Saturday, 24 December 2011

Where did it go?

The year that is - this time last year it was SO  cold!  Today the sun is shining as once again I play catch up.

The cake is now iced, the turkey and trimmings to hand so hopefully presents wrapped later.

Although I am very poor at actually doing a blog I really enjoy reading about the ups and downs of our 'Alpaca Friends'  There have been many highs and lows for everyone and Thank you so much for sharing them.

As I watch the Alpacas they are queueing up to roll in a lovely mud bath - far from white now!  but they do look very happy and healthy.

And on that note
 may I wish EVERYONE a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a HEALTHY, if not wealthy NEW YEAR.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A New Addition

A very overdue posting but not too much has been happening.

We do have a new four legged addition here - not an Alpaca, although called Nessie it is not a monster.

Thank you to Tabitha and Lucy we have the loan of a lovely pony for grand daughters Holly & Jessica.

Nessie met with Holly's approval immediately.

I have overcome the biggest hurdle I think I have ever had to encounter.  My mother has Alzheimers and lived alone about twelve miles away so this year has been very stressful as her condition worsened.  I suppose the best thing to be said about it is that on the whole she is very happy and has no idea she has the wrong day or time.

Anyway, she is now in care and her flat emptied and everything sorted.  A big decision but I know that she is safe and in company.  A few days away in Cornwall followed to celebrate a big birthday (suffice to say that at one time I would have been able to claim my Pension!) so we are now getting ready to face the awful winter they say we are going to get.
So much has been happening on various blogs - I have missed out a lot so it is taking me ages to catch up but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Thank Goodness for Alpacas!!!

A long overdue but very short blog.  Unfortunately due to circumstances which are not farm related life has been extremely stressful over the last few months - BUT - there is now light at the end of the tunnel.

Decisions in life can be tough but when they are done with the best of intentions hopefully all will be well.

The thing that has kept us going is being able to sit and watch our lovely animals.  Unfortunately fleeces haven't been sorted, fleece shows not entered, blogs not read or written but hopefully by October life should return to some sort of pattern.

So basically - no news, all is well with the Alpacas and life in general, just one or two hurdles to overcome.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Darby & Joan

Darby and Joan is defined  as "a happily married couple who lead a placid, uneventful life. 
Well I suppose we are in a way but life is far from placid - it's just hectic.

I've just realised it is a month since I posted a blog and I have missed out on so many happenings on other breeders blogs - I do read them but say to myself I must go back and comment but the time has gone (again).  It took me a long time to log in as I had forgotten my password!!!!!!!

The alpacas are well,  our little Simba is not so little now and runs over for his milk and actually sucks the bottle properly which makes life much easier - unlike the haymaking.

Mowing went well, turning went well, baling went well -  help organised for Friday night to get the bales in BUT the rain came on Friday morning.  I was not available to help so Sid did what he could on his own before they got too wet but had to leave over 200 out as the rain got heavier.  We both had a go yesterday when they had all dried out but it is not a job for Darby and Joan on their own and no help available.  Hopefully all will be sorted today before the expected rain tonight.

The paddocks look like desserts as the alpacas look for any green areas left.

Garment sales have been good at the recent sales and whenever I attempt to update the web page I run out of stock - good to the products are appreciated.  More knitting tonight and I really need to sort out the fleeces for showing.

Hopefully my computer will soon be more user friendly - it doesn't like tea spilt on it and makes things very difficult with unco-operative keys and a mouse!!!

Thursday, 30 June 2011


Well here are  a couple of photos of our little boys as promised.

This is Toad Hall Simba in the dust bath

Here is Toad Hall Blue Ember with her latest offspring Toad Hall Timon

and not to be left out
Toad Hall Jolly Ruffo had to come and check out what was going on!

Three superb young males by Wellground Scriptwriter all with excellent genetics

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Midsummer - ALREADY

The longest day has come and gone, midsummers day the same.  It doesn't seem that long ago we were struggling with the cold.  However, the last few days certainly haven't been cold.

Toad Hall Simba, our poorly chap has been progressing slowly.  Rosemary kindly sent me an usual teat which helped in a different sort of way - his reaction was 'I'm not sure I like this, I'll give it a go but I will try harder if you give me the other one back!!'  We have now reverted to the 'normal' teat and he seems quite happy.
There is supposed to be a photo here - however the camera has gone walkabout with Sid so I will be back later.

Yesterday as morning dawned I looked out in the most horrendous downpour to see 'Toad Hall Blue Ember' out in the field - the other girls were all sensibly in the shelter.  This is unsual for Blue so I watched and within minutes she produced a healthy little boy.  Waterproofs on and off we go to get them in the dry - Blue is very, very protective and did not welcome the interference but we put them in the adjoining shelter, produced the necessary spray and left them alone.  She has not let us near enough to weigh him yet.  He was up and feeding in a very short time and spent the day in the sunshine.  We have named him 'Toad Hall Timon'  Timon is greek for 'respect' and he does stand out with his mum looking around and obviously knows he is something special as well as the name linking in with the name Simba .

Monday, 13 June 2011

Problems with Internet

We are still here but our internet connection has been exceedingly slow.  The phone line was out for a week although we had very, very slow internet.  Hopefully both of those problems now seem to be improving.

Unfortunately I have had problems with 'Blogger'.  I have called it other names but they are not printable.  I read that others have had the same problem and I kept trying different things and hooray I thought I had cracked it - for all of ten minutes as we were then back to being unable comment, unable to blog or upload photos.

At the moment it is being kind to me so just to let you know that our little chap is growing steadily. He lost quite a bit of weight but hopefully has now turned the corner.  He looks well and at last is playing and pronking about.  Unfortunately he still won't suck the bottle, he lets his mouth fill with milk and then swallows and the vet does say that he really should suck to enable the milk to do the most good.  However no matter how small a teat hole we use he just stands and lets his mouth fill so we are just grateful that he does get the milk.  I have decided to call him 'Simba' as he is now fighting back like a little Lion!

Hopefully some pictures next time (whenever Blogger will let me)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Welcome Rain

Last Thursday we had downpours and again on Monday - both of which were very welcome.  It has been dry for weeks, our little brook that runs alongside the property is almost dry and down to a trickle.
Although Monday's rain was very welcome the timing was not - Monday was shearing day.  Sam, Shannon & Jason from Shearco arrived wondering what was in store but they didn't know that the barn had been put up and all the animals were nice and dry as they had been shut in overnight - thank goodness.  I did feel sorry for the alpacas though when they were sent out without their coats on afterwards but they didn't seem to mind.

Our new cria (still not named) is not thriving.  We had hoped as Debbie and Hilary mentioned that Gem might accept him in the end.  Unfortunately she hasn't.  He has gained weight but is definitely under par.  Yesterday he had a plasma transplant and hopefully he will perk up soon.  It seems that despite having colostrum from Gem and also giving him some by bottle feeding it he has 'rattle belly'.  At birth he sucked well but now doesn't make much effort.  Hopefully after all his medication he will respond as he is a super chap.

The blue tits in the box with the camera are growing well, 6 hatched out of the 7 eggs but unfortunately 1 is dead in the nest now.  Hopefully the rest will survive.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

It happens in Three's

Busy, busy, busy.

Firstly the pheasant eggs hatched and off went mum with her chicks (Sorry no pics)

Then the blue tit eggs hatched.

Not the best of pictures but this is when the eggs started to hatch, in the end six of the seven eggs hatched and both parents are looking after them well.

Unlike our next birth,

This is our first cria of 2011 - a very, healthy and strong male from Toad Hall Ice Gem.

Gem had looked uncomfortable for days and when checking at 5am on Friday morning it was obvious she was in labour but having problems.  The weather was atrocious but there was no choice but to intervene.

With much assistance from Sid she gave birth to this lovely, very big cria.  He weighed in at 10.4kg.  Luckily he was fit and healthy and Gem soon seemed to recover from her ordeal and before too long he was able to have that first vital feed of colostrum.

However, that is where Gem's participation ended.  She has totally rejected him.  We have put them in a small pen of their own by the other animals in the hope that she would accept him.  Unfortunately every time he goes for a feed she goes down.  We have tried encouraging her, lifting her (which is exhuasting) but there is no way she will  let him at the valuable milk supply.  Luckily he is a superb bottle feeder, so Sid and I are bleary eyed as we take it in turns to feed him round the clock.

So much for day time births in fine weather - it seems many breeders have had early and late births this year, just goes to show there is no text book birth!!!

Sunday, 8 May 2011


At last we have had some rain - nice steady rain that will soak in.  Hopefully it will be kind and not go on for days (Never satisfied!)

All the alpacas are well and  looking forward to being sheared at the end of the month I suspect.  No cria yet, hopefully we won't have to wait too long.

Nature is wonderful and there is an array of wildlife here, for the last six years we have had a bird box with camera in it.  Blue tits and great tits have overwintered in it but there has never been a summer nest - until now that is.
One week the box still had the winter nest in it, the following week nothing -


for the first time we have a blue tit and her eggs.  Hopefully all will turn out well and I will post some pictures of the chicks in a couple of weeks.

The monitor has three cameras attached, security camera, the nest box camera and the cria care camera.  Hopefully we won't need to use the cria care this time and they will arrive in good weather and fit and healthy!

Others have been making the most of the wonderful weather.

This was the view from our window and we thought the balloon was going to land in one of the paddocks however he must have spotted the electric wires and gained a few feet to go over the trees and land in the adjoining field.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Behind the Times

Well once again it is nearly a month since I did a blog, but lots is happening albeit mainly routine.

I attended the first meeting of the new Central region this week which was held at Wychbold.  The meeting was well attended and it looks hopeful for an exciting future.  It was great to meet other breeders and then find out that they are in fact quite close.  Well done to those who initiated the group and put in all the hard work.

The weather is glorious, however (there is always a 'but' so I will use a different word!!!)  we missed all the rain recently.  It seemed to circle around us.  At the time we thought great, now everything and everyone is desperate for some rain - hopefully it won't all come at once and will wait until after the Bank Holiday weekend and before the Royal Wedding.
There is blossom everywhere and last night we were treated to Cuckoo song.

The Alpacas are well - I think the girls in particular are looking forward to being shorn at the end of May.  Our first cria is due at the end of this month.  That will be from 'Toad Hall Ice Gem' who was our first born here at Toad Hall.  She produced a lovely male by EP Cambridge Samson last time, Gem is by Cambridge Ice Cool Lad and has wonderful dense fleece.

We have decided to add Gem's offspring, Toad Hall Storm to our sales list together with Toad Hall Sunrise as we have 'Wellground Scriptwriter'  as our stud male and 'Toad Hall King of Diamonds' will be working soon.
Toad Hall Storm, Toad Hall Sunrise and Toad Hall Cool Troy are all from excellent blood lines and will be an asset to any herd.

Toad Hall Storm enjoying the grass before it gets too hot

Toad Hall Cool Troy just has to see whats going on

Toad Hall King of Diamonds takes a cursory look

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Thankful for a lot of things but especially for the part of the world we live in.  The disater in Japan, fighting in Libya and general shortcomings around the world make us realise how lucky we are.  Indeed we are very fortunate in this part of the country as we seem to have been very fortunate with the weather whereas other parts of the country have snow, wind or rain.  This week has been beautiful, those of you who have watched the horse racing from Cheltenham on the television will be aware that the weather in this area has been gorgeous.  A time when you look across the paddocks and wonder is that alpaca alright - of course it is - just sunbathing. 

We have been making the most of it and hoping it is not the calm before the storm.

When the paddock duties were finished for today it was time to have a go at the flower border followed by a well earned cup of tea. 

Monday, 7 March 2011


Another busy few days.  The week was mainly overcast and cold but we have had a lovely weekend - cold nights and a glorious couple of days.  The alpacas certainly look content.

This weekend we had a visit from Helen & Dave who brought a lovely young female to visit 'Wellground Scriptwriter'.  They were very quick to take advantage of our special 'Mad March offer' of reduced priced mating.  Scriptwriter looked very pleased with himself today.
Wellground Scriptwriter - he is scheduled for a bonnet trim this week.

Helen & Dave also took away their new purchase - 'Toad Hall Britannia' is joining their growing herd.  Despite Britannia's difficult start in life she looks well and has a lovely fleece, I know she will be well looked after.

Unfortunately I didn't have the camera to hand when Britannia left but here is our gorgeous Toad Hall Jolly Ruffo who is a superb youngster.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

All is well with the world

Well for the moment that is.The sun is shinning, the grass is growing, the snowdrops and crocus are out but most important of all - the animals are all well.

This is 'Toad Hall King of Diamonds',
Known as Barnaby at home, he will be coming in to work this year and I think he will produce some stunning offspring.

This is 'Toad Hall Cool Troy'

Troy is on our 'for sale' list.  He is the same age as Barnaby and is therefore also ready to start work this year so unfortunately we could not keep both.  Troy is by Ice Cool Lad and has a lovely bright fleece.

Today is special as we have a family get together and the children are coming to lunch.  Last week I had an unexpected stay in the cardiology ward at Worcester Royal Hospital and following an angiogram was given the all clear to go home last weekend.  So an easy week and a catch up with everyone today - Antony has just rung to say he has made a chocolate cake filled with cream - all that cholesterol!!!  Never Mind.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


It's a shame but the weather forecast was right - today heavy rain and winds.  I had hoped that after the glorious weather we had for the last few days it might continue for 1 more day.

It has been great for all those outdoor jobs and I had hoped to take the camera out today and capture some nice clean alpacas - but we don't have any clean ones now!!!

Sid has done more chain harrowing and put the road brush on the back of the tractor to clean the lane which had suffered recently due it flooding a few weeks ago leaving mud and debris on the road.

We had help on Friday to feed the animals - not sure Sid thought it was help though.  Holly and Jessica were here for the day while Mum had to go on a course for her work.

Pete came back in the week and loaded up his trailer with Ambrose, Prince & Ben who have now gone to their new home in Milton Keynes.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Calm at last

I'm very glad to say that the awful wind of the last week has at last subsided.  It seems so quiet now, a very frosty and foggy morning but the sun is peeping through.

We were very fortunate and although we had the raging wind - no rain.  The ground is amazingly dry so Mr Toad took the opportunity at the weekend to get out the little red ferrari (a very old basic red tractor to you and me!) and chain harrow some of the paddocks.  He had to hang onto the steering wheel though because of the wind - his tractor does not have a 'house' on it like my little green goddess, problem is my green goddess is sick and the mechanic is too busy to repair it!!!!!

Welcome visitors at the weekend were Pete and Steve who braved the winds for a wander among the alpacas, we look forward to seeing Pete again later in the week.

Scriptwriter is looking across at the girls and hoping for a visit, unfortunately it will only be for spit offs at the moment to check how pregnancies are going.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Still here

Sorry blogs are few and far between, but all is well.

The alpacas are well and ..... dirty!!!! 

It seems strange to think of all that lovely white fleece they produce when they have been shorn looking at them now.  Mike Banks rang this week to confirm shearing again this year, we were very pleased with Sam and Shannon who he sent to us last year - even though Mike is very slow on actually confirming that he is coming on the date that was booked months in advance, but a superb job done.

They have all had a good check over and vaccinations are all up to date - We have two males who are now reaching maturity - Toad Hall Cool Troy and Toad Hall King of Diamonds.  Both superb white males who will make excellent herd sires.  We also have Wellground Scriptwriter so unfortunately one has to be sold.  We have decided to part with Troy who is by champion 'Cambridge Ice Cool Lad'.  He has a lovely character and a brilliant white fleece so he has been added to our for sale list with our wethers.  He will make a superb addition to any herd.

What a chore today - the Great British Bird Watch - I have to give up 1 hour to sit and count the birds - can I cope I ask myself.  There are three feeding stations around the house, which are all full so in between sewing buttons on our latest garments knitted by June I am recording the different birds. Unfortunately not so many thrushes or wrens this year, they really suffered in the cold weather, we also found a barn owl who succumbed to the cold.