Friday, 22 August 2008

A great three days off.

I have been off for the last three days and have been able to throw myself into all things alpaca again. I just love it.

On Wednesday we were at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show. We went two years ago but missed last year because of foot and mouth so it was nice to go to what is our local show.
It is always very well attended and luckily the weather was good for most of the day.

There was lots of interest from the public as usual and we were busy all day talking about alpacas. Oh no, what a shame, how dreadful. It was great.

The heavens opened as we were packing up. Fantastic. Everything that went into the car and trailer went in soaked. Splendid I understand that is the way to leave it. Wet. No?

Yesterday I set up the trade stand (minus the alpacas of course) in the back garden so that everything could dry. As it was sunny I tried and succeeded in managing to rustle up a shearing team. We still had the lardy girls to do who had recently unpacked. Two and a half hours later and they were done. The whole herd now looks like it has been through some sort of huge plucking defleecing machine. An old one. One that doesn't work properly.

Still, this year was all about getting the fleece off. Next year I will concentrate on appearance and fleece removal. I will also be able to start earlier and get the late pregnant ones done before they are 10 months.

Today was all about aching back, aching hamstrings, sunburned head and lounging around.

This afternoon I wandered into the field and lay in the sun near the grazing herd. Before too long inquisitive alpacas started to move in closer and after about 20 minutes I was surrounded.

I was astounded when Lily brought her new cria, Millie, over to me. Lily flounced down onto the grass right next to me, so close that when she rolled over onto her back she actually bumped into me. She then went to sleep in the sun right next to me. So did Millie! How is that for trust. I just couldn't believe it. They were both asleep and Lily was so close I could touch her. Actually I couldn't resist giving her a stroke on her neck and she just lay there. Luckily I had the camera in my pocket and managed to take some snaps. Not too many of Lily and Millie as they were too close. That's alpacas for you either too close or too far away.

On the other side of me was our lovely fawn girl, Dee. She had brought the newest member of the herd over, little Barnaby. They were also very sleepy in the sun. Bless.

The rest of the herd had been picked off one by one by the silent sniper.

Only one word for an experience like that. Splendid.


Karen G said...

You're obviously not so scary when you're lying down, Mark. Seriously, thanks for posting stories like this. I love the way you manage to photograph your alpacas doing the fun stuff, not just posing.

Mark said...

Thanks for your comment Karen, I'll leave the posing for the stud boys.

Hope your shearing went well!

Gerry said...

Maybe I could have lain down in the field beside the alpacas today as well Mark. Trouble is I might have drowned if I had. Sun indeed....
Gerry, Coire Alpacas

Gerry said...

Oh and your shearing looks just fine Mark. Unlike one of ours (and a champion female no less!) who was sheared by someone who will remain nameless but left her looking like Parsley the lion on a bad hair day!
Gerry, again.

karen g said...

>Hope your shearing went well!
Well the second alpaca came out better than the first, so there is hope. Tilly has a "beard" of caked mud that the clippers can't touch - instant bluntness - and we're pondering better control of pre-shearing pasture next year. Maybe astroturf:-) Between the beard and my attempt to taper into the legs, she looks like a suri in profile, but that's better than a poodle. Six to go and my back is really hoping Colin is going to ring us this week!

Mark said...

Well done for getting stuck in! I have done 33 now and can manage about 6 before keeling over with back, buttock and hamstring agony.

Quite frankly having cut a few at the beginnning my main aim from then on was a blood free shear!