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, 29 May 2016

More fun in the sun.

It's slapstick time again, lots of fun in the sunny weather getting soaking wet then rolling in the dust.  Fyta looking like the cat who got the cream, in the water tray.
Of course to get into this state, first dunk the undercarriage and the 'bits' in the water then dash off to the rolling spot in the distance.  Fyta and Faro were doing this over and over again then pronking around the paddocks.  Happy bunnies or what? The (larger) white boys, Fergus and Fidget prefer to let the two slimmer boys do all the pronking about in the heat.
Hard to see on this photo but Faro is caked in mud.  Once he has dried off in the sun and is patted, clouds of dust rise from him!

Fidget does his camel impression keeping the other boys at bay whilst he gets an undercarriage hose down.
Fergus has had enough water sports for a day because it's hot and takes a rest.
Two top knots ready for a trim - Fergus (left) and Fyta.  We not have shearing dates of 30th June and 1st July for alpaca owners in this part of the Highlands, so not long to wait now.
And finally....................Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum) looking lovely at this time of year and growing tall, very quickly.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Still dripping!

Another week of very 'iffy' weather, not so much sun but plenty of rain.  The boys got a good soaking but as they were pretty muddy anyway, they needed their fleece washing!  Carrot time again and Faro enjoys being hand fed.
Fergus also enjoys getting hand fed carrots, although Fidget and Fyta seem to prefer theirs on the ground.
It's a good job that shearing in this part of the world doesn't happen until the end of June - that should give Fidget a chance to get a bit cleaner!  This boy loves to get in a mess.
This was taken yesterday and shows that the sun does shine sometimes and the rain has cleaned the boys  - a bit!  Fergus is in the foreground, then Fyta and Faro and Fidget doing his own thing in the next paddock.
And things are beginning to grow well now - this is a tub of Gladioli.  The veg plots have sprung into life too which is great.
And finally...............would you believe it, this was taken today at 5.00pm when we had thunder, lightening and a shower of hailstones!  The photo was taken from inside looking out (naturally!) so it's not great but the boys are in the field shelters at the top having ran inside when the hailstones started. Can we have some summer weather now please?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Water hole fun.

We don't have a water tap in the paddocks but instead we run out a hose which fills up some watering cans.  Problem is that during hot weather the boys hear the hose filling up the cans and decide it's fun time. There is plenty of pushing and shoving and the cans are often knocked over!
They all love getting their feet and 'undercarriages' sprayed.  Fidget is having a spray with Fyta and Faro in the background looking on.
All done - Fidget (left) and Fergus have had a good soaking.  It's been a sunny week but with a biting northerly wind.  The good thing is that it has been dry all week.
After a spray, Faro and Fyta wander off so that Fyta can have a bit of a foot-spa in the water tray.
Faro and Fyta have moved to another paddock in the distance, Fergus has taken up the deck chair position by the pool whilst Fidget has a drink.
We penned the boys this week as both Fergus and Fidget needed a nail trim.  The white boys' nails grow really quickly and need frequent clipping. The boys are waiting for 'Mum' to arrive here before going into the pen.  This week has also been a Verm-X granule week for the boys - a measured spoonful per daily feed for a week.
A distance shot which might need magnification, of the boys.  Fidget is lying in the sand pit.  Above him in the middle of the photo and in the distance is Beaufort Castle
And finally..............the House Martins and Swallows have returned for the summer and the Martins have set about immediately building nests under the eaves, around the house.  This is a new nest, the old one blew down during the winter.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Ne'er cast a cloot.........

Three of the boys on the slope of one of the rough paddocks, from the left Fidget, Fergus and Fyta.  They like running up the slope - all except Fidget that is who experiences gravitational pull backwards on slopes due to his weight!
Fergus on his way downhill.  These pics were taken earlier in the week when the weather was really dismal, wet and with a very cold wind.
The cold wind required the humans to be well wrapped up but the boys have adequate fleece at present to keep them nice and warm.
Faro doing his own thing, keeping an eye on the human with the camera.
Fyta, well fleeced up against the cold wind which was blowing into his face - thus the 'cool' top knot!
Today we made the three hour drive south to Dunblane to attend the AGM of the Scottish Alpaca Group.  These are a few of the lovely alpaca owners and breeders we met there.  Lovely to have met you all - thanks for an interesting meeting.  Come and see us if you are in the Inverness area folks.
And finally................this strange looking plant in the garden is in fact a Gunnera.  The Grumpy Gardener has recently uncovered the crowns from a protective cover after the winter and some of the leaves are beginning to push upwards already.  This plant grows huge so we'll post a photo when that happens.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Snow 'n Scroggie

I was a bit optimistic with last week's blog featuring the water trays and lovely sunshine.  Back to reality with a bump on Monday as Fergus and the boys discovered when the snow showers started - again!
Fidget won't let a shower of snow put him off his grub. Here he is getting to grips with his afternoon bowl of supplement.
Tuesday morning was a much duller day with more snow threatening.  This was taken first thing in the morning and the boys realise that the green stuff will be scarce whilst the white stuff is around.  From the left, Fidget, Fyta, Faro and Fergus.
By mid morning heavier snow showers started, so where were the boys?
No point in getting soaked and covered in snow when there are shelters available and plenty of hay to chew!  By the end of the day all the snow had disappeared and the boys were back grazing. The rest of the week has been showery with a cold wind.  Two House Martins appeared about a week ago, looked under the house eaves where last year's nest still is, then disappeared. Maybe they knew that snow was on it's way.
Yesterday we went to nearby Dingwall to see John MacKenzie who owns Scroggie Farm overlooking the town.  As you see from his sign he is a keen alpaca fan with three boys of his own together with assorted sheep breeds and Belted Galloway cattle.
And finally............two of John's boys, the third is just out of sight.  In case you can't read the sign on the barn wall it is Glen Wyvis (www.glenwyvis.com) the name which has been given to John's on-going project to re-establish a distillery in this area.  Apart from his work as a helicopter pilot and farmer, John generates all his electricity from his own hydro, also from wind and solar power - and even runs an electric car. He's a knowledgeable and experienced advocate of green energy for the farming and local community.  If you are interested, have a look at www.flyingfarmer.co  for more information.  Have a good week.