Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A cloud has lifted!

Indeed readers a large, black, pain filled cloud has lifted!
In my previous post I whinged about suffering from an episode of gout. The 'episode' turned out to be the worst 'episode' of gout that I have ever had. Ten days on and I still can't put a shoe on due to the inflammation.
But, and this is the news that has lifted the cloud and put me back in charge of being the silliest person amongst the mighty Patou, the gout pain has gone! It has buggered off and left me alone and that is, and I can't emphasise this enough people, bloody fantastic!

I am left with the residual swelling and joint pain but that intense soul destroying pain that only fellow gout sufferers will know, has gone. I can now hobble about. I can now feed the mighty herd, I can bring in the logs, I am alive again! Sue and Angus are also sighing a big sigh of relief as the whingeing, grouchy, snappy, depressed, angry, unpleasant lump of sofa bound misery has gone and been replaced by Mr Slightly-Irritatingly-Happy!

I haven't yet been out with the camera, not much point today as it is a cold grey miserable day. So above is a picture from last year of Patou Fifi, one of my favourite girls, mother of Patou Rico who is looking good for next year.

Snow has been forecasted for the next couple of days and the temperature is set to sink below -10C tonight (taking into account the wind-chill factor) but the Mighty Patou herd seem to be coping very well. Qjori, who I think came over from Oz with St Pat of Beckbrow is virtually living in his shed. Being shorn in September he is a little short of fleece compared to the rest.
The main bulk of the herd seem oblivious to the cold, although taking a hint from fellow bloggers, they loved the buckets of warm water that I gave them yesterday.

Thank you for all the gout advice. Having had it before a couple of times I have read most things about gout. On this occasion it was high doses of a gout specific drugs, anti-inflammatories and time. Now that it's gone...............I'm ready for anything!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A little bit fed up.

Before the main body of this posting here are a couple of random pictures from a few years ago.
Firstly, Lily, our first female cria and my favourite alpaca in the whole wide world when she was a few weeks old in 2006.
Secondly, here are some alpacas lying down in 2007.

I'm fed up. Properly, totally, unequivocally, miserably, fed up.

I'm fed up because I had 7 long days at work last week where I was leaving in the dark and getting home in the dark. I was looking forward to getting stuck into a lot of jobs that needed doing over a nice long four day weekend.
On Friday, I did get stuck into some alpaca jobs, Baycox Bovis was administered, the herd was given the once over, all seemed well. But I could feel a familiar gentle throbbing in the big toe of my right foot. A throbbing that I have had before and it was a throbbing that filled me with dread. I have tablets to take when this happens and I was taking them but the throbbing continued.
At lunchtime on Saturday, after a morning working outside, I decided to rest for the afternoon with my foot elevated. The throbbing was getting worse. I was becoming worried.

I went to bed at around 10.30pm. Before midnight I had arisen, hobbled, sworn, several times, and was back downstairs. The throbbing had changed to super turbo throbbing. Excrutiating, intense, unrelenting, tear-makingly painful throbbing.

I stayed downstairs, wide awake, for the remainder of Saturday night, mainly trying to put my foot somewhere where it didn't hurt, I couldn't find anywhere, it was a long night.

Anyway, to cut a long and boring story short, I am still sitting with my foot elevated. The throbbing has abated considerably but my toe is still red and shiny. For the third time in my life I have a severe case of gout.
Bugger. Double bugger in fact because the days off I was waiting for have been wasted. Jobs remain undone. Once the gout has abated to the extent whereby I can put a shoe on and walk about I will have to go back to work. Triple bugger.

Why am I telling you this? Why not? After all, I am fed up.

Friday, 19 November 2010

A week in the dark

Right, finally a day off and I can attend to all things alpaca. I have just worked seven days in a row and most of those days I have been leaving for work in the dark and getting home in the dark. It is not a situation that pleases me. It is not conducive to alpaca farming.
Luckily I have the lovely Mrs S on the case and she has been dealing with things in my abscence. There have been several telephone discussions but Sue has been in charge and I am happy to report that as I take over for a few days all is well.
However, it has been a slightly stressful week with a few medical issues that needed sorting out. The main cause for concern has been our oldest alpaca, Dee and her cria Reeya. They have both been under the weather (and boy we've had some weather over the last week!) but hopefully are now on the mend.
Reeya had quite severe diaorrhea and was very listless and in considerable abdominal pain. Thankfully after a dose of wormer, some Baycox Bovis, a course of anti-biotics and a course of Pro-rumen she seems back to normal. Sue did call out our vet, the lovely Louise, as a precaution, but I think by then we were on top of things. Better to be safe than sorry, these girls are so special to us it is important to get diagnosis and treatment right.

The beautiful, majestic Reeya, earlier this year, before the mud arrived!

Reeya's mother, Dee, is another matter. She is our oldest alpaca and the only Chilean import that we have. She is 13 years old, although I am not sure how accurate the Chilean record keeping is. A slightly suspicious 1st of January birth date doesn't instil confidence.
Dee is also probably the calmest alpaca in the herd and does produce some superb cria. Reeya herself is the pick of this years cria with a super soft, fine, crimpy, bundly, bright fleece. Another super Jack of Spades production.
Anyway, Dee herself seemed a bit under the weather and was very shivery. It has been cold, indeed it has been wet and cold but not that cold so we were a bit concerned. A couple of days in the shed with Reeya and the application of a nice warm coat seems to have done the trick.

Dee starring in one of my favourite alpaca photographs a couple of years ago with her cria, Barney.

Now here's a thing. I tried to put a coat on her early on in the week. She went berserk, absolutely berserk and was not having it. As soon as it touched her back she took off kicking, screeching and spitting. I removed it quick smart and she calmed down.
Sue tried it whilst I was at work and Dee didn't object at all, she probably even helped to do up the buckles! Now what is that all about? Some sort of feminine conspiracy going on here I think!

Interestingly, Louise said that there was an unusually high worm burden in sheep at the moment. I had already decided to treat the whole herd for worms and coccidiosis but it is interesting to hear that, ideal conditions for the little gits I suppose.

Right enough of this, it's time to step into my wellies and get out into the ankle deep mud, lovely. Still it's better than being at work.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

They do love me!

I am pleased to report that the photographs that wouldn't come out of my Blackberry did eventually transport themselves late last night into my laptop. Good job too as it is an absolute shocker out there today, no outdoor photography happening here today, no sirree.
The pictures aren't very interesting actually. The first shot is the Mighty Patou herd just after I had been 'mobbed' at breakfast time. The second is of them as they wandered off to graze. Riveting stuff.

I know we shouldn't humanise animals, but as a stupid, soppy animal lover it is sometimes difficult. I know they don't think as we humans do and that their life generally revolves around food and staying away from scary things (umm, not too dissimilar then?). But they did behave differently when we got back from our holiday. I went out to see them when we got back and they ran to me and surrounded me, which, unless I am carrying a bucket of food is not usual.
I nose nuzzled with several of them, some for the first time ever and some of them nibbled my clothes which again is not what they usually do. Even the 'hair-trigger spit monsters' came up close, although the look in their eyes said 'Just don't come any closer sunshine, I can turn the air green in a split second buddy boy'. Sue reported a similar experience when she went out the following morning with the dogs, a 'mobbing'. Marvellous. They knew we had been away and they were most definitely welcoming us home, no doubt in my mind. Anyone who suggests otherwise can look forward to a poke in the eye.

So anyway, here are my babies milling about in the feeding/husbandry paddock before I rounded them up a bit more and got hands on.

And here they are wandering off down the slippery hill back into the main field.
What a glorious day it was yesterday, how different today.

Back to work tomorrow, holiday well and truly over.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Well that was fun.

We arrived home from Barbados on Monday morning, jet lagged and delighted to see that the temperature was in single figures and the rain was horizontal. It was also lovely to see that everyone else in the world had decided to drive around the M25 at the same time as us, obviously to welcome us home. Very thoughtful of them. We had all the time in the world and weren't tired at all!!!!! Home sweet home.

Actually it had not all been plain sailing in Barbados. Two days before we arrived the much loved and very well respected Prime Minister of Barbados passed away. The island was in mourning.

Four days after we arrived the island was hit by Hurricane Tomas (yes folks it was a proper hurricane, with a name and everything). Not being local and not being privvy to the local televison news it was a complete surprise to us.
When we awoke on Saturday morning the island apparently had been picked up, roughly shaken, dunked into a large bucket of muddy water and then tossed haphazardly back into the Caribbean. Not only that but we had intermittent running water and no electricty for the following four days. As we were in a self catering villa that means no air-con, no cooker but worst of all, no fridge and no freezer. Warm rum punch was not on the list of things to try whilst there!

Still, overall we had a splendid time and came back batteries fully recharged and bank account very empty.

Today I have been grappling with the herd to check that they are all in good stead. Actually I missed them so I was keen to get reacquainted with my lovelies!
Everyone seems in fine fettle, all were condition scored, checked for jaw abscesses and generally squeezed and probed for any sign of illness. The cria fleeces are changing and there were a few surprises as some had improved and some had fallen back a little. All are apparently fabulously healthy and I have stopped worrying. I do, a bit, sometimes.
I was going to take some photographs but have had a bit of a nightmare with assorted cameras today. The first camera ran out of electricity. I then fell back to my Blackberry but for some reason the pictures will not come out of the phone into the computer. I have given up for today, it was safer for all concerned!