Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Farewell to 2013

Well that's 2013 coming to a close. It seems to have been all about rain, wind and mud...with a break for a couple of months of sunshine...then back to the same, but worse!

I will start with my favourite photo of the year. Not an alpaca, but Velvet with one of her kittens (Angel)...she adores her new friends...


On the alpaca front we have had our best year ever, but not without some sadness. I have really struggled to do a review of the year; because the loss of our beloved mother and daughter (Bahati and Poppet) it is still so painful to think about.

Bahati and her daughter Poppet...so close...and sadly missed.

But of course life goes on and for us that included the birth of 12 males and 10 females at Beck Brow. Undoubtedly our best crop yet; made extra special by the birth of Beck Brow First Edition, the first born progeny of our home grown, 4 times Supreme Champion; Beck Brow Explorer. I couldn't have felt more proud...and what a stunner he is...possibly our best cria ever born here!

Beck Brow First Edition (Eddie)

We have added a number of elite females with top notch genetics to our herd. Two maidens (Bozedown Campari and Inca Garland)  and three females who have produced championship winning progeny (Cambridge Scarborough, EP Cambridge Courtesse, and EP Cambridge Aria). We also added to our stud males, with the importation of Timbertop CT Goldmine ET, a superfine herd sire who has already produced Supreme Championship winning progeny.

We have done well in the show ring, not least with Waradene St. Patrick of EPC taking a Supreme Championship. In fact we came home with quite a stash from the YAG Show from only two entries!


We have been extremely busy on the sales front, selling more than we actually intended. We have sold all of our 2013 born females available for sale, before they were weaned; and other females that were not actually meant to be for sale! And we already have interest in our 2014 cria...We can't keep up!

It has been a hectic year, I have had to accept that I am not Wonderwoman, and we need to look for some help next year. I have been up and down the country attending nearly every alpaca show possible, as part of my British Alpaca Society Judge Training. We were also one of the key organisers of the NWAG Alpaca Championships, a new show in Cumbria, which proved to be a great success and will be repeated in 2014. 

In addition to all that, I was appointed to the board of the British Alpaca Society. My key role has been to head the BAS Show Committee and thus be heavily involved in the organisation of the BAS National Show 2014...rather more time consuming than anticipated!

Oh and we also increased our alpacas at Beck Brow by 40 with the addition of another agisted herd. That means 43 cria to halter train!

We are looking forward to 2014. Lots of lovely cria expected, the arrival of Cambridge Stargazer from Australia (who is pregnant to EP Cambridge Peruvian Spartacus), but most of all because we will be welcoming our granddaughter's arrival.

Happy New Year Everyone!

P. S... I love Epic...just in case you were wondering!


Beck Brow Epic

Saturday, 28 December 2013

I Spy a Party in the Paddock!!

As predicted, the Christmas party started here at Beck Brow on Christmas Eve...what I hadn't envisaged however, was that the party would be in the paddock...and some surprise presents would be unwrapped....

Like the rest of the UK we have had to deal with extreme weather over the Christmas period, and I had considered blaming the impromptu party on the wind. However, Paul has said if I do, then he will have to write his first ever comment on my blog...and I think I know what it would be...PLONKER! You see I decided to do a bit of rearranging...moving our females on to new grass...because of the wind I tied open the gates to ensure no mums and cria could get separated. What I also did was tie open the gate between Goldmine (our newly imported stud) and the girls.

It was only when Paul arrived home and asked where I had moved goldmine to... that I realised what I had done. The girls had actually moved into his paddock...I Spy an open gate...we ran to the top paddock just in time to see Goldmine thank Beck Brow Foxy Sox for the present...as she pronked off with her tail in the air! Silverstream Galaxy (who miscarried a week or two ago) had also enjoyed the event. The only other open females in the paddock were Wiseman Coco, Bozedown Campari and Young Punk Angel, who all appeared to have missed the party thankfully. Galaxy has unfailingly become pregnant on the first mating...

Prima Jubilee, on agistement at Beck Brow...always inquisitive but luckily not in the party paddock

Beck Brow Foxy Sox (foreground)...mixing with the big girls post party

We hardly noticed it was Christmas here with the weather creating so much extra work; keeping hay bags topped up and shelters mucked out was a full on job. These photos were taken on Boxing Day, when we decided just to spend it with the alpacas. The liveried females were wormed and given their AD&E and all the weanlings were weighed (all doing well)

Not sure if Paul is looking cross because I am taking photos instead of working...or it is the pink barrow!

Bozedown Campari...another paddock...and another brush and barrow!

The weather has meant the junior show team are all looking an absolute mess..I had been really pleased with the lack of vegetation in their fleeces, but with gales blowing through the barns there was no hope of keeping them clean. Only consolation is we were all in the same boat, and keeping our alpacas safe was our priority.

Beck Brow Bespoke...not looking too bad on Boxing day...worst after yesterday

Beck Brow Esmee Mae and Jetson (behind)

Beck Brow Otis...covered in hay

Beck Brow Hallelujah...the only Beck Brow Explorer daughter that I have retained...have I kept the right one? Too early to say, and as all have elite dams, only time will tell!

We have Michael and Judith from Cockerham Alpacas coming for a meal tonight...none stop alpaca chatter...and generous amounts of red wine...whoopee!

Just in case you were wondering Epic is still adorable...

Beck Brow Epic

Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Just a quick blog to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas. I am afraid there are no photos of fluffy alpacas wearing reindeer antlers this year. The rain has been torrential all day, and the wind gale force. It's been one long day of mucking out and topping up hay bags...so the house has had to make do with a quick hoover round the furniture...I think we will stick to soft lighting and hope that no one spots the dusty corners!

The family will all be arriving tomorrow, when we will have a relaxed supper (homemade fish pie this year), then we will open our presents, and play card games (some of us are rather competitive in this household!) This has been the tradition at Beck Brow for the past 10 years, but with a granddaughter due in March...we will be back to greeting Santa on Christmas morn next year.

                                             A traditional Christmas at Beck Brow

We have only attended three weekends of Christmas markets this year. As always the alpaca wear was a great success, but I never fail to bring home as much stuff from other traders as I sell! My big purchase this week was a candelabra crafted by a local blacksmith (female)



                                            The Beck Brow Alpacas stand

It was only a couple of blogs ago that I declared that no more 2013 Beck Brow females would be released for sale. Well it came as a bit of a shock to myself actually, but whilst putting together a package of four quality females for some lovely new owners, Beck Brow Miss La-Di-Da just fit the bill. So that only leaves me with one Explorer daughter for myself (Beck Brow Hallelujah). With nine females leaving us next year for new homes, let's hope we do better at replacing them than we did this year...fingers crossed for a year of females born at Beck Brow!

Happy Christmas...Cheers Everyone!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Beck Brow Weanlings...Photos!

It has been a week now...and we have been strong...we have survived...

Last Saturday was cria weigh-in day. Not just any old weigh-in day...no this was weaning weigh-in day. We eyed them all up...who would be exiting via the weaning door... the deciding factor was 30kgs or over...it was no point in hiding, we had a list of suspects, and only one failed the test. We decided Orlando at 28kgs and just shy of 6 months, could be saved for the next group.

So we have 16 weanlings in total (including livery cria). We also put in a couple of female yealings from the livery group for some leadership, and because they really need to grow on and thus get their share of the feed.

It has been amusing to watch them form their groups. All the Waradene St. Patrick cria stick together like glue, but generally they segregate themselves into a white group and all other colours group. However this morning the whites were in one paddock, the darker colours in another, and the beige and very light fawn were sitting by the adjoining fence...just like in the show ring...not sure what class to enter!!

Beck Brow Cat's Pyjamas (left) and Beck Brow Crafter (both Waradene St.Patrick progeny) are such close friends. I do hate it when they end up having to be separated again (when boys become men!)

This is a photo taken on day one of weaning. Walking the line made by the previous occupants of the paddock! (before segregation!)


I do think Beck Brow First Edition is growing increasingly like his sire; Beck Brow Explorer. Next fine day, when I have someone to hold him, I will get a fleece shot to compare with that of his sire.

Beck Brow First Edition...is he the best white cria we have had born here?


Prima Thanos (on livery) sire; Viracocha Black Sabbath

Lillibet (right) looking after the weanlings (Wiseman Sweet Hazelnut front right)

Now, I have never pretended otherwise...Beck Brow Epic is my most spoilt and favoured cria of the year. This morning Paul asked "what is it about him that you love so much?" what an absolutely ridiculous question...WHAT IS IT ABOUT HIM!!!! he is absolutely adorable it is obvious!

Epic was born mid September to Easter-Wood Adelle who is a maiden. Adelle adores him nearly as much as I do...she looks at him with the same kind of love in her eyes...but her milk supply hasn't been the best, thus he weighs only 13.5kgs. Refusing a bottle, we decided to get him started on hard food. He has his routine, he knows that he is allowed outside of the pens to eat on his own, and waits eagerly by the gate. Initially he only ate Camelibra, but has now moved on to add in  Speedibeet. Incidently, we had a visit from Linda and Ron from Redens Alpacas who recommended foal creep pellets, Epic wouldn't eat them (he already has a taste for Camelibra) but a good idea to start these under weight cria on them in future.

So below we have an Epic size portion of  beet especially for him...


Yum Yum thank you mum....


Beck Brow Epic.

Right, I am going to write my Christmas cards now, then decorate the tree...it is nearly santa time and I have made no preparations. As one of the organisers of the BAS National Show 2014 I never seem to have a spare minute for anything else...I cannot believe how much work is involved. I know it will be worth it. There are so many exciting things planned and we are generating so much interest. Latest news; launch of the stud services auction page...check out the Champions generously donated already...with lots more to come!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Time to employ a professional...

After my last blog (yes, I know it was ages ago) I did say that I would try to get some photos of the rest of our 2013 cria. Well, today it occurred to me that time was marching on... and the camera was starting to gather dust. Now, this approach never works...a professional would have the camera nearby at all times, ready to capture that special shot...choosing a dull day with specific cria in mind was never going to work. Anyway better than nothing???

There was a special request for a photo of Boxster...but he was in no mood for posing!

Beck Brow Boxster (sire: Bozedown Omen)

However, Bespoke who wasn't playing ball last week... decided he would give it a go today...

Beck Brow Bespoke (sire: Bozedown Patriot)

Next we have a combination of poor light and poor camera skills to blame for a very unexciting photo of Idris...good posing though...

Beck Brow Idris (sire: Lillyfield Jack of Spades of Inca)

Next up is Blue. You may recall that Blue needed a plasma transfusion and the vet was rather heavy-handed with the razor when shaving his neck to find a vein...I think I may need to practice my hairdressing skills to blend that in!

Beck Brow Blue (sire: Waradene St Patrick of EPC)

The next cria actually belongs to Wiseman Alpacas, whose herd is on livery here at Beck Brow. Wiseman Sweet Hazelnut is a real credit to her sire. She is a stunner.

Wiseman Sweet Hazelnut (sire; Waradene St Patrick of EPC)

Now we have another case of no interest in posing thank you very much...Inkster is so stylish when he chooses...but he no choose today!

Beck Brow Inkster (sire; Viracocha Black Sabbath)

I did consider writing a blog that didnt have a photo of Epic in it...I considered it but it didn't happen...just too cute...note no red coat, big boy now!

Easter-Wood Adelle with Beck Brow Epic (sire; Beck Brow Explorer)

I have to admit Sugarbabe doesn't feature much in any photo blogs...she usually resists all attempts to get a shot of her...so not the best but this is she...

Beck Brow Sugarbabe (sire; EP Cambridge Fortitude)

I have missed out a couple of our black boys (Otis and Orlando both sired by Black Sabbath) but I think that is the vast majority covered. Finishing up with Barnaby another chip off the old block that is St Patrick...

Beck Brow Barnaby (sire; Waradene St Patrick of EPC)

I can't believe that it is Friday already. The week has flown by and I have ticked very little of my to do list. On Monday, on the spur of the moment, I decided to take a day off to visit Michael and Judith at Cockerham Alpacas. I really enjoyed having a look through the show team...I will enjoy seeing them taking some ribbons next year.

Then on Wednesday morning I attended a workshop ran be Cumbria Women in Business. These are always very social as well as informative...then deciding not to spoil a fun day by working...I caught up with Claire and Amanda for some food and wine.

Thursday...well they did warn us...but boy was that a storm and a half...luckily Paul builds some strong shelters because I could hardly walk against the wind and one of the kittens got blown off its feet and away (now safe and sound).

Today I have enjoyed the company of visitors. I so love talking about alpacas... I think they may have left with information overload!

Tomorrow we will be starting some weaning of the older cria...if I feel strong enough...oh no I cant bear it.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Some for the show team?

Today is one of those days when we are reminded how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful country, with all of its seasons. I took out the camera to gets some shots of the sun shining, with the frost still on the ground, and the autumn leaves still on the trees. It really was a stunning sight...but you will have to take my word for it...for I got a bit carried away taking cria shots... and didn't bother about the view!

Here we have some of the 2013 Beck Brow cria (I will endeavour to take the others another day)

First up is Beck Brow Sunday Best (sire Viracocha Black Sabbath) who is a definite one for the show team. She has such a great head and is such a stylish female.

Beck Brow Sunday Best

Cat's Pyjamas was enjoying lunch far too much to lift her head. She is another for the show team, she has such a dense fleece with such uniformity of character and stunning brightness. With EP Cambridge Lady Gaga as her dam, and Waradene St Patrick as her sire; she has inherited the kind of look at me attitude you might expect.

Beck Brow Cats Pyjamas

One for Amanda...Beck Brow Raffles (Dam; Beck Brow Rumour Has It. Sire; Waradene St Patrick)

Below is Beck Brow Victoria's Secret and she does have a secret too..she is covered in golden spots! I have never seen anything like it. Her fleece has fantastic character and density, thus I am going to enter her in a multi class at one of the shows just for fun. I am rather excited to see if she is an appaloosa when shorn. Her dam is dark brown (black sire) and comes from a line of females who appear to have a lightening gene. Her sire is Black Sabbath (GS; Snowmass Grey legend) so grey in the pedigree too.

Beck Brow Victoria's Secret

I am afraid I won't be getting any prizes as photographer of the year; here we have a not very flattering shot of Beck Brow Bespoke. Bespoke is sired by Bozedown Patriot and his dam is the multi-championship winning female; Bozedown Celestrial, whom we purchased at the Classic in 2012. Celestrial is now pregnant to Beck Brow Explorer...exciting!

Beck Brow Bespoke

Oops Sunday seems to have snook in again. I did think it was Otis but no...

Beck Brow Sunday and Velvet.

Now, I am going to try to play it cool...this is Beck Brow First Edition (Eddie) who is the first born cria of Beck Brow Explorer...his daddy has had a very successful show career winning four Supreme Championships...that's a lot to live up to...we will find out next year if he can follow in his footsteps!

Beck Brow First Edition (I will try for a fleece shot)

Another male who will be taking a trip to the National Show is Beck Brow Crafter. His dam is the lovely Silverstream Galaxy ET who has a 19 micron fleece at six years old, and his sire is our Supreme Champion male Waradene St Patrick of EPC. We were surprised when we weighed him last week, that he weighs much the same as the rest of his peer group, he just has so much fleece he looks twice the size!

Beck Brow Crafter

One of the reasons for posting a blog straight away, is so that I can identify the Explorer cria. I can tell them apart in the paddock, but it is so difficult in photos. So here we have Miss Molly. All of his cria have such incredibly bright fleeces, I think that you can see the sunlight bouncing off her fleece. She is a mirror image of her daddy.

 Beck Brow Miss Molly (sire; Beck Brow Explorer)

Beck Brow La-Di-Da (sire Beck Brow Explorer)

I did decide not to take a photo of Epic because he has managed to feature in my previous two postings...but he seems to have managed to get himself in the shot.. behind Beck Brow Summer Haze (sire; Lillyfield Jack of Spades of Inca)...I just love him!

Beck Brow Summer Haze

Another pea from the pod of Beck Brow Explorer; Beck Brow Hallelujah. His cria even have the same crimp across their chest as he does.

Beck Brow Hallelujah 

Now, if you are thinking that I might be rather exaggerating how alike the Explorer cria look...here we have Miss Molly and Hallelujah. Halle is six weeks older but otherwise they are near identical in every way, including fleece style.

 I decided that I would release one of the three female Explorer progeny...but how do you decide who when they are so alike...well in the end it just came down to the fact that Miss Molly's dam has already had a female offspring, and the other two are the first female crias born from their dams. I am afraid that all of the female cria being released from our 2013 born have first reserves on them now.

Beck Brow Miss Molly (left) and Beck Brow Hallelujah

We had a very successful time at Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Fair at the weekend. On Saturday Trish and I manned the stall and we were rushed off our feet. Sunday was slightly quieter, when I took Paul along, but overall our takings were up 20% on the previous year. The problem is we have virtually sold out of knitwear and have two more fairs to go!

Paul spent his time on Saturday putting down hardcore in front of all the field shelters. It has been so wet everywhere is so muddy. Of course now he has done that the ground is hard with frost!. Still good job done, but he hasn't had time to quite finish his belter of a field shelter, although the alpacas dont seem to mind the lack of doors!

A belter of a shelter with a view...

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Winter appears to have arrived...no bright skies and snow covered paddocks here...no just wet, muddy and cold. Not the weather to be going up the paddock at 6.30am in your dressing gown and slippers!

Why on earth would anyone do that? Well I have a confession to make; I have a favourite cria...I am obsessed about him...I can hear the wind and the rain outside...I am worried that his coat may have got wet through and that he is freezing cold...he is tiny...he is cute...he is EPIC!!!

I did think that they might have come in to the barn hence the slippers...but no he was out, in the mud and soaking wet (the coat had yet again stayed waterproof at the skin but had absorbed what felt like 2lbs of water). So dry coat in situ I plodded back to the house in my mud covered slippers with mud covered feet!

Epic's dam is a maiden and his weight gain has been slow. He did take small amounts of supplementary goats milk but he has recently started to refuse this. Then we noticed him tucking in to the Camelibra with gusto. He is only 8 weeks old but he doesn't just pick at the odd morsel like the other young cria...no he eats a small handful. I was concerned about him digesting such a quantity but all appears fine in the poo department. I will get him the hembro and cria feed with the next order.

He has got such a taste for hard feed that he his one of the first in at meal times. I would defy anyone not to smile when you watch him racing to the front in his red coat


Can you spot him?..in the middle behind a black cria

here he is making up ground quickly 8th place

Coming up the inside in the racing red coat

Nearly there...final result was 2nd behind Beck Brow Foxy Sox (next to Sox is Sugar Babe, behind her Esmee Mae. Behind Sox is Bozedown Celestrial)

We have had a pleasant ticking along week. On Thursday Amanda and I gave everyone their AD&E, always good to have another excuse to handle everyone. I am always amazed at how the cria fleeces keep changing but we will have a number of juniors going to the BAS National Show next year. Sponsorship opportunities are being taken at a great rate, only three silver sponsorship opportunities left now...dont miss out!

On Saturday we weighed all the cria. It is always interesting to study the differing weight gains and look at the family trends. We have a female; Silverstream Galaxy ET who is consistently one of the dams at the top of the leader board for cria weight gain, she gets pregnant on her first mating every year and has an 19 micron fleece at six years...plus her son Beck Brow Crafter will definitely be in our show team...if only I had a couple of dozen of her! Interestingly in the top six were two dams both aged 11 years old (both have the same sire) who's crias always flourish.

Robyn turned 30 yesterday. She has been having various celebrations for weeks now and these look like continuing. However, on Friday we managed to get to the Heather Glen for a close friends and family celebration, then last night we had a family meal together at ours. As this was a big birthday she was invited to put in a menu request...chilli with soured cream and advocado...childhood favourites are always the best!!