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, 28 December 2014

Christmas week pics.

Christmas week started with a visit from four lovely tourists from Singapore who had traced Tigh Mhor alpacas through the internet.  It was the first time that they had seen alpacas and the boys seemed to impress!  From here the group set off to travel north to Caithness and spend Christmas there before returning south. Nice to have met you all, hope you enjoyed your holiday in Scotland.   Haste ye back!
A few photos for you taken during Christmas week which turned out to be bright, sunny but quite frosty during the nights.  This is Gully (front) and Fyta behind checking out some crows marching across an adjoining paddock.
The hefty Fidget as always wearing his inquisitive face!  He's well pleased at present because he is getting his favourite haylage as well as hay.
Wee Eck.  With the ground frozen most mornings it is chilling to watch the boys pulling up lumps of frozen grass and chewing it.  Brrrrr!
Gully (left) and Fidget enjoying the bright, winter sunshine which helped to dry their fleeces which had been wet since the previous week.
Rufus (front) and Gaucho survey the bare paddock.

And finally..............it wouldn't be Christmas here without a couple of jig-saws being done.  This is the first, a pleasure to make with loads of details and colour.  I'm working on a very difficult one at present which I hope to complete before 2015!  Happy New Year to everyone when it comes.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Walkies and worms!

To all our blog readers!
We had  another welcome visit from friends Alison and Brendan this week, hoping to get a bit more practice in at alpaca handling.  First thing then is to get the herd into 'the alleyway' and direct them to the catch pen at the top.
As normal Gully has to drop a load of beans before he gets involved with any adventure training!  Fidget is standing next to him.
Now they are all in the catch pen, waiting and humming! From the left (front) Fyta, Fergus and Fidget with Gaucho and Gully at the rear.
Alison has an in depth conversation with Gully giving him very good reasons why he should be a good boy and "Walk on."   And it worked!
Wee Eck with the head collar sticking close to Gaucho and you can almost hear him saying, "Hey Gaucho big man, tell them I don't want to go walkies today!"
"He disnae wan tae go so he's no gonnae go! Beat it!"
And finally...........we had a visit yesterday from neighbours Kate and Derek with children Rebekah, Bella and Ben, all well wrapped up against a cold wind.  The boys appear more interested in Ben's hat but he got his own back and asked the question of the day as he held a wriggling specimen in his hand, "Do alpacas eat worms?!"  Nice one, well done Ben - hope you all enjoyed the 'paca experience.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A bit of white stuff

If the TV news is to be believed we've all had a bit of wild weather this week, some folks more so than others. We had a couple of days of gales mid-week followed by some of the white stuff and ending up with lashing rain and gales again today.  Gully here is unimpressed by snow because he can't get at his grass!  If you magnify the photo you will see his lovely long eyelashes.
Wee Eck also likes to get his nose into the snow.  With this wintry weather comes  the need to bulk up their rations and a square bale of hay soon disappears down eight long necks!
This photo was taken just after 8.00am when the boys are all at the gate waiting for the human to arrive and dish out the haylage.
"Mmmm, thats nice" appears to be Fidget's expression.  Not only are the boys quite wet but they are also still having a roll in what was the dust bath - now the mud bath, as demonstrated by Fidget!
There is always one fella wanting to have his breakfast in peace and quiet away from some of the more 'pushy' boys. Fergus likes the human to put his haylage into his tub away from the rabble - and of course the human obeys!
By 1100am the humans start to fret that the animals will be starving (!) and so the sugar beet is dished out.  We use the pelleted sort, either soaked overnight in cold water or over a shorter period in hot water.  Fergus (second left) can be seen looking towards the field shelter where he expects his bowl to be placed - and of course the human obeys!
And finally..............Robbie removed an old cupboard from the inside wall of the hay store and in doing so thought at first that these brown lumps were mould.  On closer inspection of course they turned out to be hibernating bats and magnifying the picture shows their wee leggies and feet gripping onto the chipboard.  By the time Robbie had organised something else to cover them the bats had shuffled off to another dark corner of the store to resume their snooze. Wonder if both bats woke together or one woke the other up, in any case they moved on.  The Grumpy Gardener now has a new name.....................Batman! 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Casting long shadows

A series of early morning photos of the boys with the low lying sun in the south east just about clearing the trees and casting long shadows.  Away to the west the dusting of snow on the hills has become a bit more pronounced as the week has gone on.  The boys prefer this type of clear, frosty weather to the recent mists - don't we all? 
Fidget with his hefty girth - not fleece, more like body mass!  Gaucho is behind him.
Fyta - always interested in whats going on and always on the look-out for food. Now that the much colder weather has arrived, breakfast for the boys is haylege which is a nice change from the drier hay which is always available in their buckets.
Quiet boy Rufus who is never pushy about anything. On the extreme left are Faro  (rear) and Gully.  You can tell by the 'heads up' stance that there is a slight argument going on!
Gully is always interested in the camera.  He's a tall, slender boy but does not put up with other alpacas invading his personal space, although he gets into their space frequently at feed time!  Standing behind him and looking more like Trigger the horse is actually Fyta the alpaca! 
Faro looks as if he is giving a seasonal rendition of 'Silent Night' here!  He's actually got something momentarily stuck in his teeth which he soon clears.
And finally...........the 'Corkscrew Hazel' (Corylus 'Contorta') has at last dropped most of it's leaves following an overnight frost.  Although catkins are not normally due to show until around February this one has lots of catkins already, probably as a result of the recent mild weather. This contorted tree is described in one of my gardening books as 'a curiosity rather than a thing of beauty.'  Thats a description that can be applied to a lot of things!