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, 25 September 2016

An apple, a visitor and a Pike.

"What are you doing in my paddock?" seems to be the question that Faro wants to ask here.  The other three boys are completely unconcerned when they hear the sound of an engine but Faro needs to check it out!
He's spotted the tractor mower arriving so thinks it's time to accompany it around the paddock!  The growth of the grass has slowed considerably now but we have to do additional cuts of their toileting areas - all that nitrogen makes the grass grow rapidly there!
We had a visit from Betty, one of our neighbours earlier in the week so the boys got to enjoy an apple straight off a nearby tree whilst she was here.
Three of the four apple crunchers - Fergus (left), Fyta and Faro.  Fidget was nearby.  The boys love fruit(apples, berries) as well as their veg(carrots, swedes) so they are getting their 'five a day' at present!   Plenty of windswept top knots this week too.
This is a normal Fidget trick - whilst three of the boys lie down with their faces into the stiff breeze today, Fidget faces in the opposite direction.  He's lacking in social skills that boy!
On Friday, a neighbour's cat, 'Pike' (a Dad's Army fan!) spent most of the day in this position, perched above the rabbit hole waiting for a bunny to emerge. We don't know how long he stayed there on Friday but on Saturday morning he was waiting once again - until the heavy rain started that is!
And finally.............the lovely apples which the boys were sampling earlier in the week.  This is variety 'Katy' - and they taste delicious!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sunshine and the Cavalry!

Looking out from the inside of the field shelter for a change.  The boys enjoy lying in the shelter looking out at the world passing by on the road!  Faro is eating his hay whilst Fyta and Fergus are outside, with Fidget around the corner
We've enjoyed some sun and rain this week but not nearly so dramatic as in some parts of the UK.  'Slim boys' Fergus (left) and Fidget enjoying the sun here.
And close by are the other two pals, Faro (left) and Fyta.  Regardless of the fact that alpacas have soft, padded feet they don't seem to mind walking over stones and rocks.  In fact they often seem to enjoy lying on hard, lumpy surfaces like this.
Fyta seems to be saying, "Bet you won't print this shot on your blog, Mum!"
The boys walking uphill to the field shelters.  Note the size of the Gunnera plant on the right of the picture - it's had a great summer capturing all the rain and sun in it's big leaves.

Adding a splash of colour around the garden at present are these Nerines with their delicate flower heads.
And finally..............we had a lovely surprise this afternoon when neighbours Danni and Julia arrived riding Eric and Mr Blue, with mum Kerry.  Great to see the Cavalry arriving in the car park!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

A windy old week!

A head shot of Faro to start with.  Not normally one to enjoy having his photo taken, he was OK this time.
Fergus - no problems with posing for photos.  If he could write he would willingly sign autographs too!
Although it's been sunny most days it has also been very windy for most of the week.  Flying leaves are always an attraction for the boys who eat them.  We got rid of all our Rhododendrons years ago because we were scared that wind borne leaves could poison the boys.
A favourite at present are the raspberry leaves being blown off the nearby canes and Fyta left and Fidget enjoy chasing and eating them. This has been the monthly Verm-X granule treatment this week so the boys are keen to get a taste of anything else!
However, if Fidget thinks that Fyta has picked up and eaten a leaf which is rightfully Fidget's then he will resort to sticking his neck out and making grunting, camel noises at Fyta.  You'll notice that Fyta is well used to Fidget's bad manners and turns his head in case a spit is coming in his direction!
The boys like to lie down when it gets very windy, and like this, face away from the prevailing wind.  Fidget is in front.
And finally...............the Grumpy Gardener has been hard at it this week moving raspberry canes from a rabbit-prone area of the land into the rabbit-proofed garden.  This shot from the house looking down on the garden shows that it is slowly filling out and we can't believe the difference after land drainage from a year ago when this area was a complete bog.  Note the lonely House Martin at the top of the photo, one of the last few remaining before flying south to the sun.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Making a splash.

The eyes have it - Faro watching the approaching human from the other side of the gate and not impressed about having his photo taken!
A lovely morning and Faro is fully alert, ears up, tail up - whilst Fyta and Fergus look like they are having a conversation.
Taken from another angle.  The boys normally don't lie so close to each other unless they are in their shelter.  Fidget is on his own, top right of the picture.
Here he is doing his 'Lonesome Dove' impression.  It's just his nature, he's very much part of the herd but likes to keep himself apart - and last to do anything, just following the others.
The next three photos were taken this afternoon with Fyta deciding that he wanted a quick splash in the water tray.
"Ah, that's better Mum, you've hit the spot!" - he gets his undercarriage and important bits splashed, and loves this.
The other three boys are totally unimpressed by the attention which Fyta is receiving!  It's been a week of good weather and we've used the hose to spray them underneath a couple of times when they want it.
And finally....................the Sunflowers are beginning to put in an appearance.  Only two flowers have emerged so far, both are of this yellow/lemon colour and the four plants are standing at over 6 feet tall.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Boys and gladioli

This just happens to be Fidget's laid back eating position.  When the weather gets a bit hot, or especially when the flies and midges attack his undercarriage then he just lies down and chews the grass.  He'll then lie there for ages chewing the cud, happy with his lot!
Here are the other three bandits, from the left, Fergus, Faro and Fyta.
A nice head shot of Fyta with the flowering gladioli, liatris and other flowers behind him - as well as the composting bins!
Same flowers - different 'paca!  Fidget has decided to get up on his feet and follow the other three boys.
Some hot days again this week, the hose has been in action to give them a spray and they have been making full use of the sand pit.  This long range shot was taken mid afternoon on a very hot day - Ben Wyvis in the background and topped by thunderous clouds.
The cool of the evening and the boys are in the rough paddocks.  "Come on boys" is the call and they all start walking towards their overnight paddock.
And finally.....................the gladioli this year have been stunning with a whole range of colours.  This one is a favourite.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Hot, hotter, hottest!

We've been complaining for weeks in this part of the world that summer was never going to arrive, all we were getting was rain and wind.  This week saw a real change in the weather, really hot most days and only Friday afternoon and evening were wet. The hose-reel has been in action daily, either to cool the boys, water the garden or both.  Here are Faro (top) and Fyta enjoying the sunshine.
This photo, taken at a distance shows Faro (left) dunking his chin and face in the water tray whilst Fidget lies in the grass.  Fergus and Fyta are cooling off in the shelter and keeping the flies at bay. Some days the boys spent hours in their shelter keeping out of the heat and away from the flies.
This was taken this afternoon and shows the boys reacting to yet another hot day.  Faro lies on the grass and the other three are in the sand pit. It has certainly been the best spell of weather we have seen for ages and we hope it will continue into next week.
Can't resist posting this photo of 'Cupcake', taken mid week as he tries to stay cool in the hot weather.
It wasn't all lying about in the sun for the humans however and the dry weather saw the tractor mower in operation Mon, Tues and Wed getting all the paddocks topped again.  The boys are completely at ease with the mower even though sometimes it is close to them.
Another picture I can't resist posting!  This time it's of a group of House Martins as they massed with others around the house in the early evening sunshine.  All the youngsters are flying now and the air is full of 'chirruping' birds!
And finally............. the hot weather has also caused many of the plants to flower in the garden.  This is a beautiful Oriental Lily which stands about 12 inches tall but has a huge flower.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Weather, visitors and visit.

This is what our weather has mainly been up to this week - thunderous clouds away to the west, rainbows, heavy rain, gales - and a bit of sunshine.  Not the best weather for summer.
There have been glimpses of the sun and the boys have enjoyed that and taken the opportunity of having a sunbathe occasionally. The boys have also had their monthly dose of Verm-X granules in their daily feed this week.
We had a visit from Robbie's sister Sheila, cousin Alvina with husbands Jim and Angus respectively during the week.  The boys have just had some carrots and this is Alvina deep in discussion with Fergus!
Angus tries hard to make an impression with Fergus by getting down to his level!  Fergus looks his usual well fed self - he should be nicknamed, 'Gastric!'
On Saturday we drove north to Portmahomack in Easter Ross to see Alison and Brendan at Seafield Alpacas.  Another blustery day with rain showers but good to see the 'paca boys plus dogs, hens, ducks and ducklings, all doing well. From the left the boys are Chocolate with Flynn behind him and Gully at the rear, Wee Eck and Merlin.  One of the dogs, Milo, is lying down behind us. 
I suppose the caption for this should be, "He ain't heavy, he's my brother!" Perhaps it's just a case of watching too much olympics this week for Flynn with Merlin on his back. Nice to see you both again, Alison and Brendan.
And finally...............some bright flowers, blue Cornflowers at the rear and Livingstone Daisies (Mesembryanthemum) which only open in sunlight, at the front.