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, 17 September 2017

A drizzly week.

We've had rain every day this week, sometimes torrential down-pours then sometimes heavy drizzle.  The boys take off to a field shelter when the rain gets too much, lie down and chew the cud for a bit.  Here they are under yet another threatening sky.
Fergus (front) with Fidget behind.  Our two white boys don't look quite so white when they are wet and rolling about in the mud!
Faro (left) and Fyta, never far away from each other as they are best pals.  Well almost, until feed time when Fyta tries to pinch Faro's feed and things get a bit snappy.
Earlier in the week the rain was even more persistent with everything grey and dark - like Winter - brrrrr!
We had a nice visit from Robbie's school friend Sandy (left) who always manages to pay a visit when he makes the annual pilgrimage 'home' from America.
     
And finally................these are a type of apple called 'Katy' which have deep red skins.  Unfortunately we have a couple of young deer roaming around the area during the evening and overnight - and they do like Katy apples! Nice to see the Autumn colours coming on in the garden again.  The House Martins and Swallows have left for warmer climes already and lots of geese are flying high to their wintering areas.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Apples galore - and a sad farewell.

This year the garden has produced lots of apples, soft fruit and veg.  The boys enjoy a slice of apple, so after a heavy shower of rain had moved them all back into the shelter, it was time to give them some.  You can see that Faro stands guard in front of his pals!
Fergus has just taken a piece of apple and is happily chewing it.  Faro in the background has already had a bit.
Fyta is keen to have some - whilst Fergus's nose appears from the right looking for some more.  Fidget is inside the shelter and he also enjoyed his apple.
Fyta (left) and Fergus, determined to have another slice - if there is any left! They've also enjoyed some carrots this week too - lucky boys!
The rain has stopped, the apples are finished and the human is leaving the paddock so time for the boys to go out and graze.  They have had their Verm-X granules in the food this week, another month now before the next lot.
We had to say a very sad farewell yesterday to our pal Cupcake when he was killed by a car on the nearby road.  Blog readers will know that he was owned by young Julia our neighbour and her family, but Cupcake decided to adopt us over a year ago, since when he hasn't left us.  He was a dear chap and will be greatly missed by us and all our friends who have met him.  He's now in a corner of the garden where he loved to have a snooze in the sun.
RIP Cupcake - we'll miss you and so will the boys who looked out for him wandering the paddocks every morning, looking for rabbits!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Visits, peas - and a Uni-paca!

On Monday we headed north to see Alison and Brendan of Seafield Alpacas at Portmahomack and their wee herd of lovely boys.  Merlin is in front, Flyn in the middle and Chocolate at the rear.
Merlin in front again and he is uncannily like our own boy, Fergus.  Behind are Echo (Wee Eck) and Chocolate with Flyn about to do his 'business' on the left.
Alison and Brendan's boys look really great and not phased at all by humans, dogs, ducks or cockerels!  Gully is on the right of this picture.
Chocolate is a lovely boy with a 'Colonel Blimp' style moustache and beautiful, fluffy ears (well, the fleece is fluffy - not his ears!)  Thanks for a great visit Alison & Brendan and really pleased to see the boys again.  Hope you managed to get all your hay turned and baled before the rain came!
Heading back home we called in on a private estate which homes 'rescue' llamas, alpacas and various other animals and birds.   It was a lovely day and the setting was glorious.
Llamas form the majority of the animals and with a few alpacas.  They are cared for in acres of meadows and mixed woodland, all getting on very well with each other.
And this is George!  This ostrich is huge, towering over us and giving us the 'beady eye!'  He has very long legs and huge feet, and whilst we did not see him run we are quite certain that he could 'move' if required.  It was a great visit to a lovely estate.
Back home and it was time yesterday to hit the veg garden and pick more peas.  This has been a bumper year for peas, broad beans and runner beans.  We've already blanched and packed peas for the freezer, had peas and beans every night with dinner, given neighbours a few bucketfuls, and still there are plenty more to pick.  The two bucketfuls seen here, when shelled, filled the yellow bowl to the brim.  They weighed over 9 lbs which gave us another 16 bags of peas for the freezer.
And finally............ our lovely wee neighbour Danielle came across to see us one evening and decided to leave us a drawing of an alpaca with a horn sticking out of it's forehead which she has named a Uni-paca!  There's no answer to that.  Thank you for the lovely drawing Dani but I think Fergus would only want one thing on his nose and near his mouth - and that would be food!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

More sunny days this week.

 
Fyta boy, giving that inquisitive and inquiring look so typical of alpacas.  His right eye has given no further problems since he sustained a cut to his upper eye lid a couple of weeks ago.
Photographed with this three pals spread out behind him, Fyta takes to the water tray which he loves and frequently visits.
Fergus behind and Fyta in front.
Fergus, now in front and Fyta have been joined by their pal Faro who likes to keep an eye on what the photographer is up to!
Fergus (left) and Fidget, our two white boys with the the Gunnera bush just over the fence and now at it's highest point.
Still keeping an eye on the photographer!  Faro in the top paddock, tail up, ears back, whilst the human is in the lower paddock!
And finally.........................this Lily is making a real statement in amongst all the other flowers!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Just another week

Fyta (front) and Faro have just enjoyed their daily feed, Fergus and Fidget  are still eating, and the humans are still around!
Fergus has finished his feed and is clearly happy with life as he enjoys having his back scratched.  He is not always so accommodating!
Lots of windy, rainy weather this week and this shot shows the boys lying down avoiding the wind.  It also shows Fidget (right) keeping his own company, as he often does.
Last week I mentioned Fyta's cut above his right eye.  That appears to have healed up well and thankfully caused him no real problems.  He is back to 'dunking' his feet in the water tray.
Fergus never misses an opportunity to take a handful of hay.  It doesn't matter if he's been eating hay a lot, offer him some hay and he will always take it!
And finally.............a mixture of summer flowers including Lily, Verbascum, Sun flowers, Gladioli, Sweet Williams and Liatris

Sunday, 13 August 2017

More visitors - and Fyta's eye

The weather has been pretty good this week and Fergus took advantage of the sunshine to relax in the sandpit.
We welcomed at the beginning of the week another contingent of relatives from Norfolk who met the boys just as it started to rain.   Carrots were on offer and as usual Fergus was not shy in coming forward for some.  Hope you enjoyed your holidays folks - same time next year then?
Just before our visitors left we fed the boys and noticed that Fyta had blood around his right eye.  It didn't put him or the others off their feed - just as well as this week they are getting their Verm-X granules  mixed with their supplement. We put Fyta and Fergus in the pen and washed Fyta's eye carefully.  There was a lot of clotted blood to remove but the cut on his upper eye lid was clean so we decided to keep a check on it.
Faro and Fergus commiserate with their pal Fyta regarding his eye injury.  We don't know how he sustained the cut but probably by pushing his nose through the Ryelock fencing.  There is no barbed wire in use here.
Next day Fyta's eye was clean and has remained that way for the remainder of the week - thankfully, but we keep checking it to make sure.
Another lovely day and the boys hit the sand pit again - well, three of them do, whilst Faro keeps grazing.  The massive bulk of the Ben Wyvis plateau can be seen in the background, topped by mist.
And finally..................the Crocosmia 'Lucifer' is on display in all it's glory at present.  Yesterday, Robbie met two French tourists holidaying here and introduced them to the boys.  Unfortunately he did not have his camera with him but the couple enjoyed meeting alpacas for the first time.  Hope you are enjoying your holiday in Scotland and the Highlands in particular - haste ye back!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The guard

Faro on guard!  He likes to make sure that his pals are quite safe if a human is around.  Normally in the open paddock he is not bothered but if the boys are in a field shelter then he gets protective and tries to get between the human and the boys!
Fergus (front) and Fidget in the shelter, trying to wake up.   We're not sure if it's just our boys but they are really slow to get going first thing in the morning.
There has been plenty of rain this week, heavy at times so the boys have spent quite a bit of time in the shelters.  Fergus has been rubbing his nose on the wet ground again!
Fyta, nearest camera loves the shelter at this time of year because after the shearing he can feel if any flies are on him, and he doesn't like that and goes inside.  Heavy rain drives all of them in at the moment since their coats have been sheared off.
In our wee orchard the apples are growing well - these are Bramleys.  Plenty of rain this summer as well as lots of warm weather have given us good crops of soft fruit.  My blackcurrant jam is particularly nice this year - according to the grumpy gardener!
I love the colour of these 'Discovery' apples although it does remind me that the best of the summer has passed and autumn is on it's way.
And finally.................the Belladrum Tartan Heart music festival took place over the weekend about a mile from here with over 15000 welly-wearing people attending.  Thursday was mixed weather, Friday and it rained most of the day but yesterday the sun shone all day.  Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders were one of the headline acts this year and when the music finished just after 1100pm yesterday, the customary fireworks display started.  The last fireworks to light up the sky are always two hearts - clever eh?