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 September 2015

Ditching mud

It looks like Fidget is being got at by a 'hoodie' - but in fact he is having his neck rubbed here and is quite happy.  We put the boys in the catch pen so that Faro could have his regular drench then we clipped a few nails and checked them over.
Fergus (left) and Fyta in the pen.  Fergus was spitting at the other boys so he has what we describe as a 'gob on' here!  He has a small triangle of fawn coloured fleece on his right cheek - just like his mum.
The drainage was all finished last weekend and this shows it snaking away into the far side of our land.  There is still a bit of raking and turfing to be done by the Grumpy Gardener and so by next Spring it should look quite good, especially once some new fencing is erected. Any spoil lying around is still wet and muddy - and black in colour.  The boys in their adjoining paddock take an interest in what the photographer is doing.
Time for the boys to go into the rough paddock first thing in the morning but they see and hear a neighbour's dog some distance away, so that makes them stop, look and listen!
Across some newly laid stones as part of the ditching project.  The stones are smooth and rounded and the boys find them easy to walk on.
Until parts of the land dry out and the grass grows again there are black, muddy areas in this paddock.  This suits the boys perfectly and they soon be rolling in it and making an even bigger mess! 
And finally..............taken this afternoon, siesta time for the four chums in the rough paddock with the sun shining.

Monday, 21 September 2015

The boys and diggers

A bit late with the blog this week, been pretty busy with visitors over the weekend plus the drainage contractors were on site - but better late than never though eh?  A good start to last week weather wise, in fact not bad weather all week although the Autumn chill is there first thing in the morning and when the sun starts to sink in the evening.  The Swallows left this week and only one or two House Martins are left - see you next Spring guys!  The photo is of Fergus being inquisitive again, with Fidget behind.
Fidget enjoys the sand pit and gets into it as often as he can.
Faro taking 'adornment' a bit far with this necklace arrangement!
All four boys - Faro (left), Fyta, Fidget and Fergus.
Great excitement on Thursday when the contractor came on site for a couple of days of ditching!  Fergus (left) and Fidget eye up the diggers and other machinery.
Fyta (right) about to scratch although he could be dancing.  In the background (left)  the first 20 ton load of stones arrives and for the next couple of days the boys were kept busy watching the ditching work in progress.  It's now finished and the next project will be to have some new fencing erected around a new paddock and the evolving veg garden.
And finally...........speaking of which, I know you blog readers have been waiting  patiently for news of the Grumpy Gardener's progress on this project (!)  The nearest plot has been dug over by hand and rotovated with the Mantis rotovator, the next plot has now been dug over by hand and rotovated, the 3rd plot has been stripped of turf and is ready for digging and the 4th plot is slowly being stripped of turf.  We have more visitors arriving this week then a lone visitor the following week plus there is a bit of work to do following the ditching operation, so further hand digging of the plot may have to wait a bit!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The boys, Martins and Roger!

The weather has been pretty good again this week, a bit misty first thing some mornings but really warm when the sun gets up.  It's now making up for the rest of the dismal summer we've had in the north.  We decided to pen the boys this week to do a bit of nail clipping and get some cream on a couple of bald spots on Faro's legs.  We use long white sticks when we are directing the boys into the catch pen but the sight of the sticks is enough for them to start moving in the direction of the pen.  Here they are, having seen the white sticks being produced know that they will be going in the pen.  Fidget as always hangs back!
Some concerned faces from the pen - Fergus on the left, Fidget on the right, Fyta behind with Faro in the background.
Both Fidget and Fergus had nails clipped and both behaved reasonably well although by the look on Fidget's face he wasn't too enamoured of the experience.
Carrot time and Faro loves being hand fed!
Fidget having got over his nail clipping experience.  He is one of those alpacas with very black, oval shaped eyes but with a pink surround.
Couldn't blog this week and not mention the birdies - there are dozens of House Martins and some Swallows flying around our house at present and in the heat of the afternoon, sunbathing and cleaning themselves on the roof.  The air is full of chattering birds.   We only have one nest under the eaves but for some reason all the neighbouring Martins descend on us during the afternoon and evenings.  Lovely to see but they won't be with us for too much longer as they migrate south.  Not the best of photos but this is the south gable end of our house and you can see around a dozen birds flying about but there are loads more around the corner!  It's been a great summer for Martins and Swallows, we've had more visiting than ever before.
And finally...........introducing Roger Rabbit (or Woger Wabbit!) who is a big pal of the Grumpy Gardener, often to be found just a few feet from where the gardening is taking place.  Get the camera and he poses, get the 12 bore and he's nowhere to be found.  He likes blackcurrant bushes (too much!) so Grumps has spent the afternoon moving the  bushes so he can't get at them but Roger still appeared so that he could get his photo on the blog!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Visit to Woodleigh Lodge Alpacas

We received a very kind invitation from Wendy and Paul of Woodleigh Lodge Alpacas on the Black Isle to come along for some cake, coffee and alpaca blether.  We couldn't resist, neither could Graham from Ruilick Alpacas at Beauly with daughter Bethany and son Dylan and also Alison and Brendan of Portmahomack Alpacas in Easter Ross.  There to greet us as this photo shows is dad Sammy on the right, Mum Babs at the rear and young Dottie, this year's cria at the front.
This is proud dad Sammy, the boss of everything he surveys - and he knows it!  He's just had a few slices of carrot so looks pretty content.

Also at Woodleigh Lodge is Grandma Prudence who has seen all the excitement around cria before.  Behind her in the background are the humans chatting about all the hens and goldfish in the pond.  After that came Wendy's delicious cakes and coffee - and piles of washing up for Paul.  Thanks for a great get-together folks.
The lovely Dottie is still sticking close to Mum when humans are about but will soon wander off on her own if nobody is around.  She was born in June, just before the shearer arrived and she is growing fast, but not quite ready for the carrots on offer to the 'grown ups!'
Back at the ranch this afternoon, the heat is growing, the flies are everywhere and Fergus is in the shelter trying to keep out of the way until Faro wants to come in and have a roll in the dust.  You can see from Fergus's expression that he is not too happy about that, but he does let Faro in. Shortly afterwards Fyta piled in too, soaking wet from the water tray and anxious for a roll.
Meanwhile outside, Fidget is mowing the grass!
And finally............Faro, covered in dust from rolling in the shelter but pleased at having his head and neck soaked in water by a human.