Sunday, 20 March 2011

Great weekend

We have had a very productive weekend, well Saturday was productive, today has just been lovely.

West Webburn Golden Prospect
Yesterday we were up fairly early as we had planned lots of Alpaca jobs and I had a change over in the holiday cottages to do.  We got everyone fed first, then discovered that we were low on water so this had to be pumped from the stream which runs along the bottom of the field.  Next we rounded up the young male Alpacas, these need to a some halter training refresher course.  There are seven boys in this group and five of them were sold earlier in the year, they will be going off to their new home in the next couple of weeks.  Titan and Calypso are off to join the Carpalla herd near St Austell, they will join their females and it looks like they will be very busy boys this spring, we wish Nigel and Margaret the best of luck with their new vnture.  We are very much looking forward to seeing the resulting cria next year.  The other three boys, Quartz, Felspar and Stephano are going to Fowey as pets, our vet is coming on Tuesday to castrate the two older boys before they leave, Stephano isn't old enough yet.
In preparation for their departure we weighed and wormed all of this group, gave them a good check over looking for any evidence of mite which I am pleased to say there wasn't any and as the sun was shining I managed to get some pics.  I have never tried to take fleece shots so gave that ago as well, Titan is looking great and his fleece is still very crimpy and bright with a very soft handle, he really is a stunning looking Alpaca, we will be sad to see him go.

West Webburn Titan

West Webburn Titan Fleece

The girls have been in their new field for a week now and are all looking very relaxed, instead of galloping in for feed in the mornings it is now a gentle stroll to see if there is anything interesting in the buckets.  We did some fencing in this field yesterday to split off the end which we are going to save for hay.  This was not popular with some of the girls as they seem to prefer to be in that end of the field, but as you can see from the pictures it is a very large field.

As I said today has been less about work and more about relaxing, this morning Vicky and I and the two Grandsons took Grit the pony back to his owner and had a little handling training.  Grit has been quite a naughty pony and played up when we arrived.  So he was picked out to demonstrate how he should behave, after a few minutes he was behaving beautifully and was handed back to me to try.  Once I had got the body language right it was simple I had him walking , standing and going back and he was so good, might try it with the llamas tomorrow.  After all this fun Steve picked us up and we went to the pub for a big family get together which was very nice, great to see family from America.

New field

Another weekend over but the weather looks set to continue for this week, the job list doesn't seem to get any shorter, in fact the more you do the more you find to do!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Birthing box

Today started off grey and misty but I had a job booked in for this morning, the road is still closed so a bit of a detour as usual.  After I had finished at lunchtime I went back to the fields where Steve was putting in some new gates next to the field shelter to form a large pen inside the gate way to the field as well as being able to use the gates to form a small pen in front of the shelter, clever stuff.  The sun had come out by lunchtime and it was quite warm, Phoebe who is due to give birth first was sat chewing the cud in the bottom paddock looking on with interest at all this activity.  Thinking of impending births I decide to get the birth box down from the storage shed just to check we have the essentials!  we had including a bottle of lubricant which had tipped over and leaked it's contents into the bottom of the box...... lovely!  so everything which could be washed has been including the cria coats that were stored in the box as well, so we are not fully prepared except I need to get a new bottle of lubricant.
The electrician also came this morning to finish wiring in the camera, up to now it has been plugged into an extension lead, now it has it's own socket which means we now have no camera!............. apparently it has lost it's IP address and I now need to take the laptop back down there to reinstall it, great just when we really need it, its not working! another job for tomorrow.

I was hoping to upload some pictures of the females in their new paddock but have left the camera in the car and as the road is closed it is parked in the village, no street lights here so I am not walking down there to get it, in the meantime I thought I would share a picture of my daughter in her new style wellies, for which she will probably be very annoyed with me!

Sunday, 13 March 2011


We have just returned from a great weekend at the British Futurity, great to catch up with everyone, talk Alpacas and have a good look at all the animals there.  The quality was amazing and such large entries in each class which is good to see.

Anyway back to work today and we are just off to move the female Alpacas onto the new field which has got some lovely grass in it, they will be so pleased!
We are keeping a few of the very late pregnant girls behind and they will move onto a clean paddock ready for birthing, the first one is just 10.5 months, so we will be keeping a close eye on her now, she is usually very easy although we know she doesn't produce much milk so are prepared for this.

The new camera came into it's own this weekend and we could check on the animals using the computer or my phone so I think this is going to be a godsend whilst waiting for births this year.

Anyway sun is shining and work is calling so must go.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Road closed and New mode of Transport

Over the past few weeks the Water board has been replacing the main water supply to Widecombe in the moor which means that they have fenced of a strip of the fields at home.  What with the wet weather last month this made one hell of a mess with diggers, dumpers etc going in and out. Finally they have finished in the fields and have started in the road resulting in a short stretch of road between our house and the fields being closed.  A detour of about 3 miles each way has resulted in either getting up ridiculously early to get through the road works before they get to work or parking the car in the village so we can walk pasted the closure and then drive the rest of the way.  Either option is a pain as once they get to work you can't get through so if we forget anything it's a long detour or walking.
Steve had to fill up the Discovery this week and got a shock as to how much it cost, we don't use it much as it is mainly for towing either the stock trailer or Steve's work trailer, anyway economizing is the order of the day and as my car doesn't use as much diesel Steve will now use that where possible for work and I will have a new mode of transport!  With this in mind this morning he retrieved our bikes from the back of the barn. Surprisingly as they had not been used for about eight years (life before alpacas) they are still in working order so oiled, tyres checked etc I will now be riding my bike to and from the fields, coming back is all downhill so thats not to bad but going, well I think I will be walking most of it!
He did say something about getting fit as well.................... I left to pack the bags................... ready to go to the futurity this week end!..................Maybe I should suggest we walk from the hotel to Stoneleigh! or put the bikes in the car!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Busy Weekend

With the lovely dry weather continuing we have been busy around the fields and the holiday cottages.  Steve finished the chain harrowing in the fields currently being rested all we need now is some grass to grow.  We are still waiting for the final go ahead to move some animals into the new field, obviously not a priority for the landowner but very frustrating for us!
We have been busy finishing off the decorating and refurbishing in the cottages, it seems to have taken for ever this year but with all the cold weather in December it all got pushed back.  Anyway we have fitted new TVs on brackets in the lounges also add a new lookalike electric wood burner in each cottage as we don't have chimneys we thought these would be the next best thing, just to give a focal point to the lounges, quite effective really, not like the real thing though.  So both cottages are now looking really smart with the changes and their new bathrooms.
In between working outside I have been uploading some pictures of the changes to the cottage website and I have been meaning to take some pictures of the Alpacas now they are all fluffy and dry but haven't got round to that yet.  I have been trying to update the Alpacas site as well so I really need to do the pictures.
I finally managed to get my entry into the craft section of the Futurity finished, not in time to post it to Mileend but I have managed to get them taken up to Stoneleigh in time for Thursday's judging, I really need to be more organised in future.
I am really looking forward to the Futurity next week, we are not showing any animals so haven't got the stress of that, so plenty of time to catch up with everyone over coffee or probably something stronger!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Spring or not spring

We have had several days of sunshine or at least dry weather and I was beginning to think Spring had arrived but it is getting colder again and has been frosty in the mornings.  The birds also thought spring had arrived, lots of activity going on in the hedgerows around the fields.  We have started on the spring time jobs, setting some of the paddocks aside to rest, giving them a good clean up and chain harrowing.
We have had a couple of husbandry days, weighing all the females, toe nails etc and continuing the halter training.
One of our winter projects is nearly finished, we have installed a camera on the field shelter, very whizzy it is too, turns through 360 deg so we can check the animals whilst in the shelter and out in the fields.  The main reason for having the camera is to be able to check the pregnant females when they are near their due date without intruding on them to much, but the best bit is we can log into it while we are away from home.    So while we are at the futurity next week we will be able to check on things at home.......... how good is that.
We have also been busy finishing off the holiday cottages, decorating etc we are on the last leg now, installing new fires in both cottages making them a bit more cosy for our guests in the colder months.
Steve and I were sat on the balcony enjoying a well earned cup of coffee this morning, the bird song at this time of the year is almost deafening, so quiet in the countryside isn't it ........... birds singing, tractors chain harrowing but what a view overlooking the fields with the Alpacas grazing peacefully and then further in the distance the countryside down towards the coast.   We all most booked ourselves in for a weeks holiday!
Next project is to install some fencing and gates around the shelter to provide a permanent catch pen and race to put the scales in when needed, I am hoping to get a breeding pen in place as well but haven't told Steve that bit yet, these plans need to evolve I think!
We are looking forward to a short visit to the Futurity next week so hope to see some fellow bloggers there and very much looking forward to seeing all these lovely Alpacas we have been reading about over the last few months.