Saturday, 22 October 2011

Comings & Goings

It has been a long time since I have blogged, not because nothing has been happening in the depths of Dartmoor.
In fact there has been a lot happening here some of which has been very painful and upsetting which is one of the reasons I haven't felt like writing anything, some good things and some comings and goings.
Firstly Steve's mum passed away a few weeks ago and although not unexpected it is still very sad and we are going to miss her greatly. This will bring lots of changes over the next few months some of which may be challenging and it looks like buying the shed for a fleece workshop will have to go on hold for a while.
On the Alpaca front we had sold some females and their cria a couple of months ago and we had their new owners over for a day to do some husbandry training.  We always like to know that our animals are going to go to people who know how to handle them.  So as we had help we gave the whole of the female /cria group their Fasinex and an ADE shot, then we weighed them all.  Very good hands on experience for their new owners.  A couple of days later we delivered the girls and babes to their new home where I think they will be very comfortable.  Sue and Andy of Pippin Alpaca were waiting for us when we arrived and the girls were let out into their new Paddock, I think they were so impressed with the lovely long grass that they didn't really notice where they were for a while. Ella, Bramble and Phoebe with their cria Salvador, Calico and Amber settled in immediately.
 Ella is always the inquisitive one and was soon of to inspect the living arrangements closely followed by her Son Salvador, nice field shelter, plenty of hay, good grass, it's all good then! We had a message from Sue and Andy to say they were fine a couple of days later but I am always sad to see any of our animals go.  We would like to wish Sue and Andy every success with their new venture .

I finally managed to get all my fleeces packed up and sent off to the mill after a bit of a trial with the courier company.  We have sold most of our yarn to a London Knitwear designer this year so I have been agonising over which fleeces to put in to the mill and which to keep out for hand spinning. In the end I decided to send some extra fleece to the mill which will give me some yarn for me to use and to sell as well as the yarn going to the designer.  We are also having some rovings mainly because I am lazy and don't like carding much. So at the moment I only have a couple of our courser fleeces and some legs and neck fleece left.

In between everything else I have bee knitting frantically to try to get some stock together for our Christmas Markets as well as some commissions. I seem to have some knitting stashed in my bag where ever I go now!

As we had sold the girls and especially Ella who was one of my favourites and possibly our best Black female, we decided to go and find ourselves another black to replace her.  We had a good search around and found one we were interested in, better still she was due to give birth this year with a cria from one of our favourite stud males.  So off to deepest Somerset to have a look, when we got there we found that although she was a lovely animal she wasn't quite what we were looking for and she wasn't pregnant.  Whilst there we looked at a few other females and picked out another maiden who was ready to breed and also had the bloodlines we were looking for.  We then looked at an older pregnant Dark Brown Female with a light fawn cria at foot.

The cria has a cracking fleece and is well built and her mum as a lovely soft handling fleece which is quite impressive for her age.  So to cut a long story short we came away with three animals.  Hebe who is black with a white splodge on her nose and topnot, Olivia,  Dark Brown with her cria at foot who we have named Ivory. We collected them a few weeks ago as the two adults are now spitting off and we have had them in an isolation paddock before introducing them to the rest of the herd. Our herd is now looking a lot darker than before which is where we wanted to be.
That more or less brings us up to date, we have been doing all the usual poo picking, feeding and all the usual routine stuff.
Today We wormed all the females and their cria before moving them into a fresh paddock and the new girls joined them so there was a lot of sniffing and a bit of spitting before they settled down to eating the fresh grass.  Just got the llamas to do now, which are a little more challenging.
Finally a few of this years cria.
Choc Ice & Lalique

Calico before she left for Pippin Alpacas

This years star and leader of the gang 'Caramel'

Thats all for now.

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