Our Website: www.ashdalealpacas.com

Sunday 23 May 2010

Spa Day

The young master shows the older apprentice what to do

We are so grateful to Rosemary of Westhill Alpacas for lending us her two men today. They arrived this morning, set up all their equipment and set to giving our alpacas the full treatment. They have been coiffured, pedicured along with dental treatment and injections. It has been really hot here today and we (well, when I say we I really mean them) managed to do it in the shade in the barn which had a nice cool breeze blowing through it. I don't think Carl and Sam noticed though because they were so busy.

The past couple of days seem to have rushed by, I think the time is vanishing because it seems to be spent filling up water containers for the animals and then their paddling pools too. Now that all the boys have been sheared they will feel a lot cooler and will drink less water. When they were put back in their paddocks they didn't stay together as a herd, they were spread all over the paddock; I think that they didn't recognize each other so were a bit wary. As they have been injected and also had their preventative liver fluke treatment they will have to be moved onto clean pasture tomorrow and then poo samples collected to take to the vet for analysis.

Thursday 20 May 2010

You're A Big Boy Now

Hasn't Timothy grown?

Timothy with his two babysitters, Mimi and Temple.

We're hoping to solve the Dock problem by training Sweetheart to eat them

Cricket gave us a bit of a scare this morning. She seemed to be taking herself off on her own and then spending a lot of time at the poo pile. She's not due until late June so we have been watching her closely all day. We even spent some time lying on the ground in the paddock trying to see her udders and then following her around trying to check out her back end whenever she lifted her tail. No clues at all so we decided that she must just have been hot and put out a paddling pool full of water for her to cool down. She totally ignored this and kept rolling in the dust bath but by this evening she had settled down completely but it means getting up at first light tomorrow just in case.

Si topped one of the paddocks that he had sprayed last week and we are pleased to notice that all the docks and buttercups he has sprayed over the past few days have now started to wilt. Sweetheart has been eating the docks in his paddock but he's only little and I think they are growing much faster than he'd ever be able to digest them but at least he's trying to help. We enquired about Lime when we were last at Mole Valley and are going to start doing that to the paddocks when we have more chance of rain. We are hoping that if we try to neutralize the PH of the soil it may help to combat the creeping buttercups. In some of the paddocks it looks as though there are more buttercups than grass so that means we'll have to reseed too.

We have shearing on Saturday so I thought I would make a contribution to animal welfare this evening and have trimmed Tilly so that she will be cooler too. I think I have overdone it slightly as her head now looks huge in comparison to her body. I will have to neaten her up tomorrow night with the clippers and then I have some lovely scented dog shampoo to bath her in. She will probably only stay clean for the evening as she loves to roll in alpaca poo. She's definitely no lady.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Boys, Boys, Boys

 Junior getting a close look at the camera

Lear - I always want to cuddle him

The boys sitting around while I clean up after them
No change there then

After the warning from Rob at Wellground about the dangers of Cuckoo Pint we had to search for the one I had seen somewhere last year.  Once found, Si took a break from spraying the docks and buttercups to attack that one.  Well, they say a change is as good as a rest.  We're beginning to feel as though the docks are really winning.  He's out there spraying every day, even coming in from the hard sums and declaring war until it goes dark.

I must admit that I've been really slow at doing the paddock cleaning at the moment and I spent some time just sitting on the grass watching the boys.  It's easier to clean the paddocks myself as I have been using what I collect in the raised beds, troughs and pots that I have been planting up.  When Si was collecting the waste he accused me of being extravagant with it.  It's not as if we're ever going to run out.  I can safely give him a written guarantee of that.

The weather is supposed to stay really warm and dry for the foreseeable future with no rain on the horizon so I have been saving bath water to water all my bedding plants with of a morning.

Bacardi and Coke have been getting fed nettles that Si has been collecting for them by the barrow load.  It's like giving DD a cream cake.  They squeak and dance around while they are eating them.

The girls are all getting bigger but we still have ages to go before our next birth.  Everybody who has an alpaca due to birth seems to be going over their due dates so at this rate we could be birthing in winter instead of July and August.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Just a quick blog tonight

Told you.


It's Been A Long, Long Time

 Its been a while since we last blogged but it hasn't been all quiet here.

As you can see the roof is now on the barn and it's now down to me (Si, by the way) to build the walls.

Moving some of the old fence posts upset the locals. They had to scurry off and find a new home.

I hope they can line up like this when it is shearing time.

Since the last blog the barn men have completed the work they were employed to do, when they get started they really fly through it. I just have to find the time to do the walls, the yorkshire boards, the doors and water butts. No sweat, I've got a few hours spare tomorrow that should sort it. Before I can do that though I have to carry on spraying the docks, it is a constant battle and one we seem to be losing.

The new alpaca hurdles from Mole Valley have been put to good use to do Miss Humphreys' latest spit off which she passed and also to try Cooper on Mimi again, sadly he's still not really interested. Once he is we know she definitely will be. She's that kind of girl.

The girls in the picture were watching me move the hurdles so that it was easier to corral them into a new paddock right outside the park home which will be home for most of the next few months to make cria watch easier. They were soon charging around, not at all ladylike or what you would expect when they are close to giving birth.  Cricket is due first in about six weeks and she is huge, so much so that she can't even kush; her legs just stick straight out the side when she sits down.

The new garden furniture will be going alongside the paddock too so that we have an excuse to sit around watching them.

Shearing should be starting next weekend. Our first undercover shearing, so it will be quite a luxury for them.  At least if there is rain forecast for the day before we can put them inside to keep dry.

Irene is starting to feel better and finally went and did some paddock cleaning. They say a woman's work is never done, well certainly not at this rate anyway.


Wednesday 5 May 2010

It's a Kind of Magic

We've finally got all our forms downloaded and sent off for the brand new GWR Fleece and Fibre Show. It seems that everybody is talking about it, with the lack of safe halter shows to attend, and 'word on the street' is that 5th place is the one to aim for. We have heard that the rosette for 5th place is being very much sought after. If you haven't got your entries in you can get them here. I'm just hoping that we have got ours sent in in time.

Yesterday two men arrived and spent all day hammering and putting all the bits of wood for the barn together and left them laying on the ground.

Today we had to go out for a few hours for Ollie's interview at college and when we got back it had all changed and it actually looks as though we almost have a barn. It was pretty amazing when you think that it was just two men doing it, I think that they did it by magic. I must admit that we have been keeping our fingers crossed all week that the weather doesn't change to inclement again but we have been lucky so far.

In the foreground you can see the new drive. I love it because it changes colour according to the weather; today it has ranged from crushed strawberry through to damson. Well, that should confuse the men.

We popped into Mole Valley while we were in the area for the college interview and found out that they were delivering our alpaca hurdles and garden furniture today. They had telephoned to let me know but I had left my mobile on the breakfast bar. Si does keep explaining what mobile means but it doesn't help. We saw the lovely Dawn again and spent ages going through all the different disinfectants on her computer. She is really helpful and we finally came away with a huge container of blue stuff that should help keep us bio-secure.

I've been a bit under the weather for the past week or so and Si has been doing the paddock cleaning. He's finally got the bug for spotless paddocks. He was out there first thing this morning and when we got back this afternoon he decided that he should get out there again to do some more. This may all change if it rains.

Monday 3 May 2010

Two New Arrivals

The purlings and digger came for the barn.

Things keep arriving but men keep disappearing, I wonder if they think these are Bob The Builders friends and don't need drivers to get the work done.

How many of you remember the t-shirts of the eighties by Global Hypercolour that changed colour. Well our new drive appears to be made from the same stuff. It started off reddish (coral if you ask Irene) and when it gets wet turns grey/purple (mauve if you ask Irene). Why can't women accept if it isn't one of seven colours of the spectrum it isn't really a colour.

Irene's still not very well. It's very upsetting, I've had to do all of the paddock cleaning and perhaps worst of all, watering the flowers.

I did a spit-off with Ms Humphreys, sorry, Merlin did a spit off with Ms Humphreys. I just watched I swear. She passed with flying colours (ok just green), Irene is already counting down the days until next March.

I also gave Cooper another shot at Mimi, still not interested sadly but I'm sure he'll grow out of his awkward teenager stage soon.

Yesterday we bumped into some old friends in Tescos. Apparently their son was on Britains Got Talent last week as part of "Spellbound" a group of Acrobatic Gymnastics. We had seen it and were amazed, we new their son did this but didn't he was part of this team. It's ashame this is the only way they could get recognition. Doug (their son) and some of the others are gold medal winners at the European Championships and have been selected to attend the World Championships later in the year. Apparently they are currently favourites to win BGT, not bad eh! Check them out on youtube search for spellbound britain's got talent.

Finally, we have been sent a link to a new blog that has been set up recently. We've actually received it a few times, via Dianne Summers TB update group and on our facebook page. Go to http://www.tbinalpacas.blogspot.com/ . Very interesting it is, I hope it makes some people sit up and take note.