Our original 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 5 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.


Just a reminder that clicking on (most) of the photos will show them greatly enlarged.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Sentries, Belted Galloways and a pumpkin!

Making a very good job of his duties as gate guard and sentry is Fyta, although he is never as alert as his pal Faro who really is the herd sentry!
Here is Faro on the left with Fergus, but whilst he may be having a rest from his sentry duties, he is still alert and checking to see what the human is doing.  Meanwhile Fergus struggles to keep his eyes open!
More lovely, autumnal weather this week, a joy for alpacas and grumpy gardeners alike!  This is looking north across the paddocks with Ben Wyvis topped with cloud, in the background.
Another day, early morning looking north again but with Fidget looking for a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow!

Midweek we travelled to nearby Dingwall, joined up with Wendy from Woodleigh Lodge alpacas and visited the alpacas at the Glenwyvis distillery site at Scroggie Farm. Although it was a very windy day and the skies looked threatening it did not rain and we were able to say "Hello" to owner John's three boys. These boys featured in an article in the summer 2016 (issue 66) of the BAS alpaca magazine.
Apart from his alpacas John also keeps Valais Blacknose Swiss sheep and belted Galloway cattle and this calf has been weaned and enjoys being with the 'pacas.  His mother is only yards away on the other side of the fence to the left and kept a wary eye on the human activity.  All lovely animals and enjoying having panoramic views over Ross-shire.
And finally..............'Cupcake' the cat does not look overly impressed by the grumpy gardener's efforts at lantern making for halloween!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Lovely autumnal weather.

The four boys have just had their daily feed supplement and will shortly lie down and let it settle.  They have also had their monthly dose of Verm-X granules in the mix during this week.  We've been feeding Faro a granulated feed over the past 3 weeks and he is enjoying it much more than the alpaca course mix.  Long may that continue as he is a 'picky' eater.
The glorious autumn weather has continued this week with lovely sunny days and chilly nights.   The boys have a backdrop of the mountains and the changing colours of the leaves.
This picture tells it all about how Fidget often likes to do his own thing in the herd.  The boys all have a lie down but he likes to be on his own sometimes.
This Llama was one of three at a wildlife park near Inverness which we visited this week.  There are also 4 female and 4 male alpacas at the park.
Edible alpacas - what next!  The Grumpy Gardener likes home made shortbread with his morning coffee so I bought a cutter  which certainly adds interest to the morning cuppa.  I bought the cutter through www.thealpacashop.co.uk
This photo was taken this afternoon of Fergus in front, Faro in the middle and Fidget at the rear.  Fyta was nearby.
And finally................this lovely weather has meant that many flowers are still in bloom, including the sunflowers and this one has a Bumble-Bee feeding on it.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Penned again

Time to get the boys into the pen again, this time to get some anti-mite spray onto Faro's legs but also to do a bit of nail clipping.  Faro has suffered a bit of mite damage to the fleece on his rear legs.  We've previously treated him but recently the problem seemed to have flared again although the other boys are unaffected.
Like most alpacas Faro doesn't like his feet or lower legs being touched so applying cream can be a problem, but it is easier with a spray.  Fyta is also in the picture.
We always put all four boys into the pen together then release them one by one once they have been dealt with.  Sometimes there is a bit of spitting and 'huffing and puffing' between them as they are rubbing against each other and that was the case this time with Faro and Fergus.  Faro has been released after getting his spray and Fyta is waiting to be checked over.  Fergus and Fidget both had several nails trimmed although Fidget immediately 'cushes' as soon as his front feet are touched.
Once out of the pen, Fyta pulls a face at the humans!
Because they have been spitting, Fergus and Faro go to the hay store and munch some hay to get rid of the awful taste!  They will often walk around for several minutes with a mouthful of hay, not chewing, just waiting for the taste and the droopy lower lip to go away!
A dull scene today as the boys graze on the sloping rough paddock.
And finally................a bit of colour in the garden from this Kaffir Lily (Schizostylis).  We've also noticed that the strawberries are flowering and forming fruit again - in mid October!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Frosty starts.

We've had some quite frosty starts to the days this week.  Only to be expected at this time of the year of course and the boys don't mind it at all.
In fact, the boys seem to love the frosty, clear nights and abandon their favourite shelters in favour of sleeping out under the stars - as these imprints from two of the herd show.
Fyta keeps an eye on a neighbour's dogs as the sun starts to climb over the hill and hits the top of a nearby Rowan tree.  Plenty of berries on the Rowans this year which many people say is a sign of a harsh winter to come but it's probably as a result of very wet conditions during Spring and early Summer.
Nearby are Fergus (left), Faro and Fidget close to the same Rowan trees.
Here's another creature who is not bothered by the frosty conditions - 'Dodger' the rabbit who likes to tuck himself into a series of sleeping places round the paddocks.  A couple of years ago we had a rabbit whom we called 'Rodger' who spent all Winter in the paddocks - perhaps this is an offspring!
The really good thing about the clear nights and frosty mornings is that they develop into beautiful days!  Each day this week the weather has been really hot, a gorgeous spell of weather which we've missed out on in the north, until now.  Here are Faro and Fergus in the sandpit during one of the sunny afternoons.
And finally...........despite terrible weather earlier in the summer, including strong gales, the 10p packet of sunflower seeds from Aldi still managed to put on a display for us!  The tallest is over 7 feet tall, they are growing at an angle due to the wind, but they are still covered in bees. The fine weather has meant that the Grumpy Gardener has managed to finish cutting the long hedge (top left of picture) and has turned over the veg plots ready for the Winter.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Raining, cats and vet!

Fergus tramping about on a wet afternoon.  He doesn't appear to be too wet but in fact he is soaking and if stroked a handful of mud ensues!
The four boys together and you can see the wet 'blankets' better on Fidget (left) and Fyta in the middle. We can never work out why the boys will willingly stay out all day in some rain but run for shelter sometimes in other showers.
Shortly after the previous two photos were taken the two cats, Cupcake and Pike, arrived to check out the boys.  Fyta, Faro and Fergus ran to the gate so the cats kept their distance.   Click on the picture and you'll see Cupcake on the wooden fence and Pike behind him on the large boulders.
Regular readers will know that we have regular concerns with Faro's health.  Yesterday was another concern because we'd watched him over the previous 24 hours lying down quite a lot, then get up and eat some grass then lie down again.  This is very unusual behaviour for Faro and last time it happened a year ago he went down and could not get back up - a critical time for an ill Alpaca.  So we called the vet!
Here are Faro at the rear and his pal Fyta waiting for Douglas the vet to appear with the needles!  Faro got a good check over and the vet felt that the symptoms were more indicative of colic than lack of vitamins and minerals but, better safe than sorry, Faro got a full course of jabs.
Outside the pen, Fidget (left) and Fergus keep an eye on the vet and wonder what's going on with their pals.
After the vet's visit and today Faro appears better with just an occasional lie down.  Here he is with his pal Fyta next to him, both lying in the morning sun.
And finally...................a late but lovely flower in the garden.  This is a Cimicifuga 'Brunette' and very popular with bees.