Monday, 31 December 2018

In between times

Vanessa looking cute again
So Christmas came and went and it's New Year's Eve. I was doing my usual grazing the internet and nearly forgot it's blog night again. In a few hours we are heading out to join a party. It's a long time since we have gone out on New Year's Eve. We have tended to be a bit like hermits at this time of the year and last year we were heading home from the UK anyway.
Plodging through the snow. And if you don't know what
plodging is, try looking it up in a Geordie dictionary 😀

Looking through the fence
Christmas day was rather different as I didn't go out to see the alpacas. I had things to do like cleaning and a bit of decorating. I made us a steak pie with a suet crust in some pots I bought on my travels last week. Not exactly the traditional Christmas fare but something a bit different. We did have roast parsnips though and Yorkshire puddings with it, although they were a bit of a flop. We don't do presents, unless we have an inspiration as we have enough clutter in our apartment as it is. So all in all, a bit of a quiet, relaxing day.
There's a good piece of hay in there somewhere (Josefs)
Or maybe here? (Freddie)
Our friend commented that alpacas have such lovely big eyes
and they sure do.
The following day we had a friend around for a meal and this time the Yorkshire puddings rose. Phew! Before the meal Ian came back from the land to take us both out to say hello to the alpacas. She hadn't met alpacas before but could see why we love them so much. The girls were very interested in the carrots she brought with her, so much so they polished off the ones I cut up, so I ended up having to cut some more for the boys. It was great to see Freddie and George eating them, along with the usual ones of Mr. P and Brencis. Tellus and Herkules kept coming up to see what there was but each time they turned their noses up when presented with carrots. Fussy pair! Turbjørn of course wouldn't come near, whether it was grain or carrots.
Freddie just chillin'

The weather warmed up a bit this week and so the snow has
been slowly sliding off the alpaca houses. 
We had a lovely journey to take our guest back on the snowy roads. The main road to her little village is usually awful, but in the snow it wasn't so bad, not so bumpy. Her house though was quite a way out from the village and so we travelled on a road we have never been before. The last section had been cleared by her father and there were sticks on either side of the road to mark it. We used to do that every winter but now the boys fence indicates where the road is and so we don't really need to do that.
Amazing how it can slide so far off without breaking

Wonder if someone has taken a bit out of this one?
Once Christmas was out of the way, it was back on with some academic work. There is a joint paper that needs to be re-worked before January 15th and I needed to check through my data to see if there was anything relevant that could be added and post that off to my supervisor. I then had to get back on with my own paper, which involved sorting through some downloaded papers to see if there was anything I could use. So much sifting of data and academic papers. I might as well get used to it as that is what my job will be for the next 18 months.
9:41 on a dull day with Jakobs looking out towards the trees

Come on! Hurry up! Feeding time for the girls at putting
away time. Only 15:37 but it will soon be dark
Ian had a surprise request this week to do some shearing in Hungary in April. That works from the point of view that we don't start shearing up this far north until May, but there are so many logistical questions to run through first before he can make any decision on that, so he has been emailing back and forth while he processes the practicalities of it all. An interesting request though. I can't go for definite as someone has to look after the alpacas and I have my own work to do too.
Everyone is looking for the elusive bit of hay. Veronica's crew
certainly know how to eat, their feeders go down at an
astonishing rate.

Ian has been fettling. The plastic on our halogen oven has
been getting brittle and I broke the handle on it. This
meant the switch didn't work, so Ian has put a new
switch on the casing and made a workable handle. It will
last a little longer now. Rather annoying as the rest of it is fine
I seem to have done quite a bit of baking this week, such as the usual croissants - although I haven't got around to making our New Year breakfast ones yet, so that will be late. I've made a late Christmas cake, Chelsea buns, scones, mince pies and my usual bread. The mince pies are for the party tonight. Not quite the traditional heavy mincemeat for the pies, but Christmassy enough. At least it will keep Ian in cake for a week or so - maybe! That man can eat.
Switch added at the back

The boys alpaca house
Today I kind of took a day off and I didn't do any academic work. Instead I did some felting, only not the decorative sort, just the utilitarian stuff. I used Herkules fleece to make felt pads to repair some inserts for Ian's winter wellies as the bases of the inserts have started to disintegrate. I have got so far as making a good thick pad about the right size, but I had to wait for them to dry before using them to repair the inserts. Herkules fleece makes a good tight felt, but it cannot be described as ultra soft, so do not worry that I have wasted fleece on wellie inserts. So I should finish there really, as I will need to get photos added and then get ready for the party.
Vanessa's crew have been getting black necks from reaching
over this feeder. It was designed to stop the sheep from
climbing in or from pulling it down. The alpacas are a little
more genteel when they eat and can reach over the top, well
almost. Ian is going to lower the feeder a bit sometime.

Not sure if it is the snow on the feeder that is being eaten
or chomping on the wood. They quite often eat the bark
off trees

Still hanging on in there and not slid off yet.

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