Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Mixed Christmas

Mike took our presents up to the family in Salisbury just before Christmas which was just as well as it turned out, because on Christmas Day he was not feeling very good so I went up on my own for a few hours and he stayed at home.

It was lovely seeing everyone and Jane, my daughter-in-law put on a lovely spread helped by the "chuildren" home from Uni for the holidays.

It was not very nice travelling home as it was quite dark by the time I reached the A303 but I managed to come off at the right roundabout and made reasonable time.   Mike was much better when I got home but said he thought he had made the right decision in not coming.   As we are looking after Pauline's dogs as well as our own, it was good for them to have him on hand to let them out and they kept each other company.

We hope everything will be back to normal next Christmas.
Bobble hats sold very well before Christmas and I am still selling the surplus stock on our website www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk.  Click on the photo to see all our remaining socks and hand knits. 

Thursday, 26 December 2019

End of an Era

On the 21st December - the last Saturday before Christmas, we closed our little farm shop finally.

Pre Christmas sales went very well and we now have a very limited stock of socks and quite a few hand knitted hats and mittens left which are for sale on our website.

My best friend has recently suffered a stroke which has left her with mobility problems and  restricted use of her hand.   I have been looking after her two dogs - Alice, a dear little Staffordshire bull terrier and Dodger, the brother of my bitch, Dollie - bred here on the farm. I think they may be here for the long haul if not permanently - especially as Alice is fifteen years old.  

We have also sold all our male alpacas exccept one cria who is still with his Mum and two more females left on Christmas eve.

This leaves us with four females, the male cria and a newcomer - Freddie.

Freddie was originally sold as yearling with four other young males.   The new owners had them all wethered and until recently we thought that all was well.   Unfortunately, however, Freddie has become dominant and made them feel uncomfortable with him.   I visited and found him to be rather full of himself and definitely the herd leader but not frightening.

I suggested that he returned to us and as he is a whether (castrated male) he is living with our four remaining females and seems quite happy.  He and I have reached an understanding - i.e. I am the herd leader and not him!

When the weather allows I will take his photo and upload to the blog.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Chickens on the move

Yesterday we moved the chicken run - which is a effectively a small paddock in the field near the house.   The female alpacas and chickens have been sharing the same area for some time and we felt they should have fresh pasture.

Unfortunately the hens did not quite understand and  several of them spent yesterday finding ways to get back into their original paddock.   We could not find a break in the wire netting we use to keep them in so assume that they must be flying out.  I was afraid that we might have to clip the wings of the repeat offenders but luckily they seem to be getting the idea that the new pasture is quite nice after all.    At least three of them insist on laying their eggs in the alpaca shelter and it has taken a a few attempts  to explain to them that the new shelter also has a hay rack where they can deposit their eggs if the nesting boxes inside their house are not comfy enough!

The weather has been very changeable and they have spent most of today dashing for cover when the high winds and rain started and then coming out one by one when the sun appeared again.


Monday, 2 December 2019

Quiet Day

Even the weather is quiet today.  The wet weather and at times bitterly cold winds seem to have given way to sunshine.   It was frosty this morning but that is so much better than rain.

With the male alpacas gone, the barn is not needed as a night time shelter now and has returned to a cart lodge and storage area.   We are expecting a skip soon so that we can have a good clear out and tidy up so that we can put our private vehicles under cover.  It will be lovely not to be scraping frost off the windows in the mornings.

The chickens seem to be on strike at the moment with fewer eggs.   Unless we have some really unseasonable weather I expect it will be the spring before they get back to their full potential.
I am thinking of buying another batch of hens because we have lost a few recently due to old age.
That will help boost the egg production and reduce the impact of the older birds who are no longer laying many eggs.


Click on the image of our latest bobble hat in Wine and Fawn to see our selection of hats

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Busy Busy

I didn't realise it was so long since I updated the blog.

I have sold our last six male alpacas which was a bit of a distraction.   Although it was not hard work it coincided with the shop being extra busy because of the imminent arrival of Christmas.

It is not just a question of selling them - they have a pre-movemment TB test and have to be up to date with their husbandry such as toe nails, worming and ADE injections.    Because they are genetically designed for life at high altitude where they get plenty of sunshine and therefore vitamin D, they have to have a regular doses of ADE over the winter months.

The TB test was negative, thank goodness and their new owners collected them a few days ago.  Since they were born and bred on the farm they have never been in a trailer before so it was a bit of a performance getting them in.  After a fairly long time trying to coax, push and pull them in to the trailer without success I fetched my faithful dog Dolly into the barn.   I was concerned that she would be over excited to be involved in the situation as she is not used to working indoors (i.e. in the barn) but she was very calm and gave the boys the eye and with hardly any effort she explained that they had to move forward and they just went in like little lambs.

Apparently they travelled very well and are adjusting well to their new home.

I am closing the shop down at Christmas and took a chance on getting extra stock  of our alpaca socks.   Luckily it has paid off because they are going very qickly and some of the shelves are already empty.

Hand made Chulla Hat with ear flaps to keep you really warm in the winter weather.
Alpaca Walking socks with cushion sole for extra warmth.

Click on the photo to visit our Alpacstuff website.