Monday, 11 February 2019

Do you smell gas?

Vanessa does look like her mother. 
I forgot to mention last week that there was a serious gas smell in the apartment and before you ask, no it was not me. It kept getting stronger and I even got up one night to check that I had turned the gas cylinder off. I was going to make Ian take the cylinder back to the garage where we had bought it from when he announced he had found the source of the aroma - a dead mouse under the kitchen sink. Phew! In more ways than one. At least the smell has now gone.
Vanessa's mother is Veronica on the left.

Not much in the way of blue skies this week
Something else I forgot to mention was that Ian had some visitors to the land, who arrived in the middle of a blizzard. Ian thought he could hear voices and went to investigate. There was a group of folks, well dressed for the weather, who were heading into our village on foot and had stopped to see our alpacas. It turned out it was our friend from the little village nearby who regularly brings his friends to see us. It was nice of him to pop in again and apparently they all stood outside for an hour and chatted.
And Ian has still had a lot of work clearing snow again

But it has also been melting and so the
drain cleaning work begins too
The first half of the week was back to reading reports and papers, at least I feel I have actually made progress this week and got into production mode. It is always hard to know when to stop. Just one more report! Just one more paper! Before you know where you are, that's another day gone and nothing written. That is certainly how it felt in the first half of the week, but over the last two days I actually got a whole section finished for my paper. Step 2 tomorrow.
See that! That's actually water in the top pond. Okay maybe
seeing water is not a huge deal to most folks but after the
drought this year and the snow, it is still always a shock to
actually see the liquid stuff.

I think someone is going to need their teeth cutting at
shearing time.
I could have perhaps progressed a little more if we hadn't had other stuff to do though. On Friday a specialist vet from Lithuania came. Our friends who live nearby were worried about their animals and a local vet was not sure what to do about an eye problem. We agreed to split the cost of the visit as we felt it was good to get an opinion from a specialist about our alpacas' health and ask about Chanel's skin problem. She suggested that perhaps one or two of them could do with extra zinc and confirmed that Veronica probably has osteo-arthritis and that is why her front legs are beginning to collapse but normal due to her age. She said as long as she wasn't in pain though she was fine but maybe at some point she will need anti-inflammatories. She has taken hair samples and a blood sample from Chanel and we are just waiting to see what they show. She said it probably started with one thing and then progressed to something else.
A cool pose by Silla

Look! Look! That's grass down there. 
She looked at Freddie too as Ian noticed that he had started twisting his foot again on the ice like last year. She said he had weak ligaments on one side of his knee cap. She thinks it is probably due to being damaged at some stage. We did suspect that. Aggie would charge him from time to time when she was in one of her foul moods (Oh! she does not do pregnancy) and had wondered if that had been the cause. It was either that and slipping on the ice but never noticed that happening. We do have to watch him though in case it causes him trouble in later life. Apart from that, all was good. Our own vet came along to chat and hear her opinions so she could learn. I am always so grateful for her desire to learn more about our animals and how to treat them. We couldn't ask for more.
This too will pass!

Jakobs looking cute as always and beginning to look very
fluffy around the face. At least it is not as close to his eyes
as his older brother, George's was when he was little.
In the evening we had a lovely visit from our neighbour from the upstairs apartment to practice her English. It was wonderful to hear about her love of music and how she enjoys playing in the church. She especially enjoys choosing music that she feels will lift the spirits of others. I love to hear her practice and so I can imagine how much others would enjoy it too. She learnt a new word, well kind of new, dissonance. Being a musician she knew what it meant and was happy to know she could use it in other ways too to explain those times when things do not fit well together. I certainly feel a lot of dissonance when listening to the Brexit debate.
George is growing up too. His face is taking on the look of
a more adult looking alpaca and losing his baby looks

Another candidate for teeth cutting.
The following day we were up early and off to Lithuania with our alpaca owner friends to meet up with another alpaca breeder and to pick up some alpaca feed that we are trying. Camelibra is great, but it is expensive. It is also small, which presents us with a couple of issues. Ian cannot use it for training, as it is too small, as well as expensive and it also means some of our alpacas wolf it down and then move onto the trays of the other alpacas. Larger granules slows them down a bit. We are noticing that our alpacas are doing well on Camelibra and so it was nice to see that the alpacas are also doing well on Alpamin. We couldn't see any obvious skin issues, which we would expect to see on at least a couple of them. The lady also said since using it that hers had been fine on it and the fleeces were good too.
The plastic on the greenhouse is starting to struggle with age.
Ian had to patch the great big tear in the middle of this section

We bought some alfalfa pellets to help the girls who are
feeding cria (babies) as they were getting thin, the problem
is that it was turning to powder. This is what it should look
We spent a long time talking, with Russian, Latvian and English all being spoken. It was good for our friend who does not speak much English to be able to find out answers to her questions in Russian. Her daughter then translated from Latvian to English for us. We also spent some time looking at the alpacas of course and eventually we set off. We were in a rush to make it back before dark, which in the end, we didn't manage. Unfortunately Ian didn't slow down quick enough at the sign for the urban speed limit and was spotted by a police car on the opposite side of the road and clocked. Ian figured that we were about to be stopped as soon as they put their blue lights on and sure enough we were. Of course they were not in a rush and we figured that they wouldn't be terribly sympathetic that we had to get back to put our alpacas away. So the alpacas were put away by torchlight. Fortunately they were well behaved and went in reasonably well, even Turbjørn who often won't go in when it's dark.
A third of the bag looked like this though. Ian sent the bags
back but we are still waiting for replacements from the company
Dobele. Not good!

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