So it comes to the time to cast an eye back over the last 12 months and see where it leaves us going into 2014. A small review is in order if that's ok with you? No? Tough, here it comes.
January and we were still struggling (but winning) to get Tsar back on his feet. The weather had been awful and hadn't helped, in fact I am sure it was a contributory factor in his decline. However, January was the month that we felt the corner was turned and so it proved to be, he is now thriving and appears to be the only one of the ten males that we had in 2012 to keep his testiculars. Castrations will be organised in the next week or two for his three contemporaries from last year and a couple of the older boys, Woody and Rafiki.
Tsar, before illness struck him.
Tsar this summer, looking a picture of health!
April saw the arrival of Patou Una, the first cria of the year, and another drama. Found early in the morning on a cold wet day lifeless and close to death. She was first introduced to a bath, a blow dry and an electric blanket. That did the trick and she was soon thriving.
We did however enjoy some success in later shows and enjoyed all of them, win lose or draw!
Patou Talisker, son of Van Diemen Qjori of Patou, a brown male champion.
A much more successful breeding season was soon upon us and we ended up with eleven female additions to the herd in a variety of colours, all of which were one shade of brown or another. Although I have been accused of declaring rather too many shades of brown I do maintain that I am right. It is just that my brown spectrum is a bit wider than anyone else's!
My favourite cria from this year Patou Vanilla. A brown alpaca in anyone's eyes!
A beautiful summer saw everyone doing well and there was even time to add to the herd further as four pregnant females arrived in late summer. Three black and one brown and all pregnant to Popham Thunder of Inca. We were ready for some female cria with some new genetics for the herd. Unluckily for us four males hit the deck, the best of the bunch just happens to be brown though, properly brown too!
Matings were underway and 2014 will see cria arriving from five different herdsires as we expand the genetics in the Mighty Patou herd. Exciting times ahead. We start in June this year, with a September finish, all being well!
The major story of the year for me was my retirement after 25 years with the Wiltshire Constabulary (I know it's not called a Constabulary anymore but to me it always was one). Bugger what the desk jockeys think.
So I am now free to throw myself fully into the alpacas business. This has meant that everyone now gets fed in the daylight, injections and other treatments are up to date and you could eat your lunch off the floor of the field shelters, I wouldn't, but you could if you wanted to, and you don't mind alpaca shit on your sandwiches!
So to 2014. We must move on, we must move forward, we must sell some females. We will be at several shows the National being the first. The show team is taking shape and may be the biggest show team that we have ever taken on the road, I'm not talking double figures here, we only have one small trailer, after all you don't have to be big to be mighty!
So all that remains is for me to say Happy New year to you all, we hope that 2014 is an absolute cracker!