Wednesday, 22 October 2008


Well, nothing much going on on the farm - just the usual routine, putting out hay, water, alf alfa and occasionally Camelibra (a supplementary feed).

The weather has been beautiful today and we have all taken advantage of the delayed winter weather which will surely be on its way soon.

Nothing to do with alpacas, but yesterday I went out on a relaxing day. Four of us went to Centre Parks at Longleat for a Pamper day. It was ladies only in the morning but open to everyone in the afternoon. They have a very smart suite of various spas. Mostly variations on the sauna but from different parts of the world. We samples the flavour of the orient as well as Finland and from the UK a giant jacuzzi.

It was a beautiful fine day which we could see through the roof but all our activities apart from the lovely warm jacuzzi were inside. We relaxed on water beds and dined on a healthy salad followed at tea time by an unhealthy cream tea!! The signs said that peace and quiet were the main requirement but luckily most of the time we managed to get the various spa experiences to ourselves - or maybe our laughter and chatter just kept everyone else out when they saw us in there!!

At lunch time a doe and her fawn strolled past the window and casually looked in before moving on. The whole compex is very well run and is set in a landscape of woodland and lakes, which gives you the feel good factor before you start.

I phoned Mike to tell him we had arrived and that my phone would be switched off until 6 p.m. and in response to his question "What will you be doing?" I said "absolutely nothing". In good company doing nothing is an art form and all four of us agreed we would like to repeat the experience. Thanks to Elaine for organising it, and to Lindsay and Caroline for their excellent company.

I am just going to have a dull old shower now but I'll imagine it is the tropical scented rain shower that I took yesterday!!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Back again

I know - I have not been keeping the blog up to date. I really meant to but life got in the way. My Mother who lives with us has only recently started to recover after being rushed to hospital whilst we were away on holiday. She has lost a lot of her mobility and also was very depressed. Although she was not really any trouble I felt I had to give her more time than usual. She now has a carer who comes in twice a day and helps her get washed and dressed, showered, makes her bed and generally attends to her physical needs. I now only prepare her meals and do her washing and ironing. This means that life is more or less back to normal and we have a lot more freedom as Karen, Mum's carer, is very attentive and alerts me or the doctor if any further problems arise. She cannot get into our car any more so when she needs to go to hospital for tests, Xrays, etc: an ambulance comes to collect her and brings her home. Again this means I have much more freedom as there is no need for me to go with her because she seems to get priority to save ambulance time and so is in and out much more quickly than when I used to take her.

All is going well on the farm with 12 cria this year of which 8 are female. Unfortunately and unusually we had seven girls who turned out not to be pregnant although they were spitting off after being mated originally. We found this out when they were scanned at the end of last year but decided not to do any matings after October as we have previously experienced winter births which are both risky and a lot of extra work if the cria have to be kept in for any length of time. Two of the seven were mated outside the herd and have been remated. They are both spitting off and we are awaiting a positive scan to confirm the pregnancies.

We are hoping for a lot more successful pregnancies next year. Perhaps thirty or more depending on how many are sold prior to the births.

Our latest cria is Lady Jessica and she is pictured here with her mother, Calpurnia. The other picture is of one of our collies, Jake. he loves to play football. Unfortunately I did not capture him earlier as there was a very amusing sight of all the alpacas gazing at him over the fence and watching his football antics. He has accidentally nosed his ball over the fence and is unsure as to how he is going to get it back.

We are holding open days every Tuesday and Thursday from November to Christmas to sell our knitted products. We will also have some new imported products from Peru and some Christmas Wreaths made by a friend of mine who makes really lovely natural decorations. If the chickens arrive we might even have some eggs to sell, and possibly Mike might get round to cutting some logs from the stacks of wood we have around the farm left over from the tree surgeon's visit and from the hedge laying last year.