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, 30 December 2012

A Hogmanay blogette!

It's been a real wintry week for the boys, everything from snow, sleet, rain and howling gales to contend with so the best thing for them to do was 'hunker down' and keep eating the hay.  When the sun did put in an appearance the favourite activity was to roll in the mud.  Gully has been wearing his mud pack for ages now and keeps adding to it when he can.
Not exactly Hester Blumental or Nick Nairn, more Robbie's Rations as the sugar beet gets  organised in the garage ready for the boys to slurp!
And finally, the last blog of 2012...............Hunkey Dunkey and his hens, the alpaca boys and the two coughing and sneezing humans at Tigh Mhor wish all blog readers a very happy and prosperous New Year.  Keep dry and take care - see you next year!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas greetings.

Christmas greetings to all our blog readers from both of us - and Boris the bear!
Earlier this week we moved the boys down to the bottom paddocks to give them a change of grass.  Great excitement as always as they galloped around re-acquainting themselves with the surroundings.  The snow of last week had finally cleared but left quite a hard frost in it's place.  They have also had their 7 day Verm-X granules treatment with their feed.
Fyta (front) and Gaucho behind enjoy some afternoon sunshine.  The snowy mountains in the background and the bank of fog (or is it Scotch mist?!) make for an interesting shot. 
Faro also enjoying the sun.  His fleece is a lovely colour although there is no great length to it.
The chickens in their compound were pleased to see the boys back again.  Note the Maran on the right standing on one leg because she doesn't like the frosty ground and tucks one leg up into her undercarriage to keep it warm!  She is also just getting over her moult so she huddles up for warmth and the tips of her tail feathers are still to be renewed.  
Yesterday was a much brighter day so we decided to pen the boys and check them over as well as nail clipping the two white fellas, Fergus and Fidget.  Unfortunately Fergus was more interested in a wrestling match and spitting over everyone in the pen...........not the green lumpy spit, more the fine spray type (you know what I mean!)  Fidget on the other hand behaved very well with no antics or wrestling.  One of the 'casualties' of the spitting was Fyta - who is looking for a bit of sympathy - "Look what that Fergus did to my gob, Mum!"  He does a pretty good impression of Shrek's friend, 'Donkey!'
And big Fergus gets a telling off for wrestling, spitting and being Fergus!
And finally................Christmas jigsaw No2, not quite finished so still work in progress!  This is a Viz cartoon jigsaw which will always have a rude element (magnify the drum!) and may remind older readers of a certain 60s Beatle LP cover - younger readers may have to ask someone what an LP is!!  Have a great Christmas everyone.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Hungry boys and chicken etiquette .

A couple of shots taken earlier in the week when we had a bit of snow - no great depth of the stuff but sufficient to cover the grass and make the boys eat more hay and haylage.  This is Rufus eating his sugar beet with Gaucho to his right.
Looking for all the world like a couple of podgy Polar bears, Fergus (front) with Fidget behind him and Gully at the back also eat beet.  The two white boys need  a nail trim but we'll wait until next week (and milder weather) before doing that.  Time to move paddocks again too so they'll enjoy that.
Later in the week the snow disappeared but the heavy overnight frosts continued.  Gully is chewing on a lump of turnip which he enjoys.
There is always time for an argument when there is food about!  Fidget (front left) was chewing on the turnip when Gully (front middle) tried to pinch it but Fidge gives him the 'head in the air' and the audible warning which Gully understands.  Rufus (right) has his own bit of turnip to chew on.  In the background Faro (left) has two bits of turnip which he loves but Gaucho wants to share - another argument brewing!
Wee Eck gets to grip with his ration!  He sometimes takes a while to settle down to his food and has to be coaxed to make a start - we think he just likes to be hand fed and pampered a bit.
In the chicken compound the three new hens are growing fast and laying eggs now.  From the front in this shot are the Bluebell (new),  Duncan (Hunkey Dunkey!) the cockerel, the White Sussex (new), the Black Rock(new), Delilah (ancient - 8 years old but looking good!) and at the very back the Maran who is still trying to recover her plumage after the moult.  When the new hens arrived at night they huddled together at one end of the hen house whilst the two old birds were on the perch with Hunkey.  Now the two old birds are at one side of the henhouse in the nesting boxes and looking rejected whilst the 3 young birds share the perch with him!  What does this tell you...........? (Robbie says the old girls should change their toothpaste!)
And finally............at Tigh Mhor it's Christmas jigsaw time again!  This is the first one, 1000 pieces of a lovely cottage scene - wish our garden was like this just now!  Another puzzle is being constructed already.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

A cold, sad week

Well, a bit of a wintry week here with not a lot going on except carrying haylage and hay for the boys!    The snow adds a lot more work to the normal day and we are always pleased to see it melting.  This is Fidget (front) with Gully behind tucking into their morning haylage.
Rufus is also enjoying his feed.
One afternoon earlier in the week for some unknown reason, the boys started to pronk,  an activity usually only seen here at dusk.   Gully as always was at the front with his tail straight up in the air as he skipped along, followed by all the other boys - including 'beefy' Fergus who does not usually 'do' exercise!  Not sure why they decided to have a pronk - possibly boredom in the snow and a chance to get the herd involved in a warming game.  Lovely to watch though but not the best shot for our ageing camera to take.
Now that the frosts have come, the parsnips are ready for the pot.  As always the sizes are not uniform and some of them are huge but these two smaller samples show just how much they enjoy the organic plot with loads of 'stuff' from the boys to help them along.  Not sure that these would impress the big supermarkets as they tend to like 'regulation size' veg - and sometimes with very little taste!
And finally.........we bade a sad farewell to our pussy cat 'Pansy Potter' earlier this week.   She was nearly 17 years of age and we've had her since she was a kitten but over the last couple of months her health and quality of life have been deteriorating.  She is now 'sleeping' in the garden next to our other cat, her old pal 'Flo-Jo' who died a couple of years ago.  The boys always took an interest in Pansy when she was hunting around the garden, but she was always reluctant to go near them.  She'll be missed a lot here at Tigh Mhor.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

You can't beat the beet!

Gully, our blue eyed boy with the pursed lips!  Looking suitably muddy he knows that  there is something new for mid morning break - sugar beet.  The boys are eating lots of haylage, hay and turnips in the frosty weather so time for their winter daily top up of beet.
Fyta gets his head right into the bowl.
Gaucho showing the dark line of fleece he has running along his neck and back - reminds us of Rhodesian Ridgebacks!
And Faro back in rude good health after his ailment a few weeks ago, and eating like a horse (can an alpaca eat like a horse?)  He really is eating well now after his B12 and multivitamin mineral injections and scoffs all his daily bowl of supplements.
Wee Eck - scruffbag!  Loves to roll in the dusty shelter when he is wet to get a thick coating of mud on his fleece.  He is really enjoying his beet.
Rufus enjoying his bowlful.  The new garage is on the left in the background with the new house next to it.  Still lots of work to do but the build is progressing well.
And finally..........'the proof of the pudding' as the saying goes with 8 empty bowls - but just in case there is a morsel left, Fyta does the round of them all to give them a final lick out!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A 'blogette!'

Here we are again!   We think we've worked out the secret of the Picasa Web Albums and the amount of photos it takes to fill up the free space for blog photos - but it's still work in progress.  These photos were taken last week when the weather was really not too good and the boys got quite a soaking.  Fed up with the rain they had their afternoon feed then settled down for a bit of cud chewing.
Next door in the adjoining shelter are Gully (left) and Fidget and his favourite position at the back - letting someone else do the guarding!

Wee Eck covered in mud and with a little magnification, you'll see the white baby tooth which is still in situ  and refusing to fall out!
And finally............ an 'arty' photo of leaf colours and shapes, taken in the orchard.  Must go and try and get more photo space organised for 'the Sunday Post.'   Take care and hope the rain hasn't been too much of a problem for you lately.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Words only today I'm afraid as Blogger is telling us that we have used up all of our photo space - perhaps little wonder as our blog goes back to 2009 and hundreds of photos have been stored since then.  We've deleted lots of the old photos but that still doesn't seem to allow us to post new ones.  We'll see if we can get around the problem without buying more space then post another proper blog.

We are well as are all the boys.  The weather has been very mixed this week with rain, sleet, hail, gales - and sunshine!  The boys seem to be permanently wet but they don't seem to mind too much.  We've seen the TV pictures of the horrendous conditions some of you in the south west of England are suffering.  Hope you and your animals are all safe down there - and elsewhere if the weather is bad in your area.

We hope to be back in pictorial action soon.  Take care.

Shirley & Robbie

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Boyz allowed.

"Whatya mean - I look like a camel?!"  Gaucho gets up close to the camera thinking that it might be edible.   Fyta is behind him on the left (doing what comes naturally -  and frequently!) and Faro is on the right.
A quartet of bonnie boys - Gaucho (back left), Fergus (front left), Fyta (back right) and Faro. We've had frosty weather this week so first thing in the morning the boys follow the humans around waiting for haylage or hay.
Wee Eck with Gully behind.  Lots of the boys have wet coats following rain and sleet which we've had over the last couple of days.
Now a trio of bonnie boys - Fidget (rear), Rufus (middle) and Fyta all keeping watch over some sheep in nearby fields. 
Fyta checking out the self propelled PRV (Poop Recovery Vehicle) on it's daily round of the paddocks!
A slightly different view of the paddocks - entry to Tigh Mhor is on the left and entry to the paddocks is on the right, with the old plough in the middle.   The boys are behind the gate, watching.  A sawn up tree is still 'parked' here waiting for someone to get his log splitting axe out for some exercise again (hint!)
And finally .............another nostril shot, this time of Fergus who loves his photo taken.   His head is covered in Dock seeds as he has been rummaging around a pile of the dead plants.  The boys don't seem to bother eating the Docks during the summer when they are green but they demolish them in  winter when the plants die off.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Neeps and hay bale.

It's the time of year when the boys enjoy eating neeps (turnips!)  Well, most of the boys anyway, some need to be coaxed a bit whilst others chew them eagerly.  Fyta here enjoys being fed his by hand so that he can scrape the bottom with his teeth then snap off a bit to chew.
Fyta chews a bit whilst Gully, who is not over fond of neeps looks on.
Faro loves them and prefers eating them on the ground.  His fleece is a lovely deep copper colour at the moment but has no length to it - a bit like his black half brother, Wee Eck. 
So whilst the boys enjoy their veg, the humans have a wee problem to solve - how to get this bale of hay from the car park down to the steading.  A crofter friend had borrowed the trailer several times and when he returned it he kindly gave us a round bale.  We could have taken the trailer through the paddocks but they are a bit too muddy at present and we didn't want to get stuck so it was a bit of a team building exercise - except 50% of the team was still having a long lie in her bed!  Getting the bale from A to B using only two strips of black polythene, lots of calories and a few choice words is no problem to an ex-military man, but............
..............steering one of these bundles along the front of the house and through the garden can be tricky!
We're on a roll now, it's all downhill but mind the black currant and rasp bushes!
Easey -peasey!  
And finally...........a view from the build site, over the boggy paddock and the turnip-filled boys to the hills beyond!