We have been plunged into the gloom of cold November fog and I have had just about enough of the great outdoors for one day and have come in for a cuppa and a bit of a warm up.

Yesterday I handled for the Judge Certification at Bozedown, always interesting to have a peek at other animals and a chance for a bit of a gossip. It was bloomin' cold even with my thermal long johns! So much so that the Judges panel were rescued with a patio heater as they were in danger of fading from hypothermia .... hmm I think they should get a few more of those for next year!  I must applaud the candidates for going for their Judges ticket .. I can only imagine how nervous they must have been throughout the long day, with halter classes, fleece classes and written exam. It is just as well that there are those who have the time and are brave, willing and able to qualify so that we have a supply of good British Judges for the increasing number of shows round the UK and Europe. I also believe strongly that their education should be ongoing to maintain high standards and consistency between judges, and all this should be supported by our  Breed Society.....

Anyway, back today, now because of all the wet weather and our lush grass and other stuff going on, I am hopelessly behind with the poo hoovering and so the only option was to harrow the paddocks the girls have been in last and leave them to rest for as long as I can.  I did try using our paddock sweeper but that just made a horrible mess because it was all too wet and the brushes are a bit knackered.  Now I have harrowed them to within an inch of their lives - they look a bit sad now but they will recover and be the better for it. The forecast is for more rain and the paddock they're in will last them another few days - if I carry on with this system I can rotate them on a 6/7 week cycle, but then I have to find a field for weaning which makes it slightly more complicated .... oh please can we have some hard frosts and dry weather.

This morning I gave the boys a strip of fresh grass in next doors paddock behind electric sheep fence - their first experience with it, and as I watched 3 of them got a zap on the nose investigating the fence! I never recommend electric fencing with alpacas as I know of plenty of people who's animals have been caught up in it with disastrous consequences, but these are just getting a couple of hours a day when I'm around to supervise them - soo much grass I think they thought they were in heaven!

You can just make out the electric fence - the boys having been zapped they now settle down to some serious munching

Action shot from the tractor - quite straight lines though I say so myself!


Another month and the Hampshire countryside is looking so different - my absolute favourite time of the year and I just want to go on long dog walks and take pictures of leaves and fungi and stuff and then come in for tea and cake and sit in front of the fire watching rubbish on the telly - a simple soul, it doesn't take much to please me. The weather has been a bit wild at times - thunder storms, strong winds  morning mists and even some frost. Half the leaves have fallen in the last week or so, and the colours have been fantastic.
A day of heavy showers - again

Rare sunshine at breakfast time
Autumn mists

Todays walk - there's nothing like kicking through beech leaves!

Beautiful fungi 
The females with crias have munched their way through two paddocks since my last post here and today they have moved on from "Willow" and into "Holly" (field names). The grass is still growing and looks lush and very green, but it's nearly all water and not much goodness so they're getting ad-lib  hay and a delicious breakfast of hard feed to top them up. The field of fatties are still on their maintenance diet of grass, a little hay and camelibra and they're still doing very well thank you, so won't be getting more than that for a while yet, if at all.
Beautiful pacas!
My trusty ride-on mower, which is an ancient hand-me-down, is in the hospital for mowers this week as the drive belt thingy broke.  With nothing to tow the poo-vac or sweeper brush I have had a good excuse not to clean up after the pacas, the only down side to keeping them,  someone needs to develop nappies for pacas? I will have to clean the little paddocks when the mower returns and I just hope that it doesn't rain too much in the meantime so it turns to mush. I had our biggest field harrowed and will leave that to rest now until the Spring if I can, hopefully we'll have a few really hard frosts to kill off the parasite eggs and help break down the moss and dead grass that was dragged up to the surface.

I went to the BVCS conference last weekend which was really excellent. Fantastic speakers - Jane Vaughan was especially inspiring, the venue was good and for me just an hour away,  good food and company though there wasn't much time to chat as the day was so full of lectures. I'm surprised more breeders didn't go - I'm sure they will next year when they realise what they missed.

I've been giving some half day Beginners Courses here in the last few weeks to small groups of newcomers, there's been loads of interest lately and I have sold some females and cria which will be going in the New Year, that's good as it'll help make room for the 2013 crop of cria.

Anyway enough of my ramblings here are some autumnal pictures for you to enjoy...

Pacas in "Willow" they grazed off that paddock in a week!

Moved into "Holly"