Sunday 20 January 2013

"No feeling in my fingers, no feeling in my toes..."

With respect to Wet, Wet, Wet, I've changed the lyric, you'll have to sing it yourselves. Yesterday there was a very slight thaw, under the snow, so the squelch had returned, but today it's been sub-zero, so at least I could get about without sliding or making a mess - so I tinkered with one of the gates until my toes went numb.

Before that, the hard ground meant I could get a wheel-barrow to the top of the hill, and spread hardcore in a gateway, and that was after mucking-out the shelter and spreading the straw around the alotment - the sure way to get up a sweat on a cold day!

The alpacas spent a few hours looking for grass before returning to the shelters. Meanwhile, one of the pleasures of snow, is the way it can turn ordinary things into fabulous sculptures for a while, so for anyone who is still waiting for their sprinkling of snow (Barbara), here are some scenes from our garden:

Snow moustache anyone?

Friday 18 January 2013

No words required.

Autumn Gold, with daughter Golden Delicious



Camelot - deep down, my fleece is white, as pure as the driven sn........

Sunday 6 January 2013

Gimme shelter.

Three modules of the frame.
 When we bought our new field one of the tasks on the programme was to consider shelter, as there is only hedging to the eastern boundary, and the alpacas would need protection from the rain-bearing south-westerlies, in addition to sunshading (yes, we look THAT far ahead!). Planted hedging would take far too long (and get eaten), so on a train journey, I sketched out some ideas for a wind-break and sunshade that would be mobile, and therefore lightweight, cheap and quick to make - it's made in three seperate modules. With the materials delivered just before Christmas, I was able to make the most of my holiday, and avoided relaxing between Boxing Day and the New Year, and make good progress, so that it should be complete next weekend.

In between, we've fitted-in some body-scoring, halter introductions and fringe-trimming, and the usual muck clearing - we've had slow drying-out of the fields, so yesterday I filled buckets with alpaca-friendly hardcore (no sharp tiles) by hand and slithered up the hill to the stodgy gateway linking the fields - by the end of the day, my knuckles were dragging on the ground, but it was worth it to prevent a quagmire, for the benefit of the animals.

first module made, and two more end frames on the ground.
Laid on its back, fitting the fabric.
Until the shelter is complete, the herd are brought back over the hill to the shelter and barn, when there is heavy rain forecast. Coming soon... the completed long will the alpacas take to try it out?...
Wishing a Happy Healthy New Year to all in the alpaca community.