Monday, 21 November 2011
Buzzing in November!
Even here in Cumbria, we are experiencing unseasonably mild weather for November, which is very welcome. I was looking through our photo archives for some 'alpacas in snow' photos for our Christmas cards for this year; the ones I have chosen are from last November... when we were under six inches of snow and it was minus 15 degrees! It is amazing to see how much hay there was in our cria fleeces then, when compared to this year...how long will it last I wonder...the alpacas are certainly enjoying some fine weather after all our summer rain...the season have been very confusing this year...although the autumn leaves are a favourite addition to the menu:
Willow and Baheti
After a later than planned finish on Friday night...(I had arranged for a pallet of Camelibra and Fibregest to be delivered on Friday...as the lorry is to big to come down our lane I had arranged this for when Paul was going to be home, hoping that he could spare my back...unfortunately Paul got delayed at work...Plan B came into action and I had the pallet dropped off at a farm up the road...which meant we ended up moving Camelibra about at 7.30 pm)...toe nail trimming was postponed for another day.
Saturday afternoon we had a visit from our friends and fellow breeders Judith and Michael at Cockerham Alpacas. Michael brought his ultra-sound scanner and kindly scanned some of our late bred females. We were especially doubtful about Lucie and Roma (Roma went to the YAG show) but both were scanned pregnant, so we actually have 15 females pregnant to St. Patrick now.
There was lots of alpaca chatter, lots ideas for the future discussed, plenty of red wine consumed...I guess it was Sunday morning before we ran out of steam...and no toe nail trimming got done on Sunday either...you do have to be in the mood for toe nail trimming don't you!
A bit like fleece sorting really...although as I said in my last blog I have the bug. Rosemary asked about grading, and everyone will do thing differently, but I grade according to what I will be paying; less than 22 microns (baby) and less than 27 microns (fine). I actually only use what I consider to be below 26 microns and offer other fleece to hand spinners. I have had a phone call today from a lady who runs a spinning guild in the North East...they are so pleased with the results of their last purchase...that they are returning for more fleece next week.
We have been fortunate enough to purchase fleece from the elite herd at EP Cambridge Alpaca Stud. As you might expect from the experts, not only do we have some fantastic quality fleeces but the fleece is relatively free of debris (although it is a dusty job!) and have been packed and stored to ensure the quality is maintained...this entailed the bags being left open for a couple of weeks after shearing, thus reducing the risk of moisture being trapped into the bags...this has also meant that I have opened one or two of the bags and a wasp has flown out...what a shock...last thing you know... you are in Wiltshire and it'sMay... and then you're in Cumbria and it's November (believe it or not)!
Last word...Boots has put on another kilo...she is off...she is roller blading now!