Friday, 26 September 2014

Late Blog

Well, I really do not know where the time has gone since my last entry. Not a lot has happened but we seem to have been busy nevertheless.

We decided to close the shop for a couple of weeks, re-opening on the 2nd October.  Although it is not much trouble to man because we have an alert which sounds in the house when anyone comes into the farm entrance, it is still a tie on the days that we open.

Autumn/winter opening will be Thursday to Saturday 11.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or dusk as we do not have electricity in the shop!).  Sales are never great in the summer, obviously, as people are not really thinking about keeping warm, but from now on until Christmas we become more popular.

I have been updating the stock on the online shop as that also gets busier in the autumn.  Three of us are knitting now and we have some new additions such as aran pattern cushions (very "in" at the moment), floppy hats, and I finally got to grips with the knitting machine so I can make scarves very quickly.

Friday, 12 September 2014

New Blood

Nick has been nagging me for ages to breed from our four Gotland Ewes and since we have reduced by half the number of alpacas that we have on the farm, we are finding that even on our 15 acres, we have excess grass, plus sheep eat what the alpacas don't!  Apparently when grazing they eat what they like but pull up and discard what they do not like, so the grass improves over time.

Like my original feelings about my beloved hens, I was not too keen on sheep until I met the Gotlands.   They are friendly and have exceptionally soft handling fleece which sells at up to £13 per kilo, well in excess of shearing costs.

We gave up the goats because they were quite high maintenance, especially when the bucks decided to have a tiff and would knock out the side of their house (now an extension to the chicken housing) or demolish a fence post!!  The Gotlands have goat-like characters without the horns and destructive tendencies, although they are very inquisitive and have been known to steal things which are not good for them.  They can also be like naughty dogs and swallow the offending item just so they do not have to return it.  I learnt this very quickly and am always very alert to any potential danger for the little devils.

After a lot of searching, discarding the idea of cross breeding, I have bought a half share of a Gotland Ram.  He is the first generation from a Danish Champion and so is definitely not related to our ewes.  My partner in the purchase is collecting him at the end of the month and he will come to me to meet his new wives and to over-winter with our male alpacas after that.  We will have to sell him on after two years as, obviously, he cannot sire lambs from his own daughters.