Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Haylage .....it is !!

Well, the update on the cut grass !!....is..as I type its being baled up and its going to be haylage !!

There are two tractors on the job...all the field should be baled up tonight....It will then be lead away back to the farm, and wrapped up. This will turn it into haylage.

The weather forecast is not good and it wasn't worth risking the whole crop and ending up with nothing...neither good hay or any nutritional value left for the haylage.

I have postponed my cutting of my hay fields, until I can hopefully get a better weather forecast...I'm hoping for at least 4 to 5 fine days..for the hay !

So, its sometime soon !!...before winter, anyway !!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Rained Off !! ... Typical !

Brighter days.....before the rain !!

Well...sadly it never rains but it pours !...and boy did it pour last night !!

And yes !.....we are rained off ! The hay was coming on great, until last nights down pour ! we have had yet more rain today...if the weather fails to continue..then its going to be back to plan B !

This will mean that the pending hay crop will be baled and wrapped up, and it will become haylage ! So if all else fails...then it looks like this is more likely. There is a fantastic crop on this field and it would be a shame to spoil it completely.
The weather, never fails to put a spanner in the works ! But at least there is a plan 'B'

If the weather continues to be so unsettled, then I shall be cancelling my cutting till later on, the week pending the 7th looks good, on the weather forecast. But every time they update it..they change their mind...and show rain.....

You just cant win !!


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Half way There !!....

Half way there...a sprinkle of rain...but nothing to worry about !!
Slinky.......having an itch !

Zonda..checking out the weather forecast and the hay !

Tremona, Zeto, Marquette and Aymara toady..

I just thought that I'd update you on the haymaking experience ....

Well, its Sunday afternoon and the 10 acre field was cut on Thursday night. It has been turned once yesterday and today, the weather is as usual unpredictable to say the least ! The hay crop of this field is not really mine, it has been taken by a farmer friend who also keeps a flock of sheep, after the hay is cropped the sheep will be coming over to graze the fields, before the winter sets in.

Nevertheless, I have been helping to turn the field, the grass is now starting to look like the beginnings of nice hay. If the weather holds and says fine, then it should be a good crop.

I might have to take some of this myself, as the fields I'm keeping for myself are not as far on as usual, mind you I only taped off the horses from the hill at the beginning of June. I like to use this hay for the alpacas, as it is fine and has lots of clover in it. I am hoping to have about 65 round bales of hay for the winter, so depending on what I get, will depend on....how much extra I will need. I usually carry through about 10 bales from the previous year, but the harsh winter put pay to that !!

I'm hoping to start my fields next week...weather pending, this has been a trial run...for me !

It will be nice to see it all baled up and standing in the fields.....a good job done ! for another year....but at the moment...we are just dreaming of that !!

So here are a couple of photos...of the pending hay fields.....and just look at those clouds...a little sprinkle of rain....but nothing..disasterous....lets hope it stays that way !!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Big Chief ....Sitting Bull !! ....

Haggis and Dougal....enjoying a rest this afternoon !

The alpacas, are also enjoying the sunnier days....

We are prepared.... I think !!

It must be nice...nothing better to do !!

It is that time of year again.... haymaking !

I have spent all afternoon...overhauling the tractor, and the hay-turner, in preparation of the haymaking !... the tractor has had all the oils checked, the water checked and a top up of diesel.

The hay turner has has all the points greased that need to be, including me !! on several occasions !...at one point I was covered all over my arm right up to my elbows !.., never mind, the tyres have been blown up and the hay turner is now set in the right position for spreading the grass, in order to get it dry. There is one field cut already ready for turning tomorrow. I am hoping to get the others cut next week, weather pending.

So instead of having a nice lazy afternoon I have found my self doing a bit of maintenance. We are ready for the big day tomorrow..the hay turner is attached, after a little bit of persuasion...I managed. I have had a little trial run, just to make sure everything is as it should be. I am confident I have covered all I can, but you just never know...what can happen. I want a smooth hay-making experience !!....I'm keeping my fingers crossed for no disasters !

Meanwhile, as usual the alpacas have been taking it easy, lounging in the long grass and dosing in the afternoon sun. I can't help thinking, that the roles are the wrong way round somehow ! Non of that for me unfortunately.

After I had finished with the tractor, it was time to feed the horses, and the cats, so those jobs can be crossed off the list for tonight. I noticed that Haggis and Dougal had come down to the buildings for an afternoon snooze also. Haggis has a habit of kneeling, just before he attempts to get up, he is getting old now....I managed to take a photo...of my lovely Haggis 'Sitting Bull'.....the chief is treating herself to an ice-cream...after all that hard work sorting the machinery out ! and a sit down also !!

Then its a night time stroll for me and the dogs...a little later on....my batteries shall be charged up...after my rest.

We are prepared for the big....haymaking experience.....just need the fine weather...to keep shining on us now !.....I shall no doubt let you know...how we get on over the next couple of days .....fingers crossed !!


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Love is in the Air ! .. .. ..

This is Zelqui....he is Zeto's Dad !
Zakhura...has had a first date with Zanubis..
Zanubis, has had his first date with Zakhura !

Trienza, has had her first date with Zaninni..
Zakhura, Dusty and Zeto.

It has been a little while since I last blogged, it has been all quiet up here at Zanzibah !

However...there has been some alpaca loving going on !...just a spur of the moment thing, the best way..nothing planned, apart from the match making. I have been waiting for this for sometime, as we are hoping to reset the birthing clock...hopefully we shall have babies arriving in early summer, not winter as on previous years.

So today has been quite busy, I have managed to mate four of my girls, I have decided to share the love this year, I hope to use each boy to cover a female, that way, I will be able to compare the results....I have a nice selection of younger boys, who will be working for the first time, all going to plan.

I have re mated Zorba/White with Aymara/Light Brown, unfortunately two years ago, Aymara lost her baby, I have tried since to succeed with this match. I hope this year, things go well. If not I think that Aymara has retired from breeding, time will tell.

I have also decided to use Zaninni, some will remember he had a nasty accident a while ago. I will be interested to see if he can work at all after his injury ! He had a liaison with Trienza. Zaninni is Light Brown, Trienza is dark Fawn, so it will be interesting to see what colour this match produces, if I had to guess, it would be a similar colour to both as there is a dominant Light brown gene pool here.

I have, after careful...consideration...decided to repeat the pairing of Zelqui/Plum Brown with Dusty/Grey...this union produced...Zeto last year, I have been thrilled with the result, I wanted to see if this would repeat, or if it was a complete fluke !! Zeto is growing up very nicely, his fleece is a beautiful colour and he carries a very dense amount for a grey.

Last but not least today, I decided to see if Zanubis was ready to work. He is a very unique colour, he is registered as Rose Grey. He is only 2 gone 17/7/10...so I was a little sceptical as to whether he was mature enough. The match I had in mind for him was Zakhura, this is my black girl, both of these animals were placed at the Scottish National Fleece Show last year. Zanubis was beaten by half a point into 3rd !!...in the junior grey class. Both of these animals carry alot of volume.......this is a match I can't wait to see the result....!!

Hopefully I shall be doing a few 'spit-offs' next week when we continue the match-making. I have another 3 girls to arrange dates for....the selections are complete..its just a matter of getting down to business....

I shall let you know how we get on !

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Fleece Rummage and Inspection !!

Pacosha, she is one of my older girls !
Duke....standing over Zullulah, before shearing.

Zeto....in full fleece...

Zakhura, having a rest.

Yesterday I decided to treat myself to a day rummaging through the fleeces that were shorn a couple of weeks ago. Up until now I just haven't had the time to sort and weigh the fleece. Every year I like to make a list of who gave what so to speak, its also a good way of seeing what changes have been from year to year.

I had a little guess with myself to see who was the highest yielding animal(s) for this year, its no surprise....I was right for most of them, just goes to show how much you get to know your individual animals....

So, no surprises there....guess who was the highest yielding baby !! I thought it would be close between Barnacre Duke and Zanzibah Zeto !!.......Duke was just under 12 months of age at shearing time, Zeto was just 8 months ! I know Debbie will be interested to find out who won, Duke yielded 1.75kg's and Zeto yielded 1.80kg's, so Zeto just pipped the winning spot !!

Zorba(White) is my highest yielding male, he usually gives 3.5kg's but this year he was down to 3.00kg's. Zerquo (Multi Brown/White)and Zanubis(Rose Grey)are my second highest fibre produces....at 2.20kg and 2.10kg's.

The girls, at the top is Zakhura(Black) she yielded 2.10kg's then is a close second and third..with Trienza and Tremona both giving 1.40kgs.

I wont bore you any further, only to say that I had a lovely time, checking out the fleeces of this years shearing. I enjoy the hands on experience rummaging through the bags of fleece. I have put aside a selection of fleeces, I'm hoping to enter fleece shows later on in the year. I have just over 30kgs of lovely alpaca fleece to keep me busy for the year ahead !!

Today, I had to bring the girls in for some injections, after a close inspection, I noticed that Pacosha has a lump under her jaw !...after a good feel I decided that it was either a calcified lump or a jaw abscess....however there is no swelling or pain/heat. I decided to give her an antibiotic injection just to be on the safe side.... I shall be watching it very closely over the next couple of days....to see if any thing comes of it. She is happy and eating as normal so it doesn't seem to be bothering her. Mind you, in an attempt to get away from me..she managed to fling herself on the floor...!! thankfully she did not hurt herself.....and I managed to give her the injection. I have two girls who go mad, at the prospect of any-thing being put over their nose, she is one of these..and Tremona is the other one.....!! No chance of a halter..going on them !! So I just had to hold her and inject her all at the same time...thankfully I managed...some how !!....sometimes you could do with being an octopus !!!!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Summertime....and the living aint easy !

The girls. enjoying the summer.
The post knocker....has some work to do ! The operators, need more experience !
Daisy...is part of the ageing work force !!...but she gets there !!
Mam and Dad...have a well earned rest !

It has been a little while since I have blogged.....over the last few weeks...I have been ill, and then....just worn out !

My parents have been here to visit....and there were lots of jobs to do, so I have been very busy to say the least. I also had to take advantage of my ageing work-force !

The list of jobs, too many to mention, but its been all hands on deck ! Daisy has been very busy, doing a bit of digging ! The tractor is now fixed, it has had a new hydraulic pump...so needless to say we have tried the post-knocker ! It is great and it makes life much easier than putting the fence posts in by hand....mind you the operator's require more experience....we will be able to go round corners....no problem !!

Just a little insight into my past couple of weeks..... there just hasn't been enough hours in the day. My parents have gone home for a well earned rest !! But the job list has reduced considerably.

I shall have to recharge my batteries..as it will soon be time for hay making, the grass is slow this year..so I am leaving it a little while longer.

All being well, there might be a little romance in the air for the alpacas...in the next couple of weeks....I just have to create the right romantic atmosphere for the first date !