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 February 2016

Glorious days, freezing nights!

Three of the boys, Fergus (front) with Fyta and Fidget behind enjoying their haylage on a bright but frosty morning this week.
Fyta, all fleeced up for winter and not bothered by the sub-zero overnight temperatures.  He loves to sunbathe and has done so often this week in the warm sunshine.
Fidget is also well covered in fleece.  Always last in line to do anything or go anywhere he is often grumpy with the other boys, stretching out his neck and making camel noises at them!
I tried hard to get a reasonable photo of the icicles on Faro's chin and only partially succeeded.  They did look funny!
A view over the paddocks with the boys in front of the field shelters on a glorious, February day.
This has been the normal morning scene at the water trough this week - no water but plenty of ice!
And finally........the seed pods of last year's giant Himalayan Lily, now empty of seeds after scattering by the wind and eaten by birds.  Looks a bit like that plant, the Venus Fly-Trap doesn't it?

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Waiting for (any) signs of Spring!

Fergus (left) and Fyta making the most of the grass.  At this time of year the paddock grass has been nibbled pretty short and the new shoots are not quite growing yet in the cold earth.
Faro, as usual keeping a close eye on the photographer.  Still 'picky' with his feed supplement, most days he will eat some but some days he will ignore it completely and just graze the grass.
The four boys graze one of the paddocks in the rain.  There has been very little warming sunshine this week - perhaps next week will be better.
We mentioned once before how Fyta likes to tip the contents of his bowl on the grass and here he is doing it again.  The mixture of Camilibra, Fibregest and Charnwood mix has been tipped and now he is eating it.
It's been a cold and wet week overall with frequent sleet and snow showers.  This is Fidget showing off his wet 'blanket'.
And finally.............the daffodil shoots are now beginning to appear as well as some snowdrops and here the rhubarb is beginning to put in an appearance.  Time to put a bucket over it to force the growth I think.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A varied week.

We've got so used to using the wee digital camera for taking quick photos for the blog we have neglected a much better Sony a200 camera which we've hardly used in years.  The Grumpy Gardener decided it was time to give the Sony a bit of fresh air so after a lengthy battery charge he took some snaps.  This is Faro in his usual, 'I'm the boss so what are you doing in my paddock?' type stance - head up, ears back and tail up!
Looking down on the boys with snowy Ben Wyvis in the top right of the frame and Beaufort Castle in the middle of the frame, a couple of miles distant.
We've had several days of brilliant weather this week, warm sunshine during the day but freezing overnight temperatures.  This shot looks over one of the boys' field shelters to the hills in the west.
The Sony camera takes lovely photos but because it is bigger and has a protruding lens, not so easy to carry around - so, back to the digital!  Early in the week we penned the boys so that Faro could have his drench and Fergus and Fidget could have a nail trimming.  This is Fergus (left) and Fyta waiting to see what tasks the humans require to carry out in the pen.
Of course, not all catch-pen sessions are totally incident free. Faro's drench was the easy part but Fergus in particular was not over keen on his nails being trimmed so there was an element of spitting in the air.  Unfortunately Fyta (right) caught a whiff of Fergus's spit and that was sufficient for the 'droopy lip' syndrome to appear (above).  The boys' reaction to this is usually to grab a mouthful of hay or haylage and that seems to neutralise it and that is what Fyta did.
We had a mid-week visit from old friends Alan and Kath and fortunately, although quite cold sometimes, at least the snow kept at bay. This was also Verm-X granules week for the boys, hidden at the bottom of their bowls under their other feed!
This morning the snow had re-appeared overnight and the boys were reluctant to move from their shelter first thing. Faro (left) and Fyta are standing with Fidget lying at the rear and Fergus in front.  The snow had largely disappeared by late afternoon which pleased the boys!

And finally..............overnight snow always gives the game away for nocturnal animals.  Amongst all the rabbit and cat tracks there was a line of these footprints which I think is a badger, there are certainly plenty of them around this area. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Visit to Seafield Alpacas

The highlight of the week has been a visit today to Seafield Alpacas at Portmahomack, near Tain in Easter Ross.  Alison and Brendan invited us together with Wendy and Paul of Woodleigh Lodge Alpacas and Graham and Kirsty with children Dylan and Bethany of Ruilick Alpacas, to have a 'pacaday' at their croft.  Here are Alison and Brendan's four boys, from the left Chocolate, Wee Eck, Merlin and Gully and all were looking in fine form.
This is Merlin, looking cuddly with plenty of bits of twigs etc as adornments! Carrots were on offer from Alison and all the boys enjoyed crunching their way through them.
And this is Chocolate who is Merlin's big pal.  He is a lovely colour - chocolately! As the day wore on both boys got involved in a bit of neck wrestling and fun.

Graham and Kirsty with Bethany and Dylan coaxing Merlin closer to the fence.
Almost there - Merlin did eventually get close enough to touch Bethany's hand.
This has been a cold, wet and windy week and today was no different.  As the day wore on the wind seemed to get colder so coats and hats were called for!
Apart from alpacas, ducks, chickens and dogs to look after Brendan and Alison also have a working railway in their garden. Much to the delight of the children (and the men present!), Brendan fired up his steam driven locomotive to do several circuits of the track.  We all had a lovely day at Portmahomack, thanks for a lovely lunch folks and an opportunity to just talk alpaca and see your boys.
And finally.............I mentioned some time ago the covey of red-legged partridges that visit us regularly.   Earlier this week they momentarily lost their shyness and these four appeared on the patio.  Unfortunately the camera flash has picked up reflections from within the room but the birds are plain to see.  The boys are in the paddock near the field shelter in the distance.