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, 27 October 2013

Can we have some more, please?

Here is a face that means 'Mischief'! Not satisfied with his bowlful of supplement, Gully is hoping for more.  Always looking for an excuse to play with his pal Gaucho (immediately behind him),  Gully is usually the boy leading the group if a pronking session is taking place and often prances about jumping in the air and giving a two legged rear kick!  A happy boy.
This series of photos was taken earlier in the week after the boys had had their afternoon feed and as always there is an expectation that they will get more than their allocation - thus the pleading looks! Gaucho is in front with Rufus behind (left) and Faro, with Fidget at the rear.
If one of the boys is going to get filthy dirty, you can bet that it will be Fidget!  If there is no mud about, he will make some at the water trough. He certainly doesn't look like he needs any more to eat!
Wee Eck, with Fyta and Fergus behind.  Usually you can't see his black eyes under his fringe, but he has his head at the right angle in this shot. Note that one baby tooth is still in situ - and he's fed up waiting for the tooth fairy to arrive now!
Milling about and hoping for extra rations!  This week's weather has been reasonable, but on the damp side.  It's a windy day here today but nothing compared to the wind that you guys in the south of the country are experiencing.  Hang on to your bonnets!
And finally..........for most of the season this Fothergilla is an unassuming bush, it has white flowers in summer but looks like many others.  However in Autumn it comes into it's own and gives this vibrant display of colour.  This photo was taken a couple of days ago, but today all the leaves have dropped due to the wind.  Take care if you have bad weather in your area and have a good week. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Eye, eye, - Fergus again!

Fergus's conjunctivitis in his left eye has returned.  This photo was taken at the beginning of the week when it was weeping a bit and making his cheek wet.  It doesn't seem to bother him, there is no discharge or pus, just tears.  So it was to be another course of Orbenin ointment in the eye - so better get him in the pen.
We usually pen all the boys at once then release one or two, usually Faro and Rufus if they are becoming a nuisance to the others.  Faro (left) and Fergus lead the boys to the pen where we put Fergus's head collar on whilst the Orbenin was applied.  We took the opportunity to do a bit of nail clipping with both Fergus and Fidget the two white boys having all nails clipped.  Gully's back nails were also clipped and all 3 boys were very well behaved (for a change!)  By the end of the week after two applications of ointment, Fergus's eye has cleared up again but we will give him one more 'skoosh' of the stuff just to make sure.
Rufus is not a fan of the catch pen and he usually moans and hums all the time he is in there - when he is in a good mood.  If he is in a 'tetchy mood' he spits at the others and will kick, however he is also easy to work with in the pen and readily accepts the head collar.
You can just tell by looking at Fidget that he doesn't like having his nails cut!  He  struggles against having the head collar on, but once it is over his nose and being fitted,  he is fine.  He really likes a neck rub in the pen but outside of the pen he does not want to be touched.
I forgot to mention last week that we had had a flying visit from Lorna and Sandy of Ardo Alpacas in Aberdeenshire and Lorna very kindly left me a bag of fleece from Jacob who is one of her boys.  I haven't been spinning for a while whilst the house move was on but couldn't resist spinning up Jacob, who is described as an Appaloosa with the distinctive markings.  The fleece is lovely and soft and I've now spun several skeins, two of which appear above.  Lorna is selling Jacob via the Alpaca-seller web site (www.alpacaseller.co.uk) Nice to see you again folks!
This last week has seen large flocks of migrating Fieldfares descending onto the heavily laden Rowan trees.  The noise of their "chack-chack-chack" call can be heard all over the area and the sky is full of birds going from one tree to the next.
And finally...........you can see what the Grumpy Gardener has been up to this week - clipping a very long hedge - both sides of which have to be done.  This side borders one of the boys' top paddocks.   With another 4 hedges of various sizes still to do (all but one are double sided, only one adjoins a neighbour),  this should keep himself out of mischief until Christmas - at least!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

It's Bramble time again!

Brambles and other soft fruit have done well in the garden following the great summer we've had.   Some of the boys like eating the brambles although others are not quite so keen.  Fergus and Fyta are in the background whilst Wee Eck gets stuck into a berry!
"Num - num - num- num!"
Gaucho is partial to a bramble or two.
As is Gully!  In the background are Rufus ("I'm not keen on berries"), Fidget ("Brambles? What are they?") and Faro ("I'm the macho guard - I don't eat fruit!")
Fyta and Wee Eck will put up with hand feeding all day if necessary!  The boys also had their regular Verm-X granules in their feed this week so they deserved the berry treat.
On Wednesday we went to Inverness to give an Alpaca talk to the Dalneigh SWRI group.  Unfortunately the weather was horrendous that day with lashing rain and wind so there were several 'call-offs' by members leaving only 5 hardy souls to hear the chat.  Nevertheless they were a lovely group, we had plenty of laughs and of course the tea and cake went down very well.  Thanks for turning out ladies!
And finally...........despite a really mixed bag of weather this week, including plenty of frosts, we are still getting lovely sunshine which highlights the colours of this rose bush.  You can just see Hunkey Dunkey the cockerel in his enclosure on the other side of the fence.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The early photo shoot.

We continue to have good weather here, warm southerly wind and good amounts of sunshine which is marvellous for October (but it's all due to go downhill around Thursday of the coming week!) Early morning sunshine is strong and low in the sky at this time of year but the boys love it so they are up and about with the 'poop patroller' to make the best of it.  This is Faro.
For once Wee Eck has his mouth shut so his tell-tale single tooth is hidden.
Fergus, in shadow, but trying to work out if the camera is edible or whether poop patroller has any goodies in his pockets!
Typical Fidget pose and enjoying his own company as usual.
Fyta showing just what he thinks about these early morning photo shoots!
Thursday saw us in Inverness giving an alpaca talk to members of the '678 Club '.  There was a good turnout of 27 members who had lots of interesting questions for us.  Thank you for being such a lovely audience folks - and for your hospitality.
And finally..........'tis the season for fungi to be everywhere around the garden.  I've searched my Collins Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools but can't identify this type.  With over 3000 different types of large fungi in UK, perhaps thats not surprising!  Not 'mushroom' for any more - see you next weekend!