Friday, 29 November 2013

If the truck won't come to the bench then the bench must go to the truck

The Chosen Men obviously got a little bored being chained to the bench whilst we were shunting things around in the truck. So well it makes sense ' if the truck won't come to the bench then we'll take the bench to the truck'. Sound!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

What a lovely looking grey alpaca- meet Bradley Wiggins!

There are some alpacas that just stand out. In humans it's called charisma. We alpaca judges tend to talk about presence. This intermediate boy certainly has it. He belongs to Du Prem alpacas and is currently living in our quarantine facility before he goes to live  in France. 
Every time I pass he seems to stand to attention and offer his best side looking for a photo opportunity. Well today I obliged. One must. There really would be no point in keeping alpacas if you didn't enjoy just looking at them.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Startled Suris ...

No matter how elegant they appear in full fleece - until it gets there the Suris always look as if they fell into their fleece by accident giving them a permanently startled look. These two wee juniors are no different and are badly in need of some hair wax and a comb!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Who put that new fence there then?

Cold night last night with thick frost in the early morning. Caught this pic of the weaners looking over an 'imaginary fence' ? Those straight lines even as shadows need to be obeyed!

Monday, 25 November 2013

A hacking,slashing and burning weekend...

Much thanks to Paul Beswick of Du Prem alpacas who gave up his Saturday to give me a hand cutting back the overgrown hedges on a new parcel of land we have taken on at Toft. 
This new addition to the Toft Alpaca Stud will be a real bonus and is self contained which will enhance our general farm biosecurity and once we have cut the grass a dozen times the alpacas will love it!
It's about 14 acres and directly adjoins our farm which is the upside. However the downside is it hasn't been grazed for at least six or more likely possibly eight years. The grass and weeds were four foot high last weekend but six hours with tractor and flail mower made short work of that to enable us to see the fences.
Much hacking and slashing at the weekend means we can now at least see the fence in one of the fields. That's the good news, the bad news is there  are three fields and the other two need a bit more work than the one we started on.
Once we can see the fences then we can repair them. I think this is definitely called work in progress and there are no prizes for guessing what I shall be doing every spare minute over the winter.
The burning however was a disaster, three cans of paraffin, much huffing and puffing and not a sustained fire in sight. As a good Boy Scout I was very miffed I indeed, hey ho the burning will wait for another day.
Thanks again Paul - you'll be as fit as a butchers dog come the spring if you keep at it!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

I've got mine, have you got yours?

Remember these? When I was a kid people used to kill for these. They are called records and after the tape, cd, mp3, and I tune explosion I never thought we'd see the like again.
But here we are our talented daughter Laura aka Femme is selling records and what a record. It's blood coloured and heart shaped and look it has artwork.... Fabarooney.
We have got the signed number one vinyl from Femme!  It's so beautiful I want to frame it and put it on my wall.
Well done that girl -way to go!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

BINKS is back !

Some eight or nine years ago we gave birth at Toft Alpacas to the most amazing Multicoloured alpaca who looked like someone has poured a jar of double cream over his head and slowly let it run down his body. The children were delighted and he was duly named JA JA  BINKS after a character in Star Wars. Needless to say he went off to make a very attractive pet. 
He returned to a Toft Alpacas this weekend for a two week holiday in our isolation paddocks with two of his mates. As you can see he has turned into a magnificent alpaca, not suited to the pure colour on colour breeding policy at Toft Alpacas but a truly magnificent feature in his own right.
It is ironic that after 16 years of selective breeding pedigree alpacas with pure colour it is  BINKS who still gets all the photies! Vive la difference!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Heavy hedges

Autumn May be shuffling aside to make room for winter but the hedges are still laden with the wild fruits of summer. Sloes glisten in tempting bundles and ash keys hang like chandeliers whilst the hawthorn hangs its stall out for any hungry flier. Winter will force its way to the table soon but hopefully not until we have had our fill of these still November days.
Do the alpacas notice any of this? I doubt it, they are far too busy chomping in quiet serenity laying down their stores to face the challenges ahead. Me? I'm just a little drunk on the simple beauty of the change.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Toft fairies are busy...

Skidding around on the quad with the 'chosen men' this morning after a week off farm it was clear to see that the Fairies had been working very hard. There are rings of extremely large toadstools all over the place but sadly I didn't clock a  single fairie!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Don't you just love autumn?

These are the colours of dying bonfires which make a timely entrance to herald the changing of the leaves. In the USA they call it the fall. Why ever would you call it anything else? 
It does what it says and sums up the major drama of the next four weeks.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Big boys Bondy night!

Young Eddie Lord and his Dad enjoying the Thurlaston bonfire on November the fifth. What? Of course he was aware that his countrymen were burning pound notes in celebration of the fact that we had foiled  a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament  in 1605. Get real. 
What one year old Englishman doesn't know such a thing? 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Big girl in the shed...

We are so busy at Toft that it is all hands to the pump. Shirley is now doing regular stints in the sorting shed knee deep in alpaca fleece for eight hours at a stretch. We've got to keep that luxury alpaca yarn coming through the TOFT studio somehow, come rain or shine.
Here we are on a mission getting some fleece out of the shed pretty smartish to be burnt. This load came in from a breeder infested with moths which is a strict no no in the sorting shed or in fact anywhere on the farm so it's off to the bonfire with that lot.
Look at my soulmate up there on the back of the truck like a teenager. Like my mother in law the big girl has the heart of a lion and knows no fear in her determination to get the job done. Feed her regular, let her watch Strictly, The Paradise and Downton and she keeps on running like a Duracell bunny!