OUR SMALL HERD

Our original 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, 16 June 2019

The ageing process.

Another day, another photo of Fergus! At 13 years old he is beginning to slow down a bit now and likes to lie in the field shelter quite a lot.  We are certain that he misses Fidget in the herd quite a bit.
Fyta (left) and Faro.  These two rogues are far more energetic than Fergus although they too have slowed down a bit now - they are also 13 years old.
Time for a group photo I think!  Faro in front of his pals in his usual protective stance!
During hot weather and before the boys get sheared they often look to have the hoze spraying their underparts.  Fergus and Faro here hoping that the hoze will get switched on soon.
Fyta - an alpaca with a lovely nature, and very inquisitive.
Faro - an alpaca with a slightly more robust nature - and very protective!
And finally.......... these Irises have been in flower for some time but now they are beginning to die back.  They are a lovely colour.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

'Tail-end Charlie!'

A human approaches with carrots and the boys are instantly interested!  Faro (left) is always first to arrive, followed by Fergus and Fyta has now taken over as 'tail-end Charlie'.
The Grumpy Gardener has been hard at work during the week using the Grillo to cut the longer grass on the sloping paddocks.
It's been a week of weather extremes from scorching sunshine to thunder and lashing rain but the boys have coped with it all.  This time last year we were in a heatwave - I don't think that will happen again any time soon!
A picture of the boys taken under a very busy sky mid-week.
An inquisitive Faro keeping an eye on the photographer.  The boys have been on their Verm-X granules with their feed this week - not a combination which Faro enjoys!
The boys spot 'Mum' approaching the gate with their daily feed, and go to get it.  Fyta (Tail-end Charlie!) again at the rear.
And finally..........Euphorbia,  a lovely colour of red in the garden at this time of year.  It dies away to ground level over the winter then there is terrific growth during spring and summer.

Monday, 3 June 2019

One misty morning.

We haven't been able to share the hot weather which many parts of UK have had over the past week.  We've had lots more rain and some misty mornings - like this one in these photos.  Here are the boys waiting for the gate to be opened to allow them to wander the paddocks.
As I've mentioned before, there is a great dealing of sleepy standing around first thing in the mornings - and the usual scratching!
A typical sight in the morning outside the field shelter with hay buckets all over the place.  Fyta usually manages to carry this one outside to be dumped!
Morning routine is getting under way with the boys having breakfast hay!  From the left, Fyta, Fergus and Faro.
It wouldn't be feeding time without a bit of an argument.  Fyta, lying down is warning Fergus to keep off his purple bucket!
Faro, looking alert - as always!
And finally..........the Ligularia on the right is growing well and yellow flowers will emerge in due course.  On the left is the Rodgersia with badly affected leaves after overnight frosts a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

We need the rain - I think!

You can tell by Fergus's appearance the type of weather we've been having over the past few days - rain and more rain! No problems for Fergus though as he likes to be a bit muddy!
It's more difficult to see the mud on Faro because of his colour, but he is just as dirty - and he loves it too!
Faro and Fyta on a very wet morning.  The boys are at their most sleepy first thing in the morning and stand around seemingly waiting to waken up.
Two more sleepy boys, Fergus (left) and Fyta deciding whether they would have some hay for breakfast - they declined the offer!
It hasn't all been about the rain however and the boys are on the rough paddock here, enjoying fresh grass - and a few wild flowers.
Thought you'd like to see the result of the Grumpy Gardener's efforts in the veg garden so far.  The plots from right to left are onions and parsnips, then peas and beans then potatoes.  There are also some greens as well as a strawberry plot behind the Keder greenhouse.  The boys are in the far paddock. The rain has been welcome for the crops, unlike the attention of nocturnal deer jumping over the fence to get at the fruit tree leaves.  Grumpy is a fair description of the gardener who has had to spend considerable time increasing the height of the fences to keep the deer off this week.
And finally................you may just need to enlarge this photo looking down on the top of the fast growing giant Himalayan Lily of the wee Ladybird inside.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Showing off for the visitors!

The start of the week saw the boys putting on one of their 'performances' for Alison & Brendan of Seafield Alpacas, Portmahomack who had come to visit.  Fyta (left) needs very little encouragement for him to get into the water tray whilst Fergus has to wait his turn.
It can sometimes be a long wait however, especially if Fyta decides he wants to 'have a dunk' in the tray!
Fergus eventually manages to get in the tray, Fyta tries to get back in whilst Faro stands aside wondering what all the excitement is about.
Fyta and Fergus both had carrots but try to get their noses into the bowl to see if there are any left, whilst Alison looks on.
Discussion time - when the humans talk alpaca, and the alpacas wonder what is being said about them!  Lovely to see you again Alison and Brendan, thanks for visiting.

And finally........ this single Iris has burst into lovely flower ahead of all the other Irises, some of which do not yet have flower heads.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Lovely weather again!

Faro (left) and Fyta taken earlier in the week with snow covered Ben Wyvis to the north, behind them.
Looking in a different direction, the same two boys but looking West to the Strathglass hills.
Faro, Fyta and Fergus enjoying some sunshine - and some carrots.  The boys have been having Verm-X granules in their feed this week, so carrots will be a bit of a relief!
Now who could resist Fergus's face looking up at you as if to say, "C'mon boss, gimme a carrot please!"
OK pal, here's some carrot for you.  Fergus is always on the look-out for anything edible!
Although there has been a thin layer of ice on the water troughs every day this week, some of the days have been really warm and sunny.  Fyta (left) and Fergus have a snooze in the sun.
And finally..............it's Bluebell time again with clusters of them all around the ranch.  Nice to see them back in bloom.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Frost damage.

It's been a drenching sort of week for the boys - either rain, sleet or hail-stones, or a combination of all of them!  We thought we were in Spring but we've returned to Winter weather this week.
Fergus looking decidedly wet, normally a white boy he is more like 'battleship grey' after the rain.
Fyta looks a bit fed up with the weather doesn't he? 
Faro has taken the opportunity of rolling about this week so usually ends up muddy and covered in straw - but I think he likes that!
A shot of the local hills taken first thing on Friday morning shows a dusting of the 'white stuff' on top after a frosty night.
And finally...........frost damage on Friday morning.  This Rodgersia was growing well and was showing plenty of new leaves, but now look at it.  The Gunnera shown in last week's blog, also suffered frost 'burn' as did several other plants but the fruit tree buds and flowers appeared to have escaped damage.  Hopefully all the plants will recover when the temperature rises.  I meant to mention last week that the first of the swallows and house martins have now arrived back for the summer - just in time for wintry weather!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Spring clean.

Two old buddies - Fyta (front) and Faro.  These guys are never very far apart, where one goes - the other will follow.
The warm temperatures earlier in the week reduced Fergus to posing like a beached whale!  At one point he was sound asleep and only awoke after repeated name calling from close quarters.
Time for a change of field shelter again after a couple of months so that it can have a 'Spring clean!'  This is Faro looking into the newly re-opened shelter and considering a roll.
Now there are two as Fergus arrives to join Faro in the hope of a dusty roll.
And now there are three - and we all know what happens next..........
Mayhem!  Fergus and Fyta get rolling about whilst Faro gets his head into the hay bucket and throws that around! Soon there is dust everywhere and the boys are clearly loving it.
And finally.............the Gunnera was uncovered a couple of weeks ago following the winter after the worst frosts had passed.  The brown coloured 'crowns' are now beginning to sprout their leaves again and soon they will be bigger than golf umbrellas!