I woke early on shearing day and decided to get up and bring some animals in whilst they were dry, the forecast was awful and the sky looked very threatening. Peter got up with me and together we brought all the boys in from the far fields and put them under cover, and shut the weanlings in the field shelter. By 7am it was chucking it down, and the 39 remaining animals were out in it getting soaked and there seemed no point in bringing them in to get all sweaty and covered in straw as well.
Michael the shearer and his sidekick arrived around 2.30pm by which time the rain had stopped but everything was claggy and wet and there were more showers and winds on the way. We moved everything around to shear under the far archway in the dry. Our helpers were Lucy who works for us at weekends and her boyfriend Mark, who was a total star, never previously handled alpacas and just got stuck in, and despite getting kicked and spat, seemed to quite enjoy it! We got through all the boys and weanlings and then the field of 20 pregnant girls who were still very damp. Time came for Lucy, and the now rather exhausted Mark, to go home leaving us to carry on and finish the last 19 who were reasonably dry. As darkness descended Mike was shearing by lamplight, but we did it and finished at 10.30pm, 59 animals in total. I can't tell you what a dreadful state the yard was in in the morning, and I had lost track of whose fleeces I was putting in bags sometimes, but when it stops blowing a gale and raining I'll get them out and skirt them properly, but that can keep! Its a great feeling to have it all done.
|Selene trying to take a nap and Brie being a pest|
|Jumper - as tired as me!|
|Streamlined girls in the buttercups|
|"Aunty Miel" 17 years young this month, she gets to keep her blanket on!|
Next day we set to and cleaned up all the mess, then welcomed visitors from Belgium and spent a glorious sunny and dry day introducing them to the herd.
Yesterday we hosted the BAS Alpaca Evaluation Course with Nick Harrington Smith which was an excellent day, thankfully it was all classroom based as it rained on and off all day. Everyone enjoyed it and learned loads as always.
The alpacas seem fine without their fleeces, despite the chilly wind, and this morning we had more visitors to look at them as prospective owners. We have noticed a big increase the the level of enquiries lately, must be the spring sunshine.
Next week is quieter, I think, our due girls are getting to look really pregnant now and I have already started to gaze at their tums and bums for signs of impending births! And so it goes now for the next two months!