Sat. 4th August

Posted on 04/08/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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                                                           Here we iz…….. a little late, comme d’habitude!

  Finally I’ve made my way back to the interweb thingy to greet you, my adoring public. Well, it’s been a mare of a spring/summer to be honest and it’s not over yet by any means.

       Following on from the last blog and the new hip at three weeks on……well, things started going downhill with pain getting worse not better. Back to hospital at six weeks for routine check and x-ray and low and behold there was the problem…… the cup in the pelvis (le bassin) had turned around 90 deg and was moving every step you take…..that’ll be the sore bit then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Oops said the surgeon…….back in to hospital in two days time and see what we can do with it, full of confidence aren’t we?!  That would be July 14th, Bastille day, French revolution, guillotines and off with their heads day ……. nervous English patient?…….possibly!

 

 

 

 

 There we go, put some more screws in……..move now ya bugger.

 Apparantly it was moving because the pelvis is fractured…….err? you didn’t mention that before, did we miss something? or did I bust it again re-couperating too hard? …….yeah ok, I’ll be blamed whatever it was!

 

        Moving on then……… whilst I’ve been sort of laid up yet again, well not so much laid up but not working properly (that’s four months so far) poor Memsahib has been rushed off her feet keeping everything animal and farm wise on an even keel with lots of hands on alpaca birth care and help needing to be given.  July was the main birthing month and we have had eleven since last blog but unfortunately not all has gone well this year. We have had four or five mis-presented cria, legs trapped backwards, one completely upside down in the birthcanal and black girl Eponine had a uterine torsion (twisted uterus) which involved emergency veterinary help but unfortunately the cria was ‘still’ born, luckily Eponine recovered ok and is well now. Mocking Jay birthed ten days early to a very weak and weary boy who must have been cramped in the womb as his legs were very wonky,couldn’t stand for 24 hours or more. Managed to milk Jay by hand and give him the much needed colostrum and then bottle feed him powdered milk until he could fend for himself a bit more, Yvonne holding him up under mum so that he could reach her teats……bless!  Twelve days later disaster, Jay collapsed and died, no obvious reason, behaving normal,breakfast as usual, out grazing then gone, died in our arms. Vet analysis……. Barber Pole worm…….nasty little bugger, causes massive anemia very quickly by feeding off the intestines. The weather we have been having, very hot following a mild wet winter are ideal Barber Pole worm conditions, they live about 5cms below the surface and the lavea are eaten by the animals as they are grazing the poor ground much harder than normal due to the lack of grass now.

     Emergency action stations…….. purchase of latest wormer, Zolvix and dose all of Jay’s troop and double the ‘Poo picking’ efforts to clean the fields as the lavea live in the poo before migrating into the ground…….break the cycle.

       Onto happier news……… here’s some of the cria so far (still got another 3 to come in Sept. & Oct)….

 

 

 

 Proud mum ‘Blaze’ with daughter ‘Ember’

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                        ‘Curly Sioux’s boy ‘Silk Stream’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Amelia’s girl ‘Efra’, we’re nearly all fawns and browns this year!


                                                          Mocking Jay’s boy ‘Tweed’ who has joined Hicup as an orphan needing bottle feeding every four hours or so, mind you he is getting quite good at creeping under other mums when they are feeding their cria and stealing a bit without being noticed……good boy!

 

 

 ‘Lady Tyburn’ our one and only grey this year, daughter of Cassis, that’s their family picture at top of page, Lady Ty with mum grazing behind and 2016 sister Clove looking at you.

 

 

 

 

              Celeste’s boy ‘Weaver’, full of attitude just like mum, bold as brass just walks up to anyone to see                                      what you’re up to, he’s just having a confidential whisper in my ear!

 

 

   And now’s the time that the boys get to play,  Bonking to order!

    Poor old Issac has been out of action for a few weeks after him and Jacques had a set-to and Issac came off worst, see below………,,,,

 

 

 

                             Jacques did a very good job of trying to castrate Issac whilst fighting, brought tears to my eyes whilst holding him as the vet stapled him back together!  There’s about ten staples in there and no-one got kicked or spat at surprisingly……..he’s a good boy!

 

             Well that’ll do for now, ‘been perched here too long doing this, time to go for a totter round the farm on me crutches……… I’ll try to catch up again soon………hmmm said that before somewhere!

 

Tue.19/ Weds.20th June

Posted on 20/06/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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 19th June huh?…….that would be quite a long time since I was here last then,  hmm, I guess I’ve got loads of excuses why that should be……not been well,too sore to sit at the computer tapping away, broke the laptop, yeah that’s a good one, it sort of worked very slowly but both USB ports broke at the same time and the touch pad only half worked so I couldn’t upload/download/sideload any pictures and also 4 of the keypads kept falling off if you tapped them too hard!…… bloomin’ thing is only 5 years old and falling to bits, they’re not built to last are they?……. mind you throwing it on the floor once or twice probably hasn’t helped it’s longevity either but then the manufacturers should know that they are likely to suffer the occasional mishap with us Neanderthals at the controls and should build then encased in space shuttle grade crash resistant rubber certified to NASA earth re-entry specification standard…….. just a thought Mr.Toshiba, Acer, HP et all.

 

            So, the messed up hip was replaced the 25th May, done on the Friday afternoon, walking round the hospital on Saturday (with crutches, even I’m not that good yet!) and home on Monday morning, brilliant. Some more new metal work added to the thighbone to hold it together (looks like jubilee clips to me!) and away we go. The worst bit now is the daily injections with an anti-coagulant for thrombosis, for 5 weeks………5 bloomin’ weeks, is that really necessary? It’s 3 weeks on and I’m not exactly bed-bound, getting plenty of exercise you know……..helping with the animals, started driving this week and a bit of mowing and strimming now…….just to keep my hand in of course, all done nice and gently’ish. Ok…..wimge over for now.

      Alpaca wise the birthing and mating season is upon us, unfortunately not off to a good start this year. First up was Fraggle who birthed nearly two weeks late and following a fine birth to female cria Hiccup went and prolapsed (pushed her insides out) necessitating an emergency call to the vets who bless him tried his best but couldn’t fix her and was forced to euthanase her to stop her suffering.

                                                                           Bonheur Fille de l’air (Fraggle),

                                                                                       bye bye Fraggs.

   The good news is that her cria Hiccup managed to get enough of mothers milk before she died containing the necessary Colostrom to boost her immune system as we would now be bottle feeding her for the next four months or more…….oh joy.

 

 


Young Hicup, named because she was born hiccupping and it stuck!

 

 

 

 

She is a lovely looking girl and has taken to us feeding her no probs. she gets fed every 3 hours approx. from 6.00am through until midnight, a bit of a tie but hay ho this is what looking after animals is all about. One of our teenage girls who is not pregnant, Clove has buddied up with her and looks out for her which is nice.

 

Now I have found a major problem with this new Laptop whilst trying to do this now…… I can’t alter the pictures, it won’t let me move them or expand the size…..well it did once just now with that first one of Hiccup but now it won’t! Every time I click on the picture it deletes it……bugger, you’ll just have to put up with them like this for now. When I’ve exhausted all ways I can think of to make it do what I want perhaps I should just throw it on the floor in a tantrum like with the old one! Anyone who uses WordPress and can tell me why it’s doing this……please give me a shout!

 

      Right, next up to birth was first timer Jorja who also ran late, calving on the 12th June, a little over two weeks late……could this be a trend this year?

 

 

 

 Jorja was definitely not fully interested in the whole process. After a few pushes she gave up, sat down & carried on chewing the cud, taking no notice of baby trying to come out behind her! Needless to say, after a while Eve had to step in and pull young ‘Fleet’ out and present him to her…….’.Yes, pay attention please, this is yours to look after’ .


                           It took a good few hours of Jorja walking off every time he tried to get near to feed from

              her before she finally relented and accepted her role as mum……now they are  inseperable.

   That seemed to be the cue for Celeste to join in because next afternoon she started giving birth…… but Oh, surprise, surprise…… ‘Huston we have a problem’.  We had the top of a head showing out of the back but no nose or legs…… bugger. A delve around inside accompanied by a lot of coughing and spitting from Celeste (normal behaviour for her!) finally revealed a pair of long legs folded back to one side which took a bit of extracting but finally out he popped.

 Somewhat worse for wear, knackered and a bit twisted and bent up, I guess he had been laying inside in the wrong position for a while. He couldn’t hold his neck up for more than a few seconds at a time before flopping down onto the ground again and couldn’t ‘cush’ properly without falling over after a minute or so.

                                    Look…..the infernal machine has let me change this picture…..No, don’t ask me how, I was just beating ten bales out of the keypad trying to make it Do something and it did!…..bet I can’t do it again.

            So anyway, after a few hours of sitting with them trying to get him on his feet we opted to get some milk and the magic colostrum into him ……easier said than done, have you ever tried milking a truculent, unhappy alpaca like Celeste with teats the size of a slightly inflated grain of rice? …… no, probably not, well, to put it simply…….it ain’t easy!  If you thought she could spit before, you ain’t seen nothing yet, but after  ten minutes we had a couple of egg cups full……. that’ll have to do, into a syringe and squirt into the boys mouth along with some powdered lambs milk replacer……. sit back and keep rubbing & massaging him ………….

 

 

  Ha, I said it wouldn’t let me change the photo again!

  Anyhow, hour by hour young ‘Weaver’ improved and day on day he is straightening out, so hopefully he should grow up ok and he’s got a marvellous looking fleece.

 

 

  So next up we have 3 due on 26/27th of this month, Blaze, Amelia and the first of the Suri girls, Lacota, lets see if they  are on time or running late. We are also getting more afternoon births now, alpacas always used to birth in the mornings, almost guaranteed but things are a changing, so far 3 births, 1 morning, 1 mid afternoon & 1 early evening.

 

     Well, that’ll do for now, it is after all another day (see dates at top of page!)  I can’t get the hang of this teknology stuff and a new laptop that does it’s own thing when it wants is beyond my ken, so I’ll try again……..well, soon……..’ish.

 

Saturday 28th April ’18

Posted on 28/04/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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Hello, hello, I’ve heard vicious rumours lately from certain quarters that as I’m still shirking off my work duties then I should be using my spare time more constructively and updating the website and the blog here a bit more often…….hmmm, you know by now my love of teknology and computery things, I’d sooner “go lick barn floor clean whit’ tongue me lad”  than sit longer than necessary at this infernal spawn of the devil…….. but for you I will see what I can do for you.

Of course there is another reason I’m not too keen at sitting typing away here and that is following on from my last post concerning the ‘cunning plan’ of self harming to get out of work……well, there has been an insy- winsy slight flaw in the plan insofar as I did actually fracture my femur just below the hipjoint when I threw myself to the ground four weeks ago, so sitting down is not the most comfortable activity at the moment…… hey ho, life’s never simple is it?!

Anyway, since the last time we spoke Spring has arrived, everything is bursting into life, garden work is full tilt, we’ve organised an alpaca show and sheared all our ‘pacas and helped a few others be sheared and poor Eve has had to do all the work …….sorry hun.

I managed to drive the old van down to the showground on the Thursday before the show for setting-up day loaded up with all the paraphanalia needed, large tent,gazebo,signs.tools, etc whilst Evey followed in the 4×4 to bring us home in the evening as we were leaving the van there for us to sleep in from Friday night onwards and we needed the bigger van to bring the eight alpacas down in for the show.Unfortunately working on the Thursday realy buggered me up and Friday morning I could hardly move, never mind load up eight alpacas and drive a van!  I surrender, white flag raised, not playing anymore…….. so over to plan B, forget showing the alpacas but we still had the fleece show to run today so Evey went back down in the 4×4 to get on with organising that but with a Plan C in mind which went something along the lines of: depending on how the fleece show progressed time wise she would come back home with a helper late afternoon, load up our show team and return in time to get registered and vet checked for Saturdays show……..you with me so far?  good. Well, shock, horror Plan C worked and she drove the big van down with 7 of the 8 show team onboard, young Haymitch let the side down by loosing the plot in the van as soon as he was loaded and as we didn’t have time to mess about he was taken back out for his own safety and everyone elses sanity!

 


                                                       Young Clove in the ring for her first time.

 

                                                    Judge Nick having a rummage in Coineach’s fleece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the fleeces after judging on display along with their rosettes, well done all, very impressive.

 

                                                    And surprise surprise, Sherlock’s champion black fleece.

I shouldn’t say that should I, surprised? of course not, we new he was good, just not That good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And ‘blowing our own trumpet’ as they say, here’s our medal haul:

2 x Thirds, 2 x Seconds, 5 x Firsts, 1 x Champ. fleece,  1 x Champion Suri,

1 x Reserve Champion Judges choice…….. not half bad if I say so meself, well done guys!

 

 

And two weeks later (last weekend)…….Shearing time……….

Looking a bit quiet, just the lul before the storm, we had a good crew of helpers and new shearers this year to try out, Ian aided by Tom who came over from uk and did a cracking job, cheers lads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretch’em out on the rack……all very medeival.

 

…..and then over to Catherine,Hilde & Arild’s on Monday to shear their group…….how does the song go?….”Oh it all makes work for the working man to do”, but we had a lovely meal with them before we started, you do know how to keep your workers happy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skinny ‘pacas, at least the weather was nice to us and the sun shone, although it’s raining now as I tap this out, poor, chilly ‘pacas! ……sorry boys and girls, it does this every year, always gets colder the week after shearing.

 

Ok, so who’s who?, all of a sudden you look the same without your distinctive fluffy coats on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh yes, I nearly forgot…….between show and shearing we had a visit of 2o people organised by the local tourist office to come and see the ‘pacas, so we had to do a very quick ‘set-up’ in the not yet ready boutique!

 

It still needs more coats of lime wash on the walls and the floor needs painting and some more shelving and, and……and…..we’ll get there won’t we Tony?……….when you coming over again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And to finish off tonight, how about a drop of appropriate wine?……… a garden client bought these from Holland for us, you do know how to keep your workers happy sir, many thanks Tim.

 

March 29 2018

Posted on 29/03/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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Ta daa………… the wanderer returns, or should that be turns up like a bad penny? Do you remember me? if not no worries, this will all be new to you then…..good luck if you stick with it!  I hadn’t actually ‘wandered’ anywhere, well only offline I suppose but three months of ignoring your goodselves is not playing the game really is it?……my appologies. Explanation as to why……..err, no, sorry I have no idea just seem to have been tied up with doing too much other stuff that involved the computer (my pet hate, spawn of the devil etc  etc) that everyday by the time we’d finished the daily tasks I couldn’t raise the motivation to do the blog……gotta get outside and do manual things, even in the cold and rain it beats sitting at a computer!

           I’ve managed to create some extra ‘free time’ to whitter on now by the simple expedient of ‘self harming’ and invaliding myself out of the day to day running of life around the farm by using the easy ploy of tripping over and throwing oneself to the ground…….don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier, so easy to do but a tad risky if not done correctly.

 Firstly one must find a suitable spot for a likely ‘trip hazard’, I chose inside our sheep barn which has a good hard floor interspersed with random bits of stone embedded in it just high enough to catch out the unwary…. next one must have an audience to witness said accidental trip, I nearly failed on this aspect due to Eve just leaving the barn to feed the chickens as I launched myself, but luckily the alpacas are all extremely well trained in observation of strange human antics and all stood humming and staring fixedly down as I flapped around on the ground like a stunned possom. Their obvious concern bought Eve back to help drag me to my feet, not that she wasn’t sniggering , I saw you!

 Secondly one must instantly brush oneself down whilst looking for a suitable scapegoat to blame for said tumble, any alpaca from the group in the barn would be ideal for this as one cannot be seen to have tripped for no other reason than clumsiness or old age incompetance! Now that the groundwork has been laid (pun intended) for the ‘accident’ it is neccessary to milk any injury for all it is worth to ensure one be signed off work duties for the forseeable future, see step three.

 Step three is to be unable to walk properly when attempted, clinging onto fence posts,railings etc and expelling loud “Oww’s and Aaars” and sharp intakes of pained breath at each step should enforce the need for possible medical attention, but do not under any circumstances suggest this course of action yet and point blankly refuse any medical help if it is offered, a stiff upper lip is the english way and must be stuck to at all costs, “I’m fine, just a minor bump, nothing to see here,move along please”, a good ploy now is to acquiesce albeit reluctantly that maybe a lie down for a while might be in order and of course a good old mug of tea would make all things right again and I’ll be back to my jobs in a short while.

   Step four follows a couple of hours later when trying to get up from ones curative rest only to discover a worsening of the situation and a raised pain level, at this point it will now be acceptable to agree to a doctor being summon’d to make an examination of possible injury but be aware that one must not over play the situation, one is not looking for hospitalisation, just a professional confirmation of an injury requiring a certain ammount of bedrest and regular cups of tea when required. Depending on ones doctor and his available time one may just be awarded some pain killers and advised to rest, which is ok but only likely to bring a very short work respite, not ideal!  If on the other hand ones doctor is a trifle more amenable he may well demand an x-ray of the offending joint which can then involve the need for an ambulance, lots of bustiling around  by people in hi-vis jackets and general consternation from ones neighbours, especially if there are flashing lights as well.

 

   Step five is the only slight downside of the plan as it does involve an awful lot of hanging around in odd hospital rooms, never ending questions and form filling and the very undignified hospital gown that leaves very little to the imagination……and probably scares the b-jesus out of anyone who unsuspectedly sees you!  Just rest confident that all this will help your case for time off work and there should be no danger of anything untoward being discovered on the x-rays anyway so there will be no danger of a long internment in the hospital and the need to suffer the torture of ‘hospital food’ as this would be a real ‘backfire’ of the plan. It should only be a few hours before one can be sent back home along with a nice pair of crutches to aid pedatation, safe in the knowledge that one now has a valid reason for rest and recuperation.

      A truly cunning plan Baldrick, if I say so myself, of course you can still send gifts of wine and chocolates to aid the patients recovery, all will be greatly received I am sure!

Mon. 1st Jan. 2018

Posted on 01/01/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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   And a Happy New Year to you all, here starts another 365 days of possible chaos and mayham…… well it should be if we’ve got anything to do with it!

All in all I shan’t be sad to say goodbye to 2017, it’s been a funny ol’ year as they say…..I don’t know who the ‘they’ is but ‘they’re’ right, we sold a few of our lovely alpacas at the start of the year and then nothing…..very quiet, no enquiries for the rest of the year, sold some wool and products at fairs and fêtes throughout the year which was good and talked to lots of peeps which is what we’re all about and then we had a bit of a blow in October when we lost one of our founders, old Easter who succumed to a massive worm burden that we were unable to treat in time. Unfortunately in December we had another bit of a kicking when we discovered one of last years boys dead in the field one morning following what appeared to be a dog attack during the night,a heart rending time it is…….enquiries are ongoing!

As said before,” where you have livestock,you also have deadstock” ……there’s the rub.

 

                                                                                                     Easter

 

    On a brighter note, young Lacey, Lotti’s daughter born in September,a month after all the others is doing well…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so to the Christmas markets, I had hoped to grab a photie of the ‘pacas here with the concrete sheep of Meziérè but with one thing and another……I forgot until it was too dark!

 

 

 

 

The three lads, Tribute, Cori and Coinneach did very well with the bright lights,noise and people, bless ’em.

 

 

 

 

………… that was the Saturday night and then on the Sunday morning they had to do it all again…… all day at the Blond village fête……

            …….cracking spot Grommit, handy if it snows…..or more likely rains!


 

T’was a trifle worrying with the witches cauldron in the square and the straw sheep being dressed in the background…….it was all a bit ‘The Wicker Man’ film like, somewhat unsettling in a ‘Hammer House of Horror’ sort of way!

We’ve all heard the stories of life in days gone by in these little rural villages……. maybe not so far gone by eh!

 


…….some weirdo in a red suit was eyeing the lads up, something about putting some bells around their neck and pulling a sleigh but we told him that they haven’t got union cards for that, so sling yer hook!

 

Well, there we go, 2018 started…….could be a cracker, you never know!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….

Fri. 1st Dec. ’17

Posted on 01/12/2017 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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Welcome again mes amies,……. eventually, I know it’s been a while again but I guess you’re probably used to that with me these days! ……….Wwooosh, there goes another day,week,month and now it’s  nearly the end of the year! I did keep remembering that I should be putting finger to keyboard and take up my usual fight with the demons of ciberspace that occupy my computer……but then miraculously I always seem to find something far less annoying and stressless to do……..like go up on the roof and re-shuffle a few tiles around or maybe even go out poo-picking in the cold and rain!  I love t’internet realy…….huh!

So wot’s occuring then? ……..a small fish (a curring) according to my old mate Rab C Cutler one drunken night at a racemeeting we were at many moons ago,therein lies a different story! See it is always an education wading your way through this drivel!

 

Bella and Bandit are still ruling the roost up around the barn, taking over the hay feeder as if their’s by right, anyone, alpaca or human who says otherwise gets a horned nudge in the back of the knees…….or higher if you’re not careful!

 

 

 

 

 

      Two new inmates have joined our growing troup of late……….

Not the best shot in the world but this is Anik and behind him is Deeks, two six month old Suri boys we aquired from another breeder, who needed weening off  and will join our growing Suri team, welcome boys and hope you enjoy life here.

I don’t know if you remember back in the summer when I was up in Paris at a meeting and Evey had two births at the same time……during a summer storm and one was born jammed under the combine harvester……..yeah? ……..well, look at him now……

 

 

 

one to keep an eye on as he grows.

 

 

 

 

    The mums and babes have had another change of field last week as we weened off the first seven cria and brought them up to the barn to join Loti and her young girl Lacey,

Poor old Loti has now got a bunch of unhappy youngsters following her around everywhere she goes, sorry girl but someones gotta do it, it’ll only be for a week or two as they find their independence!

 

 

 

All the girls are now together in one large group down in ‘Drop off’ field, 26 of them with babies, but the second batch of cria will be weened off in a month or so and come up to join their mates in the orchard.

 

 

 

 

The boys new that something was going on…….and ‘Girls’ were probably involved, better line the fence lads just in case, don’t miss a trick this lot!

 

After this little change round and as the weather seemed set fair for a while I mistakenly thought ” I know, as I’ve got a bit of spare time…..( ? spare time??…who are you kidding pal??!!)  I’ll make a start on underfelting the roof of the old washhouse that is going to become the ‘Boutique’ to display all our alpaca wares”……well………         

 

It’s a bit of a mess under there by the looks of things! I’ve taken the chimney down……cause we ain’t gonna use it and it’s been leaking like a seive for years by the looks of the rotting timbers…….oh well, it’s only ‘work for the working man to do’ as the song goes! 

What else was I gonna be doing?…….oh yes……..This blog!

 

See, I said I could always find an excuse not to sit at the dreaded computer!

 

We attended a ‘Marché de Noël’ (Christmas market) last Friday night which surprisingly was very well attended by both exibitors and punters. I say surprisingly because it was an outdoor market in the towns streets but it turned out to be an appaling day weather wise, rained all day and evening and the organisers had to cancel ‘outside’ and move it to the village hall at the last moment so we didn’t expect many to turn out on a night like that but it was great…….


       Setting out our wares before the unexpected rush! Unfortunately we couldn’t bring the alpacas as we usualy do…….some  nonsense about them being a ‘trip hazard’…….never mind the possible staining of the nice wooden floor with ‘undesirable fluids’ shall we say!

    We have another couple of fairs to do on the run-up to christmas so hopefully the weather will be better to us and allow an outing for the ‘pacas to show themselves off.

 

Mind you, we have our first dusting of snow this morning………

  The ‘weenlings’ first encounter with ‘the white stuff’……..err where’s me grass gone?   Hope this isn’t the prelude to a long cold winter……it is only just the start of December….still autumn officialy, not winter until the solstice on 21st………..hhmmmm.

Monday 16th October ’17

Posted on 16/10/2017 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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        Good morning world, suns just coming up……..not that I’m usualy up at this unearthly hour, don’t know what caused that, I’ll try not to let it happen again, promise!

    So……..what do you think of the updated website then?……….wadya mean Errr… you haven’t looked have you?, you’ve come straight to the blog without noticing the changes haven’t you…..all that work our wonderful ‘webmeister’ and tekno guru Madelaine at Lavender Letters has done updating the site with new animals and products and photos and links etc……..wasted on you lot ain’t it!   ……well go on then, have a look….  No, you carry on I’ll just wait here until you’re done, I don’t mind, it’s not like Im busy or anything is it?! ……huh…………

       Apart from messing around with the website and the usual alpaca related work the gardening side is slowing down now although with the nice weather we’re still having stuff is continuing to grow but not so manicaly now so we have just a little more time to catch up around the ‘funny farm’ here with fence repairs etc. Also I need to make time to search the dreaded internet for a replacement van as our trusty steed has been condemned at the last control (mot)……..how dare they!

 

 

She’s only 22 yrs old,a mere strippling, I’ve had her for 20 of those years, cost a lot of money back then so I expect a lifetime commitment here…..22 yrs is what? say about a third of the way through getting my moneys worth from a good van really, not that I’m tight or anything but…..well, one expects a bit more stamina and longlife from a working family member. Mind you…….it’s only a bit of corrosion underneath, so she’s a little ‘flakey’ round the edges……aren’t we all dear!  but the ‘garagist’ at the control centre seemed to think it was more major and terminal than that and anyway he said that the powers that ‘be’ have tightened up the rules on corrossion…….and yours is corroded so there! this will be the last time it passes, you will need to do lots of welding to the chassis for the future.

    Hhhrumph……we’ll see about that,  off to a friendly local garage to have a chat with them as mot centres over here do not do work on cars, just the test which is good as there is no incentive for them to ‘make up’ problems to get money from you for shall we say un-needed work……..does that realy happen?, surely not!

 

     Please sir, can you put my lovely white van up on your ramp in the air so we can have a look under her skirts……..umm, was that crunching noise and the shower of rust one of your jacks going through the chassis lifting point? ok, try a bit further along then. There we go, up in the air she goes, funny how she looks like she’s bowing slightly in the middle as it gets higher, optical illusion I expect caused by the sunlight from that skylight above and the oily film on the ramp posts……aah, that’ll be it then. There follows a short silence as all three mechanics working on other vehicals in the workshop magically cluster beneath my baby and start gently prodding bits with their screwdrivers, ducking and coughing as they disappear in clouds of fine rusty particles descending to the floor, much sucking of teeth and mechanical muttering ensues for several minutes with the ocassional tentative tap with a small hammer,only gently mind, to assertain the amount of metal remaining in certain parts.

    ‘Well?……says I hopefully, what do we reckon good sirs?’…….trying very hard not to look too hard at the near ankle deep pile of rust everyone is now standing in.  ‘Your exhaust is in good nick mate’,says boss man happily, ‘in fact thats a good job ’cause it’s about the only thing holding your engine in still!’  ……bugger!

   So…….time to look for a replacement but this time she’s gotta last at least forty years …………… of course I’ll still be driving then, I’ll only be ninety something and I’ve already got poor eyesight now so I’m ahead of the game on that one, I know how to drive when you can’t see properly…….no worries!

        Alpaca moving time,most are having a change of field, the yearlings and ‘uncles’ have just moved down to Cliff field for some fresh grass,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 much to their enjoyment………

     And for our part we’ve started topping then chain harrowing the used fields to clean them up and airate them for the new growth……looks marvelous if I do say so myself…….proper ‘farmer type’ work for once!

 The five Suri lads getting in some walking practice, they need a bit of a reminder at ‘best behaviour’ but they getting there!  We’ve got: Rutland, Raphael, Roger , Romeo and Velour…………..or in your best Michael Palin Monty Python voice: “Wutland,Waphael,Wodger and Womeo and not forgetting Welor” !

Monday 25th Sept.

Posted on 25/09/2017 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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                    Hello there, can I help you?…….if you’re looking for the rest of them they’re just out of shot over there.

I’ll get back to grazing then.

Well, Loti finally popped and had her cria last Saturday, not this saturday gone, a week ago……..yeah I’m sorry, late as usual, so what’s a week between friends,it only seems a couple of days ago!  She was about a week overdue and getting very ‘plump’ shall we say. It was good timing as friends Leanne and Nigel were here to witness the arrival. They arrived from uk on Saturday morning having driven down over night after work on Friday and then were driving back on Sunday ready for work on Monday…….what you call a ‘speed visit’, brilliant and great to see you.

 


Seeing as you’re here for a couple of hours it would be rude not to help with some work…….oh that’s very kind of you, how about some fencing then? you can even drive the tractor………marvellous!   And to add a bit of excitement we arranged for a sanglia (wild boar) to charge past across the field escaping from the Chasse (hunt) …..And then just to top it all good old Loti calved down after lunch so you could watch that………I mean, what an interesting week-end we lay on for our visitors entertainment, I don’t know how we do it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ooh, here she comes, as ordered by ‘the Memsahib’ a little grey female, she’ll be happy to see her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drying out and fluffing up nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a pretty girl ……well she is if you’re into alpacas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So she is the last of our 12 cria for this year, great to finish up with a girl and a grey to boot which makes 8 girls and 4 boys………lovely jubbly!

 

Just attended an ‘artisans fête’ at Bussiere Poitevine yesterday……….

It was a cracking day weather wise,lovely hot and sunny, we took just three of last years youngsters to show off, much to their disgust being penned up for the day!

 

 

It was only a small market, a dozen or so other stalls there but a good few visitors during the day for us to practice torturing the french language again whilst trying to explain the ins and outs of alpaca ownership!

 

 

 

 

That is the last of the summer fêtes for us now, next up will be the start of the Marche de Noël,(christmas fairs) in November…….unless I’ve forgotten any in October that we should be going to……….hmm, that’s always possible!

Friday 1st Sept.

Posted on 01/09/2017 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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  Welcome to a new month and welcome to some new ‘inmates’ to our Toy Farm!


                        Here be four Suri boys,two studs and two companions to join the four girls,Lacota,Brooklyn,Boomer and Curly Sioux and our brown stud boy Elvis.

……….err, did I mention before that we are breeding Suri’s now?…..No, obviously not, oops, sorry.

                                    We’re breeding Suri’s now!

Ok, well for those who don’t know, Alpacas come in two types, Huacaya’s (or Wooky’s in our slang) and Suri’s. The Wooky is the soft,fluffy ‘teddy bear’ alpaca that you are aquainted with from reading my drivel the last few years and the Suri is the rarer ‘shiny’ dreadlock looking alpaca,coveted for it’s wonderfully lusterous fibre ideal for high-end clothing such as ladies dresses and gentlemens suits. We have thought about diversifying the herd over the last few years as more people have started asking about Suri fibre at the fairs and fêtes but never done anything about it….  until recently when the opportunity arose to throw caution to the wind and purchase some females a few months ago and now another chance to chuck the rest of our money to the small gods of chance and haphazard decisions…….well, what else would we do with it?  only end up giving it to the taxman or some other ner’do well with a hopeless cause!


So please say hello to (the back-ends of):

Bonheur Raffael de Grand Fouilleze.

Bonheur Rutland de Grand Fouilleze.

Bonheur Romeo de Grand Fouilleze.                              and                                          Bonheur Silky Harris de Grand Fouilleze.

 

 

       ………..yeah ok, all very pretentious names I know but we’re presenting a class act here, it’s a high-end product we produce so they deserve a bit of ‘upper classery’ in their names….. and it beats Sid or Bert the alpaca in the ‘posh’ stakes ,sorry Sid or Bert no offence meant…….. none taken.   But that’s not all…….Oooh no, we have two more Suri females to come in the next week or so to join the four girls which will give us……….lets see, 4, plus 2, plus the 5 we already have,plus the 3 babies born……..oh my word  14 then!  that’s not bad concidering we didn’t have any a few months ago….. oops a daze!

 

                                        Mums  and babes were moved to fresh grassy fields recently much to their delight although since then the hot 35c temperatures of late have somewhat ‘browned’ the grass a tad! ……hate to say it but we do need some rain.

 It’s no good you hiding behind that tree Ivor, we can see what you’re up to with Eponine!

 

…….. matings continue!

 

 

 

       Oh yes I nearly forgot, we had some more slaves over for a weeks ‘work-away’ early August

 

 

……Rose and Andy,that’s the way to do it, splash it on all over……no,not on each other. I see son Chris kept well out the way, I think he knows how messsy mum and dad are!

 

 

 

        If all this excitement wasn’t enough we went and ordered some goodies from Peru to compliment our home made stock of wares……….

   A table full of colour, there’s hats,scarves,gloves,bags,soft toys,bracelets,keyrings,pens…..all sorts of goodies.


 

 

 Get you cuddly alpaca…..or maybe it’s more Llama’ish toy, good colours though!

 

 

 

 

                                                                   Bags for…….stuff.

              My mission now, should I accept it is to get all these products onto our website in some coherent order………hhmmm, I’ll get back to you on that!

 

Tues. 8th August

Posted on 09/08/2017 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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You have got to be kidding me……… it can’t be six weeks since last we spoke…really? you should have said something, you know I get lost in this space/time thingy and loose track of …….things, reality,all that un-important stuff just slips past.

     Well, life rattles on and we’ve been up to our ears and elbows in garden work as the weather has been just right for growing,long hot sunny days, a bit of rain, more hot sunny days……the weeds love it and the mowers and strimmers are on overtime!

  June was our busy birthing month with 8 cria born, a couple who needed a week or so of bottle feeding to top-up,but they are all feeding ok from mums now, and then we’ve had another 3 born in July which makes 11, of which 7 are girls and 4 boys, for us this year that is a perfect ratio, last year was a boy year so it’s nice to ballance it out a bit. All are fit and healthy and thriving…..brilliant…….Oh, and Loti is still to birth in September as she was bought pregnant but had been mated late, so still one more to look forward to!

  And of course if we’re birthing then it must be time for mating as well……said the actress to the bishop……..

 

Issac getting in some practice as he could be quite busy this year, he will be covering quite a few of the girls for us hopefully.

 

 

 


                       Jacques with Amelia and behind is Mo getting fruity with Blaze.

 

 

Mo has just started working this year so Blaze is his first ‘bonk’ and I think he was a little over enthusiastic possibly, poor Blaze seems a tad ‘flattened’ by the whole experience, still he’s whispering sweet nothings in her ear by the looks of things, hope she forgives him!

 

 

Moving swiftly on………

 

We have done a few village fetes recently, it now being the summer fete season,  showing off last years youngsters and their products. Not all fetes are well attended or advertised, I got stuck at one 2 day event a couple of weeks ago and probably only spoke to thirty people all weekend……..a bit of a disaster really! never mind, one’s got to do them,you never know what it’s going to be like, some are great.

 

     Everyone has just been moved around to new fields as the grass is starting to die off now especially up near the house and barns but we still have plenty further down near the pond and the flower meadow that was cut for hay is looking good so all the mums feeding their cria have moved down there, neccessatating the stud boys and weenling groups moving as well because having the studs in a field next to the girls is just chaos, the boys are just beside themselves trying to get to the girls,fueled on high octane testosterone…….it’s never worth the wrecked fences!

 

 

 

A good dusting of D earth has gone down in all the rolly holes which they love to throw themselves around in,which in turn gets rid of a lot of the mites and bugs.

 

 

 

   The weenlings or ‘gobby teenagers’ as we like to call them now are constantly harrassing each other,neck wrestling,chewing an ear,biting ankles,pushing into each other……basicaly anything annoying!  Here we’re on ‘sitting on your head’ and then…..

 

 

“let’s have a threesome tangle”

…..boys will be boys.

 

 

 

 

 

   Finn and Sherlock being all cutesy,cutsey ”please love me mum”

 

       Uh oh………….someones collecting clutter again………

 

 

Red box on wheels with a yellowy contraption bolted to the front….. yup, you got it it’s a baler……yes you do, makes rectangular’ish bales of hay from mown grass…..er yes it is old, ….yes,even older than me,thank you for that!….err 1940’s we think and Yes,it works a treat apparantly, I’ll let you know next year when we use it, ha ha.

 

 

                             …… oh my gawd,what have you got there?, it’s a horse drawn jiggamething, primarily used for confusing the un-initiated in the black art of farming and archane other strange practices.


 

 

……but we seem to be ‘au fait’ with these weirdo cult going’s on so can get away with it…..and it looks good behind Katy !

 

 

 

 

     ………. have you worked out what it is yet?……No?, shame……………..

 

       Oh ok then, it’s a turner and rower-upper (not the correct name I know) for the hay prior to baling with the antique baler…….it’s gonna be great fun, or a total fiasco!

   Either way you’ll love it, entertainment all the way!