Looking around the farm at the moment we are wondering what on earth the alpacas are eating. It's been at least 8 weeks since we saw anything more that an overnight shower and the fields are quite frankly dust baths. Everyone likes to see a little sunshine during the summer months but for us now all we want is a week of rain. The garden plants around the gites are looking rather sad.
Collecting our second roll of this year's hay this week , our local farmer was seriously worried there wouldn't be a second cut , whereas normally he expects to get three. Looking in the hanger I could see only 10 rolls , - well that's us sorted what is everyone else going to do !!
Working out in the field in the dry, intense heat is one thing but when you are handicapped by illness it is even more uncomfortable. Yes, both Steve and I have fallen ill to a deadly virus. Hardly ground breaking news I hear you say, but for us it is. Neither of us have had as much as a sniffle in over 5 years. Our medical cupboard consists of plasters, a tub of paracetamol and an old bandage, everything else was thrown out when the expiry date had long since passed. Living here, in the middle of a wood, isolates us from the usual cold, flu viruses that most people succumb to. Now we don't have children of school age coming and going, that any passing virus can hitch a ride on, it's like we are living in a little bubble, protected from the outside world. However, last week our little bubble burst when one of our guests took ill a couple of days after arriving. Being the good Samaritan I promptly made an appointment at the local doctors surgery and offered to join her to help with translation. The French national health service, has on many occasions been worthy of great praise but when it comes to our local medical centre, well, I think it must have been left off the ' needs improvement and development' list. Stepping through the door is like being transported back to the sixties (yes I can just remember them), after announcing your arrival you're directed to a dark, pokey, 10ft square waiting room with no outside windows where at least twenty seats are all squashed together, occupied by sick people, all coughing and sneezing in your direction. The average waiting time in the 'Germ Pit' as my son calls it, is between one and three hours, and in fact, on one occasion we were there four hours breathing in everyone else's germs. We were lucky this time just half an hour after arrival the doctor called poor Sarah through and said she spoke perfect English so my services were not needed - great thanks !! so here we are a week later - cough, cough splutter, splutter, sneeze, sneeze - I have even lost my voice today, not necessarily a bad thing where Steve is concerned.
It's been an extremely busy week, with both the gites and the alpacas. It's that time of year again when after the births, comes the remating and spit offs. This year after his initial success last year, the stud of the moment is Soloman. Since posting pictures of his first cria he has become a very popular little stud.
This year he understands the game and females are keen to sit for him (and who wouldn't be)but he still seems to have directional problems as he shuffles about and then slips off. I don't know who becomes the most frustrated, him, the female or Steve !!
I think the only sure way of getting these genetics is to buy a female pregnant to him. Hopefully, later on this year we will have a couple of good quality ones for sale. We will keep you posted.
Oh and special note to our friend Angie - 'you can follow us on facebook now' when I work out how to link from the site I will do.