Monday, 30 January 2012

efficient or what

Not that I am blowing my own trumpet here but I have to say I have achieved a lot today!  starting with feeding up then a quick trip to Ashburton via Bovey Tracey with daughters car which needed two tyres for MOT,(why don't they think to check before sending it for testing)  Then down to it ............... accounts for our branch of Devon Farms as it is the AGM tomorrow and I needed to get something on paper as I am the treasurer................ took a holiday cottage booking, received deposit and sent the confirmation, answered several e.mails, printed off confirmations and directions and sent them of to two llama walk customers, wrote some cheques out for some bills, updated the cottages website, filled in a form for a one day show this summer, had a cup of tea and now I am writing this, not a bad day.

We had a bit of snow last night, looks nice but I was glad it had rained and was disappearing fast this morning.  The females who were all looking clean and fluffy yesterday are now damp and muddy except for Carla who is hogging the field shelter and obviously had not been outside until breakfast arrived!

Yesterday we had planned a day off, we were going to get up later, spend some leisurely time with the Alpacas, pick up a paper and have a lazy afternoon ................ didn't quite work out that way but it wasn't to bad, grandchildren and daughter turned up for a bit which was good, nice to see them but meant I had to take them home as car was being left ready for MOT.  On the way home daughter said could we just call into Trago Mills (very large discount retail establishment, ) not somewhere I would chose to go on a Sunday which is also one of their sales days.  Just wanted to pick up a rug for her front room.  So that took about an hour by the time we had parked and got rug, then queued to pay, then took them home.  The rest of the afternoon was good though, I got the old sewing machine out and mended a whole pile of stuff which has been sat around for ages waiting for the day I had time to do it!  I also mad some cushion covers......... Cow print fabric which is quite fun, brown and white, brought in a rash moment of madness, they look good though. (don't think Steve agrees)  Front room always resembles a bomb site when I get the sewing machine out!  Off out to feed the animals and collect the eggs then once finished we had a nice roast dinner, our own pork, veg from garden, sat in front of TV for the rest of the evening, I was knitting though, can't just sit there doing nothing.
So nearly a whole day off.

Better get off now and get some dinner, Steve is feeding up this evening, it is horrible out there. grey cold and wet.  Then I am going to get some invoices done!

Thursday, 19 January 2012


All I am going to say is I can now Drive, it has been very frustrating having the car there and not being able to use it.  Off out tomorrow!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Decisions, Decisions.

I have obviously got to much time on my hands at the moment because after spending the morning trying to sort out my car insurance, which is very time consuming and very fustrating.

Golden Nugget
I then spent the afternoon looking at expected birth dates for our females and that got me thinking of which studs to use after said females had given birth.  Poor things, most of them aren't due to give birth until late summer and I am already planning the next one.  This year we used a couple of outside studs and I have one outstanding breeding already paid for.

The main decision is whether to use Caliban again, he has given us some lovely cria, especially Calico who is now at Pippin Alpacas or do we look for another stud male to bring in, then there is Golden Nugget who also has produced some lovely looking cria with great fleece.  We have given young Atlas a couple of females this year so it will be interesting to see what he can do, he comes from my very favourite female 'Marietta' she has had 4 cria for us and her
 first three boys all did well in the show ring, she had a female this year who will be shown this spring.
I am sure we will have may decisions over the next few months on this subject and what ever I decide now may well change several times before the females are ready.

I have done a lot of knitting over the last few weeks, tried out some new patterns and used some great beaded luxury yarns to trim our own Alpaca yarns but I think the most unusual request I have had was to knit a jumper for a Chihuahua, a very small one at that.  I was amazed to find so many patterns on the internet for dog coats, I drew the line if knitting it in alpaca so brought some basic acrylic yarn, actually ended up knitting a dress with frills.......must get a photo with the dog modelling it!

The other decision to be taken is which shows and fairs are we taking our stand to this summer, last year we did a lot of shows in August which were very good but hard work, we said that if we did them again we would not try to work as well, so we need to make a decision before we get too much work booked in and then I must get knitting!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Fluffy Alpacas are back

Choc Ice in front of Tigerlily, Midnight and Lalique at back
At last the rain has stopped and we have had several days of crisp, sunny days, the mud has gone and we now have a field full of fluffy Alpacas. So with my super doper new camera I have tried to get some decent shots, only the Alpacas had different ideas and Choc Ice decided to take most of the hay rack with her!

Ivory in front of Lily and Olivia
All the cria are now back with the herd after being weaned and separated from their mums for 6 weeks.  Lalique was the only one who tried to suckle from her mum (Marietta) but she was the youngest of the group, Marietta wasn't at all interested in that and sent her packing.
We had given the cria a few short lessons in Halter training before Christmas so yesterday with the help of some clients who had been on a llama walk we decide to give them a go to see if they remembered anything.  The were all very good and we walked them around the garden and right up the lane to the top fields and back.  So this year there shouldn't be a rush to get them ready for the first show.

My mission last year was to find a use for all our fleece, most has been processed into yarn, but the course stuff and even the stuff brushed up off the floor has now all gone. The final 4 bags were stuffed in the back of the shed so last weekend I had a trip to Paignton Zoo planned with Daughter and Grandchildren, so as the big cat keepers had used some of our fleece previously for enriching the lives of the tigers and lions, I gave them ring to see if they could use some more.  So off we went with a bag of fleece each which we deposited at the entrance before spending a lovely day looking at the animals.  Josh wanted to wait to see what they were going to do with the fleece but as they made a paper mache model of an Alpaca covered it with the fleece filled it with food and fed it to the tigers, I didn't think it was a good idea.
As I can't drive at the moment I am walking the two miles back from the field each morning, great opportunity to practice with the camera.

Dartmoor Pony

Lichen in the Hawthorn
Every morning there is something new to see, snowdrops starting to come into flower, even some Katkins, saw a deer in the field over the valley.  I have to walk past the field where the trekking llamas are and they follow me along the other side of the hedge until we get to the corner where they can stand on the rocks to see over the hedge, so I got a shot of Merlin and Murphy, these to have really grown up now and Murphy is particularly handsome.

Murphy and Merlin
Last night we went to see Warhorse at the cinema, great film and some of it was filmed on Dartmoor quite near us so it was interesting to see if we could recognise the locations.
Today we went up to North Devon to visit Andy and Sue from Pippin Alpacas and the Alpacas they brought last year, they we all looking good and we helped out with some husbandry tasks.  I was particularly interested in how the cria were growing and having a good fleece rummage. The lovely Calico's fleece was certainly impressive.  We wish them all the best for future plans and their first cria due this summer.

Monday, 2 January 2012

What happened to my lovely clean fluffy Alpacas?

Well I hope everyone enjoyed the festive holidays, now back to normal as far as normal goes. 
I have had a very restful time since my operation, I have done some knitting, watch lots of TV, had friends round and spent some time playing with my Christmas pressie.  I now have a very fancy new camera which is too clever for it's own good, so I now have no excuse for not taking lots of pictures.

Over the next few weeks whilst I can't drive I am hoping to update the websites for the Cottages, Llamas and Alpacas.  I also have been told I need to put some animals up for sale on Alpaca Seller, so I will need some new pictures for that, but I think I may have to wait for a while as this is what I found on one of my first visits to the field since before Christmas.
Ivory Looking very grey and wet. 
Tigerlily is in fact even worst.

Choc Ice obviously taken it to another level.

Even Demeter has participated in the activity.

Caramel and Laligue have embellished themselves with hay for an even more attractive look.

Even Blacks can have the look, this is Hebe sporting the muddy look.

Midnight on look out,  "Go on she's not looking"

Marietta showing us how to get the best look.

I would really like some dry cold weather to get my fluffy Alpacas back. then my camera will come into it's own.