Sunday 29 September 2013

You pays your money, and you takes your choice.

Lazing in the autumn sunshine.

Refreshment time.

Hmm, a bit of fencing going on.
We had some teeth trimming, micro-chipping and scanning for pregnancy done this week - unfortunately only two out of five that were spittng-off were confirmed as pregnant. So we've had to think hard about whether to have one more try at this late stage of the season, or re-set the 'birthing clock' to next spring for the females concerned. This is one of the disadvantages to not having your own stud males, not being able to carry out spit-offs at will - another being the number of journeys you have to make to get a full set of pregnant females. On the other hand, you have the choice of many stud males, and you don't have to find 'work' for a stud if you own one. You 'pays' your money and you 'takes' your choice.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Tap Dance beats Can Can.

The Inquisitors
Today, I installed the water standpipe bringing water supply to the new paddocks. As usual, the alpacas were very inquisitive as to what was going on, and a crowd gathered to watch.
The first water flows into the can
It will eliminate having to carry endless cans of water over the hill during warm weather.
We had a look into the fleece of Elstar and Empress yesterday, and both are very nice - Empress's has developed amazingly in 8 weeks, developing great character in crimp and staples, while keeping its original brightness, lustre and softness.

We've discovered a group of ladybirds camped in a knot in one of the gates for a couple of weeks. Most of the time, with the gate shut, the latch keeps them sheltered, they are only exposed when I open the gate:
Now you see us...

Now you don't!

Thursday 19 September 2013

Kate Humble - The One Show

When asked on tonight's, The One Show, what she had learned from her travels, in her series about shepherds around the world, Kate Humble stated, "never to farm alpacas" - thanks Kate, for the disservice to British alpaca breeders - I had enjoyed your series, but I think you should visit a British alpaca breeder and find out how good-natured the vast majority of our herd are, and that only a few of them spit, and then only if provoked. Not amused.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Helter shelter.

I realised the other day, that by spacing the mobile shelters apart, I could extend the coverage and weather protection by a significant amount, with a few pieces oof fabric fixed in between, and so with the autumn storms moving in this afternoon, I quickly fixed the fabric, and so three detached shelters have become a 'terrace' of five.
The residants may complain about lowering the' tone' of the area, and reduction in value of their properties, but I'll remind them that they are in fact, tenants...

Sunday 8 September 2013

Summery summary.

Best pals.

It was a blog-free August, and I'm sorry to have deprived you of updates, thanks for your enquiries, and there will be a full refund of last months subscription(!)

Needless to say, it's been hectic, after the cria births, we've had six weeks of matings and spit-offs and have now finished that exercise hopefully with five pregnant.
Empress and Elstar

We're so pleased with this years cria that we've repeated those matings - Empress' fleece is 'unbelievably soft', and Elstar has lovely crimp, brightness, and density.
Into new grazing, puts a spring in their step!

Our daughter had a significant birthday, and held a party for 60 friends and family in our garden, with the theme of GlastonKerry Festival - with most aspects of the great festival replicated in some way - I and my mate Hugh were headline act playing eleven songs on our guitars, as 'Hugh D'ave thought it?'

In August we marked five years of alpaca ownership and breeding - what an amazing period - I've been trying to put it into words, but to do it justice, I'd want to give some serious thought and time to the process.

Last week we went to the Eden Project, and Joy went on the zip-wire which was opened in July, and is the longest in England at 660m, taking the brave 95m above the site, over the top of the biomes (domes) - I kept my feet on the ground and took the photographs.

With all the travelling for matings and spit-offs over, today I moved the herd into a new paddock for the Autumn.
Settling in.

Yesterday, we went to a fete for the Friends of West Mendip Hospital, in the grounds of the hospital in Glastonbury, taking a couple of the girls and a table full of fibre products from our herd.