Saturday, 23 April 2016

The year begins to unfold - developments on all fronts.

Apple Vale Fortune
 It's been a while since the National Show, and Spring finally arrived - though it's taking a while to warm up, we have had plenty of dry days. The paddocks are beginning to look well, particularly the rested ones. 'Magic Day' , when the grass grows at a faster rate than the alpacas are eating eat is not yet perceptable, but areas that I re-seeded for repairs are sprouting. We have fertilized each paddock in rotation, and next we have to tackle the weeds that are pushing ahead.

The herd have been given another ADE vitamin 'shot', which we hope will be the last until the autumn, but we just have to see how the summer goes.

We had a photo-shoot for a young model who is creating a promotional portfolio, and she brought her photographer to our farm to use the alpacas in some of her scenes.

Since the New Year, we have had visitors in the B & B Studio from California, Austria, Singapore, Estonia, all over the UK, and a couple from Venezuela and Santa Fe - they all enjoyed a tour of the alpaca paddocks, and seeing how we (Joy) uses the fleece to make unique, luxury, felted and alpaca wool garments.

I have started creating a new shelter for one paddock - as usual for me, it will be a bespoke shelter suited to the aspect of the paddock - I enjoy the creative design and build aspect - I also have plans in my head for another shelter in an adjoining paddock, which received an early boost when our village hall had it's 25mm Maple floor replaced, and I rescued 8 panels destined for Her Majesties bonfire beacon, so I now have to design that shelter around these heavy panels!

Closer to home, I've discovered several bird nests - firstly, a Hedge Sparrow (Dunnock) nest with white alpaca fleece lining was particularly exciting, these two chicks have now fledged and are hopefully surviving -
Fleece-lined nest.
Faces only a mother could love!

secondly, we currently have a pair of Blackbird chicks in the same hedge - and thirdly, I found a fascinating nest lying under some trees in the paddock, which I suspect had been knocked out of a small tree by an alpaca. It is like a soft pillow, the size of a melon, with an outer casing of moss, lichen and strands of spider web, stuffed with hen and duck feathers, which I believe would have been built by a Long-Tailed Tit.
Nest of a Long-Tailed tit, with feather stuffing.

In the paddocks, a Kestrel has been ever-present for several weeks now, flitting from fence-post to shelter roof and dropping to the ground then back again, as I've gone about my tasks.
Easter bonnet.

A new hay feeder that I made.

We are now one week from the first of three local alpaca shows, a busy month of to-ing and fro-ing, and seeing so many of our friends in the alpaca community, followed closely by new cria, shearing, and new breeding decisions to be made and so on.
Three mums-to-be, plus one (Florina) to start this year.
Each birth that we anticipate, has a significance to the mating: from new genetics, a new colour, an advance in the genetic mix, and a new beginning, each is anticipated with growing excitement!


  1. Looking good Dave. See you next weekend.

  2. Looking good Dave. See you next weekend.

  3. Love the bespoke hay feeder - there's a business opportunity there! Good luck with the forthcoming shows. Shirley & Robbie

  4. Glad to hear that the B&B is such a success. Good luck at the show.