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, 25 October 2015

A busy old week!

The boys enjoyed the comings and goings of two fencing contractors this week as they fenced off (and rabbit-proofed!) the new veg garden, put in a new paddock and an additional bit of border fence. From the left, Fyta, Fergus, Faro and Fidget on Monday morning waiting for the action to begin.
By mid week the veg garden had been completed and the grumpy gardener was a happy bunny.....or at least happy that the bunny was now grumpy!   The boys can be seen in a far paddock overlooking the fencing contractors' truck in the new paddock.
Another view of the evolving veg garden with Faro and Fergus in front.  Note the large pee stains/burns on the paddock grass - thanks boys!
Friday afternoon and the new 'rough paddock 2' was in operation and this shows the boys cautiously checking it out.  It's on a bit of a slope and they seem to like that, being mountain animals n'all!  The scar of the recent drainage work can be seen in the foreground.
This was taken about 8.30am today in the new paddock, facing west with the sun still coming up behind.  Note the first dusting of snow on the mountains in the distance.  The boys have now had a couple of days to settle into the new paddock and they are enjoying it.
Also creating lots of interest for the boys this week was our neighbour Dave who was transporting tree trunks across some of the paddocks.  Faro is just checking him out.  In the middle of the photo you may just see a large log sitting on blocks.  This was dug out of the ground by the contractors whilst putting in new land drains and appears to have been buried in the peaty soil at least since the end of the last war when earlier clay pipe drainage was put in place.  When it dries it will make a good garden seat!
And finally...............at the end of a busy week the grumpy gardener made a lantern for our charity disco at the day centre.  He says he modelled it on himself, warts and all.  No comment!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Lovely weather again this week.

Fergus (left), Fidget and Fyta spot something in the long grass on the other side of the paddock fence.  Faro isn't nearby, he's not bothered as he knows what it is.
Fergus has now seen it, realises that it's not a threat and decides to relax.
Aha, thats the culprit - Cupcake the cat again, keeping the boys on their toes.
Fergus has seen it all before, anyway it's too nice a day to go hunting cats, better to have a snooze in the sun!
Faro, just keeping an eye on things.  Behind him on the other side of the fence will be 'rough paddock No 2' when the fencers start work tomorrow.
Meet some of the neighbours from the farm next door, a mixed herd with about a dozen Highland cattle in it.

And finally..............it's been another lovely week of weather with sunsets every evening followed by sharp, overnight frosts.  Some of the sunsets have been crimson or red but this one started as a yellow colour over the sky but by the time I got the camera out had started to change to an orange colour.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

A plum job.

Another week of very reasonable weather, feels autumnal and the leaves are now dropping.  Through the late summer the boys have enjoyed raspberries but now comes a different fruit - plums! We only have a small plum tree planted a couple of years ago in the new garden but it has given a great fruit yield. This is not the sort of fruit an alpaca is likely to find up a south American mountain, but they enjoy them nevertheless.  This is Fyta helping himself to a bit of plum.  Faro is not too keen on them - he prefers apples and carrots (also not abundant up a mountain!)
There is no holding Fergus back and he will eat almost anything - he would eat plum jam on toast if it was offered!
Fidget can always be relied upon to pull a funny face for the camera. He looks as if he is winking with his left eye here but in fact we were just about to throw him a piece of plum and he winced.  He always winces if anything is thrown to him, he always has done ever since we've had him.  Interestingly, we've noticed that all the boys have difficulty in seeing a raspberry if it is thrown on the grass near them - no problems with carrots, apples or anything else, just raspberries.   Could it be that alpacas can't see the colour red (against a green background?)
Fyta -"Are you sure you are not hiding a plum in that camera Mister?"
After the plums, the boys decide on a rolling session and this is Faro as he is about to get on the ground.  The large pebbles are those left over from the recent drainage work we had carried out. 
Faro has rolled, Fyta is rolling on the ground, Fergus is nudging him out of the way so that he can roll and Fidget waits at the back of the queue for his turn.
Another busy week for the grumpy gardener who took advantage of the good weather and got the (very long and wide) hedge cut.
And finally................we planted around 30 Gladioli bulbs earlier this year but only one has so far flowered.  Several have formed flower heads but the flowers are still hidden.  The wet summer we have had in the north seems to have set all the plants back this year.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A lone visitor with the boys!

Looks like the start of a race with the boys in a long line - Fergus (nearest) Fidget, Fyta and Faro but it was just early on a pretty dull day and the boys were trying to get their act together.  They can take quite a while to get going in the mornings.
Last week we mentioned that we would have a lone visitor this week - and here she is!  Sue is a nursing friend from days of yore and is up from the deep south for a bit of Highland air.  The boys are always keen on visitors especially since Sue is holding a headband knitted from the fleece of Fergus.
Too much posing for the boys' liking and they have decided to take off in the rough paddock, especially since there are no carrots on offer!
An empty bowl and Fergus - a familiar duo!  The look in his eyes says that he could eat a teenie bit more.
The Swallows have migrated as have the House Martins now, but these butterflies have been around the house enjoying the sunshine for the past few days.  I think the one on the top is a Small Tortoiseshell and the other is a Peacock.  Answers on a postcard please if I'm wrong!
There is nothing better than watching the boys when they are alert to a possible threat - ears up and facing the possible danger.
And finally.............this was the 'possible danger' - Cupcake our neighbour's cat who had come across the fields to see if there was any mischief he could get up to!  Butter wouldn't melt eh?