Our Website: www.ashdalealpacas.com

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Cut Above The Rest

It has been such a busy time, mainly cutting grass as it is growing at a pretty alarming rate after all the rain we have had recently.  We are still cursing the buttercups as they seem to duck under the blades of the mower and then stand to attention again once we have driven over them so the battle continues with them winning at the moment.  We have been making the most of the weather and staying outside as late as possible so that when Si gets to sit down and watch sport on tv he watches it all through his eyelids.  It's quite a trick.

 I managed to get a pic of Wilhelmina with her mum, Sanctimonious before they went to the barn for shearing and preventative medication.  Immediately afterwards they were moved on to clean fresh pasture.

 I think Penny looks gorgeous with her topknot trimmed neatly.  She looks so small now without her fleece and it just seems wrong that she should be mated later in the summer, she looks such a baby.

Cricket is in the birthing paddock looking ready to pop.  She's a lot more comfortable without her fleece, it is so dense that she must have been sweltering but doesn't really like the paddling pool. To keep her cool we have to soak the ground and she kushes in the damp grass.

Carl and Sam from Westhill Alpacas came across yesterday to finish shearing so that means that all the animals are looking smaller, cooler and more relaxed.  While they were here Rosemary rang to say that they had had their first birth of the year and it was a girl so they are off to a good start.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away

It's not often that people get more than they ask for but in the case of the rain lately that is exactly what we are getting,  We've had enough now and it can go away for a few days.  Now that most of the girls have been sheared Si expects them to stay in the barn to keep warm and dry; they go in of a night but he stands next to the window when it is pouring down shouting at the alpacas to get in the barn.  They mustn't be able to hear him because they just kush where they are.

Tilly enoying a break in the weather.She comes around paddock cleaning and just lays down to supervise while enjoying the attention from her adoring public.  The girls are so gentle with her and Cherrybomb always comes over for a kiss.

Piper and Heaven where enjoying a play when we got to their paddock until Heaven spotted the camera and had to stop and pose leaving poor Piper with his head wrapped around her neck

I'm actually typing this whilst at a show with Rosemary and Carl from Westhill Alpascas.  We have been rained on again and we are fighting with the wind to keep hold of all the alpaca products but it is still a fun day with loads of interest in the knitwear.

Sunday 12 June 2011

I don't like cricket, oh no, I love it

We're full of anticipation for the result of the mating between Hemiccoyo Cricket of Cambridge and our own homebred stud male Ashdale Cooper.  The resulting cria should be something pretty spectacular.  Cricket was bred to Cooper's sire two years ago and gave us a beautiful female.  Cooper's sire is a  Supreme Champion and has also produced another Supreme Champion.  Cricket's fleece won a first last year and her bloodline includes some of the best genetics Australia has to offer.

 A heavily pregnant Hemiccoyo Cricket of Cambridge looking thoroughly fed up with playing the waiting game

Ashdale Cooper looking as only an expectant father can, wondering why everybody is making a fuss of Cricket when he had something to do with the imminent arrival.

Super Shearers (Carl and Sam from Westhill Alpacas) arrived bright and early yesterday morning and set to cooling down the Elite Australian girls by taking off their thick coats.  I was working in the house when Si arrived with two bags of fleece looking very excited and saying 'Guess who this is off?' as soon as he walked through the door.  As there was so much I suggested one of the larger girls.  He delighted in telling me I was wrong (delighted because it is not often I am) and told me it had come off  Ashdale Delilah this was the cria produced from Cricket and EP Cambridge Samson who resides at Wellground Alpaca Stud in Wiltshire.  As if that excitement wasn't enough for him he then pulled out of his pocket another surprise for me. 'Look at this'  I admired the piece of fleece he then thrust at me and it was pretty special.  When I pointed this out to him he was even more pleased 'That is a piece of the seconds, you should see the quality of the blanket and the amount'.  Poor Cricket and Cooper.  They have a lot to live up to this year.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Let Me Put You In The Picture

To try and get some shots of the other cria without Heaven is proving almost impossible.  I sneaked up while she was looking the other way to get a shot of Eleanor. 

She has seemed to sense that the camera was ready even though the other cria had come across for their evening run around.


She is now trying to push Piper out of the way to get ready for her close-up.

 Now she has got herself a better position.

I waited until Piper had gone close to his mum to have another attempt but here Heaven is again.

And here is a picture of Wilhelmina and Condor.  Who is that in the front?  I give up, here are a lot of pictures of Heaven with a few other cria in the background.

Sunday 5 June 2011

We'll Meet Again

Just when we wanted the alpacas to look their best we had rain so they looked slightly soggy this morning but luckily the weather dried up and the breeze soon fluffed them all up again. 

We were all ready for our visitors with the grass cut, alpacas on their best behaviour and the pygmy goats crying out for attention.  We were wondering if they were going to arrive and then the telephone rang.  They were lost (well, we are tucked away a bit) so Si drove down to the main road so that they could follow him back.

As they had never kept livestock before they were absolutely fascinated with our story and how our farm was just an empty field a few years ago.  They were really interested in everything alpaca so the knitwear and yarn had to come out and they loved just how soft it was.  After tea we went out to meet the animals and we demonstrated exactly what to look for in a fleece.  It was a bit nippy so it was back in for more tea and cakes while we discussed the routine medications which caused a lot of laughter as we kept mentioning drenches, and although alpaca owners know what that means, if you haven't kept livestock before it does seem perfectly logical to think that you poured medications all over each alpaca.  It did explain the funny looks we kept getting as we were talking about them.

They also fell in love with Bonnie, Ms Humphreys cria from this year, they were enamoured with how like Bambi she looks.

They did telephone tonight asking if they can return for a much longer visit next month.  It would appear that alpacas are still capturing hearts and making people want them for themselves.

Saturday 4 June 2011

One Day Like This

Drinking in the morning sun
Blinking in the morning sun

It's been another scorcher here today but we have had a breeze with it to help cool us down.  We have been dashing round trying to get all the chores done as we have visitors tomorrow from over the border, not the Devon/Somerset one but the England/Scotland one.  A couple are arriving to look at our alpacas as they are thinking of starting their own breeding programme and like the look of our mix of Elite Australian Bloodlines.  We have a really good selection now so look forward to showing them off.  On top of the usual chores we have also been trying to keep the girls cool. 

Cricket, one of our Elite Australian imports, has learned that if she needs anything she only has to come to the French windows and stare in at us, this usually means she want the footbath or paddling pool refilling.  She isn't the prettiest of girls but has produced some amazing cria for us and managed to win a 1st at the only fleece show we entered her in.

For some reason they all wanted this paddling pool today and the footbaths and other pools were left with beautiful clear, clean water in.  Juno stood like this for ages and spat at any of the other girls that tried to have a turn.

In one of the other paddocks Chicago sat splashing and having a great time, the poor babies kept getting close but every time she splashed they turned and ran away.

Tilly was exhausted after all the work she has done, disinfecting the feeders and water holders, cutting grass, paddock cleaning and filling up the paddling pools.  She went in the long grass next to the barn and lay flat on her back and went to sleep leaving us to finish the work.

I also had a lovely surprise email today to prevent me suffering withdrawal symptoms as I had been missing one of my favourite males.  Thank you so much.

Thursday 2 June 2011

She Needs Me

It's been a nice relaxing day today, just a bit of paddock cleaning and then gardening.  We did have a walk around to enjoy the alpacas and managed to catch Heaven with the camera stealing milk off Chicago.  Chicago hasn't produced a cria for 18 months so we have no idea how she is producing milk.

I managed to get a picture of the latest  cria without Heaven standing in front of everybody for a change, it meant waiting until she needed to go to the poo patch.

Once she realised the camera was out she pushed her way to the front again as if to say it's really me she wants.
So here is Heaven with Eleanor behind her, Piper and Condor to the side with Wilhelmina behind.

Tomorrow we have pedicures for the goats on the agenda with more grass cutting.  The pigs are enjoying having the cuttings thrown into their paddock, they are spending the days lying on a deep cushion of it sunbathing.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

It's Not A Bad Life

We moved some of the pregnant girls into the paddock under the window yesterday so that we can watch them closely.  Cricket is the first due to birth and even though she isn't due until 2nd July she is having difficulty kushing as she is so big, we decided best be safe than sorry so they were brought down earlier than planned.  It is fantastic having them closer again, our first cup of coffee of the day is now drunk standing next to the patio doors just enjoying watching them.

 Cricket in the foreground with Neema grazing behind her.  Neema isn't due until August.
 This is a great view to wake up to every morning.

I have to admit that we have spent the best part of the day just walking round admiring the animals, we did a few spit-offs and Aurora was mated with Lear, very noisy it was too, plenty of orgling from Lear with Aurora looking thoroughly bored with the proceedings.  We were leaning on the fence checking out last years cria when they came over looking at us accusingly, they must have thought we had forgotten the feed bucket but they had been fed earlier in the day.