Friday, 2 May 2008

Badger, Spinner and Vaccine!

Today has been another good day and I have a lot to write about, however, last evening after I had compiled the blog we had a badger experience.

I looked out of the bedroom window and saw that the herd was alert and they were all facing the same way, ears up, interested in something.

They looked quite magnificent actually, I only wish I had been standing about 20 feet away slightly to the right of them in the perfect position to bag a cracking photograph. The setting sun was giving them an amber glow, they were motionless and were looking absolutely at their best.

The eastern edge of our field borders an ancient bridleway which is never used and is in a ditch. On the other side of the ditch is a steep bank and I have suspected that a badger sett was lurking amongst the foliage. We have been here for almost three years and have never seen the badger. Well thanks to the 'badger alert squad' when I swung the binoculars up there he, or she was. A magnificent large adult badger. I watched as he went in and out of the sett for about 10 minutes hoping that the rest of the family would join the outing. It was not to be, maybe next time.

Thanks must go to the razor sharp vision of the mighty Patou herd, well done girls!

This morning we had a visit from John and Doreen Hurdle who live nearby in Tisbury. Doreen is a hand spinner and she has been spinning one of our fleeces. She was keen to show us her progress and we were keen to show her where the fleece came from and the rest of the herd.

The herd was summonsed to the top paddock and whilst they were troughing we had a cuppa. I was astounded at the quality of the handspun wool. Bearing in mind we were very pleased with our mill spun wool Doreen's handspun wool simply blew it away.

Putting it side by side you could see that the handspun wool was almost a living thing, it genuinely looked as if it had been produced by a caring living being. The feel was different, it was much softer, much more tactile, it was a complete joy to handle it.

The best bit though, and this is really something big folks. Doreen is going to knit me a hat!!!!! A hat with a picture of an alpaca on it!

Now to you ladies and gents with a full head of hair that may not sound terribly exciting, well listen here, any fellow baldies out there will fully appreciate the need for a seriously warm comfortable hat, I can't wait. Thanks to John and Doreen for visiting it was lovely to see you and very interesting learning all about the world of hand spinning.

I have published a picture of Bobby, whose fleece Doreen is working with. This was taken just after she was shorn so you can see exactly what was underneath it!

Other big news today was the fact that our BTV vaccine arrived today. I know we must be one of the first alpaca breeders to get it and to be quite honest we feel a little 'guinea piggish'.

It hasn't been trialled on alpacas, it isn't licensed for alpacas and although Dave our vet said the manufacturers said it was safe I was slightly apprehensive. A word with The Emporer of Inca and advice has been listened to and taken. He's a wily young Aussie, far more switched on than me and his opinion is always worth listening to.

As a result we are going to vaccinate our wethers tomorrow.

We are going to closely monitor them for a week, taking temperatures daily and observing them as much as possible. I will don a white coat, spectacles and a stethoscope, I will in short become an alfalfa doctor........I mean an alpaca doctor.........for a week. God help those poor fellows!
If they show no ill effects during the week we will vaccinate the girls. If they do then we will re-evaluate. Watch this space and we will let you know how it goes.

There was loads more to write today but, 5 year old needs bathing and story reading prior to bedtime, wife not well and in the bath, alpacas need checking, hens need rounding up, supper needs cooking and I seem to have finished my drink.

Adieu mes amies!

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