Wednesday 29 December 2010

return of the Dartmoor mist

and I for one are not moaning about it .............. yet!  Yesterday was the first time I had been able to get my car home, it had been parked at Poundsgate since we got home from Madeira last Tuesday.  The road between Poundsgate and Ponsworthy was only passable sensibly in a 4x4 until yesterday morning when the milder air and Dartmoor mist managed to melt the solid ice compacted on the road.

Feeding the Alpacas now takes a fraction of the time and not having to carry water is great, but don't the fields look miserable?  We need to do some serious poo picking this week.  We are going to wean the final two boys and Merlin the llama tomorrow (hopefully)  This will involve collecting the females and the two boys from Widecombe, the females will go into a clean field in front of the holiday cottages and the weanlings will go into the top fields well out of sight of their mums.  They are all eating from the troughs and they should have been weaned several weeks ago but with the cold weather and difficulty getting to Widecombe, let alone towing a trailer over there, we left them a little longer.  Jazz, Merlins mum is losing condition now so she really does not need to be feeding this huge boy, he is a bit of a mummy's boy though, so I am expecting to have a very upset little llama tomorrow!

We are off to a fancy dress party on Friday so I have been shopping for suitable clothing today and I had the normal things such as banking etc to do as well.  Now I don't like Newton Abbot at the best of times but this morning was just about the limit.  Everywhere I needed to go was either shut or opening late or the que was right out the door, even the O2 shop wasn't open!, the opticians had a note on the door saying back in 10 mins which was there for 45mins.  Thought I could get fish & chips for lunch, they were shut!  'Pasties' I thought, butchers shut, ..............half day closing! Sandwich bar shut! So gave up and went home for scrambled egg on toast!
Just got in, listened to the phone messages, one from holiday cottage guests.............. no cold water in the shower and the DVD not working.  So spent all afternoon trying to sort that out,  DVD sorted, shower not!

Looking forward to the new year, wishing everyone a good one.

Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Just taking a short break from preparations to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a fantastic New Year.  Lets hope that the weather improves and we can get back to poo picking and halter training.  Before we know it we shall be in to the show season, first the futurity and then for us the SWAG Spring show. We look forward to seeing you all in the show ring.

We have had a busy year here at Dartmoor Llamas/ West Webburn Alpacas,  on top of that Steve and I found time to get married on the 9th December, we had a lovely day with friends, a fantasic lunch at the Coombe House Hotel, we spent the night at the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter with dinner in the Micheal Caines Restaurant  which was a present from one of my daughters, followed the next day by a Family dinner, finally a visit to our local pantomime on the Saturday evening, before flying off for a week in Madeira which turned out to be a little longer than planned due to the bad weather in Exeter which resulted in our plane not being able to leave the airport to collected us.  Credit to the holiday company who put us up in a hotel, fed us until we could leave the next day.  Troubles were not over as we could only drive as far as Poundsgate which is a couple of miles from home but where our Holiday cottages are, so we had to spend the night in one of the cottages, finally getting home the next day thanks to Steve's Brother who collected us with the Tractor, my car is still stranded as our road is still only passable with a 4x4.
Christmas preparations have been a bit rushed to say the least but I think we are nearly ready now (to late if not)  This afternoon I decided that I really couldn't manage with out a Christmas Tree, so looking at the fir trees in the top garden that were getting very close to the power lines, Steve got the chain saw out and cut one of them down, taking the top 7ft out to provide me with a slightly odd shaped tree, looks great now it is decorated.  How good is that!
Any way I can't do any more now, we sat down to pot roasted pheasant for dinner tonight with a bottle of wine and we will enjoy our Christmas day.

Have a good one everyone.

Saturday 4 December 2010

A bit of Retail therapy

Dartmoor returned to it's usual December weather, grey drizzle, the trouble with this was it landed on freezing cold roads and turned to sheet ice.  We couldn't get out of the yard until nearly lunchtime, not only the roads were bad but the fields as well, Steve did the feeding up this morning and the light dusting of snow we had on the grass had also turned to ice.  Lenny in his rush to the food bucket fell flat on his face and although shocked and slightly embarrassed by this wasn't put of his breakfast.  Whilst Steve was out feeding I had a good session with the ironing, we have a booking in the cottages at the end of the week and none of the bedding had been ironed, I managed half of it before succumbing a peaceful cup of coffee.
After lunch I had to go an buy Steve's Christmas present or at least try to, the pressure is on this year as Steve normally leaves his pressie shopping until Christmas Eve but for some reason this year, he has decided what to buy and had it delivered to my daughters, neither of them are letting on as to what it is! ..........very frustrating, but it does mean I have to get my act together.  After traipsing around Newton Abbot.... not the best place for shopping I came home and brought it of the internet............ not saying what I brought just in case Steve's decides to read this ................ not very likely he probably wouldn't know where to find it.
In the meantime Steve was back up the cottages getting the bathroom walls prepared for tiling, checking the animals and shutting the chickens in, we lost 5 chickens to the fox last week including Christmas Dinner ................. a rather large young cock bird we had earmarked for Christmas!  neither mind we can always have Pork after all we have three pigs in the freezer.

Friday 3 December 2010

Long time no Blog

It's been a long time since I have written anything on the blog, mainly due to having a bit of a rough time of it lately.

Steve's Dad had been ill for some time and had been in a care home for a while, he was taken ill a couple of weeks ago and past away very shortly after.  The funeral was on Tuesday and everything went well despite it being very cold at least it wasn't snowing.

Obviously we haven't done much work over the past few weeks just the essentials, feeding, poo picking, general husbandry, we are nearly up to date with the ADE and Fasinex treatment just the Llama team to go, hopefully tomorrow.

We had a little bit of snow yesterday and as our roads don't get treated we have a treacherous journey to our fields each morning, nothing like you guys up north though.  We live on a hill and have to go both directions, the decision each morning is either up hill or down either way it is icy.

The Alpacas and llamas are all looking good they don't seem to mind this cold dry weather, they are eating a good deal of hay and what with their mix of concentrate and Alfalfa which is very dry they are drinking a good deal of water, which seems to be freezing up as soon as it is in the bucket.

Murphy and his Mum Jazz
A couple of weeks ago I was driving up to the fields to put the chickens away just as the sun was setting, I drove up onto the moor and got a couple of pictures.  I also managed to get some of our Llama cria Murphy who is growing into a fine you llama, he has such a lovely nature and I am sure he is going to be easy to train

Merlin has also been on a few walks and is doing very well, he has had a break from training over the past few weeks so this afternoon we put him into a catch pen, haltered him, he now tries to put his nose into the halter (his aim is a bit hit and miss) he had a small blanket on his back and we put a strap under his belly..... he wasn't to sure about that bit.

Merlin and Steve
The weather is causing chaos with our Christmas sales, Village Market in Widecombe last Saturday it was so cold and dull nobody much about, Leusdon Coffee morning on Wednesday was much better almost three times as much sold and tomorrows Christmas fair at Buckland has been canceled.  so thats all of our sales opportunities gone for this year.  No doubt we will have several phone calls asking for socks and yarn for pressies before Christmas but we won't sell the normal volume of stock.

Steve and I have something special coming up next week which I may tell you about later, so I am desperately trying to get ready for Christmas before that.  I have written and posted all the business Christmas cards, written most of the personal cards, some of the presents have been bought but not wrapped yet, food shopping list is started..... not sure when the actual shopping is going to be scheduled in! Menu's are in the planning stage, we have a big family gathering on the 27th so that needs to be catered for as well and just to keep us busy we took all the tiles of the wall in one of the cottages today so that needs to be retiled next week......... can't think why we did that!.