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 June 2017

Warm days

Here is Fyta imitating a camel again - trying to get the human to turn on the hose so that he can get a spray first thing on a warm morning! Thankfully however we have not suffered the very high temperatures that those in the south have had to contend with.  With the boys not yet sheared we are careful to ensure that they do not over-heat.
Here he is again, indicating to the human that it can't be hard to turn on the water from that yellow hose and give the under-carriage a spray!
That's ma boy!  Faro keeping an eye on everything going on in the paddocks, especially when there is a photographer around.
Faro once again with Fidget who had been dunking himself in a nearby water tray during a warm morning.
Fergus - after a wet night and looking a bit portly (it's an optical illusion!) and in need of a good shearing which thankfully is due to take place this coming week.
As the sun sets and casts long shadows, Fidget lies in the longer grass and settles down for the night.
The Gunnera plant continues to grow with the leaves now standing at over five feet tall.  Not a plant for the smaller garden obviously!
And finally............just for a change from alpacas we were asked to feed our neighbour's two pet lambs today.  These guys can really drink - the contents of the bottles disappeared in seconds!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Big beasts!

Here's the latest implement  to help the ageing Grumpy Gardener keep the sloping paddocks in trim.  It's a Grillo, with 'forward' and 'reverse' gears as well as some other features which keep the buttercups under control.
In a nearby paddock the boys are not bothered by the machine noise or by the sweating human at the controls!  Fergus and Fidget are in the sand pit whilst Faro and Fyta are lying nearby.
All finished, time to clean the machine and put it back in the garage for another day.  The boys have not moved from the adjoining paddock!
It doesn't take them long though to come to the freshly cut paddock just to try it out - and they look quite satisfied by the results.   These lovely Irises are all out in flower at present.
We always try to keep some uncut grass within the paddocks, not only because some of the wild flowers look lovely but Fidget loves to lie in longer grass!
And finally................another big beast of a machine which we use to keep the grass in check but with a smaller beastie (Cupcake) in the driving seat!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Getting into summer

Feed time again and the boys, three of them anyway, come to the gate.  Fidget is the straggler who is a little way behind the others.
Fyta's fringe - thick, long and crinkly.
Fidget's fringe - thick, long and even crinklier!  A few too many buttercups in this paddock I think.
Faro with Fidget behind.  The boys have been on Verm-X granules all this week with today being their last dose for this month.
Quite a bit of rain this week, so whilst the humans take shelter inside the field shelter, the boys stand at the door looking in!
These Iris flowers still maintain a bit of colour although they've been soaked and blown about by weather in the last week.
And finally..............Friday morning and Cupcake has been up all night with the humans watching the election results - and it shows!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Shearing is getting closer!

Fidget - all fleeced up and ready for shearing at the end of this month.  His nature is always to hang back and let the other boys go first - he hasn't changed in that regard since he was a cria.
Faro - eating much better these days, so we are pleased with him.  Still the 'leader of the gang', wants to be first to do everything.
Fyta - Faro's best mate, where one goes the other will always follow!  Always inquisitive, he's a lovely boy.
And here he is again, getting into the water tray which he loves as well as getting his chin tickled when eating from the hand.
Fergus (left) and Fidget - the two white boys.  Much sturdier than the other two boys and with a slower, more relaxed style about them.
Fidget again - being on his own with the other boys lying down in an adjoining paddock, which is typical of his behaviour.
And finally............... this Celmisia (New Zealand daisy) plant is showing off it's flowers which look like fried eggs!  It is surrounded by Sweet William and Liatris plants which are still to flower.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Early morning photos

All the photos this week were taken before 8.00am when the sun was just beginning to get itself going and aiming to be really hot for the rest of the day.  Fergus on the rolling spot here.
Faro is the most active of the 4 boys, always grazing, often when the others are at rest. We forget that at this time of the year the birds start singing just after 3.00am, it is already quite light and the boys are often grazing then, so need a bit of a lie down later.  As we get into June there will be very little darkness some nights.
Fyta boy has spotted Cupcake the cat in another paddock so decides to keep an eye on him.  The cat is not overly concerned by the boys, but they are still wary of the cat!
Fidget near the gate, has also spotted the cat.  Cupcake tends to follow Robbie around the paddocks in the morning as he does his cleaning, watering and hay duties so the boys are used to the cat being around.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings were particularly hot and the boys gathered around the hose and the water cans hoping to get sprayed. We had temperatures of 28/29 degrees on these days, very hot for this time of year in this part of the world.
This is Fidget getting his underside watered.  The boys all love this and would stand there all day getting hosed.  They have their water trays and water troughs in the paddocks but the water does tend to get warm in the sun so has to be refreshed a couple of times a day - at least!
And finally................looking like 'butter wouldn't melt' as always, Cupcake takes a break from teasing the boys and has a snooze in the sun under the Gunnera leaves.

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.