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.


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

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Best wishes for 2020 - and beyond!

An unusual photo of Fyta showing his furry ears and his 'topknot' as he gets stuck into his carrots and Swede (turnip!) Fergus can be seen in the background.
Fergus has never been the fastest thing on 4 legs and these days he is even slower, but he does make a big effort to get to the 'goodies!'
All three boys, with Faro in front, enjoying their daily tit-bits.  The weather has been very mild over the past few days so the boys can graze easily.
The human has barrowed another two bags of haylage down to the hay store and this creates a bit of interest as always.
The two bags of Silvermoor haylage are inside the hay store and the boys now expect a handful of this tasty stuff.
There is plenty of hay in the store for the winter but the boys prefer the haylage, probably because it's sweeter and more moist than the dry hay.
And finally............. as long time blog readers will know, we usually have a Christmas jigsaw (or three!) on the go over the festive period.  This is the first, 1000 pieces completed over 3 days.  We send our best wishes for a happy New Year to all with the hope that the coming year (and new decade!) will be peaceful for all.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

A happy Christmas blog.

Well, I suppose it's the time of year for snow!  The early part of the week saw a heavy snow shower which only lasted a couple of hours but gave enough snow to make the boys wonder where all the green grass had gone!
This may only have been a small drop of snow but the freezing temperatures kept any melting at bay for a couple of days.  The boys get bored quite quickly when snow is on the ground as they cannot graze.
Fergus making his way to the haylage pile where Faro and Fyta are already tucking into their feed.
When the snow comes, so does the sugar beet - this gives the boys some extra feed when grass is not available. Fergus is on the left, Fyta in the centre and Faro is on the right.
Fyta loves to be a messy eater.  He has dumped the sugar beet out of the bowl and eats it from the ground, just as he does with his granulated feed in the afternoons.
And finally........... a long range shot from this week of the snow covered Strath Glass hills, to our west.  Robbie, the Grumpy Gardener and I wish all our blog readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas wherever you are.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

North to Seafield Alpacas!

Midweek and we travelled north to Portmahomack in Easter Ross to visit Alison and Brendan and their boys at Seafield Alpacas. From the left, Flynn, Chocolate, Gully, Echo and Flynn are a lovely herd and came to the gate to greet us.
Although the sun was shining it was a bitterly cold day so the humans were wearing thick jackets and hats!
Chocolate is standing at the rear with Merlin, left and Flynn.  They really are lovely looking boys who love to have their photo taken!
Flynn - with his big, long eye lashes, what a gentle star!  The boys were all quite happy to stand and be photographed.
And this is Echo (Wee Eck), a real bundle of energy with long eyelashes and curls all over his face and head! He is chewing the cud here. Lovely to see your boys again Alison & Brendan - thanks for your hospitality!
Back home and the cold, wet weather has continued for our boys.  This is Faro (front) and Fergus behind.
Fyta (right) with his two pals.  The boys have been on their Verm-X granules with their feed this week so will probably be glad that is over for another month.
And finally............. we're always astonished at the ability of alpacas to see movement over considerable distances - probably a built-in, hard-wired defence mechanism built up over thousands of years.  In this photo the boys have spotted movement on the road which runs parallel to the forest at the top of the picture, so they all check it out in case it's a threat.  Not this time - only me returning from my daily walk up the hill!

Sunday, 8 December 2019

A wet week for everyone.

You can almost see the expectation in the faces of the boys as they wonder if the approaching human has got any carrots for them or whether he is just going to take photos!
Ah - good human, plenty of carrots!  Faro (front) and Fergus at the rear enjoy their share and Fyta is just out of shot.
Another day - another carrot!  We've had very wet weather this week and the boys are all wet,  Fergus here has been rolling around inside the shelter getting his head covered.
Fyta helping himself to the haylage from his bucket whilst Faro waits outside the field shelter.
Faro, also wet and he's been rolling around the field shelter too getting some mud caked on his back.
A lovely shot of Fergus, posing when the rain stopped.  We find that he spends more time in the field shelter now when it starts to rain - at nearly 14 years of age he prefers to have a dry coat rather than being soaking wet all the time.
And finally............ the Gunnera plant all covered up and cosy for  the winter.  The Grumpy gardener uses the dying leaves of the plant to cover the crown from frost then uses the cut down stems to hold them in position - helped by some Ryelock fencing wire!

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Pedicure time again.

At the beginning of the week we decided it was time to trim Fergus's nails and the best way we find to get him to stand still is to hold him gently in a 'necklace' hold.  We would normally have done them a couple of weeks ago but wanted to give his injured front left leg as much time as possible to heal.  The nails were last trimmed when James Dixon the shearer did them in July.  Fergus is not over-enthusiastic about having his nails clipped but in the event he behaved himself and the procedure was carried out without problems.   We took the opportunity also of bathing Faro and Fyta's eyes to remove 'debris' which had been building up on their eyelids.
The boys after being released from the catch-pen - led by Faro, followed by Fyta and Fergus at the rear.  Faro and Fyta have their nails trimmed annually by the shearer but white alpacas like Fergus appear to need more regular attention to their fast growing nails.
As 'Mum' makes her way to the hayshed after the nail clipping, the boys follow in the expectation that they may get some haylage - they weren't wrong!
Later in the week, the Grumpy Gardener decided to change the boys' field shelter and this is Fyta checking out some hay.
When the new shelter is opened up there is the usual riot with the three boys all wanting to roll about on the ground with dust flying everywhere.  Happy days!
And finally...........Faro in the rough paddock, just checking out the photographer - as he does regularly!

Sunday, 24 November 2019

The season of mists.............

This picture sums up the sort of weather we have had for most of this week - damp, drizzly and misty!  The temperature has been fine so we mustn't complain!
Fyta staring into the mist whilst eating his feed. One morning this week he was 'out of sorts', not eating his haylage and continually trying to go to the toilet.  By mid morning he seemed fine - perhaps just a stomach upset.
Fergus is not bothered about the mist - just so long as his feed is not 'missed' - although there is very little chance of that with this boy!
Faro in front with Fyta behind. Faro continues to eat well which we are pleased about although he is easily distracted from his food - a dog barking, the other boys moving around him, a cyclist on the nearby road - all will stop him eating.
The 'dynamic duo' again, always together. By the end of the week there had been no recurrence of Fyta's upset stomach - good news!
Faro looks a bit fierce in this photo but he has just come to the fence as the human approaches with some carrots!
And finally.............a long range shot of the boys on a slightly brighter day earlier this week, with Fergus lying down.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

'Pacas, Pike & pods!

Faro enjoying some haylage after a day of rain leaving him looking pretty wet. This week has given us rain, lots of mist and some very frosty nights. 
Fyta in front, then Faro and Fergus at the rear waiting to go into the rough paddocks on a frosty morning.
A long range shot, early morning mid week with the boys near their field shelter.  The sun is coming up over the hill behind and shining on the mountains to the west.
The trio just hanging about waiting for their mid afternoon feed - from the left: Fyta, Faro and Fergus (chewing some haylage!)
Another day, another long range shot of the boys in the rough paddock looking north to Ben Wyvis in the distance.
The neighbourhood super-mouser 'Pike' taken today sitting on top of the composting bins in the garden just waiting for his prey to appear!
And finally.............the annual bursting open of the Peony tree seed pods.  These shiny black pods (almost) look good enough to eat!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

More seasonal weather.

The boys have had quite a mixture of weather to contend with this week having been soaked for most of last week!  Midweek, and the hail and snow started falling and Fyta (left) and Faro were unimpressed!
Fyta returned to the field shelter where he could eat some haylage, in the dry and out of the wintery weather.
Faro is often outside in all weathers, but where Fyta goes then Faro will follow - and vice versa! Being the 'guard' alpaca, Faro always positions himself at the door when the boys are inside whereas the other two tend to stay at the back.
Fergus on the other hand went outside for his handful of haylage. He does not always follow the other two boys and often does his own thing around the paddocks.
Then all three boys wanted feeding outside!  There is either hay or haylage in their buckets all the time but sometimes these guys just want to eat off the ground.
A long range view of the boys to the right of their field shelter with the snowy Strath Glass hills away to the West.  We had a visit from two lovely people this week who hope to own alpacas in the future - the boys enjoyed meeting you and getting their carrots!  Good luck with your project!
And finally.............. during the frosty weather the cobwebs are everywhere to be seen, normally they are never noticed.