Monday, 8 October 2018

New arrivals

Meet Valeria, Vanessa, Silla, Antonia and Amanda
The first part of the week was spent preparing for our new arrivals. Our five new alpaca girls arrived from Sweden on Thursday. They took a little persuasion to get out of the van and into our paddock, but at least we have a better idea how to handle the animals these days. Fortunately the rain that we had the day before wasn't bad enough to stop the small horse truck from driving on and getting close enough to the paddock to be able to herd them straight in. Not quite sure how we would have managed if they had to be led from the roadside up. I don't think they would have been very cooperative.
Our usual view of them, in other words running off

Vanessa, in the front is Veronica's daughter and half sister to
Brencis. She also seems to have good fleece like her mum. 
I say our girls, two of them are ours, Valeria and Amanda, the other three are either to be sold or we start to pay for them in six months time. We will let them settle in first though before we make any final decisions. We like to know what the animals are like before we would consider selling. The girls are still quite timid of us and so we have to use a rope going from the fence to the alpaca house door to stop us having to just chase them round and round the alpaca house. At least Ian has devised a way of being able to do this on his own, but ideally he would like them to follow him in for food, like the others do, but so far they don't seem interested in the pellet food. It is quite important they go in as the sheep camp lost one of their sheep this week and people think it could be a wolf. DNA checks are being made to see if that was the case.
Valeria is Vanessa's daughter and so we have three generations
of alpacas here on our farm now.

Silla is the little one and is Snowdrop's granddaughter. That
makes Aggie her Aunty, even though she is older by one year.
It was nice to have the new girls arrive on the 4th October, as it was 36 years to the day that Ian and I met. So a bit of an anniversary present. We met on the first day of the first term of the first year at Sheffield University. We also celebrated our 34th Wedding Anniversary on the 6th October. We did intend on going out to the hotel to have a meal to celebrate. Instead we ended up at the bakery for a cup of tea and a piece of cake as the hotel was shut on the day we went and we haven't had much time since.
This picture was taken shortly after they had arrived. They
will now wander around the paddock on their own and not always in a pack now, so they are starting to relax.

An unwelcome visitor, probably some pig damage. We have
a few more around the land, but mainly close to the forest
edge or like this, in the forest itself, so not too bad and
we can live with that. We have also had visits from deer.
There has often been a fawn browsing and sometimes I see
another one or their mother too.
Last week I said at least the geese haven't migrated yet! Well I spoke too soon, they are definitely heading south now. Over the last few days there have been several flocks fly over. So that's it so they say - two weeks till winter. The forecast for the next ten days though is for more nice weather. I guess it means that Ian can get on with more jobs while I'm away before the winter weather sets in. We have had some rain at least, but our top pond gets a puddle and then it all drains away again, so everywhere is still dry under a moist top layer. I left beds of soil exposed, just so the rain will actually soak in before adding a mulch layer. Not that the mulch layer got added, it was just that was the plan. The annoying thing is that the day it decided to rain properly was the day that the sheep were destined for a rendezvous with the freezer. That will now have to wait until I get back from the UK in November.
Sunrise one morning when I was going to feed the chickens

Some rather large carrots, but still tasty. The ones on the
right are rather odd. One looks like a family of carrots and
the last one reminds me of a ballerina, well the legs anyway.
I have named it dancing queen and it went in the pot for our
evening meal tonight.
It has been another busy week trying to get jobs done before I go. The chickens are now all in the greenhouse. We got the last lot in today. The caravan is in too. We had hoped to get a new building to house the caravan in over the winter, but the new alpaca house took precedence over that, so back again it goes into the greenhouse. I had hoped to get two beds of carrots dug up, but I had to help Ian with getting the last lot of chickens in as well, so only one got finished. Mind you, I am surprised we got any carrots at all due to the drought. Not all the seeds germinated, but those that did have mainly grown into enormous carrots. Some have split badly and won't keep, but many of the carrots are fine and I think we have as many as last year after all.
Ian made this bogey to transport the chicken arks and this
year he added a hitch so that he could use the tractor to help
us. We had further to move them this year and up hill. It did
make the job easier to some extent but I had to walk behind
the arks as they still needed to be kept up off the floor. In the end
we used the other smaller bogey too, but that was a bit of a
challenge with one ark as a base board snapped in the process
of moving it. Sill we managed in the end.

This ark involved a complete remodel of part of the greenhouse to
fit it in. It will be easier to get in and out of the area this year to
feed the chickens compared to last year. It also holds more
chickens in this than the arks.

The arks have worked well for us and lasted. The oldest
one on the right is probably about 6 years old now.

The caravan is in. Of course the greenhouse looks a bit of a
tip again.
I found this little leaf chap in the forest whilst looking for
We managed to get some squashes taken back to the apartment. It's a bit of squash in more ways than one. That's the problem with the large squashes. They used to make a nice autumnal display in our spare apartment, but since we sold the other one there is less space for my autumnal display. The extra marrows will have to wait until I get back. When we are living in the other apartment, rather than in the caravan, we will have a wood burning stove to dehydrate food on, or I can reduce the squashes down to pulp for the freezer. Another job I tried to do was to have a go at making some felt but haven't really had time to finish if off. I did get some more botanical printing done ready for a felted project but again it will be another job that will have to wait until I get back.
I love podding beans. Such a variety of colours. Apparently
these are the beefiest beans, so we will see later on what
they actually taste like.
The trees around us are starting to turn qiote fast now. This
year the autumn colours are stunning. I wished we had taken the camera with us on our trip out.
One of the problems we have had is that our car is still in for repairs. The guy tried to send us some pictures of the work but he hadn't got the right email address, so Ian went to the garage to see for himself. He was very impressed with the work they were doing as they have taken it apart and re-doing the bodywork bit by bit. Each part has to dry in between though and that is why it is taking so long. One day I decided I would just have to drive this old van they had lent us but when I got in I found out I was too short to drive it. I have driven a box van before and that was fine, but there was no way I was going to be able to drive this vehicle without some serious modifications. This has meant I couldn't just hop into the village to get jobs done, I've had to wait for Ian to be able to take me.
More beans, mainly stripey ones this time. These aren't
grown for their taste but just because I love the
different beans. At least with beans there isn't the disappointmen
of opening them up and seeing many eaten by something

Our friend's farm has a lovely view of the lake. It is as hilly
as our ski hill.
On Sunday we went for a visit to the other alpaca farm nearby. They are rather disappointed as it looks like the alpacas they had bought are not pregnant, or at least the ones they thought were due soon. They still have some lovely animals though, with sweet natures, so that is something. They wanted to chat about things they were worried about and so it was easier to chat when looking at the animals. We were fed well and I managed to pick up some presents for the grandchildren at the same time. Now I just have to see how many of them I can pack in my bags, the presents that is, not the alpacas.
Another sunrise but this time through the fog. Excuse the mess
in front but the other pictures didn't look as atmospheric


Gina said...

Lovely new alpaca girls!

Joanna said...

They are lovely, although we think we have spotted the feisty one. She takes after her grandmother :D

Gunta said...

I've gone missing for awhile, but had to check in to see how you were. Couldn't help but think about the lovely view of the lake and wonder what it might have been like growing up in that area. Put me in a rather bitter-sweet mood. Hope you're doing well. Lovely to see the newest (?) grandbaby. Wishing you all well.

Joanna said...

Good to hear from you again Gunta. I had only recently mentioned you to someone and your connection to the area :) We are doing well thanks, it has been hard work over the last few years but we are progressing and that is what matters. The newest grandbaby was born in April this year and I got to see all 8 of my grandchildren over the last 3 weeks. It's been a good time