Our Website: www.ashdalealpacas.com

Sunday 29 May 2011

Build Me Up Buttercup

The day started off really dull and we thought that we were going to get some rain but then the sun came out and the temperatures soared.  Si has spent more time riding around on the mower but it appears that the buttercups are getting the better of him and are now flowering just above ground level.  He won't be beaten and has lowered the mowing deck so that it is now cutting the grass so short that the soil is also being scraped.

 Piper and Condor have become really good paddock mates now and spend most of their time together, they also seem to have learnt to stand and pose when approached with the camera.  Heaven still thinks that she is the leader of the pack and has taken to feeding off whichever adult female is nearest, even the ones who haven't given birth yet.  It is probably time to stop paying her so much attention.  Wilhelmina is beautiful and as much as I love the dark alpacas they are really difficult to photograph well, they just look like a sillhouette in all the snaps I take.

Timothy is now coming out of his shell and instead of moving away from us is quite happy to stand and pose.

I'm glad shearing time is almost with us as the temperatures are forecast to soar in the next few days and the heavily pregnant girls are starting to look really uncomfortable.  They have spent most of the afternoon asleep in the shade of the trees, if I hadn't had the paddock to clean I might have been tempted to join them.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Picture Of You

Cherub and Sweetheart, the pygmy goats, have got into the habit of nagging for their takeaway as soon as they see one of us.  This means walking round with a small blade in the back pocket of our jeans all the time in preparation for cutting down a branch or two for them to nibble on.  It doesn't take long for them to strip it bare.  It's like having two toddlers nagging for sweets in the supermarket.

 We don't seem to have taken any photos of My Bonnie for quite a while but she hasn't been neglected.  She has been in the top paddock with the pregnant Australian girls and last years cria.  She gets some attention every day as she is so cute looking.  It is difficult to get a picture of her on her own as all of the alpacas in with her are so used to seeing the camera that they crowd around the gate as soon as they see it being raised ready to snap.

The young boys have started to follow their example and gather round for attention but it would appear that Cooper has decided to become camera shy and is hiding his head behind Junior.  Lear was a bit late in coming over so can just be seen approaching from the rear.  Timothy has decided which is his best side and is facing down towards empty paddocks.

Cricket has been sitting awkwardly today and has a due date of 2nd July but looks as though she could be early as she is so big.  She is going to be brought down to the birthing paddock tomorrow after Si has topped it again, she will be joined by another four girls who are due a month later.  This is more for our peace of mind than anything else, I like to have them right under the window so that they can be watched constantly and closer to the barn if they give birth while it is raining.

Friday 27 May 2011


Today we have had much needed rain with high winds added for good measure so all the jobs that were planned for outside went by the board.  We had intended to do some strimming and more spraying of the infernal buttercups in paddocks that won't be needed for a few months but hopefully it will be dry enough to catch up with these chores over the bank holiday weekend.

For some reason all the alpacas have been avoiding the field shelters and just hunkering down and getting wet, maybe they are grateful to be a bit cooler as they are still in full fleece.  It has been so cool that we lit the fire today and have actually done the tax return that isn't due in until the end of January 2012.  We have also gone through some of the photographs that were on the computer and deleted some, it's amazing just how many you take with a digital camera and aren't as selective as we used to be when using film.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Stupid Girl

I have been having a really blonde day today.  I remembered the vet bill from last month hadn't been paid with all that had been happening and decided to pay over the phone as I also wanted to order some Lambivac.  Once I got through I found out that there was nothing to pay and we were also in credit; I had already paid the bill twice and was trying to pay for a third time.  I had a doctors appointment due on Thursday morning, I knew it was really early but couldn't remember the exact time so telephoned them to check and found out I should have been there this morning so had missed it.  So much for thinking I was coping ok with Dad's death, it would appear not.

All the paddocks that Si had topped have already got a good covering of bright yellow buttercups in them so he is going to have to go over them all again.  We haven't really done anything constructive today but seemed to be busy all the same.  The pigs have been given all the cut grass and they have spent most of the day sunbathing on it.  The goats have had their usual mix of takeaway from the hedge, we are clearing a lot of debris this way and also adding to the firewood pile for next winter.

We are really enjoying have early cria for the first time this year.  Heaven seems the most mischevious of them all but it is fun watching them and seeing their different personalities develop.  Piper is a lot more lively now and is often up on just his hind legs.

Eleanor seems to know that when the camera comes out she has to stand and pose, Heaven is never far away from her as it was just the two of them for a while.  Piper is behind the two girls looking at something in the distance with Condor just behind Eleanor, next to his mum.

Monday 23 May 2011

Dance With My Father Again

My last blog was actually written in the car heading back to Liverpool for my Dad's last party.  I had stayed up late on Thursday night not wanting the next day to arrive, pretty much the reverse of a child being willing to go to bed early on Christmas Eve.  We had a really early start but all the animals had to be taken care of before we left.

It really was all about Dad.  The Celibrant and Humanist, Anthony Roberts-Moore took the service and he had spent hours finding out all he could about Dad, he had decided that he was a person he would have liked and proved this by getting emotional himself.  He had us all laughing as well as crying and I was so proud that there was standing room only and the doors had to be left open so that people could stand outside and still hear.  There were references to people that Dad had loved and that loved him.  Even 'Sue's Specials' got a mention.  This is a lady who used to cook an extra meal and send her husband to deliver them in his Jag.  I'm still not convinced that Dad was in the coffin with everything else that was put in there with him.  We are hedging our bets a bit here as it was full of his favourite things and presents from some of his grandchildren.  Dad used to go on holiday every year with friends and they became knows as 'The Benidorm Boys', one of their routines was to see who could buy the worst shirt while they were away and have a competition.  They carried the coffin in and had asked if they could have their last bad shirt day, we thought Dad would have loved that so obviously said 'Yes'.  The looks the cortege got as we headed to the crem was hilarious.

Anthony recited a poem by Joyce Grenfall which really pleased me.  My sister hadn't known about the connection with this but we were listening to her records before she was born and I was given Joyce's middle name as Dad was such a fan.  The only thing that Anthony had difficulty with was the word 'Bainbridgisms', this is always used in reference to Dad's quips and jokes.

Anthony finished the service with this poem, we had never heard it before but apparently it is a classic.

Our parents cast long shadows over our lives. When we grow up we imagine that we can walk into the sun, free of them. We don't realize until it's too late that we have no choice in the matter; they're always ahead of us.

We carry them within us all our lives, in the shape of our face, the way we walk, the sound of our voice, our skin, our hair, our hands, our heart. We try all our lives to separate ourselves from them and only when they are dead do we find we are indivisible.

We grow to expect that our parents, like the weather, will always be with us. Then they go, leaving a mark like a handprint on glass or a wet kiss on a rainy day, and with their death we are no longer children.

As we came out after the service there was a fly-past and everybody commented on it.  It really hadn't been arranged by any of us but it was perfect timing and had us all laughing again.  Everybody said what a brilliant service it had been with most people saying it was the best funeral they had ever been to.  The wake/party afterwards was brilliant with an emotional speech from my Uncle Don (Dad's brother)which set us off again and then the 'Bainbridgisms' were passed around and we were all laughing again.  I was given a signed book of poetry from the author who knew Dad. 

The only problem my sister and I now have is accepting that Dad isn't with us any more because I went to phone him on Saturday to tell him what a great day we had had.  He would have loved it.

Friday 20 May 2011

Day In, Day Out

Blog has been missing for a few days as I had lost a connecting flex.  House has been turned upside down in the hunt for it, even the dog's basket was searched for the elusive item but it was in my handbag.  No idea how it got there as I hardly ever use it but I may have put it in on the way for my day out. 

Si had spent the morning topping some of the paddocks and they look a lot neater now but there is still the odd buttercup that sprang back up.  I was a bit overexcited as we were off to visit Westhill Alpacas for the first time in a long time.  They had alpacas I hadn't met and their ewes had been having a busy time producing.  Si did get a bit intrigued when Sam said that he could meet Jordan but his interest waned slightly when he real realised it was a lamb.

The view from the top of Westhill Alpacas showing some of their great girls in the foreground 

Jordan, who is only a few weeks old but seems twice the size of the lambs who were born at the same time.  He is obviously used to getting a lot of cuddles as he was really well behaved while we made a fuss of him.

Lily is really grown up now and pregnant but is still as pretty as ever and we spent some time going through the fleeces.  There is some pretty impressive crimp in their herd now and a beautiful blue black potential stud with Centurian in his bloodline.  I can't wait to see what he produces when he has started to work which will hopefully be later this year.

Rosemary had two wonderful cakes which we worked our way through while we were making more plans for our knitwear and then she brought out some of the fleeces that Carl had already sheared this year.  There was a really amazing dark fawn/brown one with really tight crimp that we were all really impressed with but I can't remember which of her boys it came from.

Monday 16 May 2011

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

We've had a bit of a lazy day today. 

Paddocks were cleaned first thing this morning and then feeders and water holders disinfected.  We even managed to sit down for an hour with the newspapers.  The good weather held and Si tried to get the mower started, no luck, he tried jump starting it from the car but it kept cutting out.  A quick telephone call to Carl at Westhill Alpacas for advice but he was out shearing.  While Si was waiting for him to get back he decided to have another go at fixing it and it started quite easily so that was him set for the afternoon.  I-Pod on full blast he just sat singing along chopping the buttercups and docks down.  I did the takeaways for the goats and pigs; I make sure I give them a good selection of branches, Sweetheart seems to prefer Willow while Cherub tends to dive into the Hawthorne first and then work her way through the rest slowly.  Bacardi and Coke (Kune Kune pigs) jump straight into their pile of branches chomping away at anything that is nearest and then just crush the twigs down to make a mattress.

That sounds like quite a lot but as quite a bit of the time we were watching the new babies running around it felt like we were taking it easy.  I suppose that means we must enjoy what we do.

Saturday 14 May 2011

I Just Can't Believe All The Things People Say

Firstly, I have to thank everybody who has telephoned after the BAS meeting last Saturday. Si had put his name forward to be on the committee believing that the only way to get things changed is to do it from the inside. We couldn’t understand why there were so many votes against him until somebody who we had never met telephoned to tell us that there was a particularly vindictive member, and fellow nominee, who had been lobbying against him all day and telling people that he wanted to get all alpaca shows stopped. Although we believe this would be the ideal situation until the TB situation is completely under control, after all this worked with the Golden Guernsey Goat Society, or we have a reliable test for alpacas, what he had actually asked at a previous meeting was that he thought that it should be possible for members to be informed as to what bio-security arrangements were in place for each show, so that breeders could make an informed choice about whether to attend or not.

The alpaca shows are organized by people who have differing ideas as to the dangers of zoonotic diseases so some of the BAS Guidelines are adhered to or ignored according to the individual opinions of the organizers. I think that it would be in our favour to be more inclusive, following the example of the US and Australia where they share information, whereas in the UK breeders are more reluctant to help one another. A perfect example of this is the BAS website where there is a forum to share and ask for advice, it hasn’t been used for three months. People can use it to ask specific questions regarding the welfare of their herd and the questions go unanswered for years, if the committee really cared about alpacas couldn’t they check on a regular basis and offer advice? Does every breeder in this country think they know everything there is to know about alpacas? If so, it is a very arrogant attitude and will be to the detriment of the industry as a whole. Even our vet doesn’t presume that he knows everything and will often telephone drug companies and VLA to ask which medications they would recommend for alpacas, as there are no licensed medicines available.

Anyway, it would seem that this has gone in our favour in ways we didn’t envisage. We have even had a telephone call from a breeder on mainland Europe who had heard about what had happened at the meeting and they supported us and the fact that we haven’t shown our animals at an alpaca halter show for the past few years so as not to risk them catching anything. We have animals that we would have loved to have shown but we care about them so won’t risk them. One of our stud boys, Ashdale Cooper, is the son of a Supreme Champion and the brother of Supreme Champions and we would have loved to have taken him to a show or two. This breeder has also said that he would recommend us to people where they live as being biosecurity aware and previously they wouldn’t have considered buying from the UK.

Another attendee at the meeting only has a few alpacas and had recommended this offending nominee to a friend who wanted to start breeding them but has now told them to go elsewhere and has recommended us.
We know that it is unrealistic for us to have a completely ‘closed herd’ yet as we wish to mix bloodlines to improve the quality of our fibre so there are a few breeders that we would trust completely to bring their stud males onto our farm, albeit into a pen away from the main herd for their security as well as our own. We are always asked to dip and scrub our boots in disinfectant before we enter their premises and not once have we felt insulted.

We work closely with several breeders we trust, and have purchased alpacas from, and regularly use the services of, Wellground Alpaca Stud in Wiltshire. They are completely bio-security aware and have not attended any alpaca halter shows for two years either and we have some stunning progeny from Wellground’s stud boys. We love the fact that we can feel completely safe using them and they are always on the end of a telephone for any questions we have but they also share any new information via their blog to help new alpaca owners.

Friday 13 May 2011

Pretty Baby

Stars live in the evening
But the very young need the sun, uh-huh
Pretty baby, you look so heavenly

This should have been yesterdays blog but Google had a bit of a blip that lasted over 24 hours.

I think I now have one of the prettiest paddocks in the whole, wide world.  Out of the six girls that were due to birth during the spring we have had four female and two male cria.  Five are together in the one paddock and it is so joyful to watch them running round during the day.  Eleanor was the firstborn and she then had a long wait for her playmate.  Once Heaven came along they bonded straight away and they are together most of the day even though they have welcomed the new babies into their games.

Finally on day 387 of her pregnancy Hope gave up and pushed out this beautiful male cria.  It involved a call to the vet as for over half an hour there was just a little twitching nose showing and we thought that the cria may be huge so I didn't feel confident about getting him out.  Laura and Si were going to hold Hope while I 'went in' but it took Laura so long to get her shoes on that the feet then slid out.  Si cancelled the vet once we were sure that the shoulders were out ok and soon after we had a lively male cria on the ground.

 We were going to put a coat on him as it was a bit cool but as we were drying him the sun came out so we left him bare so that he could dry faster.  It didn't take him long to get up and find the milk bar.

 Wilhelmina sitting regally amongst the buttercups which I hope get cut down tomorrow.  She wants to play when the rest of the cria have settled down for the night.

 Heaven is just off to see if Condor wants to play.  I failed completely in getting a shot of Condor on his own as he was too fast

 Eleanor was obviously feeling left out so stood and posed for a snap on her way back from being weighed.

Eleanor had been giving Piper kisses but Hope decided that she would break it up.  You can just see her behind them trying to push her nose in.

This morning was fantastic.  For the first time in months I was able to pull the quilt over my head when I woke up instead of jumping out of bed to check the girls.  I now have about five weeks before I'm on cria watch again so it is just like being on holiday.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Wilhelmina, Wilhelmina, She's The Cutest Little Girl ............................

Great Day. Fewer Tears, lots of laughter.

I got straight out of bed when I woke to come through and check the overdue girls and saw that Condor was trying to feed from Sanctimonious. Wrong, even though it was only just after 5am she had given birth and the new cria was up and attempting to feed, you know, the usual thing of aiming for the right area and then going right under the mother and coming out the other side. By 6am we were back inside having wiped the cria clean, she had fed, pooed and weed so we knew that everything was in working order so it was time for us to have coffee.

The computer went on and I announced her arrival to the rest of the world via Twitter and Facebook because we had been chatting on there about the length of these pregnancies.  People were still watching Tuesday night TV programmes while we were practically propping our eyelids open with matchsticks, it was so early.  The internet has certainly made the world smaller.

She has been welcomed by the other cria and they have all been having fun showing off to the new arrival.  Wilhelmina has been doing her best to keep up with the chasing games and we have spent most of the day around the paddocks, only coming in when it was going dark.  Hope has spent the day sitting round looking really fed up and I really hoped that she would produce her cria later in the day.  Maybe tomorrow. How many more times do I have to say that?

My sister and I chose the name on the phone today while we were talking through some of the official stuff that has to be done.  Dad was called William. 

Once Hope has had her cria we have a few weeks break before we are on cria watch again so I will make the most of it by getting out to the shops and maybe even the odd lunch out a la Les from Wellground.

It has been lovely watching the Elite girls in their new paddock today.  They have obviously been delighted to get their cria back from last year and they are all back in their family groups.  We have decided to try the two day thing, as suggested by Rosemary of Westhill Alpacas , so Cooper was mated to Chance again tonight, the big problem we had was that Carrie didn't want to be separated from her mum again and Temple and Cherrybomb, Chances daughters from previous years, wouldn't leave Carrie alone either, so they all had to be allowed in the chase next to where the action was taking place.

Mr Loverman

Planning a full days work didn't prompt the overdue girls to give birth.  Day 385 over and they still haven't delivered.  We are exhausted with these really early starts, we don't even have to use an alarm as our bodies seem to wake us at first light during birthing season.  Si did tell me to go back to bed when we had done the first checks but if the girls need any intervention my hands are smaller and I don't want to let them down if they need me. 

Ashdale Cooper son of  EP Cambridge Samson is looking pretty pleased with himself today.  He's been employed doing spit offs and it would appear that all the girls he mated are pregnant bar Laurel Lady's Chance so he had to spend some time entertaining her today.  Chance seemed pretty nonplussed and just carried on grazing.

While Si was trying to move Cooper from one girl to another he received a hard kick on his leg and has been in pain with it all night.  I suppose he is due a lot more sympathy than he has been getting as his back and arms were already aching from putting the top wires around the perimeter this morning.

Condor has been exploring every nook and cranny of his paddock again today when he hasn't been playing with the girls.

Last years cria have been put into a new paddock back with their mothers today. They were all delighted to see each other again and Ashdale Exhibition ran straight over to her mum Cambridge Larralluh, an Elite Australian Import, Larra soon put her in her place but she had also been the most aggressive in her spit off with Cooper.  The girls didn't know where to start grazing first and they were all jumping, running and pronking with joy.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, so maybe 386 will be our lucky number.

Monday 9 May 2011

It's Been A Long, Long, Long Time

Laura and I have spent most of the day just watching and enjoying the new babies.  I know that birthing time is stressful until they are on the ground safely but once here it's always worth the wait.

Heaven and Eleanor have really been making the most of having a new playmate and have hardly let him sleep, everytime he goes back to his mum for a feed they follow him until he is willing to run around with them again.

Sanctimonious and Hope are now at the end of day 384 of their pregnancies and are obviously reluctant to be photographed so heavily overweight. 

If you have alpacas yourself you will know how stubborn they can be so we have made a long list of chores to be done tomorrow, at least one of them is sure to give birth to put paid to our workplan.

Laura did the afternoon takeaway for the goats and couldn't believe how much they go through.  They are so eager to get their pile of branches rich with juicy hawthorne leaves that they almost climb the fence to get to them.

Sunday 8 May 2011

Welcome to My World

We had a busy day planned as DD was travelling down from Liverpool.  This is always an adventure as it usually involves quite a few train changes with at least one missed connection but there was an added bonus today with a two and a half hour bus ride slotted into the middle as the trains were cancelled for routine construction work.  Thank goodness for mobile phones.

While Si and I were otherwise engaged Eleanor noticed that the feeders were being neglected by the other girls but had camelibra left in.  This is the first time we have noticed her eating hard feed.

This is what was keeping us occupied.  Kylie finally decided to give birth today, she was so chilled about it she stayed sitting down.  I told Si to get the feed bucket to get her to stand up to make things easier.  I know my girls and giving birth isn't going to stop them having their breakfast.  She stood up walked over to the feeders, had something to eat and then went back to her chosen position and sat down again.  The poor cria practically walked out.

He has been lively from the word 'Go'.  As soon as Si had rubbed him dry he got into a kush and Heaven and Eleanor came over and introduced themselves.  We have named him Condor as he is a dark brown colour.  Whenever he moved Heaven and Eleanor jumped back with fright.  Really funny to watch and kept us amused for quite a while.

Here he is drying out and bonding with mum, Kylie

It looks as though Eleanor is asking him if he wants to play this evening.  It didn't take him long to join in the evening race with the two girls.

I must thank everybody for their kind emails, comments, messages and cards.  It's amazing how much they help.  My sister has been fantastic, arranging everything and consulting me over the phone, we have laughed a lot too  but we both have sore faces where the salt in our tears have burnt our skin.  Obviously with still having two overdue girls on 383 days now we can't leave the farm and make the journey to Liverpool, we are seriously doubting the mating dates now.  Important arrangements have had to be delayed making things more upsetting and believe me, it is taking so much restraint not to name and shame.  Dad's final party is not for another two weeks (I can't really say the usual word) so we should definitely have the other two cria on the ground by then.

Friday 6 May 2011

Thank Heavens For Little Girls

This is the blog I never wanted to write.  I have cleaned windows, even done the VAT and accounts, emptied cupboards and tidied them even though they were only done last week.

The cria above have been my saviour over the past couple of days, I can't name them as I can hardly see the photographs through a veil of tears.  On Tuesday night about 11pm my telephone rang and it was the news that I wasn't ready for.  My Dad had died that day.  There, it's in black and white now so it must be true.  The title is because he used to sing it to my sister and I when we were small.

He really was an extraordinary man.  He brought up 3 children single-handed and this was in the early 70's when it was really unusual, at the same time as working full time.  He loved music of all kinds and taught us an appreciation of it.  Even just a few years ago my sister and I would go to lunchtime jazz sessions with him and still have happy memories of attending classical concerts and also taking him to the theatre to see 'The Rat Pack'. He was probably over-protective of us and we weren't even allowed to watch Coronation Street as he considered it too racy for children.  What a different place the world is now?  After a full days work he would take us for walks after dinner to teach us about nature.  As we got older we weren't allowed to show any cleavage and if we wore a low cut top he always asked us if there was a scarf that went with our outfit, we teased him about it for years.  It feels wrong to have spent so much of the past few days laughing but most of our memories are of him being daft to make us laugh.  He must have had the patience of a saint as bedtimes used to take ages.  After he had put us to bed and turned off the lights he would say goodnight and we would repeat it back it then turned into a routine where he would shout any silly thing and we would repeat it back to him.  We only knew it had ended when he said 'Tiddly tiddly pomp pomps, now go to sleep'. Years later it amused him when he found me doing the same thing with my children.

He had been trying to prepare us and true to form he had looked after us to the end, he even sent my brother the local paper every week even though he left Liverpool 30 years ago.  Unfortunately, we didn't listen as we didn't want to acknowledge that he would ever leave us. Even though he wasn't really ill he went to the bank last week to put his affairs in order and in amongst his official papers were sheets of paper with jokes written on.  He had even told us what music he wanted played at his funeral and I have only remembered one piece and even that made me laugh.  He wants Beethoven's Pastoral played.  We have chosen either the 1st or 5th movement as I can remember one rainy day when we were playing the record he conducted me with a chopstick while I had to mime playing the instruments.

I have just had a long break from this.  My baby cousin (he is actually now a grown man with children of his own) phoned and we chatted for two hours about childhood memories.  It seemed right that most of it was spent laughing at what a mad family we come from.  We can even remember our fathers breaking a glass in the bath to make sound effects for a goon type sketch they were enacting.  The both used to do Harry Worth impressions outside a shop in a main thoroughfare were we were raised.  They didn't care who was watching as long as it made their children laugh.  He was the same with his eight grandchildren, so much so that even recently in their teens and 20's they would still spend time chatting with him, and playing pool.

My Dad used to laugh about the idea of Facebook and there were such lovely messages on there about him the other day from people of all ages and my first thought was that I would phone him to tell him but I can't.  He won't know about the flowers I'm growing this year.  He'll never meet any great-grandchildren he may have. 

Tiddly tiddly pomp pomps Daddy.  I'm sorry, I'm not ready to let you go even though I know I was lucky to have you this long.  I'll never be able to trust anybody like I could trust you.  I love you, night night xxx

Monday 2 May 2011

Singing In The Rain

We've had a lot of the rain over the last few days but with the high temperatures hanging on we've practically been watching the grass grow.

Heaven really is heavenly, we've been having a great time enjoying her charging around the paddock with Eleanor when her mum allows her to.  This evening we were just standing at the french windows staring out at them, it more than makes up for the scare she gave us the day she was born.  It has just made her extra special.  I'm really supposed to be knitting in my spare time, the last blend of yarn we had spun was a mixture of the best of ours and Westhill Alpacas fleeces (you can visit their website by clicking on the name), it is a beautiful soft beige shade.  We have some shows coming up in the near future and as we sold so much stock at the last show we did we are all working hard to replenish our knitwear.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow, maybe Heaven will spend some time sleeping to make up for all the activity today.

Sunday 1 May 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring ........................

and the old man wasn't snoring.  He was doing some electrical work on the horse trailer in the barn.  Well we finally got the much hoped for rain and everything looks much brighter except for the alpacas.  I am sure that when we wake tomorrow morning the grass seed we scattered will be beautiful verdant blades at least a foot tall.

This was the best photo I could get of Aurora and Heaven.  They have bonded so well that everytime we go near Aurora leads her new baby away.  I'm not complaining in the least, it is lovely to see after the really dodgy start.  She does let Heaven play with Eleanor, this is the much needed playmate that Eleanor has been looking for which means she now lets the heavily overdue girls rest.

Delilah always looks as though she is sporting a beard.  She is a very lazy drinker and just sticks her head in the then lets it drip down.  It's actually quite cute.

Bonnie is so used to us admiring her that she sits and watches us paddock clean.  I'm sure she thinks it is just for her amusement.