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 March 2016

Happy Easter!

The look on Fidget's face this morning says everything about how he feels regarding the gales and rain we had overnight last night.  Generally this week the weather has not been bad but this Easter weekend has been windy and wet. 

But the weather can change very quickly here and by late morning today the rain had gone, the sun had come out and the boys spot the humans coming with some carrots!   Faro is first at the fence followed by Fergus, then Fyta and Fidget hangs back at the rear - as always!
Faro gets a prize for coming first in the race for the fence - a few hand held carrots.
The two white boys, Fergus (left) and Fidget fleeced up like a couple of Polar Bears at present!
The sun really had come out to brighten everything up and shortly after this Fyta was sun-bathing and the boys were drying off nicely.
Spoke too soon - by mid afternoon the skies darkened and we had a five minute heavy shower of hail which got the boys running for the field shelters.  They didn't quite make it so they all 'hit the deck' until the hailstones passed.  With a bit of magnification you'll see the boys lying down in the corner of the paddock, with Fergus in front with his head on the ground.  The hail was so heavy at one point it set off the car alarm!
Earlier in the week the Grumpy Gardener was doing a bit of weeding and disturbed these two Common Frogs, the larger female on the bottom with the male on top - presumably doing what frogs do at this point in Spring!  There are quite a number of different frogs around but by their markings, and according to Google, we've identified them correctly.  If you know better, let us know!
And finally.............. a left-leaning (due to the wind) bunch of mini-Daffs in bloom just in time for Easter.  Have a good one.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Sunny with a fringe on top!

This week has seen some welcome sunshine again, which suits the boys and the humans.  Fidget likes to get into the sand pit in the sunshine, usually with Fergus, and Fyta sunbathes with his belly pointing towards the sun!  Faro uses the sand pit too but does not sunbathe.
The sun casts long shadows in the afternoon.  This is Faro, watchful as always, with Fidget behind him in the sand pit.
Today we penned the boys, mainly to try to trim the top-knots of Fyta (above) and Fidget.  Fyta's fringe was obscuring his vision in the left eye.
Not the neatest of scissor trims, but at least Fyta can now see clearly through both eyes.  He does not like the top of his head being touched!
Fidget - another boy who does not like humans touching the top of his head.  He is getting a neck rub which he enjoys but we could not get his halter fitted due to the thickness of his neck fleece.  He did not want his fringe cut so left it as is and it will be properly cut by the shearer.
It's interesting to note the different types of fringes - Fyta (left) has long unruly strands of fleece, Fergus (middle) has a thick 'mop' and Fidget has a mass of curls.  Faro has tight, short curls.
And finally............regular blog readers may remember a photo posted a couple of weeks ago of rhubarb in our garden.  The leaves were just beginning to come above ground and I said that it was time to put a bucket over them to force some growth.  This is the result!  The shoots on the right of the picture were not under the bucket so you can see the difference in growth.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Fleecy boys meet little boys.

All fleeced up and looking bonnie - Fergus in the rough paddock, listening to a dog barking nearby.  Of our four boys, Fergus is the only one who makes the 'honking' alarm call noise if he thinks that dogs are getting too close.
Faro enjoying his feed, including Verm-X granules this week.  He's been eating really well lately which keeps us happy! Earlier in the week we had a visit from youngsters Ian and Cormack who visited the boys for the first time with their mum - unfortunately I didn't have the camera with me to record the visit but as usual all the boys were fascinated by the 'little humans' running around in their paddocks!  To see the little boys standing with their hands out to the 'pacas whilst the 'pacas look down on them with that intense stare, is really lovely.
Fidget getting stuck into his feed and granules.  The weather has been reasonable this week and mainly dry so the boys' fleece is dry - for a change.
Fyta always had black 'trousers' but we've noticed that the older he gets, the more the white/grey fleece is encroaching on the black fleece and the black fleece itself has increasing amounts of grey in it.  The Grumpy Gardener says he knows all about encroaching grey hairs............
The four boys today nibbling at very short grass.  Fidget, in the background as usual was trimming up the rolling pit before getting in for a roll.
A worm's eye view of Fergus wearing his thick winter fleece - with plenty of guard hairs showing on his neck!
And finally.............. I know blog readers are all bursting to know how Grumpy's veg plots are coming along (!), so here's the present state of play.  This year's plantings will be potatoes, parsnips and carrots in the furthest away plot (1), brassicas and swedes in the next plot (2), peas and beans in the next plot (3) and onions and leeks in the nearest plot (4) then each year the veg moves plot in rotation. The only planting so far is 4 rows of onions (today) in plot 4 but the soil is still too cold for any more veg to go in.  The boys can be seen in the rough paddock in the distance.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Drench, nails and carrots

Time for the boys to be penned again this week, to give Faro his vitamin drench and clip some nails.  Faro stands in front of his three pals, Fergus (left), Fyta and Fidget.
When Fyta (left) was a cria he was known as 'Smiley' Fyta because the markings at the edge of his mouth made him look as if he was smiling all the time.  He, like the other boys, will be ten years old this year and he hasn't lost his 'smile!'  Faro looks apprehensive knowing there is a drench on it's way but they seem to be working as he is definitely eating better these days and is much happier with himself.
Fidget looks as if he is saying, " Blimey Faro, I hope that thing is a drench and not an injection!" Fergus and Fidget had a couple of nails trimmed and were quite well behaved.  No problems with the nails of Faro or Fyta, an annual trim at shearing time does them.
Fyta (left), Faro and Fergus waiting for their carrot slices today.  All the boys love their carrots as do all the alpacas of local owners we know.
Fergus looks as if he is putting out his tongue here  - but it's really a carrot slice.
A lovely photo of Fyta who is a playful, gentle boy and a big pal of Faro.
And finally...........speaking of Faro,  I couldn't resist this shot. He actually has a piece of carrot in his mouth and normally he's not too keen on posing for the camera, but if carrots are on offer he'll sit on your knee for an extra bit!  From this angle he looks like he's wearing a wig!   His pal Fyta is behind him.