OUR SMALL HERD

Our four boys came from Ardo Alpacas in Aberdeenshire. We are not alpaca breeders and have our boys purely as pets. Our experience is that you don't need to be a breeder and that a 'batchelor herd' can give much pleasure to the owner. We have 8 acres including our big garden and grazing for the boys, 15 miles north of Inverness, Scotland. I spin, knit, felt and crochet with the fleece from the boys.

Clicking!!

Just a reminder that clicking on (most) of the photos will show them greatly enlarged.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Some rain for a change.

Four wet boys in the paddock, three grazing and Faro as usual, alert, watching everything that is going on around him.  We've had really great weather recently and the ground has been very dry but now we've had some heavy rain which was badly needed.
Fidget is a boy who often likes to be on his own.  Here he is one morning, chewing the cud and preferring to stare at the field shelter instead of being with his buddies in the next paddock.
Fyta had just had his feed and was having a lie down when this photo was taken.  He is an alpaca with a lovely nature.
Faro (top) and Fidget checking out what the photographer is up to.  This photo was also taken after their daily feed.
Fergus goes for the horizontal!  The boys are all well fleeced up now, especially the white boys and like to lie down when it gets warm.  The hose reel has been in operation a couple of times this week to give their 'under-carriages' a soaking, which they enjoy very much.
A long range shot of Faro in the paddock with our neighbour's Clematis 'Montana' climbing ever higher and spreading over the fir tree.
And finally..................this year's growth so far on the Cardiocrinum Giganteum - the Giant Himalayan Lily.  Over the last few years it has grown to nearly 8 feet in height each season and we've twice had 6 inch long Lily trumpets on top.  The flowers don't come every year - wonder if we'll get any later  this summer?

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Lovely weather, lovely card.

A week of good weather generally with some very hot days.  Fyta decided to 'hog' the water tray one day, just the business to keep the 'bits' cool!
And here is the bigger picture with Fidget lying down in the background and Faro still grazing. Fergus has decided to hit the shade!
Fergus decided that he'd had enough sun so lay down in the shadow of the field shelter.  He had obviously been in the water tray earlier because of his wet chin!
With around six weeks to go before shearing the white boys had to have a nail trim.  Our neighbour Dave gave Robbie a hand to give a pedicure to Fidget (next to Dave) and Fergus, in the background.  Fyta in front is in the pen to keep them company - and to keep an eye on Dave!
Outside of the pen and keeping an eye on what the humans were up to with his pals, is Faro whom we always keep out of the pen when dealing with the others.
The Swallows arrived back a couple of weeks ago from their winter travels and this week the House Martins arrived in numbers.  There have been plenty of arguments around last year's nest sights because the House Sparrows have decided to move in!  They are no match for the Martins though and nest building and renovations have started - a bit like 'Grand Designs' on wings!
And finally............young Julia our neighbour has done it again with another super card.  She presented me with this 'Get well' card showing the four boys (Faro in the middle!), Cupcake the cat in front and Pike the other cat on Fyta's head.  How do I know that it's Fyta - well, you can see his black legs at the rear!  Another brilliant card Julia, thank you very much.  And thank you also to everyone who has sent me 'get well' wishes after the unfortunate fall I had a week ago.

Monday, 8 May 2017

An unfortunate trip - and a visitor.

We're a little bit late with the blog this week as I tripped and fell badly down in Perth whilst we were en-route to the Scottish Alpaca Group AGM yesterday.   A few hours in A & E, an X-ray and confirmation of a fractured shoulder then a 3 hour journey back up to Inverness meant that the boys had a late feeding.  And we missed the AGM!  Fergus looks like he's saying, "This is the last straw!"
The setting sun casts some long shadows and the boys enjoy some hay before settling down for the night.

We had a lovely visit from friend Sandra earlier this week.  She's more used to looking after her donkeys but still thinks the boys are worth a photo or two.
Fidget showing the tell-tale signs that he's been lying in a water tray with the drips running down his chest - time you had a bib, my boy!  And by the way, the enquiring look is because his bowl is empty and he quite fancies some more!
We also had a very colourful character visiting the garden this week, one whom the boys took a lot of interest in as he strutted his stuff!
And finally, ..........here he is, one of two Peacocks plus another 2 Peahens which a neighbour owns and who likes to spread his wings and go visiting his neighbours.  Plenty of Peacock calling going on from early morning at this time of year and the hens have laid several eggs already.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Snow and Chuky Maclonglegs

Not the best start to a Monday morning for the boys this week!  We had a couple of days of rain and snow showers so the boys had to make the best of it.  Faro leads Fergus and Fidget out of the field shelter.
Fyta had been lying outside through the showers but decided that enough was enough now!
The showers kept coming but snow does not lie for long at this time of year, so the boys just got wet.
Getting wet then having a roll in the dusty shelter before settling down for some morning hay in the sunshine is what these guys like.  The human driven 'pooper scooper' can be seen on it's daily outing on the left!
Fyta (left) Faro and Fergus enjoy the view looking west whilst Fidget does his own thing in another paddock.
This Berberis  shrub is in full bloom at present and gives the area some Spring colour.  The boys can just about be seen in the adjoining paddock.
And finally ...........together with some lovely eggs, we received this lovely hand drawn card from Julia who lives across the road.  It shows Cupcake her cat (who lives the quiet life with us!) in front and the other children's two cats with one being chased at the top by alpacas Fyta (with the trousers) and Faro!  Brilliant Julia, well done. The children have named a chicken ornament in their garden - 'Chuky Maclonglegs' - no answer to that!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Visit to Seafield Alpacas

Earlier in the week we travelled north to Portmahomack, Easter Ross to visit Alison and Brendan and their boys. This lovely photo is of Merlin (left) and Flynn who are good pals within the herd.
The boys are all well fleeced up and need it at present as the temperature has dropped considerably lately.  Milo the dog is well known to the boys.
Here they all are, from the left at the front Chocolate, Flynn and Merlin with Gully (left, rear) and Echo. Plenty of land and grass is available to the boys and we were treated to a terrific 'pronking' display whilst we were there.
Alison's hat is cause for much interest from Merlin, especially the bobble on the top!  Gully and Echo are at the rear.
Chocolate is a lovely looking boy with plenty of fleece and very long eye lashes!  The boys' field shelter is in the distance although they only use it on rare occasions.  It was a lovely visit to see the boys (and the chickens, ducks and dogs!) and great to see you both again, Alison and Brendan.
Meanwhile, back home on the ranch our four boys continue to be well.  Fidget and Fergus are lying down with Fyta and Faro standing - and something on the nearby road has got their attention.
And finally.............the long time blog readers amongst you will know that each summer we are amazed by the growth of the Gunnera plant.  The Grumpy Gardener uncovered the two plants this week as they are waking from their Winter slumbers and beginning to grow.  These are the crowns of the plant which have been protected against the elements during the winter - we'll post another photo when they start growing big.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Chilly, but sunny week.

A week of sunny periods along with very cold winds - and a dusting of snow has returned to the mountain tops but at least we've been able to work in the garden.  A strange noise gets the boys looking around them........
........and here is the source of the noise.  Not heard or seen since the end of last summer, it's time to get the big mower out once again.  Once the boys know where the noise is coming from, they carry on grazing.
Fyta and Fergus keep an eye on the progress of the grass cutting whilst Fidget and Faro carry on chewing the grass.
A nice picture from later in the day, once the boys had been fed they settled down for a nap.  Looks like Fyta in the middle has already nodded off!
As always, Fidget keeps himself slightly apart from the other herd members.  He likes his own, personal space!
At the end of the week we had a lovely visit from friend Iain and his family having a couple of day's holiday in the north.  After a morning of mountain-biking they stopped off to see the boys having their carrots, then headed back to the Black Isle.  Nice to see you folks, hope you enjoyed your break - and the cold wind!
Neighbour's cat 'Pike'' has spent most of the week in one of the field shelters trying to catch a rabbit which has burrowed under the building.  He goes home for his meals then comes back to watch patiently over the rabbit hole.  The alpacas view him with a bit of suspicion however.
And finally.................. lots of colourful flowering currant bushes in the hedge, attracting bumble bees in the sunshine.  Have a very Happy Easter!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Just lying about.

Faro looks every inch the guard as he checks out the photographer.  His three pals are close by but Faro sometimes keeps himself a little distant.
And here he is, keeping an eye on his three pals who are lying about enjoying their haylage.  Faro does not eat lying down as the others do - but he does enjoy haylage!
Fergus (left), Fyta and Fidget - relaxed and enjoying the moment knowing that Faro is looking out for them.
Fidget - bless!
Faro and his three chums.  They have had a good week of weather, dry with a cold wind and they like that.
One of two old ploughs we have near the paddocks.  Time to get 'himself' to put another coat of metal paint on it for this season I think.
And finally..............a host of golden daffodils maybe?  Lovely colours anyway and great to see them in bloom.