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, 29 September 2013

Curiosity and the communal roll!

Always curious about what is going on around him, this is Gaucho and the other boys looking to see what all the noise is about.
There has been so much growth everywhere this summer with the good weather that we decided to top the grass in the bottom paddocks.  The noise of the big mower doesn't bother them, they are just curious as to what is happening.
An alert Faro with Fergus in the background rummaging along the fence line.  Faro has been quite 'loose' these past few days and we are putting it down to the fresh grass they are on.
The boys with the autumnal colours coming through on the trees in the distance.  There are also cows with a noisy bull in the next field so that is keeping them interested.

After watching the grass cutting, nothing quite like a roll in the communal rolling area.  There used to be a 'normal' sized rolling area here but Robbie has been using some of the turf (divots!) up at the new house.
Previously there was always a bit of 'argy-bargy' at the rolling area as one boy tried to push another out of the way.  Now the rolling area can accommodate them all at the same time as can be seen, and they enjoy that.

And finally.........Nerines, a lovely flower for autumn.  These flowers spread around the garden, we started with a few given by a friend and now they are in clumps in several places.  We've had a week of lovely weather but also a sharp frost one night.  The nights are pulling in and Hunkey and his chickens are all inside their house by 6.45pm now, lined up on their perch with feathers puffed up if it's chilly!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A change of scenery

What to do on a rainy Tuesday morning?  We'd decided to move the boys to the bottom paddocks on Tuesday and for several days last week they had been standing at the paddock gates, looking longingly at the fresh grass as if sensing that a move wouldn't be long in coming!  Here are Gully (left) and Faro wondering what is going to happen next.
One shout of, "Come on boys" and the stampede starts - Faro has already gone past me before I can take the photo! Fidget (right) decides he will have one last blade of old grass before sampling the new stuff.
This is the normal view of the herd at the gallop!
In seconds they are downhill, led by Faro and about to enter the bottom paddock.
And in a few more seconds they are grazing as if they haven't seen grass before.  The grass is lovely and green but does have an effect on a couple of them when the 'beans' disappear and a 'paca pat' is left for the poop patroller!  Fresh grass also means that Faro, a fussy eater, will not touch his feed/supplement for a couple of days and generally the hay consumption goes down for a while.
Elsewhere around the ranch there are some lovely colours.  We don't know the name of this tree as the label blew off years ago, but each autumn these little 'lanterns' appear which then open to reveal a couple of seeds.  With the leaves fading and dying it makes a lovely sight.  Under the tree you can probably just see the purple heads of a couple of autumn crocuses. 
And finally........this is Fidget this morning, well camouflaged by the Jerusalem sage on this side of the fence, whilst he chews the cud on the other side.  Have a nice week!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday was a lovely day, some cloud but warm sunshine.  This photo was taken late afternoon after the boys had had their supplement feed.  Faro in the middle of the group remains alert with his tail in the air whilst Wee Eck takes the opportunity to get in a bit of late season sun-bathing.
Here is the whole group with only Rufus standing to graze.  Gully still has his bowl in front of him but none of the others will try to pinch his food.  He is a quiet boy but should another boy try to steal his rations - look out!  The boys have been on Verm-X granules mixed with their feed all of this week.
This morning, after a night of gales and horizontal rain the boys are unwilling to leave their shelters.  They are all nice and dry and really don't fancy getting soaked so hay is delivered to them in their shelters by a (soaked) human!  The difference in weather conditions from yesterday could not be more marked.  Fidget is nearest to the camera.
More pushing and shoving around the hay buckets in the shelters with Faro (left) keeping an eye on the photographer.
Gaucho strikes a pose at the shelter entrance wondering why the photographer is standing in the corner where he normally sleeps!
The Rowan (Mountain Ash) trees around here are loaded with berries this year.  Folk lore says that this is a sign of a hard winter to come.  Possibly - but it may just be because we've had such a lovely summer with lots of prolonged sunshine.  This particular Rowan is in the chicken's compound and will soon attract scores of Fieldfares and Redwings to eat the berries.
And finally.........it's been a busy week just gone as we've now moved up the track to our new house.  This is the view from the patio, looking north across the top paddocks with the boys lying outside of their shelters.  'Tigh Mhor', which can be seen over the fence behind the shelters,  now has a 'For Sale' sign on the fence - anyone want to buy a large family abode?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

New hay and pulling faces!

A lovely crisp morning in the sunshine and the boys are still in their shelters.  Faro the guard is out first when the photographer appears, tail up and looking alert.  The other boys are just enjoying a lie-in !
The boys finished the last of the old hay a couple of weeks ago and are now onto this year's hay - and don't they just love it.  They like a handful in the morning and last thing at night as well as nibbling from their buckets occasionally during the day.  This is Fyta saying, "Ah, bliss" as he enjoys his hay!
Fidget enjoys his own company sometimes and loves to shove his head deep into the bucket, rummage around then pull out a mouthful!
I have a suspicion that these boys know what the camera is and like to spoil the shot by pulling a face.  Magnify this photo of Gaucho and you'll see what I mean.
Here's another one at it....... this is Gully pulling a face now!
And what to do after breakfast?  Have a nap in the sun like Gaucho (left) and Fyta do of course!
Thursday saw Robbie and I in nearby Dingwall giving a talk on alpacas to the Phoenix Club members. I'm the relieved-looking person front left, having done my speaking bit!    There were 27 members  present and it was a most enjoyable afternoon.  I was able to show samples of my spinning, knitting and felting and we had some really interesting questions from the audience.  Thank you once again Ann and members for making us so welcome - and of course for the cuppa and biscuits!
And finally...........we've had another visit from Mr (or Mrs) Brock, the badger.  Early one morning in the week Robbie surprised the badger in the garden.  Checking around we discovered how he had got in, then found that he'd also got into one of the chicken compounds during the night.  Here is the hole he dug getting under a disused hen house to get at a nest of bumble bees!  There were some pretty irate bumbles around when this photo was taken but it didn't seem to bother the Light Sussex chicken who enjoyed adding to the mess.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Summer is still here - just!

We are hanging on to summer as long as possible here although the air feels chillier first thing in the mornings.  Darker evenings signal that autumn is arriving with high winds blowing the leaves from the trees.  We are still getting good sunny periods though and these shots were taken during one.  From the left, Fyta Gaucho, Gully, Faro, Wee Eck and Rufus.
Fergus
Faro, Wee Eck and Rufus.
Wee Eck loves this particular rolling spot.  Gaucho is lying behind.
We had a visitor today when Sandy (right), a long standing friend of Robbie's from their school days visited on one of Sandy's regular visits back to Scotland from USA where he has lived for years.  The 'criturs' in the background think that it was feeding time so there was a good deal of interest in what the two old boys were up to!
And finally..........summer may be fading but not the colour of this lily which has just flowered.  We are looking forward to the other flower heads opening to give us a great display.