Sunday 30 June 2013

Green and Black

We finished this years shearing yesterday, with our black matriarch, Moira - Moira is head of the herd - she fends off challenges from Ambrosia, and in rough weather she will sit out in the rain, while the others fill the shelter - she's tough - but when it comes to shearing, she squeals like a baby, drowning-out the sound of the clippers, drools the green stuff, and wees on the mat - towels for mopping-up are an essential part of Moiras shearing equipment - the rest of the herd gathered in dis-belief to witness this - none of the others make this fuss - after the event, she shows off a beautiful jet-black fleece, and at twelve years old it is as fine as the best - sadly she cannot reproduce, and it takes two years to grow a decent length.
For the first time in fourteen years, I've not gone to Glastonbury Festival as we have cria due (...), so last night I tried to recreate it, with me on the Main Stage and alpacas as audience - well, it was an experiment in testing the hearing of the current herd - I think indifference would sum it up best:
"can you play the panpipes?"
Shortly after this, after sunset, I popped out to check them before the Rolling Stones came on - Pelachuta had her ears pricked, her neck stretched high, and she was heading up the hill, Bramley was following, her tail 'cocked', and they had clearly spotted something - I raced up behind them to the brow of the hill, and spotted a fox slinking away through the long grass, as it stopped and looked back before deciding that alpacas should not be messed with. Only two days earlier we had two young hens taken, when their hut had been broken into, with the plywood roof shredded piece by piece!

This weekend was warm enough for the trough and tray to be filled, and a joyful group gathered around the hosepipe for the grand filling ceremony:

Friday 28 June 2013

TV Heaven

Kate Humble, with an in-depth look at the alpaca industry in Peru, followed by Glastonbury Festival - unable to go this year, with cria due imminently - currently watching the brilliant Chic, with so much more to come....

Sunday 23 June 2013

Who's behind the mask?

For our village Summer Ball, Appleknit alpaca fibre studio made these wonderful alpaca felt masks.

Meanwhile we are enjoying studying the pregnant tummies for the 'kick inside', and noting how they sit on their rear knees to take the weight off their tummies.

Weather report: we lit the woodburner this evening, and I had porridge for supper with strawberries!

Sunday 16 June 2013

Feather cut, Madam?

Preparing for shearing yesterday, I had an unexpected customer:

"Just take a seat, I'll be with you in a minute"

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Baths to suit all preferences.

We said goodbye to our three boys recently, as they've been bought by a family in Brent Knoll - we are very pleased that they are going to be well looked after, and have lovely paddocks. Before leaving, they had a bath so as to be presentable:
...and on arrival, they explored their new paddock, and had another bath:
...only this happened to be where the bonfires had been held, and so Camelot and Darcy turned grey on one side!:
We wish Sally and her family great enjoyment from alpaca ownership.

Our hopes at The Royal Bath & West Show were dashed when 24 hours of rain beforehand didn't prepare Freedoms fleece in the best way - though the weather for the show was good, with Junior females being the first class, there wasn't time to get her as dry as others. However, she's now been shorn, and her fleece is very nice, so we may enter it in a fleece show. We have just the two older females to shear now.

We took a much-needed break and went to York last weekend - we 'did' the Jorvik Centre, climbed the Minster tower, took a boat trip up the river, and explored the centre - it's a lovely city, worth a visit if you've not been - two and a half days away, and we're re-charged ready for birthings soon, and back to the day job tomorrow.

With warmer weather last week, we got the aquatic centre open for business:
Save water and share a bath.
"I'll just splash my legs first...and then down we go"
"This black overcoat can get a little warm - hope they take it off soon..."
"That's better!"
I hope Moira remembers how warm her coat is when we shear her - the last time, she made a great fuss about it.