Saturday, 14 November 2020

Torrential Rain

 We are still waiting for the Hi-Line workers to come and deal with the over hanging branches that they want to remove.   Cannot blame them - at the moment we are having wall to wall non stop heavy rain.  Not much fun when cleaning out the chicken house or clearing the yard  but those jobs still need to be done.

Our young hens are laying plenty of eggs but only the older girls lay full size eggs.  We sell the smaller eggs at a low price (80p for half a dozen) and they seem to go well.   They are too small to boil and put in an egg cup but ideal for poaching or frying - just need to use more eggs per meal.  It will be quite a few weeks before the young hens start laying full size eggs.

 I filled all the hay racks up with fresh hay as  the few alpacas we have left will spend more time in their field shelters during this weather and eat hay instead of grass.   The chickens also like the hay racks as they make a nice cosy place to lay eggs.  they are free range so when collecting the eggs to sell at the farm gate I hve to check in quite a few places to make sure none are missed.

 I usually take the dogs round the farm in the mornings so I can check the boundaries and make sure there are no problems and also check up on the two male alpacas who live in the lower field .  This morning they had to make do with running around in the field near the house.  They still managed to get quite wet but at least not muddy too.

 We will be catching up on indoor jobs today.  Mike always has a few projects on the go in the barn. 

Although I closed the shop at Christmas last year, I seem to be making quite a few sales online of our remaining alpaca socks and hand knitted hats and mittens. There is not very much stock left but it is nice to see that it is selling rather than going to waste.

 www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk




Wednesday, 11 November 2020

High Wires

We are awaiting a visit from the Hi- Line engineers as we have electric cables on our land and from time to time they have to come and carry out mantenance or cut back tree branches which might be in danger of interfering with the cables and thus with the local electricity supply.  The weather has been quite bad today so we are assuming that their visit has been postponed for the time being.

During the winter farmers are allowed to cut back hedges and trees where necessry.  In the spring and summer this work is not allowed  as it can interfere with the nesting birds and other wildlife.

Nick,our once a week helper, is very knowledgeable and skilled in farming matters.  Mike first met him when he attended a hedge laying course where Nick was the teacher.  Hedge laying involves partially cutting the main stems of the hedge and weaving them to make the hedge more solid and encourage thicker growth thus making a very effective barrier around fields and between farms and again,providing wild life habitat.

We only have a few alpacas left as we are no longer trading so the four girls share a paddock with the chickens as they are good guards and will give a strong alarm call if they see anything to worry about (such as a fox thinking of dinner).  It is quite a high pitched sound like a series of short screams from the back of the throat.

We let them free range over a couple of fields during the day and in the evening they respond very quickly to the noise of the feed bucket being shaken.   They literally run through the gate in a race to see who gets to the feeders first.

The chickens put themselves to bed in their shelter at dusk and I go over with my trusty dog Ted and shuth them in - after a quicjk count to make sure none are missing.   There are 33 at the moment. 13 older hens and the rest are youngsters only just starting to lay very small eggs.


Sunday, 13 September 2020

Starting Again

 After a long silence I have decided to make and effort to keep a blog again.   Looking at the old posts it was interesting to be reminded of what was going on with the animals and ourselves in past years.  

Mike and I are both aging and finding it more difficult to remember times and dates when events happened, or even whether we have carried out routine tasks.   Maybe keeping a regular blog (if I keep to my resolution) will be interesting and at the same time serve to settle any disagreements about dates, times and events. 

Although the farm shop has closed I am selling off remaining stock online through the Alpacastuff website.

There are a few socks and quite a lot of hand knitted hats, bobble hats, and mittens still available  at www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk.   We have only six alpacas now.  Two males and four females.   I expect they will live out their lives here, although we would be happy to sell them if a buyer appeared.   

We have 35 hens, so we keep the four female alpacas in their paddock.   As the hens are free ranging and only shut inside at night, it is good to know that the girls are round to raise the alarm if Mr. Fox appears. The alpaca alarm call is quite strange and difficult to describe.   Something like a series of very short high pitched yelps with a loud intake of breath between.  

 We let the alpacas free range during the day and they pop themelves back into the chicken paddock at usually a little before dusk to take up guard duty.

As we have three dogs - two older boys and a three year old, there is plenty of noise and excitement if anything happens -like a customer coming to pick up eggs from the egg box which is situated half way down the drive.   I like to think they would make a lot of  noise to alert us if they saw a predator in the chickens' field too.

All in all we have a very good team.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

We now have a very limited supply of socks for sale on our website but we still have stocks of our hand knitted hats and mittens so it is  worth looking to see what is on offer.

www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk
Hand knitted Beanie hat in 75% alpaca and 25% wool   Ideal to keep your hair tidy  for those breezy spring walks.

Click on the photo to see all the hats available.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Still Raining

Really nothing of interest is happening.   The wet weather continues to stop all but the basics.   The chicken field is constantly water logged and the hen house is a muddy mess despite my best efforts.  Until the water table drops it is not likely to improve.

The dogs get very wet and muddy most mornings when they go for their walk round the farm and I try to confine them to the yard for the rest of the day because at least it is fairly mud-free and gives them a bit of space for a run around.

We still have some socks and hand kitted items available for sale.

www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk
Click on the photo to visit our Alpacastuff website for socks, hats and mittens.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Sunshine

Sunshine has occurred today - short bursts and I still got soaked this morning walking the dogs and sorting out the  chcikens.   When will it ever end?

I have not had anything to add to the blog recently because it has been one wet day after another and nothing much has been happening.

We have an extra dog on the farm now.  Dodger is sister to our Dolly, border collie.   He belongs to my friend Pauline who is currently not well enough to have him at home so he is here for  a while.  He has  been used to visiting us in the past for holidays so it has not unsettled him  to come and stay.
He is very very active and is really enjoying sloshing around the farm.

Pam who has knitted all the hats and gloves which we sold in our shop is now using up the last of our yarn .   It will probably take some time to sell because we are now (believe it or not) starting to come out of the season for buying woollies!!

Check the website for hand knits in 100% natural colour alpaca and 75% alpaca blended with wool in great dyed colours.

www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk

Click on the photo to visit our Alpacastuff website.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Mudbath

The heavy rain we have been having lately is turning the gateways and paddocks  which we are using into virtual mudbaths.  The winds and rain overnight were really concerning but this morning the sunshine has returned at least for the time being.

More storms are forecast for the week end.

We have four female alpacas alpacas for sale as we only want to keep a couple of males to guard the hens.  This is part of our retirement plan.   Eventually I expect the hens will go too but at the moment they are laying lovely eggs and we have quite a few regular customers.

www.alpacas-for-sale.co.uk