Tuesday, 19 January 2021

More Rain, Wind and Mud


 Everything is going smoothly but to be honest it is not much fun.  The fields are sodden and I would like a £1 for every time I have de-mudded and dried the dogs.   They need to go out for exercise and the obvious necessities and they enjoy it, so I don't begrudge  the extra work and washing!

No news on Avian flu restrictions being eased.  The hens are becoming more and more reluctanct to return to their quarters after I have cleaned up.   They really enjoy the fresh air and time spent outside in their run.

Mike has finished renovating a pretty cupboard which we use as a bathroom cabinet and I have brought parts of my old dolls house down from the attic to start restoring it now that the so called "office"  space is free again.  I think it was made by my great grandfather and has fallen into disrepair over the years.  I have been looking online to try and find something similar as a guide but have not found anything like it to base my work on yet.  Maybe it is a one off.

I seem to remember my father painted it when I was a little girl and the colours are just what he had available at the time (would have been the 1950s).  I  think the interior is original although there are some broken banisters and suchlike.

The alpacas are all looking a bit bedraggled as they are nearly always wet at the moment even though they  have access to shelters if it rains.  Their fleece is very thick and the top acts almost like a thatch when it is wet.


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Sunday, 17 January 2021

Dry Weather and alpaca escape

 At long last a couple of dry days.  It make such a difference.   We spend the best part of most mornings cleariing the paddock where the hens and female alpacas reside.  

 

The hens are still confined to barracks and are just allowed out whilst I clean up.    They are getting more and more reluctant to return to their indoor quarters and even resist Ted's attempts to get them indoors again sometimes meet resistance.   Can't blame them really, especially on nice sunny dry mornings.  Sadly the rules are still in force and I cannot allow them to free range which is what they are (or were) used to.  The Defra Website is not very easy to navigate.   It refers to a Surveillance zone but my searches do not reveal any information about the zone.

Otherwise we are runing quite a happy ship at the moment.   Freddie and Inchic seem very happy sharing the back paddock with my agility training area and we have quite a lot of flexibility to give them extra grazing when they have cleared an area.  

 This morning when I went up to clear up in their paddojk I found that Freddie had entered the agility area.   There was a barrier up to the shed but it looked as though he might have just walked up to it and found it easy to push out so that there was just enough room for him to walk through.   He went back in happily enough when I opened the proper gate.  Inchic was oblivious to the whole episode.

I think I have now secured it so he can't get through again.

There is still some stock available on our website www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk


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Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Help is at hand!

Nick, who has been our once a week helper and guide to all things farm related works with Mike on Tuesdays.  As they are always outside or in the barn  they minimise the risk of Covid 19 infection.   At tea break we stay outside on the "patio" as we call it  when the weather allows.   This time of year we are sometimes coming into our "kitchen" which is our only downstairs room and very big - so we can still social distance.  I clean all surfaces frequently and especially after tea break.

Today Mike and Nick are making a handling pen so that we can carry out husbandry such as cutting toe nails on the two males, Freddy and Inchic who now live in the paddock at the back of the house.  When the weather improves I will take photos!  We are also going to extend their grazing area as they have neatly mown their present area.

Tomorrow Mike is going to travel to Ilminster for his Vaccination.   As he is 82 he is lucky enough to have it early.   I will be in the next group whenever that is.

The hens are still shut in most of the time but I let them out into a netted area whilst I clean out their living quarters and to give them some fresh air and exercise.   They get VERY excited when I open the door but are easy to entice back with the fresh straw that I scatter around as they love finding all the seeds.   Ted, my trusty farm dog, explains that they have to go back inside when told or risk a severe herding!  He is very good at getting them out of hiding places - e.g. behind hay bales or trailers!

Remainder of Alpacastuff stock is still available at www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk/

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Friday, 8 January 2021

As Normal as Possible

 

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We are very lucky because our days are much the same as before Covid.   We are very careful when we go shopping which is less than once a week except for a daily trip to the village stores for the paper and essential supplies such as milk.

Like everyone else we wear masks when we are near others and our spectacles get steamed up as soon as we enter the shop.

The hens are still in lock down because of avian flu but now have a secure run so that they can go out of the shelter once a day to enable me to muck out properly and thus help prevent health problems.   Nick says that they are looking very good and healthy and they are certainly laying well.  Ted, my trusty farm dog, is very good at rounding them up when it is time for them to return to their cell.  He even manages to get to the back of the straw bales which are stored inside the run under a tarpaulin  and where they love to hide and peck at the seeds.
 
Freddie and Inchic - our only remaining male alpacas were living in the bottom field but it made it difficult for Mike or Nick to top the field when the grass was too long and every time we wanted to go through the gate they seemed to be at the entrance looking for the opportunity to exit.
 
We decided that it would be more sensible to use the paddock at the back of the farmhouse - making it easier to keep an eye on them and also saving a lot of walking. Mike and Nick made a fence out of hurdles and there is still room for all my dog agility equipment so I can train Ted - although who knows when dog shows will be back on the menu.
 
 



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