Thursday, 20 February 2014

National Crisis....Near Miss!

It's been a busy old time since my last blog. Not all work I have to confess. Last week Paul was away in the USA, and whilst we had some gastly weather here, and the alpacas spent a number of nights in the barn, I did have some help at hand. Even after a night of good food and wine, team work meant that we got the jobs done in super quick time, and invited more friends over for breakfast (fresh fruits, croissants, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon or pancetta). This rather went on, and by 1pm we were playing card games (okay gambling) with a glass of Hendricks dressed with the obligatory slice of cucumber. Well, you know that nurses know how to enjoy themselves!

We still managed to get plenty of work done, and good news on the weanling and cria weight gains. Whilst we have introduced haylage for the weanlings, the cria at foot don't have access to this. The common factor seems to be the introduction of GWF hembra and cria feed (we used this last year but they forgot to include it in our reorder). The cria at foot (four little Explorer progeny who are so cute) all come to the gate to be let out to feed from their separate bowls. All have had really good gains.

Other news; I had the two Christmas party girls scanned when the vet was out doing some vet checks on some sold females. You may remember that I accidentally let Goldmine in with the females on Christmas Eve. The results: Galaxy is pregnant. Foxy Sox is not (so is now getting to go to the shows).

It was my birthday on Monday. Paul excelled himself. I got a cup of coffee in bed. No card. No present. Yesterday I went to the farm shop and selected the most expensive pair of Aigle wellingtons...and put them on his account! 

Philippa and I did a silly thing yesterday...we uttered the words "all seems to be going well" with connection to the National Show. By 6pm all had gone rapidly downhill....

January I contact the rosette and sash company, that we wish to use to supply the BAS National Show. I explain that the show has a closing date and I cannot give exact numbers and sponsors until the day after. I give the dates of the show. All in writing. They confirm they can achieve this. I place the order. So yesterday I send off my exact requirements. At 6pm I receive the call...

"What's this, we can't do all these sashes in the time available, this is madness" 

Me: "but you agreed and I have it in writing in an email"

"That may be the case, but we have a large order from Slovacia we haven't time"

Me "but surely you accepted my order, should you not have kept space available"

"We can't just wait around for you. We didn't expect that you wanted them all made at once. You should have been in touch to check"

I ask if he can help at all, do halter or fleece show...but it seems that I am "an idiot" to expect them to do all this work when they are so busy!! Luckily there are some great companies out there who understand good customer service. To the rescue; Castle Rosettes and Hazelden Rosettes (sashes). I can't pretend it was a restless night waiting for companies to open this morning. We had visions of awarding a sash, then whipping it off the winner on exiting the ring, to use on the next. 

We have had one a two fine days. It has been lovely to see the alpacas 'fluffed up'. The dry weather does seem to have got some of the male weanlings a bit fresh...

                                         Beck Brow Bespoke taking a liking to. Prima  Lillibet


                                                          Beck Brow Cat's Pyjamas

                                                              Beck Brow Boxster

Friday, 7 February 2014

None Stop Alpaca Chatter!

I have been intending to write a blog all week, but time just seems to have run away from me. I have been busy; keeping the alpacas in to keep them warm and dry, bedding them down with lots of straw, making up buckets of sugar beet...all ready from the storm and gale force winds...I apologise to those in the South..but it has been a none event here...maybe I have left them out tonight! 

That is not to say that we have had dry weather. Last Friday Andi (owner of a couple of lovely females on agistement here) flew in from Switzerland, to be greeted by the usual rain, wind and mud. We still managed a bit of a fleece rummage, before we all caught up with Stuart and Jean (Velvet Hall Alpacas) down at the Fox and Pheasant on the Friday night; then paid a visit to Amanda (Florens Alpacas) and Kathryn (Nero Black Alpacas) on Saturday. Full on Alpaca or what?

On Sunday morning we had a delivery to make, as three of our pregnant females were going to their new home just 20 minutes away. Bozedown Bonita and Bozedown Blanche were two of our first females to come to Beck Brow, and have done us well. They are now both 11years old and still produce some of the best cria weight gains in our herd. They were joined by Ardo Jet, as a black female was on the wish list. I was amazed to see quite how quickly they settled (lots of grass and a lovely purpose built shelter helped) and were eating out of their new owners hands within half an hour. It will be lovely for the girls to be made so special within a small herd. The girls are now known as Eden Alpacas and Gemma (aged 12... I think...hope that's right Gemma) has started writing a blog:

Well, the entries for the BAS National show are now closed, as our maximum numbers have now been reached. There will be an all junior team from Beck Brow, some are not looking as good as they did a couple of months ago but it is always useful to get feedback (especially as I am an apprentice judge). We now just need to get everyone's entries in for the NWAG Show in Carlisle now (we have 100 already). I have entered lots of our weanlings just for fun, I am sure that they will have mixed success but we are supporting the show (in fact I think... if you are weaned... you are going!)

I have not managed a single decent photo of late. It's either raining or if it isn't, I am too busy to spend the time....

              Beck Brow Crafter (St Patrick) refused to lift his head despite my chicken impersonations!

                   Beck Brow Victoria's Secret our first ever Appaloosa (she has grey/gold spots all over)


And another Goldmine Cria from down under...yes it is a different one they just look very alike!

Amanda and I had an afternoon of A, D & E and cria weighing. we have now introduced haylage for the weanlings to try to get some weight on them...roll on spring...pleeeeease. Tomorrow we have Angela and Ian visiting, who have recently purchase their foundation herd from us...we are just waiting for Miss La-Di-Da (who is looking a little stunner) to reach weaning weight.

I have that Friday night feeling...not sure why that is as we work 7-days a week...might be that I am about to make scallop and samphire risotto served with a lightly smoked salmon fillet and a glass of rather nice white...right must go!