We had a visit today from a group of 22,  year 10 students from the South Downs College. They were all very attentive, as were the alpacas, the weanling boys were proper little show-offs and gave a wonderful display of "boys" behaving badly with lots of orgling and frisky laddish behaviour, the students thought it was really funny, which it was - I have a feeling there may be a few little videos appearing on youtube soon. We had some great feedback from them ... hopefully some of them will be inspired to become alpaca breeders for the future.

Showing teeth

Spring is continuing to slowly emerge, we have frogspawn in the pond, in fact I can hear frogs or toads outside now and we have leaves on the elder bushes. The grass has grown a tiny bit in the last week, certainly greener, though most of our fields look a bit sad, we desperately need some rain, everything is so dry, but at least the pacas are lovely and clean.

The fencing has been finished and the hedges trimmed back so the boundary looks very tidy. Peter has harrowed the big field that we've been using since december, we have loads of moss which gets pulled up with the harrows which makes room for new grass -  now it looks completely trashed, but it will recover quite quickly and be lovely after a couple of months rest.  The birds love all the moss for their nests. If we have just a bit of rain we can roll the fields and get some fertiliser on them.

The halter training is going fairly well, just a couple of slow learners who are taking a bit longer, I have discovered that chatting to people on the phone whilst moving very slowly across a field with the reluctant ones on the end of the lead works rather well ... they walk back beautifully after listening to all that gobbledygook....

The boys penned up ready for halter training


What's been going on here then, well half term stuff which was fun, lots of lovely walks, Rebecca and I try and do a different one every day, which we did, we had one beach walk on a very sunny day, but which was absolutely freezing and we just had to go and have coffee and a cake to warm up (any excuse!). We've been halter training ready for the Futurity ... we've added 3 more to our show team, and they of course are the ones who are not so great on the halter.  Top knots were trimmed yesterday which reminds me I must deal with the fleece I was wearing which now looks like a fluff magnet.  It's been so lovely and dry that they're all looking very smart, hmm probably shouldn't have said that..

At the weekend we had to move everyone to be ready for the fencing which started yesterday,  a lot of our fencing is very wobbly, most of the boundary fence is over 40 years old and whilst the alpacas are very gentle on it, we felt that it should now be replaced, rather than propped up yet again, we can't run to the same oak posts and 3 rails, but at least the new fence will be secure and easy to maintain, but sadly not very pretty, actually I don't like it at all between you and me, but I'll get used to it, have to!

Old fence down in no time
I rather like the fields naked
Horse field in a bit of a state - the pacas don't allow all this growth to poke through their fences,  they eat it, so we'll be rotating them with the horse from now on.
Hedge trimmer works wonders in just minutes

Rebecca with Bliss, not in the show team but one of her favourites
Jazz on the beach 
I know - not pictures of alpacas - but Spring is on the Way - Yey!!


Saturday morning we woke to minus 8 degrees and a forecast of snow coming in by late afternoon, and this was the day of our BAS Alpaca Evaluation Seminar with Liz Barlow ..  heating was turned right up in The Den so everyone would be cosy, unfortunately we hadn't bargained for the water supply freezing so there was much cursing and last minute defrosting of pipes with a blow heater, which worked as far as the downstairs loo, so at least our visitors didn't have to keep running up to the house.  Liz gave us a brilliant day and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt lots. We finished in good time and they all made it home safely before the snow really got going.  I love snow, being big kid, so was hugely disappointed when we got rain, especially when I heard how much of the white stuff was about not far from us. Oh well, I'm sure there's enough time left to get some yet.

The next day it thawed and the mud was just awful, everyone looked a bedraggled mess and it was far too grey, damp and miserable to do anything more than was absolutely necessary, so I spent much of day watching telly in front of the log burner - haven't done that for ages and it was just what I needed.

Once again we are gripped by the icy temperatures, I really don't mind 'cos it's dry and the muds frozen. As long as I can keep busy enough to stay warm and I have all the right layers on -  years ago when I worked with horses,  I used to get horrendous black chilblains on my hands, feet and legs - very attractive - doctor told me to get an office job!

Halter training can only be done in the dry weather or my hands just freeze up and I just hate that ... today I spent half an hour or so leading our Futurity show team of 4 weanling boys up our little woodland path. I had stored up a bit of warmth from my dog walk and feed rounds, which lasted just about enough time to get 2 lots of 2 led up to the top of the path and back. They loved it actually, especially Bobby Dazzler and Baylee, who was on the halter for just the second time, and has been a dream to train. Bobby decided that rather than go through the gap cut into a fallen tree trunk that he rather fancied climbing over it instead ... he even did it again so I could take his picture to show you.

Baylee & Eros 

The Sorcerer

Bobby Dazzler