Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Patouland update.

Finally I have a few minutes in which to whack out a blog posting. Things are pretty hectic around here and stress levels are visibly building.

Our house hunt continues and my complete lack of faith in most letting agents grows steadily. I don't honestly know how some agents around here ever let out anything, to anyone, they are complete muppets.
I think if you are a professional couple with no children and have never owned an animal of any sort (or never even thought about owning an animal) you are in luck, but if there is the merest whiff of animals the snottograph goes off the scale and we are practically escorted off the premises.
That said we do have several things in the offing and fingers crossed there may be some news on a property soon.

In the meantime we are very worried about one of our cria. Patou Sahara, who is one of the biggest healthiest looking cria here, has a problem.
Last week I noticed that she was having trouble breathing. She was flaring her nostrils and using her abdomen muscles to seemingly pump air in and out. The vet was summoned and two things were discovered. Firstly. she has a crackly chest indicating an infection in her lungs. Secondly, and more worrying is the presence of a heart murmur, indicating a hole in the heart. The vet has been back after a healthy dose of Nuflor was administered and the murmur does not seem as bad. She still has the crackly chest and she has had another dose of Nuflor.
The vet has two theories. That she has caught pneumonia (there is a lot of it about apparently) and the infection and the strain of breathing heavily has caused the heart murmur. The second theory is that she has a hole in her heart that has in turn contributed to the chest infection.
Apart from her breathing difficulties she is acting absolutely normally. She runs around, she feeds well, she behaves as do the other cria, she is just blowing like a steam train all the time. We will have to wait and see if the Nuflor clears up the infection and then see what's what with the heart murmur. It is worrying, I don't like it.

Here is Sahara nose to nose with her mother as you can see she looks the picture of health. Moments before I took this photograph she felled one of the smaller cria with a mighty headbutt.

Our two newest cria, Sienna (right) and Sebulba (left) continue to thrive, as do the rest and apart from Sahara the herd is in fine fettle, the grass must be good at the moment as some of the thinner girls are really chunking up now. Positively lardy some of them.

Qjori is working well with over 20 conquests so far, but someone is still here, waiting for the phone to ring!


Thursday, 14 July 2011

Columbus - mudslinger for hire.

Sue and I have been discussing what to do about Columbus, Herr Clumpmeister, The Clump.
The problem we have is that we now have eleven of his progeny here and we happen to think they are rather good. Just looking at colour alone he has given us eight brown cria and three medium to dark fawn cria. Now that may not sound like much until you consider the colour of the mothers. Out of those eleven cria four of the mothers are white, two are black, two are medium fawn and only three are brown. The brown cria are all exactly the same colour as The Clump. In my book that is pretty impressive. We asked him to produce us good looking brown cria and he did.
Our problem, and believe me we have discussed this subject in depth, is should we use him again this summer?

Our plan at the beginning of the year was to use Qjori over everyone and following his hugely successful show season we really want to stick to giving him as much opportunity to stamp his mark upon the Mighty Patou Herd. As a result he has already covered fifteen of our females and most of them are now spitting off quite spectacularly.

Our discussions have caused us to stick to our original plan and use Qjori over all our females this year, regardless of how good any of Columbus's cria are. So we have decided to offer up Columbus for lease for the remainder of the summer if anyone wants to inject a really good brown colour into their herd.

I don't quite know how to market him, I think we ummed and aaaahhed about it for too long and a magazine advert would just be too late. We are probably too late anyway but it seems a shame for him to be standing there watching it all go on without contributing.

So, his progeny have been well publicised in this blog over the last few weeks, they are here in Patouland for all to see, they are a very good advert for what Columbus can achieve.

We only showed Columbus once, last year at the Royal Bath and West Show. He was awarded first place in the senior brown male class, which given that he was the only senior brown male was pretty much a given, we knew he was good. However, what stuck in my mind that day was what the judge, Nick Harrington-Smith, said about old Clumpy. I listen to Nick, he knows a thing or two about alpacas.
Nick invited the audience to look at Columbus and observe how 'beautifully balanced' he was. He also went on to say that he was 'fine, dense' and a 'very, very good brown male'. It's funny what sticks in your mind, those words, from one of the top alpaca judges in the world, have stuck with me. It made me feel immensely proud.

Anyway, moving on. Columbus can be seen on our website or here in Patouland in the flesh. The nuts and bolts of it is that for £1,500 he can be leased for the remainder of the summer and used over as many females as you like.

So there we have it, I am using the blog to promote Herr Clumpmeister. If I am met with a wall of stony silence then so be it. If no-one takes up this offer though I will be screaming 'What the bloody hell's the matter with you all!!!'

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Aha! And now.....back to brown!!!

The most eagerly awaited placenta arrived yesterday. Allow me to explain. Alice one of our white females had been looking huge for months, the biggest gut of them all (the alpacas that is). She was wallowing around and Sue and I had convinced ourselves that twins was a real possibility. Especially when she gave birth yesterday after only 315 days gestation.
After she had delivered a lovely little brown boy (yes he looks fawn in the photograph but believe me he is brown, it was the lighting), she still looked huge. And as soon as he was out she was looking like pushing again. Sue and I remained in situe and waited. We occasionally looked across at each other with that 'I just don't know' expression on our faces, or was it wind? Anyway to cut a long story short after about 10 minutes of pushing and spinning, presumably so we couldn't see what was coming out, she gave birth to a very large and red placenta. Oh well at least the guessing was over.

So to our latest arrival. He is our lightest cria to date but considering his early arrival, 7.34kg isn't too bad. He is another Columbus cria, yes, another brown Columbus cria and after initially being named Spock he has now been renamed by Angus as Sebulba. Sometimes when that little boy gets home from school all sorts of decisions get reversed, it's not fair. Sebulba is apparently some weird looking beastlike thing from Star Wars. Apparently he's a kind of goodie though, even if a bit freaky looking. Still it may just be better than Spock, I just don't know. I always preferred Star Trek so maybe I am biaised.
Here he is with his mother Alice who is a cracking looking Wessex Mateus girl.

Now a quick update on a few other brown ones. Pictured below is the little munchkin Scout who is almost the spitting image of the little darling of the herd Spirit. Right behind him is Fernando, a Columbus cria from last year. Yes, he is the same shade of brown. It is quite remarkable.

Next, and I swear this is a different alpaca, is Spirit. How similar are they?

Now, Spirit is joined by Sabrina on the left and the huge bulk that is Saracen on the right. He is only four days older than Spirit!

Right that's enough for today I have a school concert to get to.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Fawns? Fawns! Fawns?!?!?

We have had another birth since my last post, our tenth cria of the year and it's another fawn. This time a lovely little, (actually at 9.30kg she wasn't that little), female out of the one remaining alpaca here that doesn't belong to us, Sheba.

Once again The Clumpmeister has done a pretty impressive job. Sheba is white and her cria, who has temporarily been named Sienna, is a solid medium fawn. Well done Clumpernickle! She has incredibly long legs and is very pretty as you can see.

Here she is with her very attentive mother, Sheba. Sienna was another one born almost on the 11 month mark at 334 days and fits in with our general theme this year of everyone bailing out early doors. As I said before they just can't wait to get out this year. They are like paratroopers on a mission, they see the target and they go for it (what?).
In the background you will no doubt have noticed a rather nice Buddleia which I feel I ought to point out as it is one of the few plants that I can confidently identify. Actually if you are very attentive you will see that there are in fact two Buddleia in the background. Oh yes people it's Buddleia city here, they are everywhere.

Finally I can announce that the handsome little fawn boy (you know, he who should have been a dark brown she) born a few days a go has now been named, Patou Sandstorm is his name and he is as cute as a button, perfectly proportioned and like greased lightning. Here he is pictured with his mother, Millie.

Right enough of this drivel I have to go and see someone, somewhere, about something.

Friday, 8 July 2011

A funny old week

It has indeed been a funny old week. The day job has been prominent but I write this at the end of the first of four days at home. We have had rain and it is very windy. Oooh how interesting!

I was going to have a good old rant about this and that on the blog today for my mood has been anything but stable, changing from caffeine induced delerium passing through mild and sometimes uncontrollable amusement towards short bursts (not short enough) of selfish and grumpy tantrums. This doesn't work, that's now broken, this isn't doing what it's supposed to do, that wasn't there earlier, this was there earlier, there is something missing here, this has never happened before, why does this have to happen now? That sort of a day, a rant inducing day. I went out, alone in the Land Rover, flat tyre to get fixed. I had a short but highly explosive rant in the car when no-one else was looking. Job done I am now mellowing prior to cooking a nice chilli. One of my favourites.

Anyway, no news on the house front yet, too far away, too small, too expensive, overlooked, too urban, no land nearby, grumpy farmers, completely incompetent letting agents, the search continues.
In the meantime I took a few photographs of the mighty Patou herd this morning in one of the refreshment breaks while Angus and I were playing a mammoth 1 hour table tennis session (no not on the Weewee actual table tennis with a table and balls and bats!), courtesy of a teacher training day.

Here's one for you, spot the cria, without blowing up the picture, can you spot the 9 Patou cria in the below photgraph?

Tomorrow is a day of fetes. Sue and Gus are off to his school fete whereas I am off to the Allington and Boscombe Garden Party and Village Fete with Roger, Rico and Rafiki. The weather is set fair and I have a hog roast at my venue. Marvellous.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Well that's a surprise!

Today we welcomed our ninth cria of the year into the world. A warm sunny day was just what the doctor ordered and it was another birth that we missed. I was at work and Sue had nipped out to do some shopping.
When she got back and cast an eye over the mighty herd a small light coloured object caught her eye.

After a quick investigation Sue rang me at work and left a breathless message on my answerphone asking me to ring in. Now Sue only leaves breathless messages when she has been galloping and Sue only gallops when there is a new cria on the ground.
Impatiently I rang back to find out who had dropped one. It was Millie!
Regular readers may remember that this was the big one for me, the one I was most looking forward to. Millie was twice reserve champion last year and is our best brown female. Not only that but she is the daughter of our Lily, my most favourite alpaca in the whole wide world. So Millie is special, she is on the 'Never to be sold list' and is a superstar.
She is a Centurion daughter so has black parents and she was pregnant to the awesome Jack of Spades. This could be good I thought, this is next years brown Champion, I pondered dreaming of sashes and rosettes galore, here we go I thought excitedly.
'It's not exactly what was ordered' said Sue as I froze instantly, almost too frightened to ask as images  of Pantomime horses flashed through my mind.
'It's a fawn boy and he's absolutely gorgeous, you shouldn't be disapppointed, he's strong and healthy and lovely!'

In one respect, from a business point of view, I am disappointed. I had ordered a brown girl, a championship winning brown girl. But he is a little cracker!

He's a bit of a tiddler, although he had been baked for 344 days he weighed in at 7.68 kilos but is strong and feeding well and well, he is pretty darn gorgeous!

Disappointed? Me? For an instant maybe but not anymore. He is going to be a real favourite here, we just know it.