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 January 2016

Gertrude's hangover.

Storm 'Gertrude' has a lot to answer for this week with very high winds and some snow.  We escaped the worst of it, but that didn't make the storm feel any less powerful.  The cloudy mornings make everything look dark as this photo shows, the boys have just emerged from overnight in the shelter and would now like their breakfast - thank you!
Just got their hay buckets filled again in time before the next snow shower arrived. The boys used the shelters a lot this week during the days when the wind was blowing hard or the sleet and snow was coming down.
"Follow me for the haylage, chaps!" Faro leads Fyta and Fergus, followed by Fidget at the rear.
This morning, another day - another shower of snow!  Fergus and Fidget displaying pretty wet blankets and top knots!

And Fergus shows the best way of attacking a mouthful of haylage!
And finally...........this morning, the four boys in the rough paddock looking for some grass which only became visible though after a human scraped away some snow!  Hopefully this lot will clear soon before storm 'Henry' arrives tomorrow evening.

Monday, 25 January 2016

From white to green surroundings again.

Sorry about the delay with this week's blog - 'uploading Blogger' problems I'm afraid.  Anyway, last week's snow and frost lasted until Thursday by which time Fergus was eager to queue up twice a day for his haylage.
It wasn't a deep layer of snow but enough to cover most of the grass which the boys do not like.  Fidget in front here, Faro behind and Fyta in the adjoining paddock.
Thursday morning dawned green instead of white, much to the relief of the boys.  It was also windy and dry so their coats were able to dry out a bit.
Fidget with his usual 'surprised' look!  Behind him are a couple of the new veg plots in the rabbit- proof garden (hopefully!)
Dog alert!  Our neighbours' two dogs are behind the hedge and close to the gate so the boys become very wary and Fergus often gives the 'bugling' alarm call when he sees them.
The dogs didn't appear at the gate so the boys wander off to pastures new.
In this case it's one of the rough paddocks - Faro leads the way followed by Fyta, Fergus and bringing up the rear as always is Fidget.
And finally..........thought you'd like to see 'Cupcake', another neighbour's cat who looks pretty pleased with himself on the Grumpy Gardener's fave chair!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Cold and clear

This has been a week of sharp overnight frosts then gorgeous, sunny days.  The boys seem to enjoy this sort of weather.  Fyta (left) and Fergus having sugar beet one morning and normally Fyta hits the bowl with one of his feet spilling the contents onto the ground.
See what I mean?  He makes a good job of hoovering it all up off the ground though.  This photo was taken later in the week after some overnight snow.
A common sight this week with the water troughs freezing solid overnight and having to be kept clear of ice during the days too.
Not a care in the world - Fidget having some haylage first thing in the morning.
The afternoons have been really sunny but it only manages to partially melt the frost which hardens again during the night.  Faro in the foreground with Fidget chewing the cud in the shelter behind.
As well as frosty grass to eat this week the boys have also had their monthly dose of Verm-X granules in their feed.  This is Fyta getting very cold lips!  The Strath Glass hills to the west are behind him.
The grumpy gardener has been grumpily grafting this week shifting two bays of composted 'paca poo - sometimes during a snow shower!  Each bay held 33 barrowloads so the new veg plots will benefit from some of this.
And finally............taken today, looking north to Ben Wyvis.  Faro stands out in the paddock but the other boys are there too, near the field shelter.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

A relaxing week

Fyta - an alpaca who likes a bit of fun.  Sometimes he takes himself off for a run around the paddocks, going at high speed then slowing down to start 'pronking', trying to get the others to join in.  He also likes carrots - and getting his chin rubbed, both of which he got after this shot was taken!
Earlier in the week we had a visit from Robbie's grand-nephew Christopher and his fiance, Claire and much to the delight of the boys, carrots were on offer.  Fidget as usual is out of shot but he got his share too.
Fergus (left) and Fyta looking clean at the beginning of the week - but that didn't last long when the rain arrived.
The 'dynamic duo' - Fyta (left) and Fergus, convinced that there must be more carrots about somewhere!
Fergus puts on his begging pose with Faro next to him and Fyta behind.
Later in the week after several soakings, the boys didn't look quite so clean.  This is Fidget eating his supplement with the ever-present Robin near him waiting to pick up spillage from the bowl!
Haylage on a frosty morning - just what the  boys ordered!  They really enjoy their Silvermoor haylage (www.silvermoor.com) twice a day just now but tend not to eat so much hay.
And finally...........it's not often that the camera is at the ready when swans fly over, but this formation of 10 were heading south on a sunny morning this week.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Beet this.

A Happy New Year and best wishes for 2016 to all blog readers from Fergus, (left) Fyta, Fidget and Faro (and the humans of course!) 
We've had a mixture of all sorts of weather this week including a little dusting of the white stuff accompanied by frosts.   This is Fyta enjoying his sugar beet.
Faro (left) and Fidget also empty their bowls on a pretty chilly morning. Faro in particular loves beet during the winter but won't touch it during the warmer months.
The feeding line-up against the fence works for the boys but if it gets really icy the bowls have a tendency to slide down the hill - followed by the boys in pursuit!
Not sure if you will be able to magnify this shot enough but there are 5 out of our resident covey of 14 red-legged Partridges running down the track in the middle of the photo.  They are pretty shy birds and when a human appears they tend to run off in several directions.
And finally..............the Grumpy Gardener has been making the most of the generally mild weather over the past few weeks to get some more jobs done around the garden.  A total of 11 Gabions (wire baskets) were placed along the rockery and  filled with stones collected whilst digging the new veg plots - thats umpteen barrowloads all pushed uphill so the gardener was pretty grumped up by the end of that task!  His latest labour of love having dug the four new veg plots is to start edging them with wooden planks - thats 30 planks of 12 feet length.  Little wonder that the 'pacas in the adjoining paddock stand and stare!