Monday 28 January 2013

Farewell Lovely Legs.

After a lovely weekend we have some sad news this morning...sad but not unexpected...Legacy of Purston who was registered as being born on the 1st of January 1997 (when imported from Peru), passed away peacefully at approx 10.30 am this morning. We knew that he was becoming increasingly did Waradene St Patrick who had taken over leadership of the group. Legacy was such a gentle alpaca who always had such lovely natured progeny...thankfully his Legacy will continue with Purston Golden Guinea (owned by Debbie and Paul at Barnacre Alpacas). RIP our lovely Legs.

Legacy of Purston

Thankfully Robyn, Craig and Ben didn't have to deal with the situation whilst we were away at the weekend. On Friday we headed down to Wiltshire. Ironically after the event being postponed the weekend before due to bad weather down south, it was us who had the bad weather this time. Luckily we decided to set off in good time, and we could hear on the radio the chaos that we had left behind; with the M6 junction nearest to home blocked completely south bound!

On Friday evening we met up with the Might Patou Alpacas...but it was early to bed ready for the big day ahead...a shooting party, kindly organised by Matt and Cathy Lloyd of EP Cambridge Alpaca Stud. Everyone had a great time...pheasants shot versus bottles of wine consumed...I wonder which was the bigger tally...actually I know the answer without a doubt! The weather was kind and the company and food excellent, just what we needed. It was also great to catch up with Jenny and Graham (Fowberry Alpacas) and Tim and Tracey (Inca Alpacas)...alpacas did crop up during the conversation once or twice as you might imagine!

Paul looking the part...anyone who does not approve of shooting need have no concerns though!!!

I still haven't managed to get completely over my chest infection and having managed to enjoy the weekend I am now suffering and on another course of antibiotics. At the doctors practice they are calling it the 100 day flu as it is taking so long to get over. Still I will be in Mauritius, on the beach, on Sunday....yipee!

Sunday 20 January 2013

Introducing our new girl!

I can't believe it...we have had no snow...I love snow. It seems like everyone has had snow... except North West Cumbria! Despite that, the snow did manage to mess up our weekend plans. We were looking forward to heading off down to Wiltshire on Friday for a get together with friends and fellow alpaca breeders...but unfortunately poor weather conditions down South, meant we remained in sunny Cumbria...surely it isn't supposed to happen like northerners get the bad weather!

So we decided on a change of plan and went off seeking some snow a bit more locally. Yes, we decided to risk heading off to County Durham to deliver Lullaby and Topaz to their new home at Prince Bishop Alpacas. The two girls were straight out of the trailer and quick to give a 5 star rating to their new accommodation.

 Not Beck Brow but Prince Bishop Alpacas looking very scenic

Lullaby (front) and Topaz

Today we had an alpaca birthday party, as Sophie had decided an alpaca experience was her birthday treat of choice.

The girls taking the weanlings out

Foxy Sox leads the way as usual

Birthday girls Sophie in front with Shackleton

Maybe it was fate that our weekend away has been postponed...for we have made another addition to our blacks at Beck Brow. A poor photo taken on Craig's mobile...but below is Inca. Inca is an eight year old Labrador bitch who is a trained gun dog. Her owner has recently sadly passed away and she was looking for a new home. Craig met her at a shoot on Saturday and she came to visit today. Moving in permanently on Wednesday...I wonder if she can train Velvet!


Thursday 17 January 2013

Explorer...double word score?

So much for being a hard northerner...the flu has got the better of me...having tried to soldier on I have had to give in to antibiotics for a secondary chest infection. Feeling much better today...I am even considering eating something that requires a knife as well as a fork!

I have learnt a few things this week:
  • An iPad is essential if sanity is to maintained during recovery from flu
  • I am much better at online Scrabble than I anticipated (only beaten once).
  • My best categories in Song Pop are 70s, 80s and classic rock (worst rap )
Yes, that just about sums up my week!

Amanda came yesterday and helped with some sweeping out and got mobbed by the girls. I think the alpacas have missed me spending my usual amount of time with them (or it might be the lack of carrots! ) Even Explorer had a snuggle yesterday. He was a bit coy about it, and pretended it was under duress, but I understand he has to look macho in front of his young boys!

As Amanda so rightly remarked, Explorer looks like he has been hot wired. He still has no visible guard hair, even as an adult working male...not even on his chest...remarkable! If Explorer passes on this trait to his progeny (and it is highly heritable) we anticipate that he will be a male who will have a massive influence in taking the Beck Brow herd onwards and upwards (look I am proud of him.. no point in pretending to be anything other than!!)

Beck Brow Explorer...gorgeous boy!

"Oh it's you...a little trim might be in order when you feeling up to it!"

Beck Brow Explorer (just look at the fleece coverage on those legs...and no guard hair to be seen) looking extra special!! Beck Brow Magellan behind.

The winter has brought a few changes in the hierarchy with the male herd. Legacy of Purston (15 years of age) has lost his lead position in his group to Waradene St Patrick, who has seen Legacy weaken with age. Legacy, who is wearing a coat, gets extra rations to see him through the cold. In the past St Pat respected Legacy's space but now I have to stay to ensure St Pat doesn't take all of the feed...poor Legs...that's natural progression for you! We will really have to review our stud males and consider putting some on the for sale list. Although Anzac Almost Illegal has an incredibly fine fleece for a fawn (5th fleece 22 microns and CF 94.7%) we do not have enough work for him whilst we have St Patrick, Black Sabbath and Explorer, so he may be one we have to part with?

P.S Paul got up early this morning to break all the ice on the water troughs before he went to work...think he might just be feeling a little sorry for me...only a little!

Friday 11 January 2013

Just too good to resist...

Many thanks for all your kind get well wishes...I am still not well, but getting thing for sure... I will be first in that queue for the flu jab next year (NHS staff perk!).

Thankfully Paul is not employed in the caring profession, as I would be concerned that his job might be in jeopardy...not his skill set I would say...I guess that's engineers for you! I am fortunate that Ben has been home and is a great help. He may have even saved Paul from me having to seek revenge when better. FLU...Paul...FLU...not some bug!!!

Anyway despite being in my sick bed, I have managed to break my only resolution for 2013. It was an unspoken one, for I know no one would have believed I could keep it...but only lasting until the 10th...that's ridiculously poor!

Some of you will have probably guessed by now...yes I have purchased another female. Actually it is a 'we' rather than I, as not only did Paul take the call from my mobile, but he was in full agreement, and did the deal.

I have strict criteria which has to be met before females are considered for our elite core herd. Since our initial 5 females, who came with cria at foot, all of our subsequent purchases (15 to date) have been maidens (Easter-Wood Metisha did come with Adelle at foot but was up for sale as a maiden...she just had Adelle before I had sealed the deal! ) With unproven females I rely heavily on BAS and AAA registry details in order to study the depth of the pedigree, and to research their sibling's achievements etc. For example the daughter of a dam who has consistently produced top quality progeny, would certainly be on the agenda.

My theory is that the opportunity to purchase top quality, proven females, doesn't happen all too often (once they have proven themselves to be excellent, they often don't make the for sale list) Thus, I prefer to take the gamble that the maiden female lives up to her pedigree, and produces something very special (i.e Beck Brow Explorer!)

So, that all said...not only have I broken my resolution...I have broken all my own rules! Our latest addition isn't a maiden...she is in fact five years of age. She has had four waiting to be weaned and three others...three progeny who have all won colour championships...including at the British Alpaca Futurity...too good to resist? We thought so too!

Oh, and this one wasn't bought for Explorer for a change. She will actually be getting a date with an outside mating...a match that produced an outstanding which we will be hoping we can repeat!

I will reveal all when she gets delivered, after our holidays next month. In the meantime here is a little clue...

 The Junior Black Male class at the British Alpaca Futurity Karen the only one paying attention (the mention of Karen might be a red herring...or maybe not?)

It's probably just as well that we have decided to give another 10 acres of our land over to the alpacas. The fencer has been booked, and we are getting some quotes for a number of mobile field shelters.The birthing season just keeps getting more exciting!

Despite my flu ridden attempts to send out sponsorship opportunities, there has been a good response. Both Supreme Championships have been taken, so if you are interested in the Best of British please get in touch soon. Once I am feeling a bit better I will create a Facebook page and post our sponsor's details on there.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Out of Action...

I am sorry I have not blogged...but then again there are many things that I have not done...for I have flu...proper flu. I have been told in the past that difference between a really bad cold and flu is this; if you saw bundles of crisp £50 notes on your lawn waiting for you to go and pick them up...with a bad cold you would somehow manage to pocket them...flu?...who cares about £50 notes when you are going to die!

I would say the nearest I came to this was not being able to feed the alpacas on Monday, not even Lullaby and Sox. I just could not drag myself out...this is unheard of. On Tuesday I managed to feed them (one group then a rest...then another...I even had a sleep before the boys got fed) but no way could I muck out.

Not much better today. I tried to do some work on the sponsorship side of things for the NWAG Alpaca Championships...but sent out all the emails without the vital attachments...argggh

This is our logo for the show by the way ...

I havent even been out to check on my doves. What do they say about counting your blessings...On Friday, I was just thinking how wonderful life can be

  • I was well
  • The weather was fine
  • There was not a sound to be heard...all was perfect and still
  • The alpacas were dry and happy
  • The dogs were following me through the fields as I fed all the alpacas, and topped up the hay
  • At the same time the doves were flying overhead following me from shelter to shelter
  • Perfect, peaceful...just beautiful
That was until a Sparrow Hawk came for breakfast...we are at least two doves down...can't nature be cruel at times.

I though as it was dry that I would try to get some photos for the blog today...but feeding Sox and Lullaby was as much as I could manage without getting light its the usual subjects I'm afraid. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow and manage to put some comments on the blogs I enjoy reading (still reading just can't face the proving I am not a robot bit!)

Beck Brow Sox and Beck Brow Lullaby a tonic if ever there was one!

Friday 4 January 2013

Halter Training Stage One...

At last...some fine weather...and thus some halter training. All of our weanlings from this year (that we wish to sell) are already sold; hence pressure is on to get some halter training completed. So apologies that this is really a photo blog, but there are a number of owners who I am sure would like to see the progress.

We have eight weanlings who are on the training programme at present, so with plenty of helpers we decided to go out in three groups of three. Yes, I know that is nine but as Beck Brow Foxy Sox (4 months old today!) is such a good trainer we gave her two outings!

Amanda with Beck Brow Bendrago...slowing down...

let me see where is the go faster button...

yes, that was it!

Beck Brow Foxy Sox takes a little time out to pose to camera...

Beck Brow Shackleton..."come on Sox this direction"

More posing...Amanda looking Foxy (Bendrago looking cute!)

But do they come any cuter?...Ben and Beck Brow Foxy Sox

JP with Shackleton...losing points for banking into the hedge...(don't mention the bump on the head)

Next group out...Beck Brow Lullaby and Beck Brow Topaz join Sox "I'll show you how its done...head up look smart!!!)

Beck Brow Lullaby and Beck Brow Topaz(behind)...only second time out for Topaz who walked to the lane end and back...clever girl!

Not far to go now

Last group...Wiseman Sweet Coco not so keen and fourth time out...we had no Sox this time maybe that was the problem!

Oops seem to have missed taking photos of this group, who did make it to the lane end and back. Beck Brow Hamish (aka as Pedro) in the lead no problem (sorry Bev and Andy will get a photo next time!) with
Beck Brow Advantage at the rear (who was great and only his second time out)

We are going to have a level two training this year...loading and show ring etiquette. Beck Brow Explorer made a name for himself on the show circuit...not just for all his championships...but also for being a great shot with his 'pouffing'. As for loading we have realised that it is much easier to teach them young...when they can be lifted if all else fails!

Lots of admin to do today. We have not only changed the venue of our alpaca show, but we have now changed the name, so lots of work to do. The show will now be called the NWAG Alpaca  Championships...not so catchy...but there you go! (NWAG stands for North West Alpaca Group if you hadn't guessed). Now that's all sorted sponsorship availability coming soon!

Wednesday 2 January 2013

A PC and the non-PC!

Some lessons have been learnt early in 2013 for a certain member of our family. I will share these in case they prove to be useful to others:

  1. When looking for a flat share do not expect Facebook to have interviewed the chosen sharer for suitability and compatibility. Ring her and discuss things in person, that way there will be no surprises.
  2. Alcohol is consumed on New Years Eve; this may be excessively so at a house party. When under the influence of said alcohol it is best to avoid speaking truthfully to strangers ( or friends for that matter if you would like to keep them so )
  3. Friends should be informed that the polite and correct term is transgender (see point 1). Do not let this be forgotten especially in the situation described in point 2. Tranny is not to be used as an alternative.
  4. If there is a lapse of memory and the alternative is used in conversation please ensure that this does not occur when the insulted is rolling out the pastry for the vol-o-vents. A rolling pin can easily become an offensive weapon.
  5. If all of the above does happen do not panic and ring the police.
  6. If you have not taken heed of point 5, then when the police officer diffuses the situation and offers you and friend  ( one with bad memory) a lift down town, do remember the officer has to be professional at all times. Do not recount the tale whilst under the influence, when feeling over dramatic "this is the WORST New Year's Eve of my WHOLE life" and in a style somewhere between Larry Graysen and Alan Carr. And especially do not ask the police officer why he has tears rolling down his face when you get out of the car!
Disclaimer : whilst this blog does not condone the threat of violence nor lapses in politically correct terms; the writer does have empathy with the police officer, as I  woke with sore ribs from poorly suppressed laughter having heard the same version as he. Pantomime is alive and kicking, or so it would seem!

On the alpaca front all is well. Back to rain again today after a bright New Year's Day, and I am back to business. We have changed the venue for The British Alpaca Championships; unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, it looks like the venue at Kendal may not be open in time. Therefore, we have booked the Exhibition Hall at Borderway Mart in Carlisle (just off junction 43 of M6). This is a great space (if a little further north!) with plenty of free parking and accommodation within walking distance.

Still on the show front; we are already looking forward to The British Alpaca Futurity 2013. However, as I have agreed to be a ring steward, I will have to be on my best behaviour this year (it will make a change!). Anyone booked their hotel yet?