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 5 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, 11 February 2018

Carrot-time again.

Cheeky!  Fyta looking for more bits of carrot or swede which the boys were being fed - just as a change from hay, haylage and grass.    
Fergus looking a bit more serene and contemplative!  He's already munched his way through a large carrot!
And Faro just loves carrots and swede - with a bit of apple if possible!  He's been eating really well over the last year or so, quite a change for the 'picky-eater' which he was previously.
A trio of boys - Fidget in the background, Fyta and Faro.  The boys have all been on their Verm-X granules mixed with their feed this week.
A quartet of boys!  Thankfully, the snow has all gone again but the frosty overnight temperatures remain but more snow is forecast.
A long range shot taken by the Grumpy Gardener down in the veg garden looking uphill at the four boys who were having an afternoon lie-down.
And finally..............at last, signs of approaching Spring!  I know that in some parts of the country the snowdrops and daffodils are already in bloom, but not here.  It's been a long, cold winter and the daffs are only just beginning to come through now.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

A visit - and visitors.

Early in the week the sun was shining and the boys were enjoying their grass.  This is Fergus, looking well fleeced up and also pretty wet after earlier rain.
On Wednesday we went to visit friend John MacKenzie on his farm above Dingwall in Ross-Shire. John has a variety of animals including three alpaca boys, Valais Black Nose sheep, Belted Galloway cattle and Highland cattle.  This is one of his boys, William, with one of the lovely Black Nose sheep behind and under cover during a day of horizontal sleet and snow - again! We've mentioned John before on this blog as he is responsible for a quite unique business, the Glenwyvis Distillery (www.glenwyvis.com) which is owned by community shareholders who raised the funds required.  Another unique feature is that all the electricity used on the farm, electric vehicles and the distillery is generated by John via wind, solar or hydro on his land.  The alpacas and other animals wandering around adjoining fields are also a great attraction for visitors.
Large patches of snow still covered some of the boys' paddocks until late in the week.  The daylight is lengthening now so the boys are happy about that - being able to graze until late afternoon. From the left, Faro, Fyta and Fergus.
Fidget and his feed bowl which kept slipping down the slope on the snow - much to his surprise and amusement!
On Friday we had a lovely visit from Alison and Brendan of Seafield Alpacas up in Portmahomack, Ross-shire. The weather was great for a change, no rain or snow and some welcome sunshine.
We've been waiting for better weather so that we could trim the white boys' nails and Alison very kindly volunteered to give us a hand.  Fidget (left) as usual decided that lying down is the best policy to stop humans touching his feet. We persevered though and both boys had the trim.
And finally.............. I think a suitable caption is required for this shot of Fergus looking up at Alison's hat which she knitted from the fleece of Fergus and her boy Gaucho.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Green again - at last!

Fyta, like all the boys is delighted that the snow has gone and everything looks green again.  Hay and haylage is fine to eat but grass remains the main diet.
Fidget (left), Fergus and Fyta ignore the frost patches on the grass and keep nibbling!  Fyta at the rear is chewing but he looks like he is pulling a face!
The two white boys, Fergus and Fidget with Faro.  Snow is still lying on the mountains (behind the Monkey Puzzle tree!) and the mist has been rising on the cold mornings.
Faro with his pal Fyta.  They often go charging around the paddocks together, 'pronking' and obviously enjoying themselves.  The other two white boys don't do pronking - ever!
Fidget - 'bovver boy' of the herd, always ready to chase the others and make camel noises if they get into his space, but a lovely boy none the less.  To see him running across the paddock when his name is called at feeding time is wonderful - because he doesn't otherwise 'do' running or anything energetic!
The Grumpy Gardener was dodging the showers yesterday down in the veg garden as he gets the site levelled for the Keder greenhouse (behind the wheelbarrow!)   This double rainbow appeared in the sky minutes before the horizontal rain and gales started!  The boys are in a paddock on the right - you might need to magnify the picture to see them.
And finally..................this is 'Rabbitz', the human-friendly bunny who lives under the field shelter.  No doubt she will be 'producing' shortly in Spring - more aggro for the Grumpy Gardener!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

And still more snow!

A lovely picture of Faro in the Tuesday afternoon sunshine waiting for his feed and no doubt contemplating another very cold night.
Conditions were not so sparkling earlier on Tuesday morning - this was taken just after 8.00am before the sun was properly up with the boys obviously wondering where the green grass had gone - again!
And within minutes the first of many snow showers had started so the boys quickly started to chew on their haylage.
Like all of the boys, Fidget went around for most of the day with snow on his back until the afternoon sun melted it.
As normal when we get heavy snow, the Grumpy Shoveller does his best to create a few pathways to help the boys, and the humans to get around the paddocks.
On Thursday it was obvious that the snow would not melt any time soon, so once again grass was bared so that the boys could have a nibble.  Days of hay and haylage make the boys very keen to smell and taste grass again.
A long range shot of all four boys lying down in their shelter looking out on very snowy paddocks.  These scenes attracted the attention of at least two different amateur photographers from the nearby road.  Click on the photo to magnify.
And finally...................even Boris the Bear looks disgruntled in the snow which is still with us as I type this.  The overnight temperatures have consistently been at minus five degrees and early yesterday evening they were at minus seven!  We are hoping that this will be the last photos of snow for a while on the blog.  Keep warm!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sparkling days and frosty nights.

Mid afternoon and the boys start gathering in one paddock and look out for the humans coming down the track with the feed bowls!  From the left, Faro, Fergus and Fyta.
The fourth member of the group, Fidget, gets in the picture.  The only time that Fidget ever runs is when he sees the human with the bowls - he knows that it's feeding time!  It's been Verm-X granule time again this week, mixed daily into their feed.
And here he is, looking pretty scruffy (as always) but certainly nice and warm in his fleecy coat.
This shot was taken on Thursday morning about 8.30 when the hard overnight frost was still covering everything - including Fidget.  It was minus 5 degrees on several nights this week but it didn't seem to bother the boys.
Whilst Fidget lies outside in the frost, the other boys are tucking into their hay buckets in the shelter.  They are eating a lot of hay and haylage at the moment, probably because the grass is either frozen completely or very cold to eat.
Morning after morning this week the water troughs have been frozen solid.  The ice is knocked out, fresh water poured in, then a couple of hours later it is frozen again!  Winter weather makes more work for sure.
And finally...................things are stirring in the veg garden, despite the frozen soil.  The Grumpy Gardener has decided that we should buy a Keder greenhouse - we had one with our last house and found it very useful.  A level site is required so a certain amount of digging and leveling is required to get it prepared.  The top 3 inches of soil is frozen solid but underneath that the soil is loose. It will not be erected until March so he'll do his level best to get the site organised before then...........!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Another week, another year.

A happy New Year to all blog readers!  We've entered this year in the same condition as we left last year with plenty of frost and ice around.  The boys continue to enjoy their bowls of sugar beet.
Faro looks suitably scruffy having got soaking wet in pouring rain then thoroughly enjoying a rolling session in the dust of his shelter.
Every last drop counts for Fyta who makes a habit of going around the empty bowls to check if any morsels remain!
There is a look of disappointment from Fidget as he is presented with an empty bowl.  "What good is that?" you can almost hear him ask!
And so he ambles off, looking a bit like the man on the KFC adverts with the goatee beard.  Fidget always likes to make a mess when he eats his sugar beet.
These are the crowns of the two Gunnera plants, covered over by their dead leaves at the end of Autumn.  The boys are in the adjoining paddock.
And finally........................the veg garden looks a forlorn and chilly place at this time of year with only some leeks in place.  The composting bins are all full and in a few months the contents will be used once again on the garden.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

End of year post.

We've had a return to snowy conditions as have many of you in UK.  If you have alpacas or other animals hope they are all OK in this weather.  Fyta is not concerned by the snow - as long as the food keeps coming!
Here are all four of the boys tucking into their bowls of sugar beet.  The overnight temperatures have been down to around -5 degrees with very clear moon-lit nights.
'Big Man' Fergus, following the human with the snow scraper hoping that more grass will be uncovered - even though it is frozen!
As the sun goes down Fyta and Fidget are nibbling at the areas of cleared grass.  The clear skies once again an indication of sharp frost to come.
The nights are cold but the days are sparkling in the sun. This long range shot shows from left, Fidget, Faro, Fyta and Fergus inside the field shelter.
Regular blog readers will know that we usually have a few jigsaws 'on the go' over the festive period - makes a change from poor TV programmes!  This is a 1000 piece festive scene.
And finally................ some 'paca themed Christmas gifts which I received - a year planner, a note-book and a pair of lovely socks!  Robbie and I wish all blog readers a very happy New Year and best wishes for 2018.