Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A Day of Mixed Fortunes

Things got off to such a good start this morning, that I obviously became ever so slightly complacent.  I got a challenging breakfast order – in so far as there was a great variety and I was doing it all on my own , and I managed.   I even managed to produce two lots of American Pancakes (not caramelised!!!)– one with blueberries and one with bacon – and was given an American gold star.

So far, so good!

As we are holding our Farm Open Day this Sunday, everything that does or doesn’t move is being tidied up – and that includes Scrumpy.  So I rushed off to take Scrumpy to her personal groomer in nearby Matfen and managed to slam the car door on my thumb as I was getting out the car.  Words cannot describe my feelings!!!! To make matters worse, I had set off without my phone and not realising that I had scarcely enough fuel to get there, never mind get to Corbridge to fill up.  God had obviously realised that if I had run out of fuel, I would have been completely suicidal, as I did manage to get to the filling station.

When I got back home, I checked the alpacas and was really convinced that Isadora was going to give birth – fortunately she thought better of it.  She is so overdue, it’s quite unreal but for once I wasn’t complaining. 

Pandora is looking humungously (is that a word?) large too.  If she continues at this rate, her tummy will touch the ground.

Actually I’m beginning to think that one of them is definitely waiting to give birth on Sunday afternoon during our Open Day.  Great for the public, but not what I would have planned in an ideal world!

Maisie's cria - little Marcia - was looking pretty chilled this afternoon, but definitely laying claim to the nearest food trough in advance of supper being served!




Monday, 29 July 2013

I'm still here!

I do appreciate that many of you may be thinking that I have disappeared -  but no I am still alive and kicking and so is Mike!  It’s just that I seem to have rather too much to do right now  - including supplementary feeding little Livia who is now really starting to thrive.
We have had a lovely American family staying with us for Bed and Breakfast for the past few days.  One of the dishes that I serve for breakfast is American Blueberry pancakes.  I make loads of these and several English people have said that my pancakes are better than any they’ve tasted in the US.  So what do I do when an American orders them – I don’t exactly burn them, just serve them slightly caramelised!!!  Personally I’m blaming the fact that as it is so hot here I switched off my AGA a few days ago and I’ve been relying on my electric cooker.  That’s been fine except for this first morning of B and B brekkies this week when they seemed to order a great number of brekkie permutations.  I think that I was only saved by the fact that the guy who had ordered these pancakes was a ravenous 15 year old and the pancakes didn’t seem to touch the sides.  Great!!  Needless to say – he didn’t order pancakes this morning!!!!

We hadn’t been sure whether we should hold another Open Day here this year, but since we have  had so many enquiries on the subject, we thought that we had best organise another.  So the 2013 Fallowfield Alpaca Open Day is on Sunday 4th August, between 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm.  Of course, it’s one thing deciding that it would be a good idea to hold an Open Day and quite another to organise it.  Despite the fact that we’ve done this before, there is still a lot to do! 
I’ll update you all with a progress report tomorrow when hopefully my internet connection will not keep crashing.  I’m really hoping that the pigs are not responsible!!!!

And just in case you were wondering - no we haven't had any more crias.  They are seriously overdue!


Monday, 22 July 2013

A sharp Learning Curve!


This last weekend must surely be worthy of an entry in the record books  - even the annals of history!  No it’s not that we have had multiple alpaca births here – we are still waiting for more births.  No our pigs haven’t given birth either – well they wouldn’t would they as they are both boys! No the amazing news is that during this weekend when the English cricketers beat the Aussies to  gain  a 2 – 0 lead in the Ashes series, I actually learnt what the terms “a follow on” and “a night watchman” mean in cricket parlance.  What is more, as a result of my baking exploits for Wall Village Fete which took place last Saturday, Mike also learned the meaning of that well known culinary term “a traybake”!!!

Yes, it was the village fete last Saturday and we took Maximus and Octavian down for a stroll around amongst the crowds.  Fortunately, they were a lot better behaved than Hector was years ago when he tried to eat the garden produce and plants on the plant stall.
 I think that this scorching weather is actually delaying our alpaca births.  Alpacas so often put their pregnancies on hold if the weather is bad, but I’m beginning to think that they will do the same if the weather is really hot, as it has been recently.  I’ve decided that against all the evidence in previous years, global warming is definitely here in Northumberland.

We had a few more matings to catch up with this evening and it was a good opportunity to check out all the girls.  Some of whom looked as if they were ready to go to a music festival given the amount of greenery adorning their top knots!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Stop and Smell the Roses!


In these busy times, you sometimes just have to take stock and “Stop and Smell the Roses”!  Taking this literally, what better roses to smell than these exquisite David Austin roses given to me by a friend a couple of days ago.  Not only do they look amazing – more like large peonies – but they have an exquisite perfume too.

The garden at our holiday cottage is also a mass of roses – and many of them are now past their best.  So many passers-by stop to smell these roses, that Mike is thinking of charging £1 per sniff! – Could be a good little earner at this time of the year!  The abundant pink shrub rose is another David Austin variety – Rosa Bonica.  The bookings at the cottage have been really impressive considering this is the first year we have used it as a holiday cottage and have not been able to market it as widely as we would have liked.  It has been booked pretty well solidly since we opened in March, but there are one or two gaps still in late July and August yet to be booked.
Today was a day for completing the Covexin 10 vaccinations to the pregnant females and also giving all the alpacas their vitamins.  Athena and Pandora got moved from the NHS field to the Fallowfield version of the private Lindo wing as they are getting nearer to their due dates.  Mind you, Pandora had to be dragged kicking and screaming to move her.  She was one of the first alpacas we bought – a Peruvian import who has never been halter trained.  I would just say – however challenging and time-consuming it is, do halter train ALL your alpacas as it makes life a heck of a lot easier in the long run.
Having had a busy day – even if we didn’t get any more births! – Mike and I decided to indulge in some fish and chips.  And to think that I am on a diet as well!!!!!!!!!!  Mind you it was very, very pleasant sitting out on our terrace with a glass or two of wine.  It’s not such a bad life is it?!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Summertime and the living is easy - or is it?

It’s summer and we should all be pretty chilled out by now.  We have a British Wimbledon Champion, the British Lions won in Australia and we are watching the cricket with great anticipation – well you would if you like cricket and personally I find it the most boring sport ever invented!!

The alpacas should be dropping their crias left right and centre – but they ‘re not!

Looking on the bright side – the hay is in and actually looks like hay compared to last year’s lot that bore a passing resemblance to straw!

I’ve had physio this week, so although I feel pretty rubbish right now, I should be ok in a couple of days.

And last but not least Mike and I had some quality time out having a barbecue at the Derwent Reservoir last weekend.  It might not be Bali – or Seaton Carew! – but it was pretty good nonetheless!  Mind you - I bet they don't have midges in Bali like they do here!!!

So – not a lot to report but definitely room for improvement.  But we’re trying and God loves a trier!!!

PS  Hope to sound more cheerful tomorrow !

Friday, 5 July 2013

I can't believe it!!!!

On 16th June, Leonora gave birth to a beautiful female cria.  It was a text book birth, but the cria – Livia – has never shown the remotest interest in trying to feed from her Mum – until today!!!!!  I had actually given up hope on her feeding from her Mum and I don’t give up on things too easily.  I am notoriously stubborn – in the best possible way of course! – although Mike might disagree slightly with this last statement!

However, Mike phoned me this afternoon whilst I was down in Corbridge – this being our changeover day at our holiday cottage.  “Good news”, Mike said.  So I presumed that Isadora had given birth to a healthy, female cria.  But no – even better news than that.  In fact, quite positively ground breaking news.  Livia, at 2 days short of being 3 weeks old, has finally decided that milk comes from her Mum’s teats!  Amazing, amazing, amazing!!!!!  No – I haven’t any photos.  It has been a long day and I wish to watch the tennis.  I’ll keep you all posted!