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 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.

Clicking!!

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

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Sunny days, frosty nights.

Plenty of overnight frosts around again this week.  The frost shows plainly on Faro's back as he and the other boys shun the shelter for sleep under the stars on clear nights.  Fergus is in the background.

No problems with overnight frosts as long as there is haylage on offer for breakfast, for Fidget.
Similarly, Fyta loves a bit of haylage in the morning.  The boys all look in good condition considering that it has been a long winter.
Fergus just chewing the grass.  He is looking nice and clean for a change, and also dry at the moment.
The tell-tale signs in the mornings of sharp overnight frosts - more ice to be cleared from the water troughs.
Thought you might like to see what the Grumpy Gardener has been up to lately - levelling a site for our new Keder greenhouse which should arrive next month.  The site slopes in one direction, left to right (uphill!) at the rear and in another direction rear to front (downhill!) so a lot of topsoil has had to be shifted in man's best invention - the wheelbarrow!
And finally..........................at long last, the Snowdrops are beginning to put in an appearance.  The weather is set to go downhill during the coming week, so stay warm!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Just when we thought that Spring had arrived...........!

Winter didn't lose it's grip again earlier in the week when snow returned to this part of the world.  The boys were just getting used to eating their grass again when the white stuff returned.  Faro, Fergus and Fyta are enjoying their haylage breakfast here.
All the boys love their haylage, the long moist strands obviously taste very different from the dry hay.  This is Fyta.
Fidget - well fleeced up against the winter weather and not bothered by it at all, as long as there is plenty to eat!
At least during some of these days we get clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine to brighten things up, before the temperature plummets overnight.  Some mornings it has been impossible to drive away from the house because of very icy road conditions.  We can't count on the snowplough always getting here these days due to financial cutbacks, so we have to wait until later in the morning when the sun lifts the temperature.
Told you - Fidget is always a happy boy if there is plenty of haylage around and he will happily lie or stand in the snow munching away until all the feed has been eaten.
A new bag of sugar beet was opened this week, just when we thought we would not need any more this winter.  Fyta in the foreground likes to tip his bowl of beet onto the ground to eat it.
A friendly human has scrapped some of the snow off some of the paddock to let the boys get back on grass.  Fergus (left) and Faro.
And finally..................good news!  This was the scene today as most of the snow has now gone and the boys enjoyed a sunny day on the grass.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Carrot-time again.

Cheeky!  Fyta looking for more bits of carrot or swede which the boys were being fed - just as a change from hay, haylage and grass.    
Fergus looking a bit more serene and contemplative!  He's already munched his way through a large carrot!
And Faro just loves carrots and swede - with a bit of apple if possible!  He's been eating really well over the last year or so, quite a change for the 'picky-eater' which he was previously.
A trio of boys - Fidget in the background, Fyta and Faro.  The boys have all been on their Verm-X granules mixed with their feed this week.
A quartet of boys!  Thankfully, the snow has all gone again but the frosty overnight temperatures remain but more snow is forecast.
A long range shot taken by the Grumpy Gardener down in the veg garden looking uphill at the four boys who were having an afternoon lie-down.
And finally..............at last, signs of approaching Spring!  I know that in some parts of the country the snowdrops and daffodils are already in bloom, but not here.  It's been a long, cold winter and the daffs are only just beginning to come through now.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

A visit - and visitors.

Early in the week the sun was shining and the boys were enjoying their grass.  This is Fergus, looking well fleeced up and also pretty wet after earlier rain.
On Wednesday we went to visit friend John MacKenzie on his farm above Dingwall in Ross-Shire. John has a variety of animals including three alpaca boys, Valais Black Nose sheep, Belted Galloway cattle and Highland cattle.  This is one of his boys, William, with one of the lovely Black Nose sheep behind and under cover during a day of horizontal sleet and snow - again! We've mentioned John before on this blog as he is responsible for a quite unique business, the Glenwyvis Distillery (www.glenwyvis.com) which is owned by community shareholders who raised the funds required.  Another unique feature is that all the electricity used on the farm, electric vehicles and the distillery is generated by John via wind, solar or hydro on his land.  The alpacas and other animals wandering around adjoining fields are also a great attraction for visitors.
Large patches of snow still covered some of the boys' paddocks until late in the week.  The daylight is lengthening now so the boys are happy about that - being able to graze until late afternoon. From the left, Faro, Fyta and Fergus.
Fidget and his feed bowl which kept slipping down the slope on the snow - much to his surprise and amusement!
On Friday we had a lovely visit from Alison and Brendan of Seafield Alpacas up in Portmahomack, Ross-shire. The weather was great for a change, no rain or snow and some welcome sunshine.
We've been waiting for better weather so that we could trim the white boys' nails and Alison very kindly volunteered to give us a hand.  Fidget (left) as usual decided that lying down is the best policy to stop humans touching his feet. We persevered though and both boys had the trim.
And finally.............. I think a suitable caption is required for this shot of Fergus looking up at Alison's hat which she knitted from the fleece of Fergus and her boy Gaucho.