Thursday 30 June 2011

Where did that week go?

It would appear that I have not blogged for a week! Well where the hoo-dar-dey-doe did that week go?
I know I did an eight day stretch at the day job and am now on the third of three days off before returning to the day job tomorrow but what has happened to my spare time? It just seems to be go, go, go, here at the moment, no more cria but plenty else happening and not enough time to recount everything. I will endeavour over the week ahead to keep you all up to date. I know you could give a monkey's whatnot but I will tell you anyway.

At the moment we are trying to keep tabs on some very lively looky likey brown cria. Columbus has given us five brown ones so far and three of them are almost identical. The other two, Sirrocco and Saracen are simply ginormous, absolute behemoths both of them, Saracen is so big he is a little bit scary.

Anyway the other three little pumpkins, allow me to have a go at getting their names right:

Ok, I am pretty certain that this is little Scout, our youngest and smallest cria. Here he is doing that weird 'one front leg up' thing that they do.

Next is the little munchkin herself, Spirit. As gorgeous as gorgeousness itself.

Here is a picture of the three of them........ who knows which one is which? At a guess I would say from left to right, Woody, Scout and Spirit, about right I reckon. Exactly the same colour, mothers are black, light fawn and medium fawn. Good old Clump!

Here is the third member of the brown triumverate, Sherwood, or Woody as he is affectionately known. As you can see he has made a complete recovery from his chest infection and is a real live wire. I know it's him because of the shaved patch on his neck, I may shave a design into the fleeces of the other two actually, for identification purposes of course.

Lastly here is a picture of Patou Rosa, a Columbus cria from last year. Those of you who know Herr Clumpmeister will appreciate that Rosa is a spitting image of her dad.

Now, can I watch some ladies tennis please?

Friday 24 June 2011

Woody's recovery!

Firstly, can I say thank you for all the comments and good wishes about Woody. After two days and nights in the intensive care shed he has made a seemingly remarkable recovery and I have just been out to take a few pictures of the little monkey.

Here he is chasing Sabrina, doesn't look like there is much wrong with him there!

Here he is with Sahara, looking rather handsome.

And now without any distractions, posing for the camera.

We'll be keeping a close eye on him but I think we can safely say that he has overcome whatever it was that was ailing him. An amazing transformation from a few days ago.

Lastly, a picture of Sabrina, full sister to Ruby May and pretty much identical in every way!

One last thing for any readers who used to pick this blog up on Facebook. It will no longer appear there as I have removed myself.  

Wednesday 22 June 2011

And it was all going so well..............

We could have been accused of being a little bit smug down here in Patouland. Eight healthy cria, eight healthy mothers, all brown apart from one medium fawn girl. Yes, it was all going swimmingly. All going swimmingly that is until yesterday when there was a bit of a flap on here.

I missed the beginning of the drama as I had been selfishly enjoying myself on a twelve hour night shift at Stonehenge until 8 o'clock on Tuesday morning. As a result I was in a deep sleep upstairs as things unfolded. Sue was downstairs and was dealing with the beginnings of a bit of a crisis. I was awoken after a couple of hours by the dogs barking and spoke to Sue who had just returned from the field. She was not happy with one of the cria. One of the neighbours had alerted her to a cria lying alone at the bottom of the field. They had approached and the cria was motionless. Sue had approached and found Woody, who had now been joined by his mother Minstrel. Sue touched him and  he had got up and run off with Minnie. But Sue for some reason was not happy (I love that woman!) and decided to investigate further. His symptoms were that he was lethargic and getting more and more lethargic. In fact to cut a long story short he began to stand with his head hanging to the ground. Not sniffing or anything, it was as if his head was too heavy for him. Sue took his temperature and it was 38.8, a touch high. He then collapsed. Sue carried him to the shed and he was limp and lifeless. The vet was called and was on her way.

When Sue got Woody into the shed he seemed to come round and had a feed. The vet arrived and he was checked over thoroughly, his temperature was within the normal range (36.8 - 38.6)  he was a little bit crackly in the chest but otherwise he was fine, there was nothing obviously wrong. He appeared to rally round and the vet left telling Sue to call her back if there was any worsening of his condition.

This was when I was roused, tired and grumpy from bed.

Shortly after the vet leaving Woody had collapsed again and was now unconscious. Sue couldn't rouse him and his breathing had become laboured. The vet was on her way back. His temperature was now 39.4 and he was totally unresponsive. I have never seen a cria like this before. From being a healthy, strong cria he was apparently about to leave us, scary, scary moment and I was flapping like a very flappy thing as we waited for the vets arrival.

When she arrived his temperature was just under 40 and he was struggling for breath. He needed drugs and he needed them fast. The theory was that he had some sort of infection and that was causing his high temperature. He needed the drugs to be administered intravenously for quick and maximum effect.

At this point the vet asked if we had any clippers to shave an area on his neck so that she could find a vein. This is the first time in my life that my silly little beard has come in useful. For because of my silly little beard, I have silly little beard clippers. I was sent for them. I hurried back up the hill to the house and ran back down (when I say 'ran' I don't want you to mistakenly conjure up a 'Seb Coe' or 'Ussain Bolt' image, more of a prolonged stumble really) and delivered said clippers which were immediately put to use. 1ml of Baytril (antibiotic) and 0.5ml of Finadyne (anti-inflammatory) were administered. The vet was not optimistic, Woody was flat out, unresponsive and struggling to breath, she said that she thought that we were going to lose him. The mood was pretty sombre.

We left them alone hoping the drugs would have some effect and went back to the house. The vet disappeared off to her next job and Sue and I discussed what had happened and what we could learn from the situation.

After half an hour Sue went down to check on things. I remained at the house, I don't know why, I can't remember, I was pretty tired. I remember what happened next though, with crystal clear clarity. A sexy ladies voice from my mobile piped up 'Commander you have a new message at your private terminal', I know, I know it's silly but I like it. Sue had sent me a text message from the shed at the bottom of the field. I stared at my phone. Initially I didn't want to look at the message. I was pretty sure it was bad news and I didn't want to hear it. After a few seconds I sighed and picked up the phone.

This is what the message said: 'Having a feed!'. I couldn't believe it!

How that little fellow pulled himself back from what was apparently death's door I don't know, well obviously it was the drugs but come on, what a turnaround! Since then he has improved steadily and when I got home from work this afternoon we gave him more Finadyne and Baytril, we also weighed him. He has put on half a kilo since this time yesterday. We are by no means out of the woods yet but we have found the path and we are heading for the wide open spaces!

Monday 20 June 2011

The world is still getting browner!

Well at the risk of sounding boring, Columbus has struck again with the emergence of yet another brown cria. He is doing a startlingly good job of providing us with brown cria!

This morning the bagpipes appeared at the back end of Patou Fifi one of our 'untouchables' and mother of Rico. She gave birth to a floppy eared male after 333 days. He weighed in at 7.90 kilos, our smallest cria to date but he was up and running within minutes, a real live wire. In fact for the first couple of hours Fifi was running around after him in the field.

He has been named Patou Scout and he is our fifth brown cria from Columbus this year. We have now had eight cria born in the last four weeks and we have an even split of males and females. We are requesting females from now on in.

The next to go is the one I have been waiting for. Patou Millie, daughter of my most favourite alpaca in the whole wide world and star of our show team last year. She is pregnant to Jack of Spades and she hit the 330 day mark today. Incidentally we have had some early ones this year, our longest gestation so far being 348 days. We have had three at 347, two at 330 and one at 331, 332 and 333 days. They just can't wait to come out and join us!

Sunday 19 June 2011

All Hell's broken loose!

Well okay, relatively speaking all Hell has broken loose! I know the big breeders have 12 births before morning coffee but we've had three cria in three consecutive days and for us that is the equivalent. Not only that but we have another two who simply must pop in the next day or two. I tell you people we don't know where to look at the moment.

Yesterday's blog announcing the arrival of yet another brown female Columbus cria was posted before breakfast. Perhaps I should have waited as before the day was out another one hit the turf. This time it was the turn of Minnie the Minstrel to give us her Columbus baby. A lovely brown male (well it would be brown wouldn't it?) who was very quickly up on his feet. He had been baking for 331 days and weighed in at a respectable 8.32 kilos. He has been named Patou Sherwood which has immediately been shortened to Woody. Here he is with Minstrel who is a Jack of Spades girl.  

Then this morning we were on Penny watch. Sue called the alert first thing stating that Penny was spaced out and didn't seem to know what to do with herself. Well at about coffee time this morning she seemed to figure it out as she gave birth to a very handsome dark brown Jack of Spades male. He had been baking for even less time at 329 days and weighed in at an even more respectable 9.10 kilos. If we could have picked a female to have a boy it would have been Penny, she is one of our top brown females. She is a Witness girl and is a top notch coloured female. We have a feeling that this little fellow may be something special. As a result of our hunch he has been given a suitably splendid name, please allow me to introduce Patou Sultan, here getting a cold nose up the rear end from Bannock.

So it's been pretty busy around here one way or another but one thing is for sure. One little brown girl has certainly captured my heart and is rapidly becoming very popular here. Little Spirit with her floppy ears and masses or curly fleece is simply gorgeous!

Saturday 18 June 2011

Another one!

First of all may I say thank you for all the comments and e-mails about the land situation. It is heartwarming to know that whatever happens we will all be ok. Thank you.

We missed another birth yesterday and I am a bit cross about it as I didn't check the girls properly. Stand still you fat bugger whilst I hoof you up the arse! Impossible as always, but I will keep on trying, another dressing down and I have learned my lesson.

This was Patou Polly, she has featured in a previous blog as being the next likely to go and she did. In the pouring rain and the howling wind she gave birth to yet another brown female! I anticipate that we arrived on scene within the hour of the birth and the little thing was running around. When I did manage to catch her she made a noise that I have never heard a cria make before, it was a real scream. She's a bit feisty this one I thought.We wanted to get them into the shed for a couple of hours so she could get dry and have complete attention from Polly who is a first time mum. Give her the best possible start in life I reckon and then let them do the rest. Anyway we got them into the shed and then the two of them spent the next ten minutes escaping. Not trying to escape but actually escaping. First the baby dived through the bars of the gate and had it away on her toes, then Polly spotted a gap and leapt for it. They were both gone in a flash and Sue and I were left in the shed farting about with scales and iodine spray and no alpacas!

We reinforced the gate with a stack of bales and rounded them up again, all the time the rain poured. This time we were able to contain them and carried out the necessary as quickly as we could before leaving them to bond.
Please allow me to introduce Patou Spirit, a floppy eared bundle of energy weighing in at 8.22 kilos. She had been baked for 347 days and is a beautiful medium brown female.

Here she is with her mum, Polly. Now at this point I must shout from the rooftops the acheivement of her sire, our own Cambridge Columbus. Good old Clump was given a brief when he started working, "brown females please, as many as you can muster old boy. It will be tough as we will be using some light coloured females but give it your best shot", I remember the conversation well.

So how is the Clumpmeister doing? Well he has 9 cria on the ground, 7 of them being female. Out of those nine, seven of them are also brown and the remainder dark fawn. Now that is a pretty good stab at following the brief! I think it's because he is German. He isn't German of course, I know that, but for some strange reason I think of him as being German. Der Clumpmeister is what I call him and I do find myself using my slightly rusty schoolboy German on him when we are alone together. Angus and I have a very oft repeated phrase here in Patouland, 'Ja, das ist gut ja!' Vell, das ist gut Herr Clumpmeister! (apologies for any linguistic errors to any German speakers).

Other news here is that all the boys have now moved in with Qjori. The Clumpmeister remains on his own as he is not very sociable but the other seven boys are now on Qjori territory. He seems quite bemused by them all. There are five weanlings and two older wethers and Qjori seems to spend rather a lot of the time either ignoring them completely or staring at them with a look that says(in his Australian accent)  'Where the **** have you lot come from?'
Qjori is in the background here with the young boys at the fence talking to Josh.  A few seconds later, as Qjori approached, all tails rose in a little silent salute of respect. Nice.

Right enough drivel, must be time for breakfast.

Friday 17 June 2011

The search begins

We had a meeting with our Landlords earlier this week. We had asked them for more grazing land and recently sent them a letter outlining our plans for the future and how the herd was going to keep on expanding. The negotiations over the land had halted last week and at this meeting we found out why. Not only could we not have any more land but they would very much like to reclaim the land that we currently occupy. We had already made it clear to them that if the herd could not be accommodated that we would be off. And that is where we are at the moment. We are currently looking for new premises to live, all of us.

It is a strange feeling. We have lived here for the past six years and have loved every minute of it. Those of you who have been here will know what I mean, it really is a fabulous spot. However, we fully understand the position of the land owners. They are getting on and are looking to the future when the farm will be sold. The house we are currently living in will be sold soon, I am sure of that. It is their land and they must be allowed to do whatever the want with it.

So, there are two ways of looking at the immediate future. We could be negative and moan or we could take this as an opportunity to improve our lives. I favour the second option and am excited about the prospects.

The slight fly in the ointment is the difficulty we may have in finding somewhere suitable for us all. A small family, two big dogs, two cats, two chickens and a herd of forty or so alpacas!

I am not despondent though, no way sir. When we found the house we are currently in the landlords were expressly asking for tenants with no pets. Look where we ended up there!

So the search has begun, we have some viewings over the next day or two and we will be casting the net to take advantage of anything new that comes onto the rental market. The timing is not right yet for us to buy our own land, we need to stall for another two and a half years yet and that was always the plan. We will not be moving far though as it is important that Angus has continuity at school and we will be moving, hopefully as one. The entire Patou Tribe.

Watch this space.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

A shear surprise

It has been a big day here in Patouland for at least two reasons. Firstly, the alpacas have been stripped of their fleeces and we can finally see them all again. Secondly we have had a meeting with our landlords and there was a meeting that could have gone better, still more on that palaver at a later date.

So, to shearing. Mike Banks and his team arrived early this morning and blitzed the herd in three hours flat. Thirty-one alpacas and two people (me and Sue) completely stunned at the speed of it all. One minute they were there, fleeced up and the next wham bam thank you maam, sveldtness as far as the eye could see. So fast in fact that we have no photographs of the operation, Sue and I were running around collecting fleece, sweeping up, presenting animals for tying down, rounding up, passing this and that here and there, it was non stop!
The worst thing was that as it was all so fast and we were so busy that we didn't get much of a look at the alpacas as they wandered off, who's who is anyone's guess.
There are one or two who made their presence felt though. Roger Resilient was shorn fairly early on, he was in the first batch. He ran off when released and then returned to the scene of the shearing. He spent the next two hours on the tarpaulin getting in the way! It was quite incredible, every time I turned round there he was sniffing the screamer on the floor or nibbling at some fleece that had just come off or trying to stare out one of the shearers, I just wish I could have taken a picture, the shearing machine wouldn't even stop for a cold drink so I had no chance.

Here is the muppet with a rather indignant Poppy on the left and......................someone on the right, who knows who. I think we may have to start ear-tagging again!

Here is a picture of some more, largely unknown brown alpacas, Bobby is in the middle, Poppy and Roger are there but the rest? Who knows?

However, as I said in the title of this posting there was a surprise, and I still can't quite believe my eyes. For one young male who was a massive big fluffball and who I thought would be a rather leggy, unattractive, gawky boy once the fleece was removed has surprised the pants off me. The alpaca taking my breath away today is none other than huge favourite here, Patou Rafiki. He has been completely transformed into an extremely handsome brown male with Vicuna markings. Who would have thought that!

This is what he looked like before shearing, well this is what his head looked like before shearing.

And this is what he looks like now! He has gone from haystack to stud muffin!

Right enough drivel for one day, here is a picture of someone else who's name simply escapes me at the moment. Is it Reeya? It could be Reeya, I just don't know!

I'm off for a lie down. Yes, it is Reeya I have been reliably informed.

Monday 13 June 2011

Whopper out whoppered!

I reported that our last cria, the beautiful Sahara was a whopper at 10.5 kilos. Well she has been well and truly out whoppered today with the arrival of our first boy of the year. Bannock, one of our friendliest, calmest alpacas gave birth this morning, at a very respectable 10.30am, to a big, handsome brown boy weighing in at a massive 12 kilos! Although he is our youngest cria he is also the biggest and I have never seen such a strong cria. He landed on the ground and seemingly bounced straight up and started looking for food. It was quite incredible. I suspect tomorrow I will be preventing him from opening the gate and wandering off down the lane to the pub in search of a nice pint and a Henri Wintermans.
He is big and manly and his name shall reflect that. He is another Columbus cria and is a cracking shade of brown.
Ladies and gentlemen of the alpaca world, (and those who wish they were) please be upstanding for the arrival of Patou Saracen!

Not only is he huge and handsome but he has seemingly inherited his mothers quiet and gentle nature and they were both quite happy for some close attention this afternoon once Angus had come home from school and I had returned from work.

Anyway I must go, we have a busy day tomorrow and much to prepare for.
Tomorrow morning at 7.30am we will be welcoming the shearing team to Patouland. The weather is set fair, the biscuit barrell is full and we have a herd ready to disrobe.

Just before I go though a photograph showing who is next to give birth, for there is no doubt. Poor old Polly has been lounging around for weeks and surely with a little nudge from the shearers she will crack one out in the next day or two! Just look at that hump!

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Much more civilised.

At 5.00am this morning I was once again up and out in the field in my pyjamas checking for any new arrivals. The dogs were annoyingly full of beans as they gleefully accepted their extra walk.

For the second day in the row there was nothing to report back. No galloping was required, just the slow trudge back upstairs as I tried to prepare myself to fall back to sleep the moment my head crashed into the pillow. I don't think Mrs S had stirred at all.

And so I stayed until Sue brought me a cup of coffee at 7.30, she's like that you know. Casually she tossed the binoculars onto the bed next to me. 'Keep an eye on Dilly, she's on her own in the middle of the field sniffing around'. I stood up and drank my coffee with one eye surveilling Dilly who was framed perfectly in the bedroom window.  After a minute or two Dilly wandered out of my view heading for the water trough. Another time-waster I thought. A few minutes later I arrived downstairs and casually looked outside to see Dilly wandering around with her tail sticking out. Now that's more like it. Dilly is at 347days so she was ready to go any day.

By 8.30am, after a little assistance she gave birth to a very strong female cria weighing in at a whopping 10.44kgs. Fantastic. Initially I thought it was another brown girl and was a bit presumptious in announcing that fact. However, with the benefit of a drying wind and a warming sun the new arrival has revealed herself to be a delicious smoky dark fawn with very pretty light fawn facial markings.

Dilly is white as you can see from the picture and the father is our boy Cambridge Columbus, The Clump. I think he has done a pretty darn good job of darkening down the cria and that is his sixth female cria out of seven progeny so far!

So ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Patou Sahara, she is, as you can see, quite gorgeous.

Monday 6 June 2011

More galloping!

Yesterday morning there was more galloping up the stairs. Still no whinneying just the breathless announcement that 'There's a baby!'. This time it was 5 O'clock in the morning not 6. What the hell is going on this year? This time Sue announced that it was Bobby who had done the deed and this time, being an hour earlier than last week I was a little slower into my strides. In fact, I didn't bother with trousers, I was down the stairs and out into the field clad in my pyjamas.

I reached Bobby and could instantly see a small dark alpaca cushed next to her. Black or brown it was impossible to tell. I could also see that it was completely dry. What time had it been born for goodness sake? Sue had checked the herd at 9.15 the previous evening and there was no sign of anything happening.

Anyway she (for it is another girl people, another girl!) seemed healthy, everything was where it should be and she weighed in at a healthy 8.66kg. FANTASTIC!!

Now, a day later, I can introduce to the world, Patou Sabrina, a gorgeous dark brown Jack of Spades girl. She is a full sister to Ruby May, her mother being Bobby, who has never failed to give us a cracking cria and who has now produced four females in a row. Well done Bobster you old spit monster! 

As I type this she is tentatively charging  (yes, I believe you can charge tentatively, I can't, but baby alpacas can) around the field with Patou Sirrocco (the wind not the car) as dusk approaches.
Earlier, introductions had been made and the two youngsters are very much aware of each other's presence.

At todays weigh in, Coco (the wind not......) revealed a ten day weight gain of 3 kilos and little Sabrina a rather respectable 300 grammes.

They are both absolutely beautiful and exactly what we had wished for so how's about that for a start!

Saturday 4 June 2011

The Royal Bath and West Show

We returned home last night from three days and two nights at the Royal Bath and West Show. Tired physically and emotionally after having had a great time. Great weather, it hit 28 degrees yesterday afternoon, great company and a truly splendid alpaca show organised by the one and only Di Davies.

It turned out to be the tale of three browns for us as our two blacks, Ruby May and Rico were really not at their best, heavily overfleeced the crimp just dropped out of them and although they still looked good from the outside they sweated up and it was perhaps a show too far for them.

So back to the browns, little Roger Resilient, the beautiful Reeya and of course, the big 'un, Qjori, who was looking magnificent. If you remember from an earlier posting I did say he was just getting better and better.

Right then, here is my report on this years show, or rather our involvement in it. It starts off with Roger on the first day but I must point out that it may all get a bit silly towards the end.

Sue was chief handler this week, she does look sooooo much better in a white coat than I do and really enjoys taking the Mighty Patou show team into the ring. Here she is with the small but perfectly formed Roger Resilient on day one in the junior brown male class. Don't they look fabulous!

It appeared to be a close call from the show's judge Val Fullerlove and Roger picked up a very creditable second place. We were up and running and we were very pleased. We had a rosette to hang on the pen, nice one Roger!

Day two was intermediate day and we had Reeya and Ruby May in the ring. There was a bit of running around as I got the girls ready for Sue and as a result I have no photos of Reeya taking the first place rosette in the Intermediate Brown Female class! However, she was then straight in to the Intermediate female Championship.
This was the first Age Championship Show of the year for us and it is notoriously difficult to get anything darker than a fawn to pick up Champion or Reserve.  
Here are Sue and Reeya in the line up for the Championship. Sure enough the Champion and Reserve did indeed go to the white and fawn end of the line up but then something delightful happened. Val placed the ribbons on the two winners and then took the microphone to tell the audience about her choices. Only she didn't. Well not straight away. No, she took the microphone and then invited the audience to look at the beautiful brown female! She asked them if they wanted to know what an intermediate female alpaca should look like to look at the beautiful brown girl standing in the ring! Sue and I were overwhelmed with pride for our little Reeya, she looked superb! Check out Sue's smile!

Day two had ended on a high with Reeya but this show, for me, was all about day three. Day three was adult and seniors day. Day three was time for Qjori to enter the ring. Qjori had been at the showground for the three days and had attracted a lot of interest. But he was the only adult brown male there for days one and two. His rivals didn't arrive until day three. When they arrived I had a sneaky peek at them, they looked impressive. Qjori was up against Inca Cayenne a dark brown male bred by the Mighty Inca stud and now owned by Holycombe Alpacas and EP Cambridge Southwind, Champion brown male at the National Show this year. It was going to be tough for our boy from Burnie, Tasmania. By the time Sue was about to enter the ring I am afraid I was a complete wreck. The nerves had got me, my hands were shaking and I just couldn't sit still. This was the big one, this was what we had been waiting for. IT WAS QJORI TIME!

Sue and Qjori entered the ring and I was finding it difficult to stay upright. Never before have I been so nervous watching one of the Mighty Patou. Angus was sitting next to me and even he knew what was going on. He was nervous too and he's only eight!

The judge took her time but Qjori nailed it! First place adult brown male! I could have leapt the rope and kissed everyone in the ring! And everyone in the audience! I didn't, obviously, that would have been very wrong. WHAT A RESULT!!!

We had achieved what we had dreamed of, Qjori had done it and we were happy to go home then and there. Having won his class though Qjori was straight back in a few minutes later for the Adult Male Championship. Sue and Qjori got to stand in the front row for the championship which was lovely.
Here they are in a pretty impressive line up of adult male alpacas. Angus and I were now relaxed and smiling at all and sundry, Sue was cool as a cucumber in the ring and everything was just plain dandy.

Val Fullerlove again went along the line examining the adult male class winnners. Here she is looking at Qjori. By this time Angus and I were chilling out enjoying the atmosphere, a big crowd had gathered and we were relaxed and enjoying the experience. I had already explained to Angus that in Age Championships the Champion and Reserve were nearly always the white or fawn alpacas because of the advanced fleece quality in the lighter coloured animals. He understood and we started talking about when we would be packing up and heading for home.

EP Cambridge Litigator, the winner of the adult white male class was called forward as the Champion Adult male. Congratulations to Matt and Cathy Lloyd. The second placed white male then moved in to the front rank and our judge deliberated over who would take the Reserve Champion sash.

And then something extraordinary happened.

Val examined the white male, the fawn male and then Qjori. Then, and I tell you what people this altered my posture and got my attention, Val asked Sue to take Qjori acoss to the white male so that she could compare their fleeces! Suddenly my mood had changed from one of relaxation to one of complete high alert. The Inca / Amiryck mob were on the other side of the ring, including Diane Hey who had bred Qjori, I could see that they were all getting excited, everything had changed in a couple of seconds. Then, and this was when the tears started to flow inside the ring and outside the ring, Qjori was sent forward as Reserve Champion Adult Male!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FANTASTIC! 

Everything after that was a bit of a blur. Qjori had done more than we ever expected. He is a truly wonderful boy and that was a truly magical moment for us. Absolutely magical.

Now if you'll forgive me I am going outside to lean on a fencepost and watch that big brown ball of fluff as he goes about his business of keeping his grass down.

And that folks, is that.