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.

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!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Another chilly week.

We've had a week of very low overnight temperatures but lovely, sunny days following.   The trees are all changing colours now, there is a dusting of snow on the mountain tops so the views are lovely.  Sometimes the mist rolls in as in this picture but the boys are unconcerned by the colder weather.  Faro is in the middle of the shot, ears and tail up looking like a proper macho!
Fergus's No1 priority is always his belly and here he is getting stuck into some early morning haylage whilst the remainder of the gang are outside.
The boys love their early morning haylage in winter and, like Gaucho and Fidget on the right will often lie in the frosty grass, eyes closed and chewing contentedly.  Turnips are also on the menu now which keep their teeth nice and clean.
Things are changing in the chicken run as Hunkey Dunkey the Buff Orpington cockerel, the Maran (behind him in the picture) and Delilah the old hen at the feeder, are all moulting.  The henhouse is full of feathers and these three look more than a little disheveled.  The three new hens however are growing fast, they've started to lay and are beginning to look like adult birds.  They still behave like youngsters though as they chase each other around, trying out their wings and puffing out their neck feathers.  By the turn of the year the old birds will have their new feathers in place and Hunkey will be in his element again.
'Himself' is still snipping and cutting at the hedges for a second week and the size of the bonfire of hedge trimmings will soon be enormous.  The boys are protected in their paddock  from the west  by this high Leylandi hedge which has now had a short back & sides.

Here are two happy dogs who are well known to the builders on our house site as they pass every day on their 'walkies!'   Sydney (left) and Coles are brother and sister and belong to our neighbour Ann whose brother Robert and wife Carole paid a visit to the site yesterday.   Robbie was left holding the dogs, and as he had the camera with him took this lovely shot. 
And finally............speaking of the house site, this is our new build from a different angle.  This is taken from the south looking north with the boys in their paddock down to the left (behind the cement mixer!)  Work is progressing well, we are just hoping that more of the outside work can be finished before the bad weather closes in.