Package Three young males

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All in a days work

Sometimes life's not so bad. I can remember in a former life Mondays being a bit of a drag.This Monday was just how a days work should be. Nice early start in glorious sunshine, load the mighty Atlas into the trailer and hit the road. He had a rendezvous at Le Grandmere alpacas with a couple of ladies desperately in need of a little lovin'.
Whilst Atlas was at work Ron and Judi,as always, laid on a fantastic lunch and we sat on the terrace and supped wine all afternoon.
It certainly beats plasterboarding, one of my other ongoing jobs at the moment,and it's more profitable!
We did put the wine glasses down at some point in the afternoon to take a proper look at their cria. The results of last years Quelvehin couplings,and quickly fell in love with a certain white female.
Meet Blossom. Very,very white,and very fine, but it was the ears folks,incredible ears. Never have I seen such thick fluffy ears! Totally adorable.
It wasn't too many glasses later a deal was struck and she was 'earmarked'(no pun intended) to join the Quelvehin breeding program.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mystery plague wipes out entire herd

There I was,in the heat of the afternoon,dashing around,hoovering the paddocks,checking water,fetching hay and all the other jobs to keep the little darlings happy and healthy. Sweat dripping from my brow,and what are they doing?
Sunbathing, bloody sunbathing!
Who's the mug here?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The joys of motherhood

Charisma surprised us with a most un-alpaca-like late afternoon birth on Monday. A tiny fawn boy only 5kilos but full of beans. It was her first,and whilst very loving and attentive would not allow him to feed. No way. The more he persisted the angrier she got to the point of stamping and kicking him. Then was overcome with remorse and made a big fuss of him.
It was clear she needed a lesson in motherhood, so as the night was drawing in we took them into the barn and penned them in together and prepared ourselves for another all night vigil.
Coffee and Cornish Pasties al-fresco again as we monitored the proceedings.
It's a frustrating situation. Not wishing to intervene and stress the Mum making her less likely to allow him to suckle but at the same time knowing you have this time frame in which he has to get the colostrum intake.
As we approached midnight she had allowed him a couple of short sessions but he was getting tired of trying and was resting for longer periods. We decided to make sure and transfer some milk ourselves.
After a gentle but firm talking to, to our surprise she stood perfectly still and allowed me to milk her,and feed it to the cria.
Happier in the knowledge he had taken at least some colostrum we called it a night. By the morning he was feeding normally and everything was hunky-dory.
We put them back with the herd and I spent the day poo picking so I could keep an eye on him.
Apart from getting stuck in the fence all seemed well.
They are back in the barn tonight because it's actually rained ALL day today. Yes rained,loads of it. Hooray!Our first decent downpour in months, great news for the grass. Not so good for a little-un to be out in all night.

Caurel Fete

It was the annual Caurel fete again this weekend,so we took the Quelvehin quartet along to entertain the folks. It was a little overcast and the attendance was down on last year. Once again we had the pitch next to the stage where the musicians were playing and conversation in French was even harder than usual whilst competing with the loudspeakers.But that aside, it was a pleasant day and a few more people have been enrolled into the alpaca appreciation society.
We had an artist and a potter along side us and by the end of the day they were drawing and modelling alpacas.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Madonnas and Motorbikes

Had a bit of rest from alpaca duties this weekend to indulge myself in my other favourite pastime and got the motorbike out for the Porcaro ride out.
The story goes that the Curé (parish priest) of Porcaro and keen biker held a special service some twenty years ago whereby he blessed his bike and a few others within his congregation with the old holy water and the 'Madonne du Motards' was born. Every year on August the 15th he is available to 'baptise' your bike and bestow upon you the blessing and protection of the Moto Madonna before the ride out. How cool is that?
The Madonne du Motards starts on the Saturday evening when bikers from all over France converge on the sleepy village of Porcaro, set up camp and do what bikers worldwide do. Rev their engines all night and drink alot mainly.
We found the Priests home complete with club house in the converted barn and even saw the main man himself sat astride a huge trike in his leathers complete with dog collar and chomping on a cigar. Very surreal!
We visited the chapel. A sombre place and reminder of the dangers of motorcycling. All the walls were adorned with plaques of remembrance and photographs of hundreds killed on a bike.
I questioned whether the Moto Madonna was perhaps failing in her duties.
Anyway, the old priest has really started something. I don't know exactly how many showed up for the weekend but opinions varied between four and ten thousand bikers set off on the Sunday afternoon. It was a seventy kilometre run through various villages and finishing at Josselin. Because of the sheer volume of bikes, the trip took around two hours and bikes were still leaving the start as the first batch arrived at Josselin. A couple of times along the smaller country lanes the traffic ground to a halt in complete overload!
It was a great day though and it seemed the world and his wife were lining the roadside to cheer on the procession.Lots of hand slapping as you ride by and Jayne was throwing sweets to the children from the big pocket in the back of my coat.
A splendid weekend. Roll on next year.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Elodie's Birthday

We say goodbye tomorrow to Justin,Conchi,Talia and Elodie who have stayed with us for a fortnight. I hope the girls enjoyed their time with the alpacas and have a few memories to take away.
Dinnadin, our favourite Huacaya was on good form as always and seems to genuinely enjoy the company of children and is a bit of a poser in front of the camera.
Elodies introduction to alpacas coincided with her fifth birthday and she wore her bestest party frock for the occasion which unfortunately attracted a few brambles along the way,but all was put right again with the promise of a plaster and an ice cream. The photos of this occasion sadly didn't come out too well so I've posted some others. (must get a trusty Nikon!)
We also said goodbye this week to two males we had for sale. ElCid and Eldoret have gone to pastures new and very much greener near St Nazaire.
Michel & Sybille will,I have no doubt, pamper to their every desire in their grand surroundings. Sybille is the perfect new owner for Eldoret, being, as he is,"adorable,but ever so slightly daft!"
( in the nicest possible way.)
Alpacas have put us in touch with many new friends and acquaintances and if only for that reason you have to love 'em.
Still no rain.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oh please let it rain.

Seems all the rain we had in February was our quota for the year! It's been months since we had a decent downpour and I know the holiday makers in the gites won't thank me for saying it,but, "I wish it would rain. I mean really rain! for a few days at least.All the lawns and fields are scorched brown,and nothing is growing. The alpacas have already started their winter hay supply and that's not good as I think the supply of good hay is going to be lean this year.