I looked out of the bedroom window this morning just before 7am to see Toffee Apple (345 days) obviously in 1st stage labour by the way she was lying .... here we go then.  Got on with my chores and fed everyone and just kept an eye on her.  By 9.30 she was beginning to push so wandered a bit nearer with my camera and birthing box to watch from a discreet distance.  All was well and feet and legs emerged quick quickly, I managed to take a bit of video and a couple of pictures, handy for the courses. She got to her feet and said hello to the cria and then lay back down and pushed the rest out so quickly that I had to abandon the camera and go to the aid of the cria who was being turned into a walnut whip under her tail, if you know what I mean - kind of all crunched up and in danger of suffocating!

Anyway, all was well and I carried the cria into the sunshine and away from the fence ... very happy to see we had a female, from Tulaco Centurion - a little cracker .. weighed in at 8.5 kg.

Up and feeding within a couple of hours, by this time with a cria coat on as although by now she was dry there was a very keen wind and it was threatening to rain and she was shivering a bit..  She's so cute and I always forget how tiny and scrawny they look when wet...  We have called her Treasure.

Must get busy now to make ready for the Royal Bath & West Show, we're camping (must be bonkers) and going down later this afternoon. Taking Bonami and Bonaventure who were both wet and covered in mud this morning after the showers yesterday.

Peter could be busy there's another 6 due any time now.....

Toffee Apple & Treasure

Everyone saying Hello to "Treasure"


We took fleece samples from everyone today ready for testing on 15 June... it's always easier to do this before shearing as you can take your time, be accurate,  bag and label it properly. We always keep half the sample for reference .

Evereyone is invited to bring their samples here for testing at a cost of £3.50 per test including printed data sheet. There's also going to be a workshop which will run from 10am to 12.30pm and will cover an explanation of test data and how to use the it and a presentation/demonstration of the OFDA2000.

Let me know if you would like further details and if you would like to come so that I can book you in for the workshop and get an idea of how much testing we're going to do on the day.  Do please feel free to bring a picnic lunch with you so that you can have a good gossip after the workshop - teas and coffees will be available.  You may be able to watch your samples being tested.. however if we're really busy then they might be tested a few days later and the test data sent to you.

Still no crias ... ...


And still we carry on with the clearing out - massive bonfire and another trip to the dump ... but we are beginning to see the benefit now, another day I reckon and it'll be done.... anyway thats all getting boring now so here are some pics I took this evening of some of our expectant girls... some have huge tummies - they lost their figures years ago, and some are just cute..

Ena - due 02.06.11 to Snowmass Incan King XXX

Beulah - due 03.06.11 to Snowmass Incan King XXX

Sabrina - due 13.06.11 to Meon Valley Ardingly
Toffee Apple due 19.05.11 to CME Tulaco Centurion

Calico II due 06.6.11 to Snowmass Quetzalcoatl


The clearing out still continues - another trailor full of junk, found some ghastly turquoise and orange paint from when we had a colourful downstairs loo ... strange how one's taste changes?!  Spent hours digging out a deep litter shavings bed from when we kept the horses in all those years ago ... yes, I know we should have done it before but just never got-a-round-to-it....  at least it's burning in this wind ... the poor neighbours must have thought it was volcanic ash!!

Got a group of mature students from Southdowns College coming this evening to learn about breeding alpacas - shame we don't have a cria to show them but the girls have gone right off the boil now.

So Windy!

I feel like I've been sand blasted ... it's so windy today and noisy trees too! Peter and I have spent the day clearing out rubbish that we've managed to hoard down the stables for the last 14 years - why do we do that? The more space there is available the more stuff we collect?  I suppose it's a matter of putting off going to the tip ... anyway we managed to fill the stock trailor with unwanted stuff and took it along to the dump. They don't let you in with a 'horse box' "it's not a horse box" I pleaded, but to no avail.... and we had to park outside. Actually, I knew this would happen and we had stuffed in a couple of wheelbarrows for the job. Interesting places tips, people act so weird at them don't they - all looking at what everyone else is dumping but not wanting to be noticed!  One of the things we took was a huge gazebo that we bought for our open day some years back... we hadn't taken it down straight away and we had a really windy day, like today, and the whole thing took off and smashed to bits ... one chap at the dump spied the poles and nabbed them - good for him! The skip police were sharp, I got told off about the cardboard box I threw in household waste... tut tut.... anyway thats half of it gone and I left the trailor on the car for the next load tomorrow....?

Meanwhile, the due girls are still keeping us waiting. They're spending the days lounging about in the very pregnant way that they do, resting their bellies on the ground with their front legs stretched out in front of them.  They're also doing the standing staring thing alot ... what are they thinking about when they do that?  I did think for a while this morning that Calico was maybe going to birth, but she just took her time at the poo pile - a false alarm.


Now that's my idea of a fun day out -  off to the Westways Auction in Dorset with a buddy, catalogue marked up with ticks and circles, done late last night before turning out the light .....  Arrived in plenty of time to have a good look at them all, and get a bacon roll and coffee, obligatory on these occasions and a quick catch up with old friends.

There were some very tempting lots, but I held fast and waited for my definate tick... and I got her .. a lovely white pregnant female -  she was a real bargain, and I'm very happy and looking forward to seeing her cria due this summer and to breeding with her in the future.  Then it was Donna's turn - her first auction, so much excitment  -  with a bit of encouragement and the odd nudge she started to bid ... yep she got her bargain too!  Then in a bit of a flurry of bids, 3 of us made a joint purchase on a very promising young male for the future.   I love auctions - I love alpacas - what a buzz! Cheers!!

Boys leaving home ...

Delivered some more boys today to a lovely new home about half an hour from here ... congratulations Tony, less grass cutting for you!  I'm always a bit sad to see our homebred youngsters go, but there's no way we can keep them all, they just have to go.  Still won't be long and the next crop of youngsters will be playing about in the fields ...


Three of the blonde bombshells!


Aggrippina - 2 years old

 Andromeda - another daughter of Akela from 2010

 Bettina 11 years old (stood) and her daughter Yara - 6 years both in the due field
 Medusa - 2 years old

Medusa - 2 years old

Ena - 2 years old - lovely spotty girl whose actually grey when sheared

 Orchid - 12 years old - dam of Sir G, Goldrush ... and lots of other lovely boys!

Toffee Apple - 4 years old


Not much happening on the farm today, but we did have John come over with his metal detector and he showed us the treasure he found last time - a 14th (ish) Century horse harness mount with gold leaf and enamal .. .. he's taking it to the Museum to get it identified properly - really pretty, I took a picture of it, but was too fuzzy as I used my phone.... he's very excited about it, one of his best finds.   What is amazing is that he found my little gold ring that I lost about 8 years ago, I felt it fall off my finger when I was feeding the pacas on a very cold morning ... couldn't find it and assumed I would never see it again, believing that it must have subsequently been hoovered up with all the paca-poo. Gave it a bit of a scrub and its as good as new, so now wearing it again - behind a tighter ring!

Off to Devon tomorrow to pick up Collabear Issac from Dave & Elaine ..  he's a rather lovely white male and a son of Collabear Albert ....    Got the paddock ready ... just have to make up my mind who's going to keep him company.....






National Show

We added to our rosettes at the Nationals with our two Juniors coming 2nd and 5th ... I was pleased, getting placed in shows these days means you're doing well with your breeding, the competition is very tough, thats a good thing - keeps you on your toes!   I decided to enter them for the Bath & West, Rebecca loves that show and we usually meet friends there every year, just hope it's not too hot then. We shear the next week, can't wait to get them back looking sleek and elegant again.

We had some very complimentary remarks on our Snowmass boys over the weekend, and they too were in the ribbons... really looking forward to seeing their progeny at the shows next season...

I have to say that coming home last night the fields looked lovely and green again after the rain ... and the cracks in the ground have gone... just need a bit more.

We split the girls up today - those due in the next 4-5 weeks in front of the house and the rest staying where they are at the moment.  First cria due on the 18 May .. and some are beginning to look heavily pregnant now.  The maidens as usual not showing much and the older girls, who lost their figure years ago look the biggest.
Bonami (5th Junior Fawn male) and Bonaventure (2nd Junior Beige Female) - enjoying the show!!

Rebecca waiting to go into the Championship with Bonaventure
Bonaventure back home - apparently being told off by her Mum Bonita!


Meet the ducks ... Quakers, Daffy & Drakey Lakey... they started visiting us about a month ago and now they fly in every day. The dogs are highly suspicious and do their best to chase them away when we're not looking. I think they're rather cute, apart from the quacking at 5 am outside our bedroom window....

Been applying stop-it-all on the pacas who seem to get sweet-itch, my it stinks! Used on on Strawberry Shortcakes' udder too, as her daughter from last year keeps trying to suckle off her even though they've been apart for 4 months - it worked!

We're off to Stoneleigh tomorrow for the BAS Nationals - taking the same 2 - their last show, their fleeces have had it already. Peter's on cria watch - first due on the 18th.


Spent the day catching up having been to the South of England Show all weekend. It was a good show with lots of time to gossip - I took Bonami and Bonaventure, the latter came 2nd in her class and was Reserve Champion Beige Female - what a good girlie... It was incredibly windy in Sussex and after 2 days of it I felt like I had been sand blasted. They lost the power for a few hours and poor Liz Barlow our Judge, was struggling to be heard over the din of flapping canvas and rigging... they also lost the flush to all the toilets - I couldn't work that one out! Fortunately I was able to 'hold on' til the power came back on!

This afternoon we had a couple of the 09 boys castrated - always such a hard decision on the really nice ones, but after much consideration we decided that they just didn't quite make the grade. We persuaded our vet Andrew to 'do' them balanced over a couple of straw bales - it was so easy and they didn't need to be knocked out or have any sedative, just a bit of local. With their feet just off the ground and their middles resting on the bales they stayed very relaxed - Andrew seemed very pleased with the technique and we will certainly do it again like that in the future. Come to think of it - there may be a few other tasks on some of them that may be easier that way! Anyway in a very short time they were back in the field munching away as if nothing had been done, just a little lighter!