It has all been a bit stressful here lately. Many of you may know that we moved to the current Patou HQ almost a year ago as we had outgrown where we were, we needed more land. We were lucky enough to find the cottage and then discovered that the ten acres surrounding it was also available to rent. Marvellous.
There had just been a couple of horses on the land prior to our arrival and we were invited to do what we wanted in the fields. Field shelters were erected, hurdles and troughs were installed and fences were repaired and reinforced. And then it happened.
We were visited by a group of men, representatives of the estate (we are on the beautiful 9,000 acre Fonthill Estate), the farm manager and someone else who I cannot remember. I have to say that they were all very friendly but their message was a bit of a surprise.
The conversation went a bit like this:
'Did you know that these fields are in an HLS scheme?'
'No. What's an HLS scheme?'
'It's a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme which means there are strict rules governing it's use'
'Well what would you do if we said you couldn't feed your animals on this land?'
'I would feed them in the dark when no-one was about'
'I thought so'
And so on........
Basically the estate get paid a large sum of money to keep the landscape to certain environmental standards. The rules are very strict.
We have been very nicely 'told off' since then several times and after a visit to the estate from the head scrutineer of this HLS scheme we have been put under a bit of pressure. At one point I did lose my cool a little bit as I explained how frustrating it was a) not to be told about this in the first place and b) to not be told what the rules were after that.
It felt at one point that we were under fire from all directions and would have to move. Which we really don't want to do.
Since then things have improved dramatically. The estate manager and the farm manager have been brilliant. We have been offered more land, we have been offered 'feeding areas' which would be made by cutting through into other fields, or into the woodland. Now we have been offered a whole field of hay. I have to say that having felt a bit unloved we are now feeling pretty good about life!
Anyway enough of that old twaddle, yesterday I was out with the camera getting some shots of the girls we are going to put up for sale (decisions have been made). Whilst there the cria were bimbling about as usual getting in the way of everything.
Then the sun came out and there was a mass snooze. Todd and Tsar buddied up together
Behind them Thor (God of Thunder) and Talisker also crashed out.
I have exciting news from Karen at Amiryck Alpacas about another female Qjori cria. Just have a look at the beautiful brown girl below with her mother Moselle!