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Wednesday 30 June 2010

So much to say - too tired to say it !

We have had a busy couple of days , and quite frankly I'm knackered.

The shearers decided to come a day early , which threw me into a total panic and saw me racing around the countryside at speed limit defying speeds to collect vaccine for annual injections , paper bags for fleeces etc. etc. and then they were 6 hours late , whilst glad to see them I could also have christened them - but we got stuck in straight away, and by 9 pm all the herd were shorn and very beautiful if a little thinner than they started the day! I always look forward to shearing day , the excitement of seeing the alpacas back in their glory , of getting to see how cria have REALLY developed over the year .... but half way throu I always remember what a dirty , back breaking sort of day it is and I wish it was over . This year our shearer was a lovely lady called Penny , who handled the alpacas with great care and kindness which the pregnant ones really appreciated and so did I .
I also got 3 great fleeces for the Great Western Show , so all I have to do now is learn to tidy them up ( my mind has gone blank , but you know what I mean ) and then we are set.

Through all this the alpacas behaved well , a couple of screamers but only one spitter and no gratuitous kicking as happened last year . I think they are all relieved to be cool again , and so whilst chaos reigns I have put the little boys in with the big boys , on the grounds that since they don't recognise each other anyway , everyone starts from a level playing field and some of the squabbling may be avoided- we shall see !

I meant to take some 'before ' and 'after' photos , but I am too tired and it was too dark for the 'after' so that will have to be tomorrow. It is amazing how the family resemblances become really clear when they are all shorn , you will see what I mean from the pictures.

Enough for today , I am off to water the poly tunnel.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Finally - Teifi Magic is a father!

At last Bijou has delivered her cria . A beautiful black male cria , she is thrilled , he is very strong , everyone is content .
Yesterday , after returning from the school run , I went to inspect a broody hen ( who against the odds has hatched one !) and look at the alpacas . DH says he saw her puffing when he left for work at 7.30 ( seriously doubt it myself) but as i watched Bijou went to the poo pile and it became clear that the straining was going to produce more than just poo. I dashed for a change of clothes ( for me ) and my birthing box just in case , and by the time I returned , literally 5 mins , a head and 2 feet were out . All in all it was 20 mins from start to finish , I barely had time to apply the sunscreen ( again for me ) or organise the deck chair and can of coke . He was cushing within 5 mins , up on his wobbly legs within 20 mins and feeding within 40mins - the easiest delivery we have ever had . Bijou has tons of milk and is a great mum , all should be well.

Wednesday 16 June 2010


my first sale of fleece! A lady locally has bought some fleece from me to spin, she is a member of a local craft group so who knows where it may lead .

Bijou is still holding onto her baby , lord knows how she is able to walk ! I really thought that today would be the day , the weather is perfect and set to be so for a couple of days , and at lunchtime I'm sure she was having contraction s , but when viewed again 15 mins later she had gone back to chewing the cud.
The latest canine addition to the family is progressing well , she has a great desire to carry things around ( must be the gun dog in her) and to collect things for her 'nest ' , to date she has a fluffy pencil case , a woolly hat and some odd socks ! She hasn't chewed them just collected them , she reserves chewing for the sheep droppings she has found in the fields - why do they chew poo? All the boys are thrilled , althou' their devotion has varying levels , #2 son happily picks up poo , whilst #1 son doesn't even like to take her out for a wee.....

Back to watching and waiting , fingers crossed , uncross those legs Bijou , we need a bit of positive excitement!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Mixed blessings

Today has been a bit of a roller coaster emotionally, poor old (5yrs) West has never been far from my thoughts , and after the initial flurry of activity to get a postmortem sorted at Shrewsbury VLA there is not much more I can do except sit and wait . The vet says it is unlikely to be anything that will be of concern to the others, fingers crossed, the wethers in the field with West have all looked a bit subdued and a little bit lost , but maybe that's just me. Talking to the local farmers , who have been very sympathetic , a diagnosis is emerging - apparently yesterday at approx 2.30 threre was a humm dinger of a thunderclap and a lot of lightening ( thou not the rain we so desperately need) and all the animals went berserk , the sheep farmer said all his sheep were shocked into silence and then all hell broke loose. Could this be what killed West? the timing fits , my rough estimate was that he had been dead about 4 hours when I found him at 7.30 , judging by the level of rigor etc , and there was no sign of a struggle , heart attack is where my money goes at present.

Anyway on a happier note , i collected our puppy , Jasmine, today. She is an 8week old black lab , and truly gorgeous . The boys are thrilled with her , and she is currently sleeping peacefully after a very tiring 20 minutes with the boys !

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Oh B*****ks

Just been to check on the alpacas , and find that my stud male West has died .Fine this morning , now stiff as a board.Why is it always the good ones? No obvious sign of injury , fit and healthy, looks like he just fell over and died . His tongue is hanging out at the side , but that could just be the angle of the slope.......

F***, f***, f***

Saturday 5 June 2010

Sitting on my hands!

As for most people the last week or so has been glorious weather , sunny warm , in fact darn right hot on occassion! The alpacas are enjoying the sunbathing and the regular showers I am giving them . Veronica started it - she heard me watering in the polytunnel and came to wait outside , she made it clear that she wanted to be 'watered' too!I started with her toes which she held out very nicely , and worked up until I got to her face , she is not keen on having water sprayed directly on her face but will stand under a sprinkler if it is held well above her head like rain! Gradually almost all the alpacas came and joined in, some got very excited , particularly Artemis , who threw herself around and I was in danger of a good kick but luckily she missed . The funniest was Kirsty, she just reminded me of the ladies who manage to swim calm lengths without getting their hair wet or smudging their mascara - her whole demeanor was' don't wet the hair'! She held each foot up nicely and eventually sat so that I could really wet her back - but not the hair or the face!

I can confirm categorically ( I think) that Hermione is expecting - hurray hurray hurray! Judging by the bulge and the foetal movements I feel quite confident in this statement, by my reckoning she is due on the 19 June .....
Bijou is also looking huge and her due date was yesterday.... hence sitting on my hands. She comes in quietly every morning for extra rations in peace and quiet , but is looking uncomfortable , the shearers are due in the next couple of weeks , how precise is that! , which kicked things off for her last year .....
I am still not 100% about Cerys , she is refusing any advances , and I have stopped testing her on the basis that if she is pregnant then I don't want to stress her , she will also be due on 19 June , so we shall watch and wait . Her belly is swollen but not as big as I would expect - has she just had too many pies?

Yesterday we did Bluetongue vaccinations, a bundle of laughs as usual , not hard but it was hot and sweaty work. I took the chance to tidy up some nails and do a bit of essential 'dagging' , boy did I smell great by the end of all that!