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, 21 October 2012

Frosty nights are here again.

Like many of you we've experienced some really frosty nights during the past week meaning frozen water troughs and pretty cold grass for the boys to eat - the hay buckets soon get emptied in weather like that.  Here is Fidget in the early morning not at all impressed by his cold breakfast.  In the background are Fergus, Gully and Rufus.
All the boys have frost on their coats but because of Wee Eck's colour, it really shows up.  He is surrounded by Gully, Rufus and Fyta.
And here is the evidence of the boys lying out all night in the frost.  These melt patches in the frosty grass give the game away.  At least the weather is normally settled after the frost but towards the end of this week we had lots of rain - again! 
We had a lovely surprise visit this week when Joyce, an old nursing friend from Shetland and her sister Kathleen came to see what we were up to.  Joyce is in the middle of this picture with Kathleen on the left and a bunch of expectant boys looking for grub in the background!  Joyce and I were on  Health Visitor training for 9 months sharing a flat in Aberdeen in 1981 and haven't seen each other since although we always exchange Christmas cards.  I hadn't met Kathleen before so it was great to see them both and hear that lovely Shetland accent again.  Alpacas are not exactly unknown in Shetland as there is a small herd to be found there.  'Haste ye back' both, lovely to see you.
More autumn colours from the bottom of the garden with this Cornus (dogwood) bush which is glowing in the sun but still tinged with frost on the leaves.  On the right is a Ginko Biloba tree which we planted about 10 years ago and is only now beginning to grow in size and stature.  In the middle is one of those blue coloured firs which are kept in pots and never usually grow more than 18" - always take  gardening books 'facts' with a pinch of salt! 
Hope you can see some detail in this photo which was taken at 'locking up' time in the henhouse.  On a shelf on the left are the three new chicks - Black Rock, Bluebell and Light Sussex - with their new boyfriend 'Hunkey Dunkey' keeping an eye on them.  The two older chickens are in their boxes on the other side of the henhouse - but they tend to ignore the youngsters and are probably jealous of Dunkey's attention.
And finally...........Robbie had a 'All muck & magic' morning earlier in the week -  remember that TV gardening programme from some years ago?  These are the three poo composting bays, the furthest away being around a year old, the middle about 6 months old and the nearest is the 'work in progress' bay where almost a barrow load of the boys' efforts are dumped each day!  Half of the contents of the current bay have been transferred to the middle bay and shortly the oldest bay will be emptied on the veg garden and all the bays' contents will move to the left ready for next year.  Last year 47 barrow loads of muck were spread - wonder how many 'Monty Don' will manage this year?

3 comments:

  1. Shirley..or is it Robbie (?), your composting system looks most impressive! We have a huge pile in the farthest corner of the garden which, one day we'll work out how to compost properly! Everytime we make an effort to layer, move, turn etc., it seems to overtake us and we're back to the mountain again!

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  2. Wonder why the boys prefer being outside their shelter to sit in the cold overnight?? Guess they find it refreshing! lol. Your dogwood bush is really pretty. I've never seen one. We have dogwood trees, but no bushes. Robbie's compost system is really nice and tidy!! How is your house coming?? ...debbie

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  3. What a frosty surprise ! We havent had any frosts like that yet .. and my soft lot are inside every night .... your boys are obviously much harder than my lot ! Waiting at the gate every night to come in for bed-time, must be the story that does it ! ...the compost heap is far too organised and designer !! lots of work and effort gone into making it look like that....Jayne

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