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, 26 May 2013

Look Mum - no hands!

Don't you just love it when your animals start their antics and you have your camera with you - then don't you just hate it when the shutter speed is so slow that you can never quite get the shot you wanted!  Fyta wants to have a bit of fun by picking up the watering can then dropping it but unfortunately your photographer never quite manages to get the can at it's highest point and still in Fyta's mouth.  Never mind, you get the idea from this mid air shot - a Paul Daniels moment!
Fyta continues with his antics yet your photographer's technique gets no better.   Fyta begins to lose patience with the (amateur) photographer!
And he knows a good way of winding up the humans just after they have put fresh water into the trough - the reason for the watering can in the first place!
Faro has been watching the action from a distance but decides to come along and see what all the fuss is about.  These two are good pals and when one appears, the other is sure to be close behind.
Nearby, Wee Eck (left) and Gully are in the shelter.  Note that the green bucket has earlier been chucked out of the shelter - Fyta at his antics again!
One evening earlier in the week the boys had a pronking session so Robbie rushed in for the camera.  Too late, the moment had passed and all was peace and quiet when he returned.  Gully (left) and his pal Gaucho were the pronk-leaders.
And finally.............the Solomon's Seal are really growing now.  We started with a couple of shoots several years ago and now they have spread into two big bunches like this.  Love the 'dangly' white, pear shaped flowers.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Colour change.

There have been some terrific photos on various alpaca blogs this week showing lovely, fluffy 'pacas, mainly girls with their cria.  Thought we'd have a reality check and show you some rough and ready boys at breakfast time today after a very soggy 48 hours.  This is Fidget, currently off white and soon to be black!
Gully (left) who is fawn going brown and probably still sleeping under his fringe, with Rufus.
Gaucho has gone a deep reddish brown colour.  Gully in the background.
'Leader of the pack' Faro with his head adornment and Rufus having a scratch in the background.
Rufus again with an 'almost white' Fergus behind.
Wee Eck (left) and Fyta make a start on the breakfast hay.  Fyta has just tipped the bucket over , as he does, with all bowls and buckets!
And finally...........a colour to cheer up the garden from this Japonica bush, dripping with rain but nevertheless growing strongly.  More than can be said for the rows of early tatties which were planted more than two weeks ago in the veg garden but are steadfastly refusing to appear in the cold and wet weather.  

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Boys, birds and bees.

A fairly uneventful week here compared to the various blogs around with 'birthings' going on, especially those who  do DIY births of different types of animals, with little sleep (take a bow - Debbie, Barnacre alpacas).  Occasionally sunny, it was also wet and quite cold again this week but we decided to pen the boys for a check over (above).  The sky darkened and suddenly we had a downpour of hailstones which the boys don't really like.  We opened the pen and they all ran around the corner into the shelters...
Fergus is in the nearest shelter on his own (with both of us), getting cover from the hailstones hammering down on our heads....
Whilst the rest of the gang crowd into the other shelter.  As soon as the hailstones stopped, the boys came out into the paddock again.  Hardy, mountain animals  - with a high level of intelligence!
Lately Gully seems to be following Fyta's daily trick of tipping his feed onto the ground when eating it.  Both Fyta and Gully will eat from their bowls but after a while they tip them over with a foot then eat off the grass.  If the bowls overturn they will turn it the right way up with their noses.  Clever chaps!
Wee Eck displaying a healthy fringe which is black with reddish tips.
We always have a busy bird table, like Heathrow on a normal day, but this year it's busier than ever.  We have house and tree sparrows, dunnocks, 3 types of tits, chaffinches, siskins, robins, woodpeckers, greenfinches, starlings, blackbirds and even a red squirrel regularly visiting.  The close cut Leylandii hedge running behind the house holds loads of nests but this year, because we no longer have a cat prowling about, baby birds and their parents are tamer than ever.  This is a photo of one of three baby blackbirds regularly on the table this Spring, learning from mum and dad.  In previous years when we had Pansy Potter and Flo-Jo our cats, dad blackbird was constantly making the "chink, chink" warning call to the chicks.  This year the youngsters are hopping around our feet because there is no danger!
And finally...........we love flowering currant bushes and have them dotted around the various hedges because they are colourful at this time of year and add lots of interest to the hedge, as well as being attractive to the bees.  This one is at the back of the veg garden.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Wet,wet,wet!

Those of you in the south of UK have fared much better with your weather this week than we have in the north.  Most days it has been very cold and wet and on Friday the conditions could only be described as 'grim' with rain turning to sleet, then snow.  The boys didn't seem particularly bothered but you can't help feeling sorry for them when they are soaked.  This is Fyta in front with Gaucho behind.  Note Gaucho's ears - like all the boys they are either upright, facing forward or at various angles facing backwards.  However Gaucho is able to to point his ears outwards and to the rear, the only one who does that.
Fyta in front again with Faro behind this time.
Gaucho (left) and Wee Eck with their soaking top knots flopped over their eyes.
We had a nail clipping session again this week and this was the result of a spitting session involving Fergus (left) and Gully when they were in  the pen together.  Later in the week we penned them all again so that we could have a closer look at Fergus's left eye, the eyelid of which was drooping slightly.  We put his head collar on and he was as good as gold whilst we inspected him.    Fidget is at the rear
We moved the boys into another paddock today and look - the grass is turning green at last.  Must have been the soaking it's had in the last week.  Although sunny today it's been blowing a near gale and Gaucho's top knot is catching the breeze.
And finally..........Fidget eats all his daily supplement today, leaving an empty bowl.  He's really well fleeced up now - shearing in about 4 weeks time.