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, 31 May 2015

Alpacas? I see no alpacas!

There is a newcomer or two in the bottom paddock this week - sniffing the air knowing that there are different animals around but not able to see the boys  in the top paddocks.  This is Otis - more later.
Three boys in the sandpit - Fergus at the rear, Fidget (left) and Fyta.  Despite it having been another cold week, there were moments of sunshine when the boys like to get in the sand pit or do a bit of sun bathing.
Faro in the rear with Fergus.  The boys still have 4 weeks to go before shearing and with the cold winds blowing are glad of their thick coats.  The humans are still wearing thick winter jackets and woolly hats.
Fidget - not really chasing worms but enjoying some carrot slices!
And finally...................Eric the pony with Otis in front.  They belong to our neighbours and will be with us for a few weeks.  They are very friendly animals and enjoy helping to keep the Poop Recovery Vehicle (PRV) fully loaded on it's daily visit!  

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Visitors and a moth!

Yet another week of cold windy weather with the boys needing their heavy fleece to keep out the chill.  Here are Fergus (front) then Fyta, Faro and Fidget in the background at the gate hoping that the approaching visitors will have carrots.
At the beginning of the week we had a lovely visit from a group of ladies from Charleston, Inverness community - this was part of the group, the other part will visit in a couple of week's time.  The boys behaved themselves having been bribed with carrot slices! 
Fidget (front) with Fergus on the sloping rough paddock.
Faro is still refusing to eat his supplement whilst eating plenty of grass and hay.  No such refusal from his three mates!  Here he is wondering what the human with the camera is up to.
And finally.................I'm no entomologist but I think this may be a Puss Moth which was parked outside all day yesterday on the footpath.  It was about one inch long but can grow to twice that size and is regarded as 'common', although I think this is the first time I have ever seen one.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Still very cold

A fairly uneventful week has passed although the boys were well impressed to get onto new grass in the top paddocks. This is Fergus.
Fidget has emptied his bowl and now picks up all the tiny morsels which he has dropped on the grass.  Apart from one day this week when it was sunny the rest have ben bitterly cold with fresh dustings of snow on the hills each morning!
Shearing is planned for the end of June which hopefully will be much warmer than at present.  Fergus (front) and Faro are hanging onto their coats for as long as possible.
Fyta (left) Fidget behind and Faro who has a clump of lighter coloured fleece on his cheek which can only be seen at this time of year when the fleece is longer.
Fyta (left) with Fergus and seconds after this photo was taken Fyta jumped out of the way thinking that he heard a rustling coming from the field shelter.  Plenty of rabbits around just now, digging holes all over the place so it was probably that.
And finally..............Monty Don was showing on his TV programme this week the frost damage which had happened in his garden recently, especially to his Magnolia tree.  Our Magnolia got frost damage on it's outer petals turning them brown, but the flowers have survived.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Alpacas - the Election antidote!

Cold winds have still been blowing here this week but less so than last week.  Fyta is always inquisitive and nosey, coming up and checking on what the human is up to.
Here he is again, he's been checking out the PRV (Poop Recovery Vehicle) but is also keeping a  wary eye on the approaching shower of hailstones coming in from the West.  There have been many such showers this week and they are a signal for the boys to run into the field shelter!
Faro continues to be 'pickey' with his supplement feed each day but at least is eating some of it.  This week the boys have had the monthly dose of Verm-X granules in their feed so it's important that Faro eats it.
Fergus needs no encouragement whatsoever to eat - a change of name to 'Dyson' is on the cards for him I think!
And this is Fidget - alias 'Hoover' who probably doesn't even taste the Verm-X on the way down!
And finally...........we have had sunny intervals too this week which means that Fyta can get more sunbathing in!  The first Swallows arrived a couple of weeks ago and the first of the House Martins appeared today so there will be plenty of excited 'chattering' in the skies shortly.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

People are really kind.

What a lovely way to start a blog!  Those of you who regularly read this blog will remember we had a visit from Julie and Rob a few weeks ago, and they were interested in keeping alpacas.  What Julie didn't tell us was that she has a real talent for sketching and Rob encouraged her to send this sketch of Fergus to us.  Thank you Julie, it's great!
We had a lovely visit this week from Wendy and Paul of Woodleigh Lodge Alpacas on the Black Isle.  We took the opportunity to pen the boys again and clip some nails we missed last week.  Fidget and Fergus were clipped.
After a clipping session Faro leads his pals back to the other paddock whilst Paul, with all his aircraft experience shows where the exits are located!
Those alpaca owners amongst you will have experienced one of those heart stopping moments when you come across one or more of your animals looking like this!  "Oh no" you think, then realise that they are just sunbathing, just as Fyta is doing here.
And finally.............we couldn't do a blog and not show one of Wendy's famous bakes, made especially for the Grumpy Gardener on her visit.  Within hours the cake was reduced to this size.  Thanks Wendy!