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, 26 August 2018

Wagtails and apples!

More good weather this week with plenty of sun but also rain at times - and lower temperatures.  Yesterday was a lovely day and Fergus just fancied a snooze in the sun!
Fergus was quite happy to allow the other three boys to pay attention to a flock of sheep in the adjoining field being rounded up by the farmer and his collie.
During the past couple of weeks we have had many young Pied Wagtails flying around the paddocks chasing flies.  You may need to magnify this photo to see them but there are three or four around Faro and one near Fidget's chin (nearest camera.)  The birds are catching the flies which lift off the ground when the alpacas walk through the grass - similar to the actions of Swallows around the feet of cattle.
We continue to keep a close eye on Fidget since the Vet's visit but his weight appears to have stabilised and he is eating, drinking and behaving normally.  Going to the toilet takes an abnormally long time however but this does not appear to bother him.   There are two Pied Wagtails to the left of Fidget (looking at the picture.)
We've had a change to Bank Holiday weather today when the rain arrived.  Apple feeding time for the boys and Faro looks like he will enjoy his slice!  Fyta is looking on.
Fergus loves apples - well, he loves any food - and here he is enjoying a couple of slices.  Fyta is closest to him and Fidget is in the background.
I've mentioned previously that this year we have an abundance of apples on all of our trees. This is the fourth year of growth for these trees and they are all doing really well in the warmer temperatures.  I love the beautiful colour of these 'Fiesta' apples.
And finally............ we have some lovely flowers in the garden at present.  The white lilies are at the rear and the white hanging bells of the Galtonia (Summer Hyacinth) are at the front.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

More visitors.

Couldn't resist putting this photo of Faro up first, taken today in the sunshine.  He has that macho look, questioning why a human is in his paddock!   Bless him.
The toileting habits of alpacas are a frequent topic of conversation when visitors come to see the boys, especially when one boy goes to the loo, followed by another, then another etc.  We've seen all four boys going at once, facing in different directions - like points in a compass!
We had a lovely visit on Monday from Alison and Brendan of Seafield Alpacas, Portmahomack in Ross-shire. The boys gave their usual few minutes of attention to the humans and when the carrots were finished - so were they, and they wandered off!
 
Monday was a busy day for visitors because we also welcomed a lovely Chinese family who are touring the Highlands, saw the alpacas in their paddock and came to say "Hello."  Here they are feeling the softness of alpaca fleece. Hope you are still  enjoying your holiday folks - nice to meet you all.
The Grumpy Gardener was busy on Monday organising carrots for the boys.  Fyta is helping himself to some and Fidget wants to share the food. We've had various other visitors to see the boys from our neighbour's bed and breakfast business, but the camera isn't always handy.
Typical of Fidget to 'photo-bomb' this shot by going to the toilet in the background!  Fyta (left), Faro and Fergus near the Gunnera plant.
Plenty of bees around this year but not so many butterflies - until today when lots of them appeared in the sunshine to feed on the flowers.  This Peacock butterfly is enjoying being on the Liatris plant.
And finally...........this lovely cushion was given to us by Alison and Brendan when they visited. It's very colourful and this photo does not do it justice.  Thanks folks.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Hay-ho!

It's evening and Fyta is in the shelter waiting for a human to come and put some hay into the hay buckets. There is plenty of grass around the paddocks at this time of year so we're only feeding hay in the evenings.
Ever alert to the possibilities of food in the area Fergus spots the human carrying the hay bag and heads towards him. We've had several tourists coming to look at the boys this week and I always warn them that the boys will approach, wait for about 2 minutes to see if there is any food, if there is none, they will walk away.  Fergus is the ring-leader in this procedure - he stares intently at the visitors hoping for carrots or something and when there is none, he walks away followed by the others!
"Ah, that's better" you can almost hear Fergus saying as he starts to help himself to fresh hay before it has a chance to be put in their buckets.
Not to be outdone, Faro appears and he too starts to help himself.  The boys have all been on Verm-X granules this week, three of them don't mind the taste and smell of them but Faro is not keen on them at all.
Fyta now decides that he'll help himself from the human's hay bag, with Faro watching on. The boys all love their hay.

Looking out from inside the field shelter at Faro with Fidget coming up the slope and making his way to the hay buckets.
And finally............it's been another nice week, lower temperatures and some rain, but good for the garden.  The white lilies and the purple Liatris (Gayfeather) are very colourful.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Cooler weather - thank goodness!

We've been blessed with cooler weather this week, it makes a change to have cloud cover after the heat of the past weeks.  The temperature has been lovely without the blazing sun to contend with.  The boys enjoyed the cooler weather and are not using their water trays so often.
Last week we noted that the vet had given Fidget a thorough examination after we reported that he had lost weight.  The vet arranged for poo samples to be tested for worms and the analysis came back several days later as showing a low worm count.  Fidget is behaving just as normal but we continue to keep a close eye on him.
From the left, Fyta, Fergus and Fidget grazing in the paddock adjoining the garden with the boys' communal toileting area in the foreground.  The Grumpy Gardener occasionally cuts turf to cover the 'burnt' areas as the grass will not grow in this area.
We're being a bit more careful with our hay feeding during these summer months in case there is a winter shortage caused by the weather.  This is Fergus enjoying hay as always.
Faro also likes his hay in the evening.  The paddock grass has returned to a greener colour from the yellowish look it had for a couple of weeks - amazing the difference a couple of showers of rain can make.
We spent most of yesterday shelling peas and broad beans to store in the freezer.  These were the first two of 4 buckets filled with peas with more to come later this week.  The contents of the pea pods from the right bucket can be seen in the middle container.  Peas and beans are really good value for the gardener.
We have several sunflowers planted out around the garden but this is the first one to fully show it's sunny face.  It's standing over 7 feet tall and attracts plenty of bees.
And finally.............I was sent this lovely glasses case as a birthday present by my niece, Judy.  It really is lovely and makes a terrific present.