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 October 2014

Grapes and things.

The boys had their monthly dose of Verm-X in their feed during the past week, and when that had been completed we opened the gate to the 'rough' paddock to let them get at new grass - they don't eat much feed for a couple of days on new grass.  Some of the boys are particularly partial to brambles - and also grapes.  This is Fyta trying hard to get at a grape with Fidget looking on intently in the background.
We grow the grapes in our Keder greenhouse and we've had a good crop this year.   Fyta again here, sucking on a grape whilst Gully looks on.   Note that the rest of the boys are not really interested.
Gully's turn to try the grapes.  He has these very sensitive lips and delicately picks a grape/bramble from the fingertips - no need for 'palm of the hand' feeding with him.
All finished - but Fyta is straining on the fence wire hoping for more!  Note how Fergus is away at the bottom of the paddock on his own in these photos - clearly not interested in the grapes.
We had a very nice visit from Erin and her grandparents to see the boys.  It was a bright day but with a biting wind.   Grandma Amy had been at our recent alpaca talk in Marybank and wanted to come along and see the herd in real life.  I think Wee Eck might have been the favourite on the day of the visit!  Lovely to see you folks - sorry about the shadow of the photographer spoiling the photo!
And finally........... the Fothergilla bush really comes into it's own at this time of the year giving the garden a real splash of colour.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Views from the top of the ladder!

We've had excellent weather during the past week with T shirts much in evidence - up until today when it's been very windy with rain.  The good weather gave the Grumpy Gardener a chance to get cracking on the annual 'short back and sides' of the various hedges. The boys have been keeping an eye on him whilst taking it easy in the sun with Rufus doing a spot of sun bathing.
The view from the top of the ladder, overlooking a field shelter roof.  Fyta (left) Faro and Fidget are relaxing whilst the human cuts, snips and sweats!
Gully is interested in the orchard ladder!  This very long hedge is predominantly Leylandii so some of the boys have enjoyed the occasional small bit of greenery to chew on. We keep the main cuttings away from them but we're sure that  a small bit to chew on won't harm them - it hasn't done in previous years of hedge cutting.
A movement on the track leading to the paddocks means the herd start to show an interest.  Faro is in front, tail up as usual and the others gather around.
Even Fidget has decided to stop chomping on the grass and have a look.
Wee Eck in front and Gully now want to have a look at what is coming down the track.
And finally..............the intruder is revealed - it's 'Cupcake' our neighbour's friendly cat out on another rabbit hunt!  Other wildlife seen this week around the place have been a red squirrel scarpering around the walls and roof joists of a field shelter, two red legged Partridges wandering up the track and flocks of Fieldfares stripping the berries from the Rowan trees.  The flocks are later in arriving this year and smaller in number so we wonder if it's got anything to do with the mild weather and the fact that there are so many berries on the trees everywhere this year?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A mild Autumn so far.

As mentioned in last week's blog, the boys were ready for a bit of fresh grass so we let them into an adjoining paddock on Monday.  The first couple of days on new grass usually means that they are not too bothered about eating their daily supplement but here they are making an effort to clean out their bowls!  Faro is standing in front of the gate and he in particular is difficult to convince about eating his supplement for a couple of days after a change of grass.  
Nothing quite like polishing up the teeth after a meal is there?  "Hey Fergus, stop chewing the strainer!"
"Who - me, boss?"
Fyta (left) and Fidget enjoying their hay. Fidget in particular likes to knock over the hay bucket then sit in front of it picking out individual pieces of hay to chew.  It's a hard life!
The PRV (Poop Recovery Vehicle) has arrived and the boys gather around in awe at the Grumpy Gardener's skill at keeping their paddocks clean - but think that he should get a life and a new hobby!
The barking of a neighbour's dogs gets the full attention of the herd.  Fyta is in front, then Fergus, Faro and Rufus at the gate.
And finally................there is still a little bit of colour in the garden, some of it coming from this Clematis Tangutika.  When the yellow flowers are gone they are replaced by the lovely feathery heads. The weather remains mild here and the leaves are now all changing colour.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Sunday Post

Gully is always up for having his picture taken!  Now that the temperature has dropped he's a much happier 'paca as there are not so many flying beasties around to bother him.
Here is the herd facing 'the threat' - our neighbour's ginger Tom-cat walking down the track and at least a couple of hundred yards away! Faro is in the middle of the group with his tail up - he's already seen and discounted the cat and thinks it is the human with the camera that needs watching instead.
Faro again.  We're pleased that at last the deposits of 'dumplings' are now changing to something more solid, described as a bit like 'hand grenades' according to one of our blogging friends!
Just like his pal Gully, Gaucho likes to pose for the camera.
The 'munch bunch' - Rufus (left) Fyta and Fidget at the rear.  We penned the boys earlier this week and trimmed the nails of Fergus and Fidget our white boys as last time they were done was the beginning of July when James Dixon the shearer visited. Fergus was less than impressed by the procedure and Fidget decided to 'cush' rather than have this front feet touched although his rear nails were done.
Thursday saw us in Marybank giving a talk to around 50 members of Club 55 in the village hall.  Unfortunately only part of the audience could be fitted into the photo but it was a lovely visit with plenty of interesting questions to answer.  The event was finished off with a lovely bowl of soup - thank you ladies, and hope that some of you can find time to come and meet the boys.
And finally...........this photo was taken this morning and is of the boys lining up at the gate thinking that it's about time they were on fresh grass in the adjoining paddock.  I've mentioned before that they instinctively know when it's time to be moved - deep joy tomorrow then  guys!  The blog title comes from the fact that the first edition of Scotland's Sunday Post newspaper was published 100 years ago today - just a few years more than this Sunday post has been blogged.