Thursday, 8 May 2014

The rhododendron is in flower!




One of my favourite shrubs! We have two in our garden, this bright pink one and also a more standard purple one! We inherited these shrubs when we moved here and the animal paddocks and pens have been carefully placed so that our animals cannot get near to them.

Both our goats & llamas would be attracted to eat them but would be dead within hours as they are highly poisonous! This is a great time of year for most of our shrubs with many others also coming into flower, including lilac & vibernum.

Today's wind and rain is doing it's best to knock the flowers off though!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Toothache - puts a downer on your day!

I've been struggling with a very painful toothache over the weekend and finally on Tuesday, after the long bank holiday weekend, got to see a dentist. As suspected there was nothing they can do without me first having a course of antibiotics!

Not just your regular antibiotics but the ones where you mustn't have any alcohol. I know this because the dentist told me, the pharmacist told me, the pharmacist's assistant told me and my wife told me.

So, a five day course plus no alcohol for two days after will mean a whole week on the wagon.

I cannot remember the last time I had to do that!

:-(

Monday, 28 April 2014

The thunder is a rumbling!

Thunderstorms are quite rare in North Devon, at least I don't remember that many in the 12-ish years I have been living here compared to the Thames valley where the coal-man was regularly delivering coal to the Queen at Windsor castle.

The animals all get a bit agitated, not sure whether they should just carry on eating grass or whether they should take shelter.

I get a bit agitated, wondering whether to turn the PC off or carry on working!

Carry on for the time being - haven't seen any lightening yet - then it'll be time to panic.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Moving pregnant llamas around!

Oh yes, today we have given up on getting babies from our first lot of "believed" pregnant girls & have shipped them off into the pond field to sample some fresh grass.

The second lot of "believed pregnant" llamas, covered by Llancellot, have now been moved up to the maternity field and will be there for a month while we start cria watch two!

Fingers crossed.

Llancellot the stud llama

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Cria watch is coming to an end

At least our first watch.

Nazca, our own bred youngster spent a month with 5 girls last year and was taken away from the girls around the 5th May, so with an 11.5 months gestation period we are coming to the end of the cria watch for these girls. We will keep an eye on them for another week, as llamas are well known for going over their term, but it is increasingly difficult to see that all five girls are pregnant.

The girls are Willow, who must be about 6 now, so in her prime and she has previously given us Wispa, Cola & Llatte. Wispa was also put in with Nazca as a three year old and so it would be her first time. The other three - Katie, Bella & Evelyn - are all older girls but not that old.

So, it is a disappointment and if we do end up with nothing, I think Nazca will end up having the chop and will join our walking boys - he halters nicely and walks very well.

So, next week, we come to the start of our second watch, We have four girls who spent a month with Llancellot, who as a three year old was not expected to produce. He spent time with Clara, who is looking a big girl and certainly looks as if she will be having a baby. There is also Lima, the herd matriarch, and two of our youngsters Princess and Tallara.

Next weekend we will be swapping everyone around but it looks like another disappointing year for cria.

Princess & Tallara as cria
 Fingers crossed

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Trip to Wales and a pygmy goat update.

Earlier this week we went on an expedition to the Brecon Beacons in Wales in search of a couple of Pygmy goats!

Our little herd of goats is expanding. We currently have 15 pygmy goats including the two new arrivals and from next year we will be back to breeding quite a few of them.

We started our little pygmy goat herd in 2006 with the arrival of Fizz & Flo, two disbudded kids from Crealy Adventure Park, followed very quickly by Fudge & Frosty, two horned kids that were registered goats with the Pygmy Goat Club.

When they were 3 we decided the time was right for us to have a go at breeding and so we bought Titan, a proven stud, to get us started. A huge learning curve 5 months or so later when our first lot of kids turned up. I can remember watching YouTube videos as ours were birthing to make sure it was all happening as it should.

Our four F girls are now retired, the of them having to have C-sections last year, and whilst still old enough to breed we do not want to risk their health by making them go through it again.

We are now on to our N girls, Nugget & Noodle, who will be ready to breed from towards the end of 2015, and we also have an N boy, Nero, who will be ready to work this autumn.

We have Lucky, Mischief & Munchkin who will be ready to breed this year, along with Breeze (not our name, she really should be a J girl I think) will be ready to breed this year with kids arriving in the spring next year.

Here are the N girls, Nugget at the front & Noodle behind!

Monday, 7 April 2014

We are open for llama business!

We've taken our first booking of the season today, for Wednesday afternoon. Doesn't give us long to get ready, but luckily there isn't much to get ready!

We call it the Ashwood Experience , a chance to come and meet us and our llamas!

What we offer -  Up to two hours of our time, both Vicki & Kevin will show you around our smallholding, and giving you the opportunity to get up close and personal with some, if not all of our llamas.
  • First, we’ll do a short introduction, including the essential health and safety rules. We’ll give you some history of llamas in general, some useful facts about the way they will behave, and what you should expect from handling them.
  • Next, we’ll bring some of the llamas up to the holding pen, where you can all get to say hello!
  • Here, we will show you how to halter the llama, and each member of the party (one at a time) can groom a llama and have that one to one photo opportunity.
  • Next, we will take two llamas for a short stroll around their field and you can have the opportunity to lead them.
  • On our return, it will be treat time, the llamas will be rewarded and you’ll have the chance to give them their treats.
  • Then, a chance to wander over and see our other llamas, our goats, chickens, and we may even be joined by the cat!
  • A quick, but thorough wash of the hands and it’ll be time to say goodbye!
Check out our website for more details - www.ashwoodllamas.co.uk - and come and say hi!