, and then runs around the garden, her mouth filled to stretching, with an egg in it! I need to fix doors next, to try and keep them all out, and transfer Ting Ting our rat catcher.

We've been to Manchester for our son Phil's birthday - he had a fancy dress theme of the letter 'P' - a great idea as the options are limitless - Mrs. Smallholder and I went as  'Party Poppers' - you can use your imagination as I don't 'do' Facebook, though Mrs. Smallholder does - there was a Pharoh, Primark, Policeman, Puzzle, Peacock, Pilot, Punks, Pop Princess (Kylie) and Poker Face (Lady Gaga). it was great fun, and I was able to 'dad dance' all night!

'nuff of that - the Studio is progressing well, I'm holding off photo's now until it's presentably finished - the external cladding is going on, and inside is being plastered.

Off to Plymouth for younger sons graduation on wednesday.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Ta daa!!

hay shed - garden entrance
With a small fanfare (to be honest, it was just a bit of blood, sweat and tears), yesterday I cut through the fence, and so linked the hay shed with the alpaca shelter and paddock, and in the next few days can transfer the hay, making the shelter available to the alpacas for the harsher weather. The roof was completed last weekend, and I've just got a few odds and ends to finish, including making provision for our barn cat who we'll try and transfer over from her luxury accommodation in the summer house. The roof tiling wasn't entirely without hitch, as I collected another 60 second-hand roof tiles from the reclamation yard on thursday, only to find they were half an inch smaller tha the first lot, and had to take them back on monday but fortunately found suitable replacements, as I'd already fixed the battens and laid the first 88 - it was a long weekend with humble pie being eaten and severe bruising from kicking myself for not checking - more haste, less speed!

hay shed - paddock entrance

I attended the 2-day Camelidynamics course with eleven other breeders, which was presented by the excellent Julie Taylor--Browne, and hosted by Classical Mile end Alpacas. Julie is a brilliant tutor in all respects, we had plenty of live models to practice on, and Rachels now-legendary catering was excellent, as usual.

Camelot, with Bramley beyond

On tuesday the South-West Alpaca Group held a social outing which did not involve showing alpacas or their fleeces - a chance to rub shoulders with other breeders without the usual time pressures of shows. We had a trip around Devonia Sheepskins at Buckfastleigh in Devon, followed by a pub lunch, and trip around Buckfast Abbey. While some people may find the thought difficult, there will inevitably be casualties on the farm, and it is clearly one way of extending the economic (or sentimental) value of an animal. They already have experience of tanning alpaca pelts.

This photograph was not taken with the CountryFile calender in's been a busy day.

Today I made another trip out with the trailer and two girls for a spit-off for Autumn Gold which proved to be successful, so now that's three pregnant - now I can moth-ball the trailer for a while and concentrate on some training, Camelidynamic-style.