Our Website: www.ashdalealpacas.com

Sunday 19 September 2010

Winner Takes It All

Ok, maybe not all but a lot more than we were hoping for.  Yesterday was the inaugural GWR Fleece Show and we couldn't attend because we are still waiting for Cherrybomb to produce her first cria and she seems to be in no hurry.  We had entered fleeces but didn't get our hopes up as we knew that they were going to be up against some top quality animals and the judge was to be Dominic Lane who must have seen some of the best fleeces produced in the world.  In the middle of the afternoon my phone rang and it was Rosemary from Westhill Alpacas who was helping to run the show and she just had a quick few seconds to tell me that we had got a 1st and a place but she didn't know which classes and had to get off the phone to get back to collecting fleeces for Dominic to judge.  We were over the moon as that was much more than we were expecting.

We had even better news in the evening when Rosemary phoned again once she got home.  We had actually got a 1st, a 2nd plus two 5ths and a highly commended.  The highly commended was for Cherrybomb's fleece and what completely amazed me was that she said that Dominic had mentioned Cherrybomb had had a nutrition problem at some time in the year.  He was absolutely right.  During the really bad weather this winter I had noticed that she wasn't feeding at the troughs with the other girls and it took some coaxing to get her to feed.  She now insists on being fed by hand.  We are particularly pleased because we have got prizes for animals that we have bred ourselves so it proves that we are heading in the right direction.

You can now see picture of our multi prize winning herd.  It feels so good to type that.

 Penny will rest her head anywhere, here it is resting on Carrie's back

 Five of this year's cria with a couple of their prizewinning mothers

Penny again, she's not old enough to eat hay yet so has taken to wearing it instead and Exhibition is quite happy to eat it off her.

Thursday 16 September 2010

It's Neat and it's Sweet

It's been a really enjoyable time here with all the new babies running around and with still two to arrive it's a nervous time. 

Asparagus Now has barely stopped running since hitting the ground.

We're (I'm) confined to barracks at the moment watching the pregnant girls but they don't really seem to be in any hurry.  I have been spending the time knitting frantically hence the title of this blog.  Only avid Muppets fans will recognise it as being from The Doozer Knitting Song but that line seemed appropriate for a pic of Asparagus Now.

We had a stall at a show a few weeks ago and sales of joint Westhill Alpacas and our own products sold so well that Rosemary and I have been knitting frantically to replenish stocks for the next show in three weeks time, we actually got down to only one pair of gloves left.  It's good that people are keen to snap up alpaca products recognising the quality of the yarn, there have been so many compliments on our knitwear.  Rosemary has also suggested roping in her mum and mother-in-law and Si needs to watch out or I will be teaching him to knit too , but I'm not sure I have the patience or time.

The fleeces have all been prepared for the GWR Show and delivered.  I was only allowed to help skirt the first fleece and then Si told me to get back to the knitting or we would only have a handful of fleece left.  I think the fact that I was trying to pick every small piece of hay out with a pair of tweezers got on his nerves a bit. I did try not to interfere but couldn't resist walking past a few times and just picking out a few pieces that he seemed to have missed.  I'm disappointed that we may not be able to attend the GWR Show because of waiting for the safe delivery of the next cria.

Another highlight of the day was a visit from MGB from M and M Alpacas.  They brought Hallmark and Ebony across for dates with Neema and Halo. They also had a fleece check of the new cria and reckon we have four really good females so far.  It seems ages since we have seen them and we had loads to catch up on but at least winter will give us more freedom to visit each other,  unless we get another one like last year when just breaking the ice on the water troughs seemed like a full time job.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

In My Ears and In My Eyes

We've had so many problems trying to blog this past week, we've scanned the computer for viruses, cleaned up the hard-drive and finally we have been able to upload pics.

First we have Asparagus Now, named after one of our favourite young bands in Liverpool.  He was born last Tuesday.  Si had checked all the girls when he fed them and a couple of hours later I was washing up in the kitchen when I looked out of the window and saw a cria charging round the paddock.  We ran straight over, by the time we got over there he was at the milk bar.  He is the fastest cria we have ever had, even Si had difficulty catching him to spray his navel.  We're assuming he hadn't been out long as the placenta hadn't been passed.  He's doing really well but it was a shock as he wasn't due until the 18th of this month.

 Asparagus Now

 Penny Lane

Cherrybomb welcoming Penny into the world

I got up at first light this morning to check the remaining pregnant girls and nothing seemed to be happening so I went back to bed for a couple of hours.  We got up again at 8 and Si went through to make coffee while I made the bed.  I looked out of the bedroom window and thought I counted an extra cria in the paddock so dashed through to the living room to get a better look.  Si said that I had miscounted and sure enough he was right.  I was drinking my coffee and watching through the window while Si went out to feed all the animals and the next thing I knew my mobile was ringing, it was Si.  I had been right, there was an extra cria in the paddock, it was just that her mother was in front of it when viewed from the living room.  She is a few days early and really small but perfectly formed.  She seemed cold and was shaking so we put a coat on her once we had towelled her dry.  We had to move the other alpacas out of the paddock to give her some time alone with her mum, even all the cria were trying to get her up before she was ready.  She is still slightly wobbly on her legs this evening but has been trying to have a play with the other cria.

I'm hoping Cherrybomb will have her cria tomorrow as it looks as though it has dropped today and she is bulging a bit at the back.  She's also really fed up and keeps turning her back on me as though it's my fault she feels so bad.

Note to Rosemary - the title is from Penny Lane by The Beatles