Friday, 30 July 2010

And finally.......

First up, some chickens. Snowy our light Sussex fell over dead a few weeks ago leaving Lulu, our Norfolk Grey all on her own. We quickly replaced Snowy with two young newcomers who have so far suffered from daily beatings from Lulu, who is small but definitely top of the pecking order.
Anyway Dottie and Doodle are pictured below. Dottie is at the back, a Speckled Sussex and Doodle is at the front. She is, wait for it because this is the coolest name for a make of chicken, Doodle is a Scicilian Buttercup. With a name like that she sounds as if she would gently cluck sweet nothings in your ear whilst calmly slotting you with a stilletto (the knife not the shoe). They make an attractive pair I think.

So to alpaca news. The final cria of the year has been born in Patouland. Another late one at 1840hrs but thankfully after a shaky start a healthy one.

The new arrival and his mother don't belong to us so the little new boy has not been named yet. We are calling him Rory, as a sort of holding name. His mother is Valley Farm Sheba, a Wessex Fernando girl and the new cria is sired by Wessex Samurai. He is very dense and crimpy and at two days old is standing as if he owns the place.


Sheba has been here for a couple of years and is now up for sale at a ridiculously cheap price for a quick sale.
Little Rory was completely flat when he was born, he couldn't even lift his head and we were quite concerned. I rubbed him thoroughly with a towel several times and we waited. Slowly you could see strength coming in to him and after half an hour he could lift his head. I put him in the cush position and a few minutes after that I stood him up. Sue then got them into the shed and fed Sheba allowing the little fellow a nice static target. He was quickly feeding well and he since then he hasn't looked back. He is mobbed frequently by the other boys, Rafiki, Rico and Roger Resilient and I think we have a few months of entertainment from that lot to look forward to!

Sheba, a first time mum who is doing a splendid job.

Sheba will be covered by the mighty Cambridge Columbus in a couple of weeks and that pairing should put some nice brownness into Sheba's next cria.

Right, work, then Merc.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Here is some news from Patouland.

Once again I am guilty of neglecting the blog. However, I have been busy. My ceaseless quest to find a car worthy of transporting the lovely Mrs S around has been long and arduous but is now OVER!
Pictured below is Sue's new mode of transport. After flirting with Volkswagens, Audis, BMWs, Jags and a whole load of other cars we finally found a beautiful sea blue Mercedes Benz. What a thing of beauty it is. Black leather, shiny buttons and knobs and with comfort in buckets it is eagerly awaited. Awaited? Awaited? What does he mean? Is it not there? I hear you gasp. No, it is not here yet, we have to wait until Friday for the Mighty Merc to arrive in Patouland. I am so excited about my new....I mean Sue is quite excited about her new car (which I am allowed to use when she is not using it..... she said I could) ......... hopefully......occasionally.....maybe.

Right, enough of that tosh, this is an alpaca blog and I will now provide you with alpaca news. Firstly, I have taken so many pictures of the Mighty Magnificent Seven (actually it is now eight but I have no photos of the latest arrival yet, tomorrow....maybe) altogether without mums and aunties that I am bored of trying. Here is a couple of photos I took yesterday of the little bundle of brownieblackness as they all hit the dust bath whilst the 'grown ups' were troughing breakfast.
From left to right; a black one and some brown ones and another black one and some more brown ones.

Some black and brown ones paying attention with some brown ones not paying attention.

Right, moving on. At the beginning of the year we bought a new field shelter. It is now located at the bottom of the hill about a hundred yards from where we feed the mighty herd. What happens is that we walk down to the shelter, collect a bucket of food and walk back up the hill where aforementioned food is placed into the troughs and the fluffsters then eat it. Why we do this I don't really know. Feed them down there or keep the food up here sounds much more sensible, anyway that's how it works at the moment, strangely. Whilst walking back up the hill with the food we are quite often 'mugged' by the herd. They are greedy little whatnots.

Sometimes, if I am taking something heavy down to the shed, like a piano or a fridge I will drive down. Similarly if I am bringing something heavy back up like, Oh I don't know, a full size rubber horse or a small aeroplane I will also drive down in the mighty Land Rover. I will then bring the food up in the Landy. The alpacas think this is great and race me back up the hill. In short it is an awesome experience and I love it! The other day I took the little camera with me (the mini Canon) and recorded the experience on the video mode of the camera. It has taken me three days to get the small video clip onto the blog, trust me I almost went to fetch my hammer several times. Anyhow I think it is now available for you to view. You too can experience 'running with the Mighty Patou!'. If it works that is?

video

If it doesn''t work just put Patou Alpacas into http://www.youtube.co.uk/ and you can see it there apparently.

PS If you look closely in the background on the right I did run one of them over. We're tough down here though, no harm done.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Ready to take on the world again!

I have been a bit glum over the past week or so and I blame it on the day job. I have been working evenings all week and Sue has been working in the mornings. Our paths crossed at breakfast time but that was it. So I think my low, 'the whole world is against me', mood is because I haven't seen enough of my lovely wife and fantastic son, Angus. Sounds like a good excuse to me, got to be worth a few brownie points?

Still that has all changed today and I feel ready to take on the world once more. No really, throw what you like at me, I'm ready, we're ready. I'm ready to punch adversity squarely on the nose. Bring it on that's what I say.

Another great source of loveliness is of course the mighty Patou herd. They are looking splendid, the cria are growing fast and the girls are one by one falling pregnant. Columbus has six already spitting off so that's good. We also have two girls mated to the mighty Jack of Spades spitting nicely so things are looking good for a close dose of birthing next summer. Excellent!

I took the above photo yesterday and I love the general brownness of it. Ok some of them may turn out to be dark fawn but that's only a nanoshade from being light brown so we can cope with that!

I have noticed recently that two of the boys seem to be joined at the hip. Almost every time I look out on the herd Rafiki and Rico are barging each other around. Rafiki weighed in at nearly 20 kilos yesterday and he's just 5 weeks old. He is our largest cria apart from the powerhouse that is Ruby May, I have stopped weighing Ruby as she nearly broke my arms the last time I hoisted her chunkiness skywards! Rafiki is heavier than Runa and Reeya who were both born two weeks before him. Rico, however, is our smallest cria, he weighs in at 10.5 kilos at 3 weeks of age having been 6.7kg at birth. You would think that Rafiki would dominate, being almost twice the weight of Rico but the little chap seems to be a master of the surprise barge from the rear. It's very amusing to watch.

Don't be put off by the weight and size differential, little Rico packs a powerful punch.

Right, to business. Tomorrow at stupid O'clock Columbus and I will set off on our first long distance mating run. We are heading east to Suffolk to the fabulously named Polipeeps Alpacas near Ipswich. David and Val Kocurek have a small herd of lovely alpacas that we sold them last year. It will be great to catch up with them.
Columbus has his work cut out as he is required to 'service' three ladies tomorrow. He's never done more than two in a day before so he will need to be well rested in between. I will be massaging his shoulders, he will no doubt have a smoke and a glass of brandy between conquests and will need some carefully chosen words of encouragement. I have faith in my boy though, he's grown into a real Macho this year and we'll be fine. He's raring to go. I'm raring to go.

The car hunt continues but the parameters have changed slightly to encompass the Newfie factor. The boot needs to be big! Beemers and Audis have been struck off the list due to being 'not Newfie friendly' and have been replaced by Volvos and Passats. The Mercedes remains my top choice and I'm sure Sue will see sense eventually!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Soon I hope

I haven't blogged for over a week, I have been busy.
The day job has been getting in the way but the real reason is that I am hunting for a new car for Sue. Sue has changed jobs from Community Midwife to working at the hospital in the Ante-natal clinic as a result the lease car has to go.

A replacement needs to be found - I have taken on the task wholeheartedly.

I have been researching and searching and am coming to the tail end of the car hunt. I am a little bit obsessed with cars at the moment, Sue may say A LOT obsessed but I feel if we are going to get the right car research is key.

We have narrowed it down to either a BMW an Audi or a Mercedes (second hand of course).

Anyway that's all the time I can spare I need to get back on Autotrader.

Oh yes, the alpacas? They are all wonderfull. Cria are growing fast and everyone looks good. Sorry I really must go, I must keep looking, shiny things with buttons and wheels and stuff!

Friday, 9 July 2010

The Magnificent Seven - Together!

Quick blog tonight, Angus kicking the leather off a football in the garden, Sue in the shower and I'm in charge of the chicken and sausages on the barbecue. Intense work.

Suffice it to say that when I took the hounds for a patrol of the alpaca field I saw that the Magnificent Seven had separated itself from mums and aunties and was swirling, as one.

Typically I didn't have a camera with me so the resultant images were taken with my phone.
What can clearly be seen is seven cria and no other alpacas!!!!!!

Above, from left to right, Ruby May, Rosa, Rafiki, Resilient and Rico (slighty morphed into one), Runa and Reeya!
They then shuffled a bit, now, Rosa (morphing with Rico....must speak to Rico about hiding) Resilient, Runa, Rafiki, Ruby May (obviously in charge) and Reeya.

And then.......they were gone!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Sell it to me daaaarling! Sell it to meeee!

I don't profess to be any sort of photographer but I am learning and trying to produce nice pictures, I enjoy it, especially photographing the alpacas. I have stiff opposition amongst the blogging world, notably Dave at Apple Vale and the slightly deranged Gary 'Nikon' Popham.
Anyway I was out last night looking for the 'Magnificent Seven' shot, unsuccessfully I might add and snapped a few members of the Mighty herd.

First of all, a non-member got in the way, as usual. Dilly, who is here to get pregnant and be sold is very inquisitive and as usual stuck her big nose in the way as soon as I took the lens cap off. Shortly after this photograph was taken she nudged me on the head with her nose and snorted at me. Dilly may be many things but she is not, thankfully, a spitter!

Next up is one of the matriarchs of the herd, Priscilla, mother to Bobby, Henry, Bo Jangles, Jonah and Minstrel. She is a miserable old bag most of the time, never far away from a screech or a spit but is unusually calm having her current cria Rosa around. She is lovely really and a prolific mother!

Rosa then came over and started to feed right in front of me so I snapped away, I quite like the result, nice sky.
Next is a still shot from the forthcoming spaghetti western movie 'The Magnificent Seven, Alpaca style'. Rafiki, Rosa and Ruby adopting a slightly gunslingerish pose? Or is it just me? Please also notice the cleverly positioned shadow of a bald head in the bottom right corner. Artisic that is, genius some might say. (6 cria in this shot folks, I am getting closer!)

Finally two alpacas that I just can't stop photographing, Runa and Resilient. Runa is Lily's little black girl and Resilient is Poppy's first son. Just look at the head on the little warrior! Look at it and tell me he doesn't look magnificent! Go on I dare you!

Can you see that little Patou Warrior Gary? Can you see what you're up against in the junior brown male category Gary? Tremble away my friend for the Mighty Patou herd have moved up a gear or two!

Monday, 5 July 2010

My quest continues!

I have set myself a little challenge down here in the wonderful world of Patou. I would like to take a photograph of all seven cria in the same shot, without attendant mums present. I am not going to round up and separate, that would be unfair and would make the challenge easy. No, I want to do it the hard way. Au naturel if you like. I have just been out for another try and failed miserably.
I briefed the herd beforehand, nothing too bossy, just a few quiet words about what I was expecting. A gentle plea for some cooperation, that was all. I might as well have been peeing into a hurricane for all the effect my 'pep' talk had. Anyway I clicked away nonetheless.
Matters weren't helped by the whole herd refusing to come out of the shade of a large Ash tree into the field which was bathed in sunshine. It may have had something to do with the marauding hooligans captured in the last picture, they're even worse at listening!

After the briefing I walked amongst them forlornly hoping for some sort of co-ordinated response to my request. Not a bit of it, all I got was a bunch of posing solo alpacas. Resilient was the first, and I do say he does pose fabulously well, he is a stand out poser if you like. He exudes pride and presence. Fantastic, the little squirt.

Next it was Runa's turn to stand frozen to the spot. I really don't think any of them listened to a word I said. She stood beautifully, ears (check out those ears folks) alert. Thanks a lot Runa.

Then it was the biggest poser of them all. Rafiki is the live wire in the herd. If something is going on he either started it or is in the thick of it until it finishes. That is unless you have a camera. If there's a camera about, he slips on his metaphorical posing pouch, oils himself up (again metaphorically speaking) and strikes a pose. Muppet!

Then it was Reeya's turn. She was almost demanding to be photographed! She has the most advanced fleece of them all in my opinion. Extraordinary, never had anything like it on the farm. I'll let her off because of that, just.

Finally I managed to get five of them in the same shot, including (far left) the tiny Rico, latest member of the herd. He has been named by Angus after a penguin in the Madagascar films. Apparently Rico is Skipper's (head penguin) right hand man and can regurgitate weaponry at will. He is described as a world famous psychopath and has a wonderful operatic voice when under stress. Who thinks this stuff up? Brilliant!

I then started to get a little help as some of them bunched up a bit with Resilient, Runa and Rafiki posing together. Rosa is in the background, she point blank refused to get involved and is in the picture 'by mistake' as she pointed out to me quite vociferously afterwards.

I then gave up and photographed the hooligan dogs, Newf and Lab in perfect harmony.