OUR SMALL HERD

Our original 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, 31 May 2020

Hot, hot, hot!

Looking forward to shearing next weekend is Fergus who has been feeling the heat over the past couple of days.  Really hot weather so he hasn't been moving around too much.
During the week the Grumpy Gardener had a few jobs to do and this attracted the attention of Faro (left) and Fyta, the 'Dynamic Duo!'
Fyta always likes to check out the equipment, especially wheelbarrows!  Whether it is the 'poop patrol' wheelbarrow, or this one pictured, or others if he is nearby he will always come along and sniff it!
We have all benefited from some excellent weather this week although boys have felt the heat and the sandpit has been much in use.  Faro is alert and checking out what the photographer is doing.
Faro soon settles down next to Fergus and Fyta will join them shortly.  A concrete block is also sitting in the sand pit - a deterrent against persistence by a rabbit to dig a hole there!
Water trays, water troughs and the watering hose have all been in regular use this week.  Yesterday and today have been the warmest days of the year so far - Spring ends today and meteorological summer starts tomorrow!
And finally - from a corner of the garden where this Viburnum rhytidophyllum plant is looking good having been grown from a root cutting.  It is next to the bird table which has peanuts in a basket inside - we can't hang nuts here as the badgers keep pulling the baskets down and making a mess!  If you magnify the photo you will see a baby sparrow on the right of the table.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

The hose, the crows and the Grillo!

We had some sunny days at the start of the week but the last 3 days have seen continuous gales and rain.  During one of the interludes in the bad weather, Fergus takes a roll in his rolling spot.
Fyta (left) and Faro in the rough paddock looking at a horse and rider who are passing on the nearby road.
Looking uphill at Fergus (left) and Fyta who are lying in the sand-pit with a Monkey Puzzle tree behind.
I've mentioned before our resident family of crows who spend their time in the paddocks.  Here they are making a nuisance of themselves by boring holes in the ground, tearing out lumps of grass as they search for worms!
The boys love it when the water hose is in action on a sunny day.  We spray them underneath but Faro also loves having the water play on his head and nose.
Fergus (front) and Fyta get their legs and under-carriages soaked and Fyta waits his turn in the background.
After a hosing comes the rolling about on a rolling spot for Faro.  Behind him is one of that crow family again having a bath in the water trough!   Grrrrr!
And finally......... the Grumpy Gardener got the Grillo mower out earlier in the week to cut the sloping rough paddocks.  This mower is specifically for this type of terrain.  The boys stay in the paddock whilst it is being cut and are not concerned by the noise.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Wheelbarrow and apple blossom!

It looks like the start of a busy morning for the Grumpy Gardener and his trusty barrow and the boys want to see what he is doing.  Fyta (front) is not dancing by the way, he is just about to scratch!
Very inquisitive by nature, Fyta just has to have a look in the barrow to see what is there.   He doesn't seem too impressed with the topsoil contents.
Fergus, now beginning to look like he could do with a 'short back and sides' haircut!  Only 3 weeks more to wait, Fergus!
Fyta is also in need of a trim-up now.  Our weather has been very cold during the past week with a northerly wind still blowing so the boys probably needed their thick fleece to keep warm, especially at night.
Faro has been rolling in the field shelter and loves to be covered in dust and hay.  Fergus looks on, unimpressed!
A lovely picture from a little later in the day when Fergus is having a lie down, watched over by Faro.
And finally.............this shot of the boys and the apple blossom was taken this morning.  We've been concerned this week because all the apple trees are in blossom and we wondered if the overnight frosts would affect them as it has in some seasons and we get no apples later in the year.  Thankfully it looks as if the frost has not damaged the buds.  Hope you are all taking care reading this blog, wherever you are during these worrying times.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

A normal week but getting colder!

This is Faro, 'guard' alpaca always alert to whats going on around the paddocks and ready to give 'the stare' to anyone approaching the boys. He is very intelligent, has a mind of his own and often likes to do his own thing.
Fyta, life long buddy of Faro and the pair are rarely apart. He's a cheeky boy, likes to play with the humans and has a lovely nature.
Most of the past week has provided warm weather, apart from today, and this photo was taken in the early evening as shadows were growing longer.  Fergus on the left, Fyta lying down, and Faro.
We have stopped giving the boys haylage now and they have reverted to their hay buckets and some hay spread on the ground which they enjoy.
The sun continues to set in the west and the boys begin to settle down.  We have a crow family which have nested for years close by and you can see one of their number near Fyta.  Our only complaint about the crows is that the whole crow family take several baths each day at this time of year in the boys' water troughs!  The Grumpy Gardener is kept busy replenishing the water.
Things are beginning to grow in the veg garden, the first row of second early potatoes are in, as are onions, peas, broad beans, and parsnips with more planting to follow in the next couple of weeks.
And finally..............this was taken early this morning, snow has returned to the hills and the temperature has dropped considerably.  The threatening sky produced hail showers this afternoon.  On a lighter note, the Swallows returned a couple of weeks ago and the House Martins returned this week and are now excitedly checking out old nests under the eaves.  Hope all blog readers are well during the present restrictions.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

More sunshine required, please!

This week has seen the end of April and the beginning of May but the weather feeling more like February!  The boys are at the top of the rough paddock with Faro, in the middle, alert as always.
The boys are all alert now as 'mum' drives past, trimming the lower part of the paddock.  The boys are not concerned at all by the noise of the mower, even though it is sometimes close to them.

Another day and carrots are on their way.  Fergus (right) was waiting when Faro arrived and got too close - Fergus gives the normal warning to 'keep back' with his head up as he spits in the air.  Fyta, left, watches!
The argument only lasts for seconds, Fergus has given his warning and Faro gives him space - peace is restored!
Now all three boys settle down to eat their portions of carrots.
You know when you have an itch which you just have to scratch...........?  Fyta has an itch and uses the Ryelock fencing to scratch it!
And finally..........this Berberis shrub produces really colourful flowers at this time of year, cheering up the garden.  Hope all blog readers are keeping fit and well during the pandemic.  Best wishes to friends Michael and Sue who, hopefully, will have a positive result from their alpaca enquiries - good luck!

Sunday, 26 April 2020

More fun in the sun!

It's been a week of glorious weather in the north of Scotland - something we often don't see in summer!  The boys have enjoyed sunbathing and getting wet.  Here is Fyta getting ready to 'dunk' in the water tray with Fergus waiting for his turn.
Fergus now gets his feet into the water whilst Fyta and Faro, at rear, look on.  Faro is not so keen on the water tray, he prefers to sit by the water trough and stick his nose in the water!
The hose has also been in daily use and the boys love to be sprayed.  We only spray their 'under-carriages' and Faro enjoys the spray under his chin as in this photo.
Always plenty of arguments going on when the hose is in operation - Fergus, nearest, and Fyta especially like to get really close to the human and get all the water!
After the hosing, the boys run to the nearest rolling spot to get covered in dust which turns to mud on their fleece.
A long distance shot of Faro rolling whilst Fergus enjoys a scratch!  The Strath Glass hills in the distance and to the west, still have some snow on the tops.
The Grumpy Gardener has been hard at it in the sunshine of 'lock-down' to sort out some plant areas, laying polythene then stone chips as a weed barrier.  The boys can be seen in the background.
     And finally........ in an adjoining field, our neighbour's ewes are having to put up with endless feeds and climbing games from their lambs!

Sunday, 19 April 2020

The weather is getting better!

We have had plenty of sun this week but always with a biting, northerly or easterly wind.  The boys haylage supplies have usually finished by this time of year but as a treat during this coldish weather, they have had more haylage.  Fergus enjoys it!
Fyta is also partial to several mouthfuls of haylage, and, like Fergus likes to lie down when he is eating it.
From midweek onwards we have enjoyed excellent sunshine which the boys love.  Faro (left) and Fyta here.
When he is in the mood, Fergus can be a big petted lump!  I'm taking the opportunity to tell him that he's  a very good boy!
I can't resist this photo with the look of contentment on Fergus's face.  We find lately however that he is definitely slowing down and whilst Faro and Fyta are often still running around the paddocks, Fergus often often just lies down and chews the cud.
Here's the cheeky Fyta who loves to be hand fed. He never refuses food and will clean up the other boys' bowls if they let him!
Lambing has been in full swing for the neighbouring crofter and yesterday he let some of the lambs and mothers out of the sheds and into the sunshine.  There were lambs looking for mums and mums looking for their lambs - what a noise they all made until they found each other!  The commotion was watched carefully by the alpacas!
And finally..............the strong sunshine brought out lots of Peacock butterflies this week as well as plenty of bees, which is great.  Hope you are all well, wherever you are reading this blog.