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 June 2015

Shearing time.

Saturday was scheduled for shearing but Friday continued in the wet theme we have been experiencing here for weeks, so the four boys had to be penned to keep them as dry as possible. Fyta (front) and Fidget wait their turn for a short back and sides!
For a short period on Saturday the rain stopped and the sun came out and James and Noah give Faro the beauty treatment! Faro looks as if he is smiling but it is really a grimace, although he and his pals have all been through this procedure many times before.
Whilst James oils his blades Fyta suffers the indignity of Noah pulling back his lips and checking his teeth.
Fergus gets a clap and told he is a "Good boy" have been penned all night and just having had his lovely top knot trimmed.
James and Noah visited 9 'paca owners in Inverness and Ross Shires yesterday and by the early evening it was the turn of our old pals Gaucho, Gully, Wee Eck and Rufus to get sheared.  Here they all are awaiting the trim at Alison & Brendan's croft. Our thanks once again to James and Noah - Team Bravoshear did an excellent job, despite the 'ify' weather.
And finally..............this Celmisia Spectablis is thriving in the damp and occasionally sunny conditions.  A heat wave is promised for the coming week - that will make a nice change!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Pike & 'paca

A study in concentration! Fyta (left) with Fidget keeping an eye on a movement on the other side of the fence.
It's 'Pike' (or 'Pikey' to his pals) named after a Dad's Army character on one of his rabbit and mouse missions from his home with our nearby neighbours. He's not a bit scared of the boys. 
Pikey giving them a loud 'hisssss' which sent the two boys running!
After sharpening his claws on the fence-post he moved off to try and find an alpaca-free area where he could hunt in peace.  Take a bow, Pikey!
The two boys joined up with Faro and Fergus who is out of shot with a look on his face which said, "Relax, it's only a moggie!"
And finally............a lovely display of flowering Cotoneaster along the garden wall.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

'Pacarabbitponies!

Different cameras and phones being used this week for the blog so hope the images are not too blurred.  The temperature went up considerably for a couple of days midweek, then dropped like a stone on Saturday!  The water trays were much used during the hot spell, Fidget is in the background soaking in one tray and Fyta is hogging the nearer tray!  Fergus is lying next to Fyta just waiting for an opportunity to get into the tray when he moves!
Same photo of Fyta and Fergus but from a different angle showing Faro using the water trough next to them.
If there is one thing that Faro likes on a hot day it is cold water brushed under his chin and on top of his nose - and the Grumpy Gardener is happy to oblige!  Faro also has a habit in the heat of 'dunking' his top knot in either the tray or the trough with the result that the water runs off over his nose and face.
Mid-week saw the tractor mower getting used to top the grass on the boys' toileting areas where the grass grows thick and long if left unattended.  Faro (left) and Fyta are in the foreground.  We also took a trip up to Easter Ross to see friends Alison and Brendan who now have the four boys Gully, Gaucho, Rufus and Wee Eck.  All are in good form and are now awaiting the shearer in a couple of weeks.  Unfortunately the couple of photos we took of the visit appear to have been lost in cyber space so we can't show them.
A funny thing happened early on Friday morning as Robbie went to feed and water the boys.  We have lots of rabbits around this year and one in particular has taken a fancy to being near the boys.  Robbie was amazed to see Fergus lying in the sand pit with the rabbit lying on the middle of his back.  No camera handy, just an 'old boy's' mobile phone to grab a quick photo, but unfortunately it is not very clear.
Robbie wanted to get closer for another photo but a delivery van suddenly arrived at the gate.  The rabbit got off Fergus's back and sat under his neck as can be seen above.  A second later and Fergus looked down at the rabbit and their noses touched - now that would have been a good photo!
And finally.............we said a sad farewell yesterday to wee Otis the Shetland pony and his big pal Eric the pony.  Julia (left), Liam and mum Kerry came to collect them at the end of their holiday with us.  We've enjoyed their company as they are a couple of characters and so different in nature to the alpacas.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Summer - but not as we like it!

We penned the boys for a check-over earlier and this is Fyta waiting to see what is coming next.  In his case - nothing.  It has been difficult to get a day this week with decent weather when we could work with the boys.  It's either been pouring with rain or a howling gale - or both, and still very cold for June. 
"Halt - who goes there?"  The usual approach from Faro the sentry whilst viewing the camera with deep suspicion.  Fyta is in the background.
Meanwhile, in a field shelter a couple of metres away - Fidget (left) and Fergus in their favourite lazing about postures. As usual the hay buckets are emptied then tossed about.
Faro can't resist a bit of fresh hay but Fergus remains comfortably rooted to the ground!
Fyta sat out through a couple of heavy rain showers and was pretty wet in this picture.  There is a rabbit in the next paddock who is trying hard to push the Grumpy Gardener into drastic action  by digging holes around the paddocks and the field shelters.  Some years we only have a few rabbits - this year we have dozens of the little b.........(bunnies!)
And finally...............better late than never, the Laburnum tree has started to flower at last.